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3 Positions the Packers Should Address in Free Agency

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3 Positions the Packers Should Address in Free Agency

Heading into NFL free agency, which opens in about a week and a half, the Green Bay Packers have plenty of needs, as many as they have had in a long time.

That means that Green Bay is going to have some tough decisions to make. It sounds like the team won't bring back Randall Cobb, while the jury on Clay Matthews is still out. 

Others like Bryan Bulaga are also unknowns. The long-time starting right tackle is one of the best bookends in the game when he is healthy -- he just hasn't been healthy the past couple years and you wonder if he will be again.

Looking at the Packers roster, there are a few positions of need that stand out. On the offensive side of the ball, without Cobb, a slot receiver in one position the team could address. Another would be at guard. 

The Packers have two decent tackles, if Bulaga can stay healthy and make no mistake, that position must be addressed too, however, it seems like Green Bay will use a draft pick for that.

When it comes to finding a guard who can start next season, the free-agent market is one option, although Roger Saffold is one of the few veterans available. 

So adding a free agent on the offensive line might be more about depth than finding a starter. Yet, at some other positions of need such as wideout, pass rusher or safety, there are lots of options available.

Since Green Bay could use at least one starting caliber player at each of those positions, it would make sense to avoid one big-money free agent and sign a few players that may not be cheap but also won't break the bank.

With all that in mind, here are three positions Green Bay should address in free agency:

Safety --

There is no question that one of the Packers biggest needs is at safety. Josh Jones, a second-round pick in 2017, might have a chance to become a player, but outside of him, there are no legitimate starting safeties on the roster. If Jones doesn't pan out, there will be none.

That makes adding a quality safety urgent. Green Bay can certainly try to wait for the NFL draft to do that, but hoping to find two guys capable of starting in the draft is a big risk. The Packers would be better off adding a veteran and a draft pick to compete with Jones.

Thankfully, safety is one of the deepest positions on the free agent market and the Packers could look to sign someone like Landon Collins, Earl Thomas, Tyrann Mathieu, Lamarcus Joyner or Adrian Amos.

All five of those guys rank in the top 50 of NFL.com's top 100 free agents and if Green Bay dished out the cash for Thomas, Collins or Mathieu, it could help upgrade the defense immediately.

Edge rusher --

When it comes to pass rushers, there are lots of good ones on the free agent market too. In fact, that might be the deepest position in free agency on either side of the ball.

While I wouldn't expect or probably even want the Packers to throw money at a guy like Demarcus Lawrence there are lots of other options like Frank Clark of Seattle, Trey Flowers of New England, Preston Smith of Washington, Brandon Graham in Philly, Anthony Barr from the Vikings or even Dante Fowler, the former No. 2 overall pick who had four sacks last season, would interest the Packers.

Green Bay could bring back Matthews but for some reason, I don't see it. I think adding a younger, more dynamic edge rusher such as one listed above make sense. Then, if Green Bay can find another solid pass rusher in the draft, the defense could make tremendous strides.

Wide Receiver --

In some ways, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense for the Packers to move on from Randall Cobb and then go after another veteran, but the reality is that Cobb has just proven to be too unreliable.

Certainly, he still has some talent and with Aaron Rodgers, he could maybe still make things worse. Yet, he is closer to 30 and he just hasn't been very productive.

At the same time, there are tons of veterans that could fit in Green Bay, such as Golden Tate or Jamison Crowder, who is still just 25 years old. Adam Humphries of the Bucs is another slot receiver to watch.

Humphries, who is probably not going to garner a huge contract, caught 137 passes for nearly 1,500 yards and six touchdowns the last two years in Tampa. Playing in Green Bay, with Rodgers, he seems like he would thrive.

He's tough too and a guy fans could fall in love with, sort of like Cole Beasley, who also seems like a fit in Green Bay. 

The Packers have some talent at wide receiver and if they go without adding a veteran, it's not the end of the world. But for relatively cheap, it's another position Green Bay could address in free agency. 

 

 

 

__________________________

Chris is a sports journalist from Montana and has been blogging about the Packers since 2011. Chris has been a staff writer for CheeseheadTV since 2017 and looks forward to the day when Aaron Rodgers wins his second Super Bowl. Follow him @thepackersguru

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (25) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Tundraboy's picture

Safety,Safety,Safety, and an OL.

stockholder's picture

I don't see Wr as a position they must address. Your only keeping the Coles hot for Brown. And Gute can't waste draft picks on a WR. We may not get the safety or edge you desire in Free Agency. And the public wants Hoek, Polite, or a RG. The Wr position should have been addressed last year in Free Agency. But- We counted on Cobb as the alternative. Will get by with what we have.

