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A Glimpse at Free Agent Safety Tre Boston

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A Glimpse at Free Agent Safety Tre Boston

Looking at Green Bay’s roster, there really is not one safety capable of being a difference maker. Luckily, team president Mark Murphy caught up with Dave Schroeder of WBAY-TV and opened up a ton of possibilities by saying they would be more active in upcoming free agency than in the past. 

The Packers desperately need to add a safety this offseason either through free agency, the draft, or both and can make plays on the ball consistently. For once, their group of corners finally looks solid but now there’s a glaring hole right behind them.   

What the Packers defense could us is a safety that can do a little bit of everything and Arizona Cardinals’ free safety Tre Boston might be just that. He’s been a member of three teams since entering the league in 2015, but everywhere he’s set foot he has made an impact. After three years with the Carolina Panthers, Boston played for the Los Angeles Chargers and picked off five passes in 2017.

His stint with the Chargers was short lived so, needing to prove himself again, Boston signed a one-year $1.5 million deal with Arizona last offseason. He recorded three interceptions, finished fourth on the team with 79 tackles, and lead the way with nine pass breakups. His ability to contribute in a variety of ways and simultaneously be a playmaker is something Green Bay’s defense has missed significantly. Thankfully, he will probably hit the open market in March where he can be signed for a good price at only 26 years old. After Arizona claimed free safety DJ Swearinger near the conclusion of 2018 the team will likely move forward without Boston.    

So finally it looks like Green Bay could add someone they don’t have to constantly compensate for at safety. Too often it feels like players on the backend are solid at one thing and abysmal at another. For HaHa Clinton he was good in pass coverage but a wimp against the run. If second-year safety Josh Jones does get on the field, he can play in the box and rush the passer but in pass coverage he is a liability. And when Kentrell Brice isn’t getting beat over the top he can lay the boom on a receiver running over the middle. However, besides the temperament of a hard hitter, Brice has showed little progression in his first three seasons. 

Granted, veteran Tramon Williams held his own once he converted to safety after Clinton-Dix was dealt to the Washington Redskins, but he’s clearly not making the impact he once was. Last season he failed to come down with an interception for the first time in his 12 NFL seasons. Williams will turn 36 in March and his feet have already begun to slow down on him. Therefore, only on rare occurrences should we expect to see him lined up at corner moving forward. Hopefully, he plays a smaller role in 2019 continuing as a mentor to the younger players and filling in as a reliable defensive back when called upon.

If Williams plays anything remotely close to the team-high 1,059 defensive snaps in 2018 the Packers might see another average contribution from the secondary. Boston, who has missed only three games over the last four seasons, could step in right away and not force a safety closing in on retirement to play nearly every snap. 

This move is not only necessary but smart. Pettine likes to move his defensive backs around when he can and Boston gives him that capability. Last season his snaps were divided to a variety of positions including box safety, slot corner, and deep safety. 

Boston’s valuable skill set and marginal price tag should make this an easy decision for the Packers front office to consider. The safety market is growing increasingly low and the fact that he’s played for three different franchises before age 27 plays to Green Bay’s favor. 

For now, Boston seems like the best option to bring something new to the Packers secondary and could also be the most cost-effective. It’s not often that a player like Boston who is just now entering his prime hits free agency. Let’s hope he is on Green Bay’s radar. 



Brandon Carwile is a Packers writer who also enjoys watching and breaking down film. Follow him on Twitter @PackerScribe.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (59) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Bearmeat's picture

Edit - Tramon played 1,059 snaps on defense. Not 10,000. ;)

Also, is Boston a free safety who can fly and make up ground on the back end? Because after outside CB, pass rusher and nose tackle, a true FS is the most important part of a defense (and hardest to fill).

We don't have that, and haven't had it since Nick Collins got hurt in 2011. If Boston can do that, sign me up. If not, pass.

Brandon Carwile's picture

Sorry about that. Thank you

The TKstinator's picture

What kind of $ will he command in FA?

ricky's picture

If last year is any indication, not much. Which really bothers the players who are not being paid what they want. But similar to RB's a while ago, it is now safeties that are undervalued. OK, tried to add a link, but that was not allowed. If you want to read about Boston, type Tre Boston into the search bar, and click on "Tre Boston Bracing for Return to Free Agency". Any multi-year offer around the $5 million per year mark should be acceptable,

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Boston signed for $1.5M last season. IDK what the safety market is going to be like. PFF rated him 24th best safety with a solid 74.6 grade. He is a pure center-fielder with good, not great speed, and some anticipation. Run support has been iffy.

I screamed all last off-season to dump HHCD (rescind him 5th year option), sign Boston, get a better FS for 25% of the money. Oh well.

Packer Dave's picture

A signing like this is almost a must. Moving Jackson to safety and giving Raven Greene more reps are also good ideas in my mind.

