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Railbird Central Podcast: Looking Back at Season, Ahead to Free Agency

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Railbird Central Podcast: Looking Back at Season, Ahead to Free Agency

Episode 349

Nathan Jahnke of joins Railbird Central for the final time to wrap up the 2013 season. We take a look back at the Packers' wildcard loss to the 49ers in the playoffs, the season as a whole and ahead to some of the Packers' free agents about to hit the open market. After talking to Jahnke, we get into Packers quarterback coach Ben McAdoo being a candidate for the Browns head coaching job.

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Brian Carriveau is the author of "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America" and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (16) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Point Packer's picture

Mike Neal = Gone
James Jones = Stay
Sam Shields = Is going to be expensive

jack in jersey city's picture

i think you're right about neal point packer. it seems that the packers have been cutting their oft injured players sooner than later. i have a feeling that jones will test the market again but won't get the offers that he thinks he'll get. i'd like to see him back with the team. shields will be fairly expensive but i think they need him. he's the fastest guy on the defense and having him, tramon, and hayward will solidify the cornerback position on the team.

Derek in CO's picture

I think Neal gets another shot, but only becuase they invested so much into converting him to an OLB. Realistically, they need more actual OLBs and should move him back inside. I think he gets another chance until he gets hurt, then they IR him and cut him.

Point Packer's picture

Personally, and understanding the GB Packers don't give a hoot about what I think, but I think Mike Neal has had enough shots.

He wasn't that good as on OLB and then of course, he was some sort of injured the entire season. And naturally, the last game.

Evan's picture

He didn't miss a game, though, to be fair.

ben's picture

If capers is sticking around, I'd like to know who's going to be the cornerstone of his 3-4. Who's going to be the NoseTackle?

I don't see any good options in free agency or the draft.

I myself would prefer to play a 3-4, but our personnel screams 4-3.

Capers time has come and gone. And MM is a very good coach, but can we get him a offensive play caller. His play calling is really bad at times, embarrassing really.

ben's picture

2014 53 man depth chart (w/ 4-3 D)
QB: Rodgers, Tolzien, #6draftpick
RB: Lacey, DuJuan, Starks(2year), Franklin
FB: #5draftpick, UFA
WR: Cobb(extended4), Jordy, #3draftpick, Boykins, Harper
TE: #1(or#2)draftpick, Quarless(2year),Stoneburner, Bostick,
OL: Bakhtiari, Sitton, EDS(2year), Lang, Bulaga(extended4), Barclay, Tretter, Sharrod
DL: Perry, Daniels(extended5), Boyd, Datone, Jolly(2year), Mulumba, Worthy, Miller
LB: Matthews(MLB), Lattimore, Nick Barnett(1year), #4draftpick, HAWKorJONES, #7draftpick
CB: Shields(franchised), Tramon, House, Heyward, Hyde, Nixon
S: Burnett, #2(or#1)draftpick, Richardson, banjo(2year)
ST: Goode, Crosby, Masthay
Let go: Capers,Finley,Raji,Pickett,Neal,JJones,Bush,Kuhn,md,newhouse,HAWKorJONES&Wilson.

ben's picture

actually keep Kuhn instead of starks maybe

L's picture

2014 Packers:

QB: A.Rodgers, (resign M.Flynn at 2-3 years at around vet minimum or possibly some other vet QB in FA -- though early on as opposed to last season's last minute signings), S.Tolzien, (they possibly take a flyer on someone with a late draft pick or sign an undrafted QB for development)

RB: E.Lacey, D.Harris, J.Franklin, (they attempt to resign J.Starks to a 3 year league average back-up RB deal but he finds someone willing to pay him like a starter in FA so the Pack instead is forced to look over the many other UFAs to see if there's anything worth while; if they don't find anyone through FA they'll look to add developmental depth late in the draft and/or through undrafted players; though this may also work vise versa), K.Bell