TheVOR's picture

Sorry dude, we're a Devante injury from being DOA. Lets all stop BS-ing one another. Adams is the only blue chip WR on the roster, Cobb is (and rightfully so) GONE... MVS is promising, but not there, he's like a 3-4 guy right now. Kumerow is intriguing... but... what is he?

Lets get real, our WR staff is a flipping joke.. We need another very SOLID Vet and a HIGH DRAFT CHOICE influx required staff. G-MO, get him out of here, J'mon Moore is a flipping BUST JOKE ball dropper... Brown. Ehh! let him compete, but he's not blowing my doors off...

Our WR room is a joke... Watch Rodgers predictably step up for Cobb and G-MO, but thats because he's lazy, and unlike Favre, doesn't know how to develop WR's.. I remember one of the Vikings WR's saying he learned more about being a WR from Brett Favre, than any coach he ever played for..

Rodgers is clueless in helping develop his WR's into being special.
We need Veteran Help at WR, and again at TE. This team has massive Holes. I sincerely doubt our GM is going to figure this out. We need WR, TE, OT, OG, Rush, ILB, and safety BADLY, and we don't need them in late rounds, we need players that can step in and make an impact. Brutal, we're in essence "rebuilding" not re-loading..

stockholder's picture

Adams was a second rd. Pick. No Wr pick, @12 or lower is going to start. Look how long it took Adams. Brown is a over -priced Cancer. Gute took 3 Wrs. Quit looking at the paper. If you spend high draft picks on any veteran, you've destroyed the future. The rebuild started the day MM was fired. WR,TE,OT,OG, are back-up / upgrade positions. ILB try Jake Ryan before drafting White, Wilson, or Bush. Safety is in the hands of Williams ,Brice and Jones. And maybe a CB switch again. The packers are only concerned about change. Winning has always been left up to Arron Rodgers!

DONALD SALAMON's picture

if you think Brice is an answer at safety, you're on crack. The guy was a disaster. If Jones was any good, he'd be getting way more snaps. Jones is another TT bust pick.

Rak47's picture

Exact same three positions I've been saying we need to address in FA. Sign 2 edge players, 1 safety, and a slot receiver and Gute will be all set come draft time to pick the best players and get the team back to the playoffs.

White92's picture

Thomas, Honey Badger, Jamison Crowder

fthisJack's picture

i like Thomas, Tate, and Barr. any S you draft is not going to come in and set the league on fire....need a veteran. there are some good options for the slot and i prefer Tate. and Barr would be a great addition. he's just a good all around football player that stays on the field. then you don't have to reach for an OLB in the draft. you can go BPA at 12....White, Oliver, Williams.

Guam's picture

As TGR very correctly pointed out, that $35 million in cap space is really more like $23 million. The Packers will need $5 million for the new draft class and they typically keep $7-8 million in reserve for acquisitions during the playing season (injury replacements). And the $23 million assumes the Packers don't resign any of their own free agents (Breeland, Wilkinson, Matthews, Cobb, etc.).

You won't get 3-4 top end acquisitions with $23 million. A top edge rusher last year ran $10 - $15 million. Top end safeties and right guards last year commanded $6-9 million each. And as Bearmeat keeps pointing out, every team has more money to spend this year so prices will likely be higher than last year.

If Gute gets two top players and one mid-grade free agent, I will be thrilled. Personally I hope we get a starting safety and right guard and maybe a backup interior O-lineman.

Heyjoe414's picture

That would be a near-ideal FA scenario. It’s also possible they find an immediate starter at RG or RT with their 30th pick. Really, I’d be happy with a starting safety in FA, an impact player. It’s certainly the weakest group with only Josh Jones. If Cole Beasley is available, I think he’d make a great Packer and replace Cobb at slot.

Swisch's picture

Good stuff, Guam.
The main takeaway seems to be that just about any team can only do so much in one off-season as far as adding free agents and draft picks.
The key is to get better each year by trying to juggle need and availability and salary.
I like to think the Packers are a playoff contender next season, which means that some of our young guys already on the team have to come through.
All we can do is add a couple of select free agents, hope a couple of our draft picks are ready to go as rookies, and see what happens with our current guys developing.
It should be exciting this season, in any case, and probably a lot of fun -- with a lot of youthful enthusiasm.
I'm hopeful Aaron Rodgers is going to dedicate himself with a renewed commitment to leadership that will elevate the whole team. That would enhance his stature in being an all-time great, and could really speed up the process of the Packers regaining a position as a top team.
In that spirit, I think the main priority for the Pack is offensive line.
Then fill in other positions as best we can -- hoping for a big turnaround right away, but being patient if it takes more than this off-season to really replenish the roster.

