Cap Space Could Limit Packers Off-Season Moves

The Green Bay Packers have traditionally been in the top tier of NFL teams when it comes to available cap space in the Ted Thompson era.  But with several high-priced contracts kicking in this year it will be difficult to maintain that status in 2016.  

The Green Bay Packers have traditionally been in the top tier of NFL teams when it comes to available cap space in the Ted Thompson era.  But with several high-priced contracts kicking in this year it will be difficult to maintain that status in 2016.

After ranking eighth for most of the year, the team ended the 2015 season with the eleventh most available salary cap money, more than $7,100,000. According to NFL rules they will be able to carry that money forward into the 2016 league year. 

The official NFL Players Association web site credits the always frugal Packers with the ninth most salary cap carryover money in the league heading into the 2016 campaign.

The Packers available money was reduced after signing defensive lineman Mike Daniels to a four-year deal in December.  The extension was reportedly worth $42 million, including $22 million in the first 15 months and a $12 million signing bonus. With the extension, Daniels is now the third highest paid defensive end in the league.  Even though the Packers will take a cap hit for Daniels new contract it will prove to be money well spent.

The NFL's salary cap will increase about $10 million this coming year. Owners were told at the league’s meeting that the salary cap will be between $150 million and $153.4 million next year as reported by ESPN. The 2015 salary cap was $143.3 million.

According to the web site Under the Cap, the Packers currently rank 14th entering the 2016 season in excess of $26,400,000 in available money to spend on draft choices and free agents.  The Packers have the second fewest players under contract for the coming season at 42. 

That is both a good thing and a bad thing.  Good in that they are not locked into a rigid roster for next year.  Bad in that they have to add a significant number of players.  You don’t need to be a salary cap expert to realize that most of their additions will have to be rookies or minimum salary free agents.

The Packers have also done a commendable job with the so-called dead money. Simply put ‘dead money’ is salary cap space a team must allocate to a particular player who has been cut. It ensures that every dollar a team has paid players is eventually allocated to that team's salary cap.  For the Packers that number stands at roughly $678,000, 15th best among the NFL teams.

Like many teams the Packers top paid players eat up a tremendous amount of salary cap space.  Of the $150.0 M projected for each team in 2016, the Packers top eleven players account for roughly $104.7M – almost 70% of the total allocation.  That leaves only $45M or so for the remaining 42 roster positions.  The top four paid players in order are Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews, Sam Shields and Julius Pepper.  They account for better than 1/3 of the total cap money – a whopping $55.2 million.  Rodgers alone will carry a cap figure of $19.2M.

There has been speculation that Julius Peppers will choose to retire this off-season.  Peppers is due to make $10.5M next year.  Should he retire the cap savings would be $8.0M with $2.5M being added to dead money which would count against salary cap spending.

The Packers have a total of 18 free agents, 14 of whom will be unrestricted. It will be tough signing even half of them.  The team will have to make tough decisions on key performers such as Mason Crosby, BJ Raji, Casey Hayward, Mike Neal, Letroy Guion, Andrew Quarless and James Starks.  

With general manager Ted Thompson’s stated affinity toward ‘signing his own guys’ coupled with tight salary cap space it most likely signals that the chances of the Packers acquiring a notable free agent or two from another team is again a pipe dream.

Come March 9, the official start of free agency, instead of the sound of announcements  regarding free agent signings you will most likely be listening (again) to the sounds of crickets emanating from the Green Bay Packers offices.

The more important date for Packers’ fans will (again) be the NFL draft which is scheduled for Chicago on April 28-30. 

It’s just the way it is for Packers’ fans and is unlikely to change under Ted Thompson’s watch.

 

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Comments (101)

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bears suck forever's picture

January 22, 2016 at 06:36 am

coaches and trainers do not count against the salary cap. Lets spend some money there and assign trainers to these guys during the off season. A dietician for Lacy would be nice.

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Dan Stodola's picture

January 22, 2016 at 08:31 am

Players that are dedicated professionals hire their own trainers. Most of those trainers work at facilities that cater to professional athletes and provide a dietician in the services. Its up to Lacy to hire one and do the work. If he's dedicated to being a football player he will.

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dschwalm's picture

January 24, 2016 at 12:55 pm

Lacy's body language says he is NOT going to commit himself to football.

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Horse's picture

January 22, 2016 at 09:44 am

Can't happen. The CBA prohibits it.

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 22, 2016 at 11:28 am

I saw yesterday Tony Horton offered to train Lacy.

That would be interesting...

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Dan Stodola's picture

January 22, 2016 at 02:35 pm

He should train w Ahman Green. Apparently couldn't handle it. Ahman would have him in shape to play RB. Probably make him faster too.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

January 22, 2016 at 05:28 pm

I could've sworn you said players couldn't get faster. Something about muscles or some crazy ish. I remember it was over Abby. Or was it "getting more explosive"? Either way, it's the same. You're the sports trainer or something, right?

