Early Offseason Q&A

It’s pretty strange to think that there won’t be any football this Sunday. Now that the offseason is officially upon us, and the content machine will be slowing down, I thought we could do a super early offseason Q&A. There were some really fun questions posed on Twitter, so feel free to leave your own responses in the comments. 

“Which player from each side of the ball are you most excited about their development for next season?” - From Steve

It absolutely feels like cheating to say AJ Dillon, but he would be the obvious pick. Assuming both Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams aren’t re-signed, there’s going to be a significant amount of carries going Dillon’s way. His Week 16 breakout against the Titans obviously showed fans what he can do, and while that won’t necessarily be his every-game production, the running back room will be in good hands with Dillon. If it’s cheating to use him, then I’ll say Josiah Deguara. I know he got hurt in Week 2 but I thought his first game action against the Vikings gave us a glimmer of how Matt LaFleur envisioned him fitting in the offense. When he comes back healthy he should carve out a significant role for himself. Defensively, I’ll go with Rashan Gary. We saw him take a jump in year two and finish second on the team in both sacks and pressures. While the defense will be led by a new coordinator in 2021, outside linebackers coach Mike Smith is still in the building. I fully expect Gary to take another huge leap entering his third season. 

“What is more important to the improvement of the defense...another good cover corner, pass rusher, or ILB?” - From Andrew

I’m going to say another good cover corner, and that’s why I think CB will be the first selection by the Packers this draft. Jaire Alexander takes away half the field, which is phenomenal, but then whoever is covering the opposite boundary tends to get bullied (as we saw in the NFC Championship Game). Krys Barnes was a solid Mike linebacker for the Packers and given how little value Green Bay places in the position, solid is good enough for this defense. Now maybe that changes if Joe Barry leans towards a 4-3 base or wants more of a coverage ILB, but any defense benefits from good cover corners. 

“What type of defensive scheme brings out the best in our current batch of players?” - From Laurie 

Lots of questions about the defense, and I get it. Joe Barry wasn’t necessarily the fan-favorite hire, which ties into Gil’s question about my thoughts on him. But I’m personally of the mindset that LaFleur has earned our trust as a head coach. His position coaches have all been excellent so far, and it sounds like Barry wants to run a Wade Phillips scheme (which is who a lot of Packers fans wanted anyway). I think it’s less about the scheme and more getting the most out of the existing players on the roster. Everything I’ve read about Joe Barry is that he brings energy and aggression to his defense, something that arguably was lacking during the Mike Pettine era, and that seems unheard of with players like Za’Darius Smith and Jaire Alexander on the roster. If Barry can light a fire, the talent is already there for him to work with, regardless of his scheme. 

“Would you rather the Packers draft a CB as a long term solution, or sign a veteran free agent at the possible cost of losing a free agent that is already on the team as a short term solution?” - From Mark

I’d like the Packers to draft a cornerback. But, if I can plug Pack’s What She Said here, my co-host Perri Goldstein and I did discuss the possibility of one Tramon Williams coming back to the team on a small contract. Clearly he’s still in playing shape despite him not playing in the NFCCG. A small, cap-friendly contract is about the only type of veteran free agent move I think Green Bay makes this year, unless the Packers re-sign one or more of their own guys. I just think the draft will give the Packers more wiggle room with negotiating their cap situation. And if I can choose between bringing in a free agent cornerback or re-signing Corey Linsley, I’m signing Linsley. 

“Do you keep players like Raven Greene and Lane Taylor as they’ll be cheap returns (in a tight cap year) or are they too much of a risk with injury histories?” - From Robin

These contracts are slightly different since Greene is a restricted free agent, but I absolutely understand what you’re saying. I’ve actually thought a lot about Lane Taylor this offseason given Green Bay’s tight cap situation. If they’re forced to try and free up money by getting rid of a guy like Rick Wagner or Billy Turner (which I’m not advocating for by any means given David Bakhtiari’s status to start the season remains uncertain), Taylor can provide the same type of insurance on a much cheaper contract. Let’s remember Taylor won the starting right guard job out of camp before his terribly unfortunate injury in Week 1. It would be mutually beneficial to both sides to bring Taylor back on a cheap deal. He gets one more contract from Green Bay as an audition for the rest of the league that he can still play, and the Packers get cheap at either guard spot (which might be significant if Elgton Jenkins moves to center in 2021). 