FB: (resigned J.Kuhn to a 2 year league average starting FB deal or they replace him with a middle round drafted player or some other UFA at an affordable cost -- if they're looking at other UFAs then they're probably putting a bigger emphasis on run blocking), (they add training camp depth with undrafted players, but hope to find a diamond-in-the-rough)

WR: J.Nelson, R.Cobb, (J.Jones is attempted to be resigned as a depth receiver, but the offer will be noticeably less then what he could make in FA and so he departs -- maybe he takes a major discount to stay with the Pack, but I think it's highly unlikely), J.Boykins, (The Pack may use either a middle round or even a 2nd-3rd round draft pick to replace J.Jones if he departs as a FA), C.Harper, K.Dorsey, S.Cunningham, (The Pack add depth by signing a few undrafted players)

TE: A.Quarless (he accepts a 2 or 3 year deal at less then league average for a starter), (The Pack use a draft pick within the first 5 rounds to replace J.Finley and/or sign a under the radar UFA -- possibly another run blocking TE), B.Bostick, R.Taylor, J.Stoneburner, (The Pack sign undrafted players to bolster depth for training camp and again hope to find a diamond-in-the-rough)

OT: B.Bulaga, D.Bakhtiari, D.Sherrod, (The Pack add another collegiate Tackle either through the draft as a late pick or as an undrafted player for depth and development purposes).

OG: J.Sitton, TJ.Lang (might become the team's starting Center if EDS isn't resigned and a seriously talented Center isn't added through the draft), D.Barclay (might become the starting RG if TJ.Lang moves to Center; he can also fill-in at Tackle when necessary), L.Taylor

C: (EDS is attempted to be resigned at a 2 or 3 year deal at around league average for starting Centers, but is looking for more money and more years and possibly finds that on the open market -- if so TJ.Lang possibly becomes the team's starting Center for 2014 w/ D.Barclay taking over the starting RG position or the team hopes they can draft a starting caliber Center with one of their top 3 picks), (JC.Tretter if EDS isn't resigned he challenges for the starting Center position, but probably ends up as the back-up), G.Von Rotten

DL: (BJ.Raji is attempted to be resigned at around the league average for starting Defensive Tackle/Nose Tackles and for 3-4 years -- he's probably looking for more money & years and could probably find it. He along with S.Shields are the two potential UFAs who could get franchise tagged, but I'd guess that S.Shields is the higher priority player), (Depending on the severity of J.Jolly's neck injury he may or may not be offered a 2 year deal above the vet minimum), (R.Pickett is offered a 1-2 year deal around $2-3M; maybe he takes it, maybe not -- I wouldn't mind seeing him return at the right cost as the Pack will need big body DL who can help free up the ILBs and stuff the run), (CJ.Wilson might be offered a 1-2 year deal depending on what occurs with the other DL FAs on the team), D.Jones, M.Daniels, (The Pack might end up using an upper and/or middle round draft pick on restocking their D-line with people who have size and athletic ability), J.Boyd, (Also, depending on what occurs with BJ.Raji and the others in Free Agency the Pack may look to add rotational depth through Free Agency, but elect to sign players that aren't their own), J.Worthy, (The Pack sign an undrafted free agent with size for training camp depth)

OLB: C.Matthews, N.Perry, (The Pack elect to try resigning M.Neal to a 2-3 year deal as an average back-up OLB -- will he accept or look to make more money else where? I hope he returns and conditions his body even more for playing OLB), (Depending on best available player in the draft the Pack may elect to use a high draft pick that they'd like to use on another major need to bolster the pass-rush talent in this group), A.Mulumba, N.Palmer, V.Aiyewa, (The Pack sign at least 1 undrafted player to add to this group if not also a late draft pick)

ILB: AJ.Hawk, (B.Jones might be asked to rework his deal, but probably not this year -- the more likely situation would be if he has another similar year to this year then he'll be asked), (J.Lattimore as a RFA is probably retained unless another team gives him a ridiculous offer; though, I think the Pack will try to give him a deal somewhere between the one given to ILB B.Jones and DB J.Bush, but closer to J.Bush's), S.Barrington, (Again, depending on best available talent the Pack may elect to use a draft pick in any round outside of the 1st round to either raise the competition of the starters in this group or just add developmental depth)