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D Ernesto's picture

January 22, 2016 at 06:45 pm

Of course anyone out of shape can train and get in shape and increase there overall speed and agility. The point missing is as Jimmy Johnson would say, you can't coach speed. Your not taking a 4.8 40 guy and getting him in shape to be one a 4.3 40 guy.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

January 22, 2016 at 07:16 pm

We were not talking about a player out of shape and we were not talking about Abby all of sudden being able to run a 40 in 4.3 seconds. He tried to use his sports training or whatever background to make it seem as if Abby getting faster and stronger was impossible. I never said Abby could run a certain time or bench a particular amount of reps after training his ass off. I simply stated Abby could get faster and stronger than his Combine numbers. I called bullshit.

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BradHTX's picture

January 22, 2016 at 04:30 pm

Well, couldn't hurt; I mean, since it appears he's been training with Tim Horton...

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dobber's picture

January 23, 2016 at 09:56 am

Don't knock Tim Horton's...it's because of them that I have the glorious shape I have today... ;)

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Tundraboy's picture

January 22, 2016 at 09:05 pm

Glazed donuts?

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dobber's picture

January 23, 2016 at 09:56 am

Mmmmm....donuts....

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NickPerry's picture

January 22, 2016 at 06:56 am

Of the "Key Players" mentioned I'd be most concerned with Crosby, Neal, and either Raji OR Guion. With Mike Pennel getting better and better do they need both Raji and Guion? I think Hayward gets a offer something like House did last year and is gone. I think Thompson saw this coming and covered himself by drafting Randell and Rollins. Both are already better tacklers than Hayward.

Andrew Quarless might be back but it would have to be cheap, cheap, cheap, like a one year do something year though I think he's gone. Starks will be interesting, not a lot of wear and tear on him and he's turned into a pretty good receiver. If Crockett has progressed enough to let James Starks go then he's gone too.

I say sign Crosby, Neal, Guion, and Raji if possible and add a TE and/or ILB in Free Agency.

TE... Dwayne Allen, Coby Flenner, Zack Miller, or Ladarius Green are just a few FA that would be huge upgrades though Green might cost a small fortune.

ILB... Vincent Rey, Danny Trevathan, Rolando McClain, Jerrell Flemming are all ILB who would make the Packers ILB much better and again just a few of the available.

OLB... Bruce Irvin...I know, I know, the guy's a little crazy but man can he rush the QB.

On the bright side they could be the Ravens, Flaccos cap hit next season is over $28 million!!

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Allan Murphy's picture

January 22, 2016 at 07:35 am

Not happening ..

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 22, 2016 at 07:42 am

'TE... Dwayne Allen, Coby Flenner, Zack Miller, or Ladarius Green are just a few FA that would be huge upgrades though Green might cost a small fortune.'

The TE I would love to get would be Green. He has the size and speed that we could really use at TE. He wouldn't have to be a starter as Rodgers is adequate there. Just need him to be a pass catching threat that can threaten the seam.
Again, not likely to happen, just is the one that I would like to see them get.

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Dan Stodola's picture

January 22, 2016 at 02:37 pm

Fleener would be a perfect complement to R. Rodgers IMO.

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cpheph1's picture

January 22, 2016 at 07:50 pm

He would be...but he's also close buds with Andy Luck so I think he sticks with Luck. Ted can double-down at TE with another draft pick & a 2nd tier veteran (who knows...). It obviously has to meet Ted's parameters...

Who knows, maybe most of the pending UFAs @ TE resign with their teams...

I think most fans will agree that the Packers have a need at TE to go along with Richard Rodgers.

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Curry Rambeau's picture

January 22, 2016 at 07:48 am

Starks be fumblin. Crockett be dancin. Lacy be eatin. Quarless be shootin. Guion be trippin. Raji be a Viking. Best be Crosby cause we not be redzonin tdz. Peppaz be 'tirin. Neal be back. Crickets be chirpin.

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JerseyAl's picture

January 22, 2016 at 09:24 am

Curry be spicin?

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

January 22, 2016 at 08:51 pm

Speaking of Spicen I wonder how much of "that China food" Starks brought over to Lacy's house this season.

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lou's picture

January 22, 2016 at 10:25 am

Some real solid points but one you forgot, the number priority is a veteran left tackle backup at a reasonable cost who can at least get them through a couple of starts in a row. Having a healthy Jordy and Montgomery, Lacy in shape, and a TE upgrade won't be the answer unless Rodgers blind side is protected week in and week out.

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Dan Stodola's picture

January 22, 2016 at 02:48 pm

They need Raji back. Don't want to count on Pennel yet and Guion isn't a true Packer. Raji has displayed he is.

Neal or Perry, let the FO and coaches decide.

Crosby will be back.

Probably move on from Quarless.

They'll go w Barrington Ryan and other complimentary players at ILB, possibly a fairly high draft pick as well.

If Irvin becomes a FA (doubt it) he and Matthews would wreak havok. Drop Peppers for him in a heartbeat! Loved him in that draft, but Schneider did too.

Hayward is as good as gone. Rollins is probably an upgrade in the slot anyway.

