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Bashaud Breeland becoming a steal in the Packers' secondary

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Bashaud Breeland becoming a steal in the Packers' secondary

-- If the Green Bay Packers find a way to miraculously secure a spot for January's postseason festivities, we're going to look back on Bashaud Breeland's pick-six this past weekend as the moment that turned this team's fortunes around for the better.

Breeland, a free agent cornerback signed by the Packers in late September but not seeing his first game action until November, secured the 22-yard score off of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan to bolster the Packers' lead to double-digits. It was all in part of their 34-point unanswered onslaught on the Falcons.

Sunday marked just the fourth time Breeland has been active in a game this season. Shortly after he was signed, he fought off a lingering hamstring injury whilst trying to master the new defense and get into game shape. At the time, it had been nearly a year since Breeland had last played in a regular season game.

Yet, Breeland has an interception in two of those four games.

"It means a lot to be able to come back and help my team win," Breeland told Packers.com. "I just want to be out there. Just to have fun really and show the team what I got. I've been on and off the field, I never really get to show them my true talent. I just want to go out there and show them what I can do for this team."

Breeland had a handsome deal lined up with the Carolina Panthers in the spring, but a foot injury and failed physical ultimately led to him landing right back on the free agent market.

He eventually inked a one-year deal worth $880,000 with the Packers; numbers that represent chump change compared to his prior negotiations with the Panthers.

While the Packers managed to snag Breeland for the veteran minimum, it's unlikely they'll be able to finesse the system a second time this coming offseason when Breeland is set to be a free agent. While there's still a ways to go until then, his play through the final three weeks -- and possibly beyond -- will be a good equalizer to help the Packers make their decision when the time comes.

Breeland will have more than enough opportunities to prove his worth if he hasn't already. With second-year cornerback Kevin King on injured reserve for the remainder of the year, Breeland's role should remain unchanged. Against the Falcons, the Packers opened the game with Jaire Alexander, Josh Jackson and Tony Brown as the starting trio of corners.

After a solid outing, Breeland's promotion could come at the expense of Brown's demotion.

Breeland is one of the Packers' several pending free agents at the end of the season, and, according to Ryan Wood of PackersNews.com, the Packers will have the first shot at retaining him before any other team swoops in for his rights.

"At this point in time, the Green Bay Packers have first dibs because I'm here," Breeland said. "They can make it happen at any moment. But I'm not really worried about what the future holds right now. I'm living in the moment. I'm just having fun."

__________________________

Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (24) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

4thand1's picture

The queens will be the 1st to try and swoop, F-em.

jeepingmakooi's picture

I doubt it. They have a rookie who is solid and Wayne's isn't the worst. Plus they still have Rhodes. If they do anything it will be another saftey or dljne depth... Look at the eagles last year with the d line rotations... Could just wear down the o lines and bull rush them

wildbill's picture

They only get our old players, lol

Old School's picture

We need six healthy CBs available on game day. Even the #6 guy is only a pulled hammy from starting against a guy who is really good. We should keep a Breeland and try to get two more.

flackcatcher's picture

Six is the bare minimum for CB in the NFL these days. That's not counting the 2 hybrid/slot DB who can swing between the boundary and play safety or backside in a pinch, and the safety who must play in the box and cover the TE and slot receiver from the backside. Players like Williams and Breeland who can play both are rare and should be kept. That is, if a team can afford them.

HankScorpio's picture

With King, Alexander, Jackson and Brown being under control for at least 2 more years, they are in a great position with Breland. They can afford to set their own price and stick to it. Then it comes down to how the market treats him.

I'd like to see him stick around. I don't believe there is any such thing as enough CBs. Based on what i've seen so far, I think when everyone is healthy, Breland is getting significant snaps. But he's not a "must keep at any cost" kind of player

Rak47's picture

Honestly Hank it could come down to Breeland or Williams. They will probably cut House and possibly move on from Tramon if Breeland continues to play well. The fact they have Alexander, Jackson, King, and another rookie in Brown means they are not going to have a ton of money invested into their CB group over the next 3-4 years so they should be able to pay Breeland and keep him til he's 31-32 years old and the rookies are coming up on their second contracts.

HankScorpio's picture

I don't think they need to move on from Tramon Williams in order to re-sign Breland. I think there is room for both on the field at once. If you want to continue to follow the CB and Safety model, Williams is a Safety now. There is no such thing as too much coverage ability among DBs and Williams is easily one of their top 11 in coverage, thus earning him a roster spot, IMO.

