Day one of free agency came and went with no activity from the Green Bay Packers. Nothing new there as the Packers aren't early players free agency, when money is typically shot out of a cannon. Days two and three, however, proved active with the Packers adding tight ends Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks.
The moves, especially the Bennett signing, surprised many around Green Bay. After Aaron Rodgers asked the team to "re load a little bit" after last season, general manager Ted Thompson seems willing to oblige.
That's on the offensive side of the ball. On defense, the Packers ranked 22nd last season in yards per game allowed with 363.9. For what it's worth, Green Bay was worst in the NFC North in that category. That may equate to meaning nothing considering that the Packers still won the division and also that the Atlanta Falcons were the only NFC playoff team who had a worse defense. Atlanta, as we know, made it to the Super Bowl with that porous defense.
But as teams continue to improve and chase Green Bay, the Packers are going to have to be able to keep up and stop their offenses.
They re-signed linebacker Nick Perry, keeping their best run defender and a top pass rusher in green and gold. Datone Jones remains a free agent and has to be one that the Packers would like to return. They spent a first round pick on him in 2013 and moved him to more of a hybrid linebacker role in 2016. He seemed to do well in bunches in that role and he knows the defense so hopefully the two sides can get something done to bring Jones back.
Despite the recent flurry in free agency by the Packers, remember that free agency continues on throughout the summer and there's also the draft upcoming. The early rumblings are that the Packers are looking at the draft to stock the cupboard at cornerback. Speed is a need and the Packers know it. Part of the reason they let a versatile player like Micah Hyde go is because he lacks the type of speed that teams need today to keep up with the perimeter threats a lot of offenses have.
As of the time that this is being written, it has been reported that cornerback Davon House is likely to sign elsewhere after many were hoping for a reunion between he and the Packers. Until a deal is done, never say never, but it sounds like the chances of Green Bay adding a veteran corner are slim.
As far as pass rush and (hopefully) in addition to bringing Jones back, the Packers will need to address that area in the draft or in free agency.
Former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin is still out there and whether or not the rumors about the Packers reaching out to him are true, he is certainly the type of player the Packers should at least kick the tires on. Or how about Zach Brown, a linebacker I was hoping the Packers might look at last year? Brown is just 27 years old and still available. Edge rusher is a premier position in today's NFL and not one the Packers can afford to sit on their hands in addressing.
As free agency goes on, more names could emerge as possibilities for the Packers to look into. Last week, Green Bay restructured defensive lineman Letroy Guion's contract after he was hit with a four-game suspension. That seems to indicate that the Packers are content to roll with Kenny Clark and Guion when he's available. Why they would still be giving Guion chances at this point is beyond me. A player like former Kansas City Chiefs nose tackle Dontari Poe is still out there and the Packers have cap space. Why not?
Regardless of how the Packers do it, it's time for them to turn their attention to and address the defense. Until last season, the Packers found themselves on the losing end of playoff games because their defense couldn't get off the field. If they want to get back to a Super Bowl and regardless of how much better the offense may be, the defense has to improve in a major way in 2017.
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