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 22, 2016 at 07:39 am

'Cap Space Could Limit Packers Off-Season Moves'

Or Ted Thompson could limit the off-season Moves...

I am going to go into the off season expecting the same thing as what they have done in the past. Packers will resign the players they feel they have to. And maybe will look at the Guion type of players.
Which to be honest, its exactly what I want them to do. I wouldn't mind if they looked at the ILB or TE positions and try to find that Guion type of player.

Out of their own free agents the most important is Crosby. They have to resign him. After that, I would say they really need to resign at least 1 between BJ Raji and Letroy Guion. And at least 1 between Mike Neal and Nick Perry. If they can get Starks at a good price I would resign him also.
I personally think they can let Casey Hayward and Andrew Quarless go. Hayward will likely command a similar contract to House from last year. Which for me is to much especially when they have Rollins able to play the slot just as well.

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Bearmeat's picture

January 22, 2016 at 08:01 am

They don't need to spend a TON in free agency, but an adequate ILB and a faster TE are a MUST - if for no other reason than that I've heard over and over again there are no "move" TEs in this draft that are anything less then complete projects.

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 22, 2016 at 08:15 am

No they don't need to. Thats why I would like it if they could find the Letroy Guion type of player. A guy who is cheap, but can have a big role with the team.
And to be honest, they need someone that could come in and play right away at TE. If they draft a guy, its likely going to take half the year or longer for them to contribute, especially in this offense.
The draft isn't as deep at TE so I would really consider looking at the FA TE's.

I honestly think they are more set at ILB then TE to be honest. ILB they will be getting Barrington back. They have Jack Ryan, Joe Thomas, and Mathews can still play there. And they could probably draft one in the early to mid rounds and would be able to contribute.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

January 22, 2016 at 08:18 am

There's nothing wrong with a "project". That's why coaches exist.

Remember, we don't necessarily need a TE that's special at doing everything. Speed, athleticism, hands...That's it (for now). The tough-nosed road blocking TE can be found in free agency.

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Tundraboy's picture

January 22, 2016 at 10:00 am

Agree and hope they get the road blocker as well. We have roster space and the openings for both.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

January 22, 2016 at 10:13 am

Remember that guy we got in Free Agency a few seasons back? Forgot his name, but he played for the Rams the previous year....

He was supposed to have been a top notch blocker. Man, we've had bad luck with TEs for a while. I hope things start to turn this off season.

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Evan's picture

January 22, 2016 at 10:53 am

Matt Mulligan.

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Tundraboy's picture

January 22, 2016 at 03:28 pm

I know who would have thought we would be so thin at TE. We have usually had solid ones going back to the 70s 80s.

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Tundraboy's picture

January 22, 2016 at 08:15 am

Kind of thinking the same thing. I think that Peppers may be a casualty and we add a FA tight end. Draft wise, I think we add another TE and LBs to replace what we lose and of course hopefully find a better ILB.

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 22, 2016 at 11:18 am

I'm also wondering if Peppers may want to retire. There is a good possibility that he won't be back.

Yeah, they have to come away with I would say at least 1 TE, and 2 LB's out of the draft.

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FrozenTundra's picture

January 22, 2016 at 01:45 pm

What nobody has said and it'll never happen is to trade draft choices for the players you need. That way you get exactly what you need and the players are more developed and ready to play. You don't have to overspend in FA bidding and you have part payment from the draft choice.

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Dan Stodola's picture

January 22, 2016 at 02:52 pm

Players you trade for aren't necessarily more developed. It very scheme specific, which is why so many FA are busts and not worth the money.

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Tundraboy's picture

January 22, 2016 at 03:30 pm

If TT trades a draft pick I'll be shocked.

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dobber's picture

January 23, 2016 at 09:58 am

Not unless it's for volume and lower round picks.

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Tundraboy's picture

January 23, 2016 at 03:06 pm

Hope not, especially this year

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DrealynWilliams's picture

January 22, 2016 at 08:11 am

I think TT's draft plan kind of backfired these last 2 seasons by not picking up a potential playmaker at the TE and/or LB spot and he'll attempt to fix those weak positions.

I'm expecting a FA pick up in one of those positions followed by 2 picks from each position (similar to the CB position of the previous draft).

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 22, 2016 at 09:12 am

I'm expecting 2 mid - late round OL to be drafted. Beyond that, they almost always draft someone for the DL and a LB.

I think we will see a TE get drafted, and maybe a RB. A safety could be another spot they look at.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

January 22, 2016 at 05:23 pm

I haven't followed college football in years, but how is the RB class looking? How would you all feel about going RB first round? Starks might be gone and Lacy isn't a guarantee to be like his first 2 seasons.

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 22, 2016 at 11:08 am

This year there are 2 RB's that would be 1st round guys. Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott and Alabama's Derrick Henry.

Elliott is almost a lock for the first round, where Henry is more of a borderline 1st rounder.

Elliott honestly would look great wearing Green and Gold. He would really compliment Lacy really well. I don't think he will be available at 27 though. Currently he is rated the 13th overall prospect at CBSsports.com.