Could the Pack target another corner higher than we expect? King and Alexander are great pieces, but whose to say King doesn't go down again? Any word on keeping Breeland around?

Hawg Hanner's picture

We sure need Breeland and Boston would be a great pickup. That would leave the draft to other needs. Frankly Thompson wasted top picks on DB's necessitating a do-over last year. We can't afford to invest top picks in yet another year on the defensive backfield with all the other needs.

Lare's picture

I agree that getting Boston would be a big asset for the defense, they also could add another safety in the draft. The question is what they have in Josh Jones, Raven Greene, Ibraheim Campbell and Josh Jackson- are any of them starting material?

Unfortunately, I think Breeland's price is going to be too high for Green Bay. Everyone is looking for starting corners and there's teams with a lot of salary cap space to use up.

Skip greenBayless's picture

If they can afford Boston go get him. I would like to see Green Bay do whatever they can to keep Breeland. I feel better about Breeland and Alexander than King and Alexander because I don't trust Kevin King. I'm afraid he's going to be another Clay Matthews and Nick Perry based on his two year injury riddled history. They always seem to be missing in a big game or when a big play is needed due to some nagging injury. We definitely need extra db insurance with Kevin King and Breeland is that insurance.


Coach JV's picture

King??? Oh... I forgot he was there... LOL.

He's a bust IMO. Breeland ind Alexander are where it's at.

Skip greenBayless's picture

Kevin King is far from being a bust because we know he can play. Justin Harrel, Jamal Reynolds, Rich Campbell and Jon Michels were busts. He's extremely talented when he is out there. You can see how he can make things difficult for receivers and qb's due to his height. The problem is he looks like JJ Walker from Good Times. I'm giving him one more year to see if he has the ability to stay relatively injury free for one full season. If he can't get on the field due to more nagging injuries than as Since 61' would say, CHUCK HIM!!


Coach JV's picture

I'll give you a thumbs up... but I think King is just made of glass.

TT had a way of drafting or signing guys with injury history... King's shoulder was bad in college and he missed a lot of valuable playing time then. He's been injured 2 seasons for us. I don't see that changing.

To me, that's a bust.

Rak47's picture

I've posted on this before JV my man but the idea that King was injury prone in college is false. He played all 4 years at U. Washington and missed 4-5 games his freshman year with a soft tissue injury. Following his freshman year he played in and started 39 of 42 games and did not miss a game his senior year. So he missed 3 games during his sophomore and junior years combined. Most folks like to compare him to TJ Watt but Watt missed an entire season in college with injury and half of another. Coming out of college TJ Watt definitely had the worse injury history of the two.

Old School's picture

King has been more durable than Aaron Jones. Is he made of glass, too?

Coach JV's picture

double post

Qoojo's picture

Matthews doesn't belong with those two. He missed two games the past two seasons. Perry has missed 11 games, and King has missed 17 games.

Matthews has missed 17 regular season games total in his 10 year career, and started 137 of those games (in other words, did not start or missed 23 games).

Tarynfor12's picture

Matthews has played in many games where he looked like he wasn't suited up,so he essentially missed a lot of games.

Rak47's picture

Personally I think Gute's plan is to plug as many if not all the team holes with veterans who are either proven or on the rise during FA, then supplement those FA acquisitions through the draft. That would simultaneously fill the holes while providing depth, competition, and hopefully leadership by the vets in the locker room while giving the rookies time to adjust to the learning curve.

Coach JV's picture

This would be a smart move. Boston has ball-hawk ability. Pair that with a ball-hawking CB like Breeland and Alexander coming up, and we would be scary to throw against.

AgrippaLII's picture

It sounds to me like Boston will go to whoever offers him a multi-year contract for the right money. Gute needs to go all in and get this guy...opportunities like this don't come along very often.

Bearmeat's picture

I'd think a combo of Jackson and Tramon at FS and Jackson and and Burks at SS/WILB would be enough.... but it doesn't hurt to add more. And if we can find a true centerfielder with elite makeup speed...

stockholder's picture

No- He's to slow, 4.6- 4.7. lacks make up speed. T. Williams would still be better. Packers would be better signing Breeland. And moving Brown.