“Do you think they trade down? 29th what’s the upside of drafting a late paying first round money and getting maybe second round talent? Or if anyone tries to understand the front office are they just crazy?” - From Miguel 

Miguel, if a talented edge rusher from Wisconsin is selected at 29th overall as the Packers trade down into the early second and draft a cornerback out of Washington, Packers Twitter might come for you (I kid). I do think it makes sense to trade down into the early second round and get a couple more draft picks. This year, with so many big-name Packers free agents potentially leaving the team (and having Jaire Alexander and Davante Adams both as free agents in 2021), Green Bay needs to bring in as many players as possible to plug roster holes for cheap. At 29, it’s entirely possible a quarterback-needy team will want to trade up and grab a quarterback with a fifth-year option. 

“What were your favorite experiences at Lambeau?” - From Phil

I threw this question in here for fun, and because it’s the response I’m most curious about from readers, so make sure you add yours in the comments! There are so many for me to even list. Does my wedding count? I mean getting married at Lambeau Field is absolutely an unmatched memory in my life. I was surrounded by all of my favorite people at my favorite place. If we’re talking about Packers games specifically, 2019 Week 2 against the Vikings is up there for me. That was my first game as a Packers season ticket holder. I went with my parents and brother, and it was the game they honored Bart Starr at. I cried like a baby seeing Brett Favre escort Cherry Starr out of the tunnel. As far as a Lambeau Field atmosphere, I’ll take 2019 against the Panthers in a snow globe. It was the worst drive home of my life, but there is no prettier sight than a snowy Lambeau Field. Another, potentially underrated game is 2017 against the Bengals. That was one of the loudest games I’ve been to, and it was memorable not only for Rodgers throwing his second career pick-six, but also for him getting to notch his first overtime win. 

 

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Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV and podcaster for the Pack-A-Day Podcast and Pack's What She Said. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.

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Comments (23)

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PeteK's picture

February 12, 2021 at 07:26 am

I would pick Martin and Runyon for improvement because of need more than preference. I believe corner is our biggest need, so I don't see any team spending money on a longer than 1 year show me contract for King. Do we sign him on a 1 year 1 1/2 mill ? He could be valuable as a nickel back along with our CB draft pick.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

February 12, 2021 at 09:24 am

King's market in a normal offseason might be $5M to $7.5M. If the market is so depressed as to make King available for $1.5M, then yes, he is an option. Then again, if the market is that depressed, it might be better to scrape up the space and pay $4M for a considerably better CB.

Martin/Barnes and Runyan/Stepeniak breaking out would be big.

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stockholder's picture

February 12, 2021 at 07:38 am

All your answers are very good. But; I'm going with signing a veteran CB. Charles Woodson came to Green Bay. Even trading for a Al Harris? I just don't see that Alexander in this draft class. Trading up Burns picks. And were putting all are eggs in the cb position again. Not to mention the developmental Time. Sure it makes sense to draft several cbs regardless. But the "Win Now formula" is what were looking for. What Gute can do in the draft is LIMITED. And I just would keep the doors open on what we have. And Yes that includes keeping King. Especially if he hid his injuries.

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Turophile's picture

February 12, 2021 at 07:43 am

Players I'd like to see step up ? I'd pick three.

Rashan Gary to continue his rise into a really disruptive player.
Krys Barnes to be that centerfield director of operations.
Kingsley Keke to become a viable starter level DL.

If those three improve over what they are now, the Packers defense could be......................nasty

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blacke00's picture

February 12, 2021 at 07:46 am

I wouldn't be surprised if th Pack brought back King....I'm not kidding. If he's cheap they'll sign him to a team friendly deal. Let's face it, he's not going to get a big contract considering his injury history. They'll say they think they can work with him...Hmmm. Where have you heard that before?

It makes sense for a couple of reasons. Rookie corners rarely make an impact, unless they are really studs and what are your chances of getting one of those? They need a DL in a big way. A (long term) right tackle is a high priority. A chance (again) at a big time WR or RB. Don't forget a Inside Linebacker if a good one is there when they draft.

I'm just not sure you're going to get a DB that's not going to require a learning curve and you can probably get that later in the draft.