Henry is similar to Lacy, but probably Bigger and faster. Kind of more in the mold of a Brandon Jacobs.

A 2nd - 3rd round pick that is intriguing to me is Kenyan Drake from Alabama. Brings a lot of speed, and doesn't have a lot of wear and tear due to backing up Henry. But he has a bit of an injury history. But his speed and explosiveness could really add something to the Packers team.

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Evan's picture

January 22, 2016 at 11:25 am

Man...I would really hate to have to use a high pick on a RB. I'm really, really hoping that Lacy has a whopper sized chip on his shoulder this off-season and comes into camp shredded.

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 22, 2016 at 11:32 am

I don't really want to either. I will admit though, Elliott would intrigue me.

I would much rather find a mid - late round RB that could come in and be a change of pace type. Thats one reason why Drake would intrigue me even if it cost a 2nd or 3rd round pick. He has the speed that would definitely could open up the offense a bit.

My guess is they will try and resign Starks, and draft one in the mid to late rounds. I think they like Crockett too.

EDIT: To be honest they NEED Lacy to come in, in the best shape of his life. He can be the difference maker in our offense. Adding a change of pace RB would be nice though.

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dobber's picture

January 23, 2016 at 10:01 am

"EDIT: To be honest they NEED Lacy to come in, in the best shape of his life. He can be the difference maker in our offense. Adding a change of pace RB would be nice though."

Absolutely. In the draft-centric NFL, you can't invest high picks at the same position year after year after year. It depletes your overall talent.

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Tundraboy's picture

January 22, 2016 at 03:38 pm

Agree. I have to think Lacy knows what he has to do. Get a TE, OLT and an ILB. Rest is gravy.

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Tundraboy's picture

January 22, 2016 at 09:09 pm

Maybe gravy is a bad choice of words when talking about Lacy

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Tundraboy's picture

January 22, 2016 at 04:08 pm

Me too.

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Tundraboy's picture

January 22, 2016 at 03:40 pm

Bigger than Lacy. That I have to see!!!

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CallingIt's picture

January 22, 2016 at 10:29 am

DW, don't think TT's drafts have backfired. With 2DB's gone last year he had to go that route. This year, we are talking about the holes in the team 'before' we go through FA. When the draft comes, what holes are we going to add to the list of needs because of FA? Its a delicate balancing game between money, talant and needs. The only way, really, to field a better team next year is to find 'talent' at value that can be coached to a higher level. Like Randall and Rollins.

Next year's team will be different again. Just like it always is. Maybe that's why we usually start the season slow. It takes time for guys to mesh and put it all together. Outside FA's are a place where we look for quality depth, not so much for huge impact guys. You know, guys we can replace Barclay with, who can do a solid job backing up Bahk if needed. We have solid guys already and we prioritize them over outsiders because they are known factors inside our system. Re-sign them first unless they don't make the grade then look to upgrade, first to solid, then draft an impact guy or prospect with high upside.

We can't have it all. So TT's real value us his ability to find that delicate balance. We could go for the high impact guys, but in a couple years we would look like the 49ers. I expect Denver will be out of the playoffs and a shambles in another year or two as well. TT doesn't get it right every time, no GM does. But he's right more than most other guys and Cleveland would make him the highest paid GM in a heart beat if they could get him.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

January 22, 2016 at 10:57 am

First off, this is not a bash TT thread from me. I have a feeling you took it that way.

Secondly, we passed on how many LBs last draft before drafting Ryan?

In the previous draft we could have traded up 4 - 6 spots for a CJ Mosley or Ryan Shazier.

We're currently stuck with Nate Palmer, Sam Barrington and Jake Ryan. This is backfiring. All I'm saying is we can't continue to bandaid the inside linebacker position. I'm confident TT will get it right.

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Evan's picture

January 22, 2016 at 11:16 am

"Secondly, we passed on how many LBs last draft before drafting Ryan?"

Many...but we got two very, very promising CBs instead. To me, good CBs are harder to find than good LBs. So, maybe take a LB instead of Ty Montgomery in the 3rd...sure, even though I really like Monty. Bengals took Paul Dawson a few picks later, and I know a lot of people liked him. Other than his stat line (12 tackles in 11 games, 0 starts) I have no idea what kind of season he had.

"In the previous draft we could have traded up 4 - 6 spots for a CJ Mosley or Ryan Shazier."

Sure...but they'd then have holes at safety ( no Ha Ha) and possibly WR (no Adams in the 2nd round).

Besides, last off-season Matthews was the ILB fix and I think TT approach the draft with that in mind. Barrington's injury threw a bit of a wrench into things, though. I do agree that ILB needs to be a higher priority this off-season.

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 22, 2016 at 11:20 am

yeah, i agree with this.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

January 22, 2016 at 11:46 am

I love the top 2 picks from the past 2 drafts. I'm not saying TT should have went in another direction. I'm just saying the moves are there to be made. Like the guy said before - no GM gets everything right. I understand that. But we have to stop putting a bandaid on these positions that are now beginning to hurt the team.