This is all particularly true if Pettine is retained as DC. I go back to his comments that he likes to use his Safeties interchangeably to disguise intentions pre-snap. The natural evolution of that philosophy is to extend that to all the DBs on the field. With 5 guys that can all cover and are not afraid of sticking their nose into contact, his ability for pre-snap disguise increases. Add in the fact that the hitting rules have every DB thinking about flags and fine as they swoop in to hit someone and it just increases the emphasis on coverage and ball skills among DBs.

Rak47's picture

It's not that I think they need to move on from Williams Hank, just not sure they can afford both while patching some other areas of need. I hope they can keep both, but if SporTrac is correct and Breeland commands 7million a year that would be 11-12 million invested in he and Williams. I'm just saying I'm not sure they can afford both, hopefully they can.

dobber's picture

If Williams is the de facto safety, and they don't sign another FA safety, that means that the only players in the Packers secondary not on cheap rookie, street FA, or UDFA deals would be Breeland and Williams. If the two of them only count about $12-14M in cap space? They could swing that, especially considering they're off the hook for Williams in 2020.

All that could change with the new coaching staff and FA signings, but I think there's room for a scheme-versatile Breeland in 2019 and beyond at $7-8M AAV.

MarkinMadison's picture

SportTrac is projecting Breeland for 5 years at $7M per year. He turns 27 in January, averages double-digit PDs (more than Rhodes), and two INTs per year (similar to Rhodes). Sounds about right. Pay him. The Packers can't keep using all of their top draft picks at CB every year, while watching guys slip away and succeed elsewhere (albeit often at different positions).

packerbackerjim's picture

Agreed. He is what I hope Josh Jackson will become.

Skip greenBayless's picture

Excellent comments Mark. Agree. Pay the man. He's only played 4 games but my gut trusts this guys long term potential. My gut with Kevin King is a different story.

Rak47's picture

Don't worry about King so much Dash. King has had some soft tissue injuries mostly, nothing serious with bones, ligaments, or nerves. As he grows stronger and learns what he needs to do to stay healthy at the NFL level he will be fine. He's super athletic has loads of talent and is not afraid to stick his nose in there and mix it up. He and Alexander should form a top CB tandem in the league for years to come.

Matt Gonzales's picture

I mostly agree but still have some concerns with his long-term health. They can continue getting bodies from the UDFA pool but a mid-round pick for the DB group seems like a smart investment. Ideally someone that can replace Alexander and Cobb returning punts.

stockholder's picture

They can afford Breeland. After this season, they should renegotiate Arron Rodgers contract.

PAPackerbacker's picture

Breeland is a keeper. Signing Breeland will give the Packers a solid core at CB and then they can use a draft pick for a much more needed OL, LB, or edge rusher in 2019. The Packers have found an excellent player by signing him for the veteran minimum. He certainly has the skills to fill the CB position.The secret to his success will be to remain healthy and avoid injuries.

nostradanus's picture

I wholeheartedly agree gentleman they should re-sign Breeland now before he gets expensive so that they can concentrate on drafting:

*One or two top offense of lineman

*One or two difference making edge rushers

*And enforcer at safety

*A speedy tackling machine who can cover to pair with Blake Martinez at inside linebacker

*A quick and speedy slot receiver/return man

*Another good running back to develop

*A tight end to develop in Jimmy Graham’s last year with the Packers and pair with big Bob Tonyan for the future

*Carry-on, that is all…

Lphill's picture

we need King healthy or move on from him .

PatrickGB's picture

I really think it’s way too early to “move on” from King. But it is smart to have more CBs on the roster. Breeland is a great example of that. All players get injured, it’s the nature of the game. So we need somebody better than a player like Gunter for when that happens.

Spock's picture

If I recall correctly TGR stated in the comments section that it was "illegal" to resign Breeland "now" due to the type of deal he signed with the Packers so they will have to wait until next year and bid for his services in free agency like other teams. Hopefully, he enjoys where he is now and will want to resign with the Packers then.

dobber's picture

I think they can talk, they just can't act until FA opens in March. Technically, you can't tamper with your own FAs, right?

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I believe GB and Breeland can talk, and even reach an understanding, like a handshake deal. What it does mean though is that Breeland will probably be contacted by other teams during the legal tampering period since GB can't sign a contract with Breeland until FA starts. Breeland probably won't have to guess what his market value is.

dobber's picture

Thanks TGR.

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