Wilment's picture

Safety first....and it doesn't have to be one of the "obvious" names out there. Theres a couple young steady guys that are going to hit the market. Backup quarterback. Still a glaring hole in that spot, unless one of the two guys we have suddenly improves a bunch. Finally if we can find one, a guard. The guard play was mediocre at best and brutal at the worst. Draft a couple o linemen in the middle rounds, but see if there isn't a decent vet that could fill the right guard spot for a season or two while another develops. Keeping AR upright should be a priority.

Heyjoe414's picture

You raise a good point about a quality backup QB. I don’t know if Teddy Bridgeqwater would settle for a backup, but I like him. IMHO Kiser is no better and no worse than Huntley. Translation: NOT a solid #2 at QB. Or maybe a journeyman like Fitzpatrick. At any rate, they can’t stand pat at backup QB. They need someone who can come in and play .500 or better if 12 goes down.

ShooterMcGee's picture

There will likely be more trades this year than usual. I'd love the Pack to trade a 6th rounder to SD for safety Joseph Addae and a 4th to Denver for Shane Ray. This seems like fair value for both players. Its better to use some of our draft capital on veterans than gambling on rookies.

dobber's picture

Shane Ray is a UFA.

Heyjoe414's picture

I think the Pack can find a starting RG or RT in rounds one or two. So I won’t be disappointed if they miss there in FA, unless it’s for depth. Safety is a MUST. Earl Thomas is getting on, but doesn’t seem to have lost much although injury is a concern. At minimum, he’d bring some leadership to that group, which we haven’t had since Woodson. So they need to address safety in FA. Assuming Cobb is gone, I’d like them to add a slot receiver. I love Cole Beasley. The draft is rich in Edge guys, and they should get a starter with the 12th pick. And I’m ok bringing back CMIII as an ILB and not an every down guy.

EddieLeeIvory's picture

Bring back Brett Swain.
Packers haven't been back to a Super Bowl since letting him go. It can't be a coincidence :-)

Since '61's picture

OL and Safety in FA, possibly Edge and WR also.
Depending on how FA and the draft play out the Packers could consider moving Bulaga to RG (which help him remain healthy) and add a starting RT from FA or even the draft.

IMO the Packers need to add at least one OL via FA and then draft another 2 OLs to find at find at least one starter and improve OL depth.

It will be critical to add a WR who is an actual threat to compliment Adams. Whether via the draft or FA doesn't matter as long as whoever it is can play from day one.

As for Cobb, Matthews and Perry it's time to move on. Clean house, get it done and replace our aging and injured veterans with younger and more athletic players. The sooner the better. Thanks, Since '61

fthisJack's picture

if they can get Risner with 30 0r 44 there's your starter for the next decade. can play G or T. i also like Lindstrom day 3. they have some guys on the roster that could still improve....Patrick, McCray, Pankey could be good depth guys.

i agree S in Fa is a big need as none of the rookies would be starting day 1.

there are some good options at slot receiver in FA and the draft. Brown, Samuel, Isabella in the draft are bonafide slot guys that could contribute this year.

jannes bjornson's picture

Outside zone running game wants guards that can move.

Swisch's picture

Even with all the promising young receivers on the Packers, I'm not sure any one of them is a quick and crafty slot -- so we may want to try for such a guy in free agency, who as a veteran could step in right away to be a reliable target for Aaron Rodgers in the middle of the field.
I still can't help but wonder if Davante may thrive as a slot receiver, because that's where the action is for a guy who wants to be highly involved in the offense with a lot of receptions.
Davante does seem to really have that quickness and craftiness for the slot position; and would still be able to go deep on occasion to keep the defense off-balance.

Guam's picture

Hadn't thought about Adams as a slot guy - interesting idea. We would need MVS, ESB and Allison to develop quickly as outside guys which would be a bit of a long shot, but Adams in the slot could be a really good move.

DONALD SALAMON's picture

WRONG!!!!

fthisJack's picture

Adams needs to stay outside. he is so crafty at RATC on the outside it wouldn't make sense to put him inside. get a vet or rookie in the draft for that role.

leaerin4's picture

Let's start by finally agreeing Spriggs just doesn't have it and needs to be released. I was hoping he was going to be our next right tackle or guard. He's bulked up and looks the part,but mostly is a turnstile when asked to fill in and we can't keep him. Cole Madison was going to be a nice draft pick with a solid college record. We all know what happened there. It's time to draft two prospects,one early who should plug and play and then one with the two fourth round picks. As for the rest we'll just have to wait and see what free agency brings to the table.

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