CJ Mosley or Ryan Shazier with Hyde and Burnett

Or Stephone Anthony with HHCD and Burnett

VS

Nate Palmer/Sam Barrington/Jake Ryan/Clay Matthews with HHCD and Burnett

I'm just saying...

Edit: let me not forget Joe Thomas. Ooooo.

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D Ernesto's picture

January 22, 2016 at 06:55 pm

I don't get Ryan either. I'm an mich fan and thought Ryan and the linebackers on M under Hoke was the worse core ever in team history. My take on Ryan, no lateral speed and lacks quickness. The first two steps is snail speed. He was late to foray on a lot of plays and you see that as a pro too. He will not improve next year because its about speed and he lacks it big time.

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dobber's picture

January 23, 2016 at 10:05 am

"My take on Ryan, no lateral speed and lacks quickness. The first two steps is snail speed."

He was never a burner in college, but he was quick to the football. His strengths were recognition, hustle and anticipation...just as important if not more important than overall speed. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt in saying that he's still catching up to the pro game...it may slow down for him with more reps. If we're still saying the same things at this time next year, then I'll agree with you.

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sonomaca's picture

January 22, 2016 at 10:00 pm

There's been much positive commentary on Ryan's play over the last 5 or 6 weeks. With Barrington coming back, ILB isn't really a top priority.

Also, with the surplus of outstanding receivers, I don't think a pass-catching tight end is all that critical either.

I think it's probably BPA for TT in round 1 this year.

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barutanseijin's picture

January 23, 2016 at 08:01 am

The Packers did get Adams. It's one of the reasons they have a hole at WR.

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CallingIt's picture

January 22, 2016 at 12:26 pm

DW, no argument here on our need of an impact ILB. Some of my post was a general statement to get folks to look a little deeper than simply 'we need...go get'. Yea, we've missed out on some good talant at that position, but we have two outstanding DB's that were a real need last year as well, if not more so.

I for one think we can get both a starting ILB and TE in this draft. It all really depends on what other teams do though. You can't control their war rooms and some of them just make you scratch your head.

When MM said he wanted CM3 back outside, I think you can pretty wheel guess that he will be pushing hard for that position this time around.

We are running a real risk now of losing significant talent from the DL this off season. We don't have a limitless checkbook. I think we get 2 to 3 impact guys and ILB may get raked before we ever get to pick. Do we give up a #2+ to move up? Tough choices for sure.

For me, ILB could use q definate upgrade but it is already bettercthan it was two years ago. TE is really a place for significant upgrade. RB could play out as a position of need too if Starks goes. Tough calls for sure.

Any football team is going to have a chink in its armor. Just not enough talent to go around. So for you WB, what chink in the Packer's armor would be your preference? OL, DL, RB, K, LB? If you could erase AR's contract, you could hire lots of FA's and have Hundley make the throws.. . not likely, but possible.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

January 22, 2016 at 02:14 pm

Don't act like we didn't go through seasons with MD Jennings,Charlie Peprah and Jaron McMillan starting games for us. Oh yea, MD Jennings started an entire season for us once.

Again, point is -- we have to stop waiting seasons to finally address an obvious weakness. If we can't get a stud in the draft, then find a decent upgrade in Free Agency. Doesn't have to be a "big name". Doesn't have to be a Pro-Bowler. But these experiments at ILB have to stop. Way too many forced hybrids.

The ONNNNNNNLY reason the ILBs look better than a few previous seasons is because Clay is playing there and he's gotten more comfortable playing there.

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Tundraboy's picture

January 22, 2016 at 09:18 pm

Absolutely and I hope they don't follow the same pattern with the TE position and make a token pick. Need more than mediocre.

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Tundraboy's picture

January 22, 2016 at 03:44 pm

Go for the high impact guys. Team's best players are not getting any younger. Only need an impact TE, LB and a veteran backup OLT, and another OLT in the draft.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

January 22, 2016 at 05:22 pm

@Tundra and don't you feel that's worth giving up and extra pick and trading up for? We're so close. Even without our Offense playing top notch look at what we did. It was painful to watch at times (I can lol now), but looking back -- just imagine if we had that "other" Clay Matthews. Hell, even someone half of Clay Matthews.

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Tundraboy's picture

January 22, 2016 at 06:03 pm

Absolutely, I would trade multiple picks to move up. No time like the present. FA as well if it means getting over the top.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

January 22, 2016 at 07:19 pm

That's all I'm saying. Maybe TT hasn't felt like those type of players have been available or he couldn't find a trading partner. I don't know. What I do know is that we can't continue to band-aid the ILB position.

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Tundraboy's picture

January 23, 2016 at 03:11 pm

Nor TE.

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Bearmeat's picture

January 22, 2016 at 08:15 am

Sitton is 30. Lang is 29. Bakh and Tretter are on the last year of their deals, and Bulaga has been injured for parts or all of the last 3 years.

I think it's likely Bakh gets resigned. I think it's possible Tretter does (though if I were him I'd want a starting job). I think it's very unlikely that Sitton and Lang are resigned. I tend to lean Sitton being gone after 2016 because of the chronic bad back. So is Rotheram the answer? Certainly not Barclay or Walker...