CB: (S.Shields will be looking to break the bank this off-season and the Pack will be looking to lock him up till he's 31-ish with a deal that's similar in value to the one they gave T.Williams 3 years ago; though, they probably know they will be spending a bit more. If a deal can't be worked out then he's probably the most likely to get the Franchise Tag for this upcoming season.), T.Williams, C.Hayward, D.House, J.Bush, J.Nixon, J.Rolle, (The Pack will continue to try adding developmental talent to this group either late in the draft or by signing undrafted free agents like Sam Shields afterwards)

S: (M.Burnett - I suspect he may be asked to restructure his contract if he has another poor performance season like he appeared to have this season), (A 1st or 2nd round draft pick will likely be used to strengthen the talent within this positional group), (M.Hyde is asked to cross-train in order to play Safety as well as the slot position), S.Richardson, (C.Banjo and/or MD Jennings are offered 1 or 2 year minimum salary deals, possibly with little to nothing guaranteed, to remain with the team as a depth and special teams players; it makes some sense given their knowledge and experience within the system, but the positive will be that they'll be down the depth chart and not expected to start games).

LS: B.Goode

K: M.Crosby

P: Masthay

Likely gone without a contract offer:

TE: J.Finley due to his neck injury; though admittedly if the Pack felt that the risk of continuing his career was minimum (I don't think this is the case) then I suppose I could see them working out a 1 year deal or something.

OT: M.Newhouse due to his inability to improve, the performance of rookie D.Bakhtiari, and the return to health of D.Sherrod.

ILB: R.Francois because the team will be looking to develop new and younger talent at the position -- players with more upside.

cLowNEY42's picture

I like all of this.... except for the MD Jennings part.

L's picture

Yeah, I wouldn't be all that thrilled if he returned either, but I was trying to take a logical approach to this in regards to what the team may actually attempt to do and within that line of thinking there's some sense in them at least offering him a minimum contract with nothing guaranteed and no bonuses to return and compete -- this doesn't mean he'll make the team, but his knowledge and experience might be helpful to have in training camp next year and if injuries strike early in camp to others they'd at least have someone available who has the knowledge of the system as well as game experience too. In total it would be a low-risk/low-reward type scenario for the Pack. Also, remember that Ted's theme is to try to keep his players here, so I think he'll make an effort to figure out how best to do that with all of the players while weighing how those players best fit going forward too -- Safety is a mighty thin position on this team, so even if they draft a starter they'll need depth that can play in a pinch behind any new bodies too.

Evan's picture

My gut feelings:



Cap room is tight, but Jones and Raji free up a lot of money, as does Pickett, Kuhn and Finley likely seeing pay cuts.

Evan's picture

2013 Cap Figures likely to be off the books/reduced.

Jones: $3.75
Raji: $6.5
Pickett: $6.7
Kuhn: $2.5
Finley: $8.75
Newhouse: $1.3

Nearly $30 million. That's a nice chunk of change.

cLowNEY42's picture


And the only guy that will really be missed is Finley.

Please use some of that coin to get a vet defensive player (Byrd or Ward). No way can all the defensive holes be filled through 1 draft.

Players I think will improve for 2014...

Hayward-just being back
D. Jones - seems to too talented and driven to bust
Perry - he has to be better with 2 good feet
Bakhtiari - he's just getting started
Bulaga - just being back
Harris - just being back

Stroh's picture

We do need a NT. Besides Pickett and Raji we don't have one. Maybe, big MAYBE Jolly could play NT but I'm not sure if he can. Would like to see Raji back at something close to his current salary to play NT. He's been playing out of position the past few seasons.

Don c's picture

Think it would be a huge mistake to get rid of Kuhn. Does soapy small things very well. Just like I thought it was aid take to get rid of Cullen Jenkins. D line has not been the same

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