Rak47's picture

Not sure where you get that stockholder because Boston ran a 4.59 at the combine while coming off a groin injury. I think it's safe to say he's a mid 4.4 to low 4.5 seconds guy. Although he was not known for his range coming out nor his tackling. He's basically a zone safety who plays the ball well.

jww061356's picture

I think Boston would be a great pick up. Move Jackson to safety(he's a better zone guy anyway) and re-sign Breeland. Now you are lining up Boston next to Jackson, with Alexander, King, Breeland, and possibly Tony Brown or Williams as the dime back. With a pass rush, we could really be on our way.

stockholder's picture

Your not paying attention to T. Browns numbers. 2 FF 30 plus tackles. The guy nearly had a couple of picks. Think Nick Collins here. Same size. . Brown can tackle better than Jackson. He is faster. They need to move him to safety! I'm all for Jackson to FS if he could wrap up guys better. But Browns ready!!!

vj_ostrowski's picture

Nick Collins was our starting Free Safety from the very first game the year he was drafted, until he was done. He was never a corner in the NFL, and never a SS. He started in 2005 next to Mark Roman, then Marquand Manuel, then Atari Bigby, then Morgan Burnett. All strong safeties. Not sure who you’re thinking of, stockholder

stockholder's picture

Thanks for the correction. -

Tundraboy's picture

Man if T Brown is all that, and we add a veteran FA, I'm excited. I want us to keep Breeland as well. Days of Demtri Goodson and all the other slop are finally over.

Rak47's picture

I really like Brown's aggressiveness and speed, he always seems to be around the ball. That's a very interesting thought regarding move him to safety. I think it may work well considering how much he likes the physical part of the game.

fthisJack's picture

its too early to talk about Jackson switching to S. we don't know yet how that position will stack up after the draft and FA. besides, some players take more time than others to develop. give him a chance at his true position.

stockholder's picture

Right I'd keep Jackson at Cb yet. T Brown is going to get stuck behind everyone. Jackson was drafted on a great 1 year performance. And still can be good at CB. Brown had some off field issue. But it's obvious T. Brown is the better tackler. And he certainly can cover better then Jones/Brice. The top safeties in the rookie class have trouble in coverage. T. Brown is a year ahead of them. I say he can be the next FS for the Packers. This would work well for both. No wasted pick or money. He's already familiar with everyone. T. Williams would take him under his wing.

PeteK's picture

I'm worried that he moved around and was not the starter until he signed with mediocre teams. However, Collins and especially Sharper were not speedsters and took a few years to develop into pro bowlers. I still prefer Thomas because he is a difference maker. If Breeland gets a long and expensive contract offer than good riddance. I thought he was a solid CB more suited as a nickel back. Brown or Greene, whomever the speedster was, would be interesting at FS. Some very tough decisions on S,G, and TE which can be solved by signing a solid veteran and drafting youth at those positions. Affordability should not be a problem since those positions are not usually very expensive. Just some thoughts swashing around in my jughead. LOL

The TKstinator's picture

Collins not a speedster?
Nick Collins?
He ran under 4.4.
That’s a speedster.

Rak47's picture

Collins was a blazer. He clocked 4.36 at the 2005 combine.

PeteK's picture

Thanks for the correction RAK. His body type (5' 11"-207) usually doesn't equate to great speed, but that's why he was great.

sam1's picture

It would seem to me Breeland is almost a must signing!

NitschkeFan's picture

I don't know much about Boston other than a few small articles like this one. Does anyone know why he has not been valued by the three teams he has already played for?

It appears that he has fairly high level talent. At his young age why has no other team tied him up with a multiyear deal? Already been on 3 teams.

I couldn't find anything particularly negative on-line about the guy. Groin injury as rookie, knee injury late in third season. Appears to have played well since then.

vj_ostrowski's picture

He’s not that fast. He’d be a fine stop gap, but we’ll be looking for a replacement in a year or two, too, just like all his other former teams

Jonathan Spader's picture

Packer fans said the exact same thing about Hyde VJ. Speed isn't everything or Josh Jones would be an elite safety. Speed helps you make up for when you make a mistake. Boston has shown he has good instincts mental speed is just as valuable as physical speed it's just harder to measure.

PatrickGB's picture

We have too much inexperence and not enough talent at free safety. We have a bunch of strong safety type players. So Boston at FS makes sense. What’s the price tag? If manageable then I think he would be a plus in Pettine’s system. Every body else on the team that played there have been inferior.

Doug Niemczynski's picture

Don't need him.

Old School's picture

It's pretty apparent we need help at safety. Normally, you'd have like 5 on your gameday active and another on your PS.

We don't have one single guy that we can line up at safety who can cover AND tackle. The best cover safety we have is a 35 year old CB playing out of position.,,,and he's never been a tackler.

We have a bunch of young guys.....Brice, Campbell...Jones...Pleasant....Thompson....Trey Matthews.

Although I would disagree with the author's assessment of Brice, he's clearly the best of that bunch. That's why he starts when he's able to. That's why he's still here and Burnett, Dix, and Whitehead aren't.

He's 24. He's had two seasons. I certainly see a spot for him on the roster but I'd like more good guys on the back end of the defense because injuries happen all the time.

Boston? At this point, I'm not seeing anything that separates him from the guys we have, quite frankly. I suspect we're going to have to fill this spot in the draft.

Jonathan Spader's picture

Go back and watch the 1st Vikings Packers game and tell me that Brice is a starting caliber safety. He's a hard hitter and a liability in coverage.