The defensive line is very young. Ditto the secondary. WR could use a speed threat, but otherwise looks solid.

That leaves ILB, TE and OL.

TT usually looks 2 years ahead when drafting - so IMO it's time to start looking at interior linemen and a project 6th man in your mocks guys and gals.

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 22, 2016 at 08:27 am

I think Packers for sure come out of this draft with 2 OL. They have had very good success in the 4th round for OL. And 5th round has been good as well. I would expect them to draft at least 1 in that area of the draft.

A lot of their needs are based on who is resigned. If they lost both Raji and Guion DL becomes a big need. If they lost both Neal and Perry OLB becomes a big need.

Based off of who they played with this year, their top needs are a pass catching TE, ILB, and backup OT. I would throw in a change of pace/pass catching RB would really help too.

You are correct with Thompson looking ahead. When he drafted Cobb it was to replace Jennings. When he drafted Rollins, it was to replace Hayward.

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Bearmeat's picture

January 22, 2016 at 08:32 am

Yep.

But IMO it's possible that an OT falls to GB at the end of the 1st or 2nd round and he goes that direction early too. Fans would scream bloody murder - but since when does he care about that?

I really really think we MUST get a move TE in free agency this year. I too would love to see Ladarius Green in Packerland next year - but I've long since given up hope that TT will land a free agent. The last one he signed that made any difference whatsoever is Woodson and Pickett 10 years ago. It's his biggest failing as a GM and old dogs rarely learn new tricks.

I think we have to resign ourselves to TE being at best mediocre again next year. :(

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Horse's picture

January 22, 2016 at 09:47 am

Julius Peppers.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

January 22, 2016 at 10:31 am

Damn. Beat me to it. Peppers has been damn good. Especially his first season. It sucks that we had that meltdown in Seattle.

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Evan's picture

January 22, 2016 at 10:51 am

I thought it was determined that the meltdown was actually on Randall, not Peppers.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

January 22, 2016 at 11:05 am

@Evan I'm talking about the Seahawks game. The person above failed to acknowledge Peppers as a big signing and I'm saying he would have been acknowledged as such if the Pack didn't have that meltdown in Seattle. I'm certain Peppers' play in the post season would have been praised.

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Evan's picture

January 22, 2016 at 11:12 am

Ah...gotcha.

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cpheph1's picture

January 22, 2016 at 08:26 pm

IMO, Peppers was a great UFA acquisition by Ted...but I doubt Ted will ever do better than hitting on CW like he did...the stars aligned on that one.

WRT the meltdown in Seattle, Morgan Burnett had the final decision and he decided to lay-down...that's who I place the blame on.

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 22, 2016 at 11:15 am

I could see it as a possibility. I just am not sure they are going to pursue one in the 1st round. I think they really like Bakhtiari and they just signed Bulaga to a longer term deal.
I don't think they draft one to be a backup.

Yeah, IMO, they would be better off going after a FA like that. I would love Green, but I would highly doubt he will be coming to Green Bay.

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Tundraboy's picture

January 22, 2016 at 03:57 pm

"I think we have to resign ourselves to TE being at best mediocre again next year."

God I hope not. The would be what 3 years running, and Rodgers, Matthews... are not getting younger. We have to be more agressive next year, because as we learned this past year, shit happens.

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The GrEEn kNiGhT's picture

January 22, 2016 at 11:08 am

Sign Matt Forte for catching RB. Let Peppers walk or retire and sign Von Miller. Draft inside linebacker and Defensive Line early and often. Then hit offensive line in 4th or 5th round.

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Evan's picture

January 22, 2016 at 11:13 am

Peppers is under contract.

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cpheph1's picture

January 22, 2016 at 08:27 pm

And worse case, Denver will franchise Von Miller...

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cpheph1's picture

January 22, 2016 at 08:27 pm

And worse case, Denver will franchise Von Miller...

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dobber's picture

January 23, 2016 at 10:08 am

"Sign Matt Forte for catching RB. Let Peppers walk or retire and sign Von Miller. "

No offense TGK, but welcome to the gateway to salary cap hell.

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Tundraboy's picture

January 22, 2016 at 09:22 pm

I think so too. OTs in later rounds will hopefully mean better picks and talent at TE, ILB and OLB.

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Evan's picture

January 22, 2016 at 10:38 am

Guards can play well into their 30s. I don't know if both will be re-signed, but I'd be shocked if neither are extended.

EDIT: I'm also intrigued by the idea of having Tretter at center and moving Lindsley to one of the guard spots if/when Lang/Sitton leave. I know he's never played there, but he just strikes me as a mauler that could find some success there. But Tretter might be more valuable as the #6 OL.

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RCPackerFan's picture

January 22, 2016 at 11:11 am

'I'm also intrigued by the idea of having Tretter at center and moving Lindsley to one of the guard spots if/when Lang/Sitton leave'

I have thought about that as well. I even thought about that if one of the guards got injured if that would be an option. Linsley clearly has the strength to play there. But can he? If I was the Packers I would figure it out this spring/summer.

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dobber's picture

January 23, 2016 at 10:13 am

TTs MO has seemed to be to go after college OLTs, and the ones who don't really have the traits to play outside get turned into guards or centers. That's what I think we'll see in this draft. I think they've got their first replacement for Sitton/Lang in place with Tretter. They'll go looking for another this year.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 22, 2016 at 04:56 pm

I agree in part, but disagree as well, Bearmeat. Despite what has been said, Sitton and Lang played extremely well last season. OL often, I would even say usually, do not decline until about age 33/34. What the medical staff says about these two guys will be the determining factor. Sitton took a deal with no guaranteed money in his last season - structuring these two contracts with game roster bonuses could adequately protect GB, but Sitton´s back and toe injuries do concern me.

We cannot assume that Tretter, Linsley, Walker or Rotherham will ever be as good as either Sitton or Lang, though it seems possible that one or more might develop into the type of players Sitton and Lang have been for us. Moreover, there is no reason to think that Walker might not one day be a perennial all pro. Neither Sitton nor Lang saw the field much in their rookie years. Much, much too soon to be so dismissive of Walker.

If you are replacing Sitton or Lang with Linsley or Tretter, you will not save much money since both have shown they can be starters at OC. I do agree with you: Tretter is going to want starters money. Bakh probably resigns and continues to be our LT. Next year is a big year for Tretter - he has to duke it out in a contract year with Linsley at OC. Otherwise, he has to rely on injury to show what he can do at LT or OG.

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Tundraboy's picture

January 22, 2016 at 06:06 pm

Vujanovich is in the equation as well.

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dobber's picture

January 23, 2016 at 10:11 am

I would worry that Sitton and Lang are showing signs of wear. Sitton and his back, Lang and his shoulder. I'll be honest, those are injuries that you really need to monitor because if they're chronic, you'll find yourself in a hole pretty quick.

As we keep hearing: it's better to get out on a player a year early than a year late. I worry that will be the situation here. Let someone else sign them for higher end $$, get your comp picks. Maybe in the first year it might look like a lousy tradeoff, but in the second or third years of that next contract, you might look like a genius.

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egbertsouse's picture

January 22, 2016 at 09:01 am

There are only about 20 guys on this team that I'd cry over if they left. Most are just replaceable just-a-guy type players. Players I wouldn't mind leaving (not all FA's) are Masthay, Adams, all the TE's, Raji, Guion, Palmer, Thomas, Peppers, Neal, Thomas, Barclay, Walker, Goodson, Banjo, Lacy.... Would I like to see them all go? No. Would I mind if any one of them went? No.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

January 22, 2016 at 10:36 am

How could you not mind if some of them left when we don't have a potential replacement for some?

Adams over Jones? Ha...
Gotta keep Raji.
Gotta keep Neal.

The rest I agree with.

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The GrEEn kNiGhT's picture

January 22, 2016 at 11:11 am

Lacy? Are u nuts? He had one bad year. And we know exactly what it was. He didn't lose his vision and he still showed flashes of his greatness despite injuries and poor conditioning.

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Tundraboy's picture

January 22, 2016 at 04:01 pm

"All the TEs" Liked that one.

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PackerBacker's picture

January 22, 2016 at 10:18 am

Guy, reality check here.

Are we REALLY, STILL, talking about Free Agency like it's a thing in Green Bay? Just stop. It's not going to happen. The big names you see will be re-signed by their teams or paid too much by another team.

TT has been here, what, 11 years now? It's time to stop ramming your head into that wall. IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.

The linebacker you want? TT thinks it's Jake Ryan. The tight end you want? Draft pick (if the value is there, otherwise some UFA with upside).

I see at least 2-3 offensive linemen in the draft. In whatever round they think the player has value. Possibly a safety as a future replacement for Burnett. Maybe a pass-catching style RB to replace Starks.

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CallingIt's picture

January 22, 2016 at 10:35 am

We are going to get 2 or 3 impact kind of guys this draft. Then we are going to get some depth. There's a lot of potential for 5+ to make the team too. This is going to be interesting and we are going to have a blast critiquing the next 6 months, shot, the next 12 months. If nothing else, TT provides plenty of drama for the bleacher section...

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lou's picture

January 22, 2016 at 12:49 pm

It's hard to argue with Ted's draft & develop as we have tied the Pat's with 7 consecutive playoff appearances (and doing it above board unlike them) but when you are this close to winning it all 2 years in a row I can fully understand the fans comments in reference to there being little chance for Ted to do anything in free agency. They should put together a film clip of Jim Mora Sr. changing his comments from PLAYOFFS - PLAYOFFS to FREE AGENCY - FREE AGENCY in this regard, at least they could laugh about it a little bit. By the way, I played on the All-Marine Quantico Football Team when I got back from Vietnam and the history on the team includes Mora Sr. not only as a player but a coach, he is a class guy. i am crossing my fingers that Ted does make some free agent acquisitions this off season even if they are limited.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 22, 2016 at 05:36 pm

1st: The article states that under current projections, we have $26 million in cap space. But we have to realize that TT always likes to have a considerable sum ($7 million?) to carry over, and you have to take about 3 million off for the rookie pool. Maybe there is about $16 million to spend.