Old School's picture

I'm experiencing Deja Vu. If you change the name from '"Brice" to "Fackrell" it's almost exactly the same.

It is interesting that you mentioned the Viking game at Lambeau in Week 2. Reviewing my notes, I see the line "the Packers are going to have to get better play at the safety spot or they won't be competitive". That was before we released Dix or Whtehead. So yeah, I'm aware Brice had a bad game that night.

I could suggest that you go back and watch the All 22 on Brice from every game. IF you don't have the time or inclination, then I'll just ask you to consider the following:

Brice made the team as a UDFA. And he started a game as a 21 year old rookie. He started games in 2017, and he was our starter in 2018. During that time, we've released a lot of safeties, but not him.

Two different Defensive coordinators.....Capers and Fox. Two different GMs, Thompson and Gute. Two different HCs. And it's Brice that starts if he's healthy. Why is that?

Me, personally, I choose to place a little more weight on the opinion of the professionals. And anecdotally, when I watch the All 22, Brice does a lot of good things out there that you apparently aren't seeing.

The "liablity in coverage" statement does resonate with me. I've commented numerous times that we can't line up 5 guys who can cover. Alexander can cover, Tramon covers pretty well for an old guy, King can cover when he's healthy. Breeland and Jackson show flashes.

Brice has problems in coverage, but he's very fast and usually lines up in the right spot. He knows his assignment. He's our most physical DB, even more than Jones, IMO.

He'll clearly be resigned, and he's going to compete for a spot, and I have a hard time not seeing him on our 53 man roster if he's healthy.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't pursue Boston, or Adderly. There's room for both of them and more.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Brice has played 3 seasons, though in one season he only lasted 6 games before going on IR. 46 game sample. He's been terrible in coverage and has not progressed. Way past time to move on.

Old School's picture

Well,obviously Capers, Whitt, and Pettine disagree.

And it's a 36 game sample.

PeteK's picture

If this D is going to be championship caliber, we have to upgrade the S spot which means Brice cannot be the starter but a fine backup.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Oops. 36 it is.

fthisJack's picture

you missed Raven Greene who I thought looked very good in his limited playing time.

Guam's picture

The Packers clearly need help at safety and I would prefer veteran help over a draft choice that has to learn the pro game. Thomas, Mathieu or Boston would help plug a large hole. I personally would prefer a little more speed than Boston has, but he is better than anything we have now.

And I concur with JS, Brice is an absolute liability in coverage and is also often out of position on plays. Not only is he not a starter, but I would prefer to see him replaced on the roster next year.

Good article on free agency and I would prefer to see more of this and less focus on draft choices for the next few weeks since what we do or don't do in free agency will impact what we do in the draft. All of the focus on the draft choices the past two weeks I think has the cart before the horse.

fthisJack's picture

I agree. I definitely don't want Deonte Thompson from Alabama with our first pick as I've seen in a few mock drafts.

ScaryGary's picture

Hey all you that don't love aaron rodgers, kiss my behind and go root for another team. go pack go. that Super Bowl was pathetic, rodgers wins that game every time

Tarynfor12's picture

" Rodgers wins that game every time."

Wouldn't Rodgers need to get into that game first?

BigCheese2's picture

Joyner is a true free safety that can roam, has make up speed, plays fast and hits hard (for his size). He is my number one free safety target for the Pack. Don't quite know what contract he would demand... 3 year, 24 mil(ish)?

MarkinMadison's picture

I would move Josh Jackson to FS and resign Breeland. Jackson and Hyde both played at Iowa where both played a lot of zone coverage. Hyde made a very smooth transition to FS after leaving the Packers. They are pretty damn near the same player. Ditto or Randall, who transitioned to safety after leaving the Packers. You want answers at safety? In GB, just look at the CBs you already have.

dobber's picture

I would be asking Pettine, "Who do you want?" Get a wish list at S, and see what you can do. The safety market was terribly depressed last year, and it might be too much to ask that it be just as depressed this year, but it's still going to be a buyer's market. Using this to your advantage means you take that burden off days 1 and 2 of the draft.

Tundraboy's picture


Rossonero's picture

Nice article. Boston wasn't on my radar, but he is now.

He sure as heck better be on Brian Gutekunst's.

A starting safety at a relatively cheap price is something he should be jumping on IMMEDIATELY once free agency starts.

Even if we draft Nasir Adderley, we can' expect him to play like a Pro Bowler right away. Bring in Boston to solidify our back end, which has been atrocious. Teams know they can throw deep on us because we have rag tag group of guys back there.

Do it, Gute!!

ILPackerBacker's picture

Is the glass K King half full?
He came to GB with a bad shoulder. It is a mistake to assume the packer medical staff or training staff are even NFL average. King missed time every year as an underclassmen.

We also have an accurate record of his history in the NFL.

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