2nd: This ia a conservative projection for the cap - it could be $150, $153, or as high as $160 million.

3rd: Crosby ($3 m), one of Raji or Guion ($3.5m), and one of Perry or Neal ($5m) seem likely, and total $11.5 million. Not sure about Crockett, so Starks at $1.5 = $13 million. Kuhn too maybe. I am okay with bringing back the RFAs, but I do not see how we can tender any of them except maybe Banjo. Kuhn + tender on Banjo = about $15 million spent. Means Taylor and Mulumba are gone, but I would be happy to sign them, just would not tender them. Barclay comes back only if the medical staff indicates that he knee was the problem and it is or should be better in 2016.

4th: The above means GB would only have about $1 million to spend on an outside FA, without dipping into the $7 million designated for carryover. TT might do that (Gotcha?!) or the cap might go to $160 and there is some room. TT could also finagle with the cap hits on some of those contracts, but I do not really envision giving any of those players 4 years - really thinking 2 or at most 3 year contracts for all of them.

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D Ernesto's picture

January 22, 2016 at 07:07 pm

Good news bad news. Some deadwood we can let go is the good news. The bad, Ted loves bringing guys back, there the cheapest you can get. Not included is Crosby, Starks, guys who contributed well.

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cpheph1's picture

January 22, 2016 at 07:41 pm

Great article Jeff! I’ve always enjoyed discussion about the Packers’ salary cap. It’s amazing how much the salary cap has inflated since inception. The Packers have had two salary cap wizards during the cap era: Brandt & Russ Ball, Vice President of Football Administration/Player Finance.

The eleven include the four you mention (ARod, CM3, Shields, & Peppers) plus Mike Daniels, Morgan Burnett, Jordy & Cobb, both guards & Bulaga = 11.
Those eleven are good core players. Morgan Burnett is a very good box player & can cover TEs (so can Hyde).

At this time (1/22/2016), I do not believe Peppers will retire. I believe if the Packers extended him a couple of years in-order-to reduce his overall cap average it would be a win-win situation. Capers likes to have a 4-man rotation at OLB/Elephant. McCarthy said CM3 is moving back outside.

I still think they’ll execute schemes with their four best LBs regardless of pedigree (e.g., OLB or ILB) & CM3 is a hybrid-LB and a serious threat when moved around. I think McCarthy’s thought process involved believing CM3 needs to attack the LOS/QB more than he did in 2015 and I agree with that type of thought. CM3 is most definitely better attacking than in coverage; however, he’s also the best coverage LB the Packers have.

They need a LB to step-up in coverage (Barrington is a thumper, not a coverage guy…in fact, he’s a liability in coverage & so is Jake Ryan. Joe Thomas is probably the next best coverage LB. They either need to draft a LB with coverage potential or get exotic and use more 6 DB looks (DIME).

Mason Crosby will be resigned…that’s my wish anyway. Worst case they franchise him.

My next target would be Nick Perry or Mike Neal. They need one of these guys but likely cannot afford both. I think somebody’s going to pay Neal quite a few $ to sign…not sure the Pack will want to match. Perry should easily come cheaper but has been an injury risk since his rookie season.

Do they really need to resign BJ or/and Guion when they’ve got a young guy in Christian Ringo (PS) & Josh Boyd (IR) returning. Ted could easily draft DL too. It appears DL/Front 7 is well stocked with potential in the 2016 draft. I think Ted almost has to double-down in the 2016 draft for LB. I project Neal to sign elsewhere & they won’t tender Mulumba. Palmer is a JAG (and so is Thomas).

Casey Hayward could easily get much more $ elsewhere…I’ll be shocked if the Pack is able to resign him.

Starks & Quarless…can’t forget John Kuhn either (and some would also say James Jones)!

While I understand the desired pipe dream scenario…I don’t understand the dismay when it doesn’t unfold. Ted, when he plays for outside FAs, has done well. CW & Peppers…I’m not complaining… Signing core players is also so very important and something (IMO) that some fans don’t quite understand or acknowledge enough. I’d much rather resign a guy like Mike Daniels than an outside UFA and have to compete in a bidding-war.

Anyway, good article Jeff!

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dobber's picture

January 23, 2016 at 10:16 am

As much as I hate to cite Vic Ketchman here (I actually like his column), the primary tenet of "Draft and Develop" is to sign your key guys and be willing to let everyone else walk. I would not be surprised if that's what happens this off-season: several of those guys who are FAs this season are marginal starters or role players. They're not unreplaceable, and I suspect that TT will decide to let players under contract step into those roles and draft replacements rather than signing many of them.

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4thand1's picture

January 24, 2016 at 08:21 am

After reading most of the posts, I see the packers getting even younger. Speed will be addressed in the draft. BAP,BAP,BAP. WR will go from worst to 1st this year. I see heavy OL this draft.

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