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PackEyedOptimist's picture

February 12, 2021 at 08:06 am

Wow, your comments are almost exactly what I was going to write! King could easily be better than any rookie at 29. If the prognosticators are correct, and they rarely are, there will be quality OTs available at 29, and that would make sense.
On the other hand, there are a few of the S/LB blend guys (Owusu-Koramoah, Nasirildeen, etc.) who might be there and be good additions to an aggressive defense.

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Guam's picture

February 12, 2021 at 08:36 am

As much as I am not high on King, I agree with your post. He may be cheap due to injury and some poor play this year and he will likely be as good or better than a rookie CB. And I can't believe I just wrote that after the NFCCG...........

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x24's picture

February 12, 2021 at 12:27 pm

I don't have a problem with that, let him try out

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murf7777's picture

February 12, 2021 at 08:03 am

What defensive position would i takes? DL, because if you can stop the run and pressure the QB it makes all other positions better. Build the trenches and win by rushing 4 with timely blitzing. Time and time again it has shown to be a SB winning formula and Tampa proved it again.

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Leatherhead's picture

February 12, 2021 at 09:46 am

As much as I love the idea of lining up a stud DT next to Clark for the next four years, we have to replace King and Linsley, so I don’t think DT is at the top of the list.

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blacke00's picture

February 13, 2021 at 07:34 am

Exactly

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

February 16, 2021 at 05:13 am

Murf.
Such a good post!

The Pack will draft for this position somewhere in the first 2 rounds.

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Lphill's picture

February 12, 2021 at 09:02 am

Texans just cut JJ Watt , get him now Gutey.

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Leatherhead's picture

February 12, 2021 at 09:51 am

I love the way that you think a team that is $30 million over the cap and can’t resign their own FAs, and will probably have to release starters because we can’t pay them......should sign a past his prime rotational DL.

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flackcatcher's picture

February 12, 2021 at 04:57 pm

I hate it when your logical...

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dobber's picture

February 12, 2021 at 09:05 am

"Do you think they trade down? 29th what’s the upside of drafting a late paying first round money and getting maybe second round talent? "

Fifth-year option, man. Fifth-year option.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

February 12, 2021 at 09:40 am

The 5th year option still has value. Just note that the 5th year option monetarily is worth less under the new CBA than it was under the old CBA. Now, a single pro bowl award makes the 5th year option the same as the transition tag amount. Exercising the option after year 3 makes both year 4 and the option year fully guaranteed. GB will certainly exercise Jaire's option.

Savage is on course to get the average of 3rd to 20th highest pd safeties.
Gary is on course to get the average of the 3rd to 25th highest pd LBs.
Love is on schedule for......

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Leatherhead's picture

February 12, 2021 at 09:58 am

If we don’t get to the Super Bowl, Gutekunst won’t be around to benefit from an option year.

According to the Trade Value Chart, #29 is worth #46 and #78. I think we could get two very good players at those spots.

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splitpea1's picture

February 12, 2021 at 11:01 am

Sounds good to me if we can pull it off. This draft is a great opportunity to clear out some of the dead wood and infuse the roster with as much fresh talent as possible.

If King is as cheap as some are suggesting, then OK; otherwise, I'm not interested. We should be looking for CBs who can cover AND tackle (at least better).

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flackcatcher's picture

February 12, 2021 at 05:10 pm

Right, and he'll make the case that he put the talent on the field in back to back NFC champ games. He'll also be making his case to the folks who hire him over the Packer President's objections. Unless it Wolf, I don't see Gutekunst getting the boot anytime soon. Of course, we don't know who the Executive Committee has in mind for the position of President, with Murphy's contract due to expire soon. (Also I think Gutekunst's contract is up in 2022. Lots of decision to be made about the whole front office...)

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Leatherhead's picture

February 12, 2021 at 09:21 pm

I guess our point of disagreement is whether or not the GM gets renewed if he doesn’t make the Super Bowl.

I don’t think it’s a given. IMO, he’s done a fantastic job. But in Green Bay, GMs are supposed to make it to the Super Bowl. If they do, they get extended. The last GM we had that didn’t get us to the Super Bowl was Mike Sherman and he was fired as GM before he was fired as coach.

If the Packers win the division but fall in the playoffs again, the pressure to make changes is going to be massive.

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flackcatcher's picture

February 13, 2021 at 02:06 pm

Don't disagree at all. I just the ax will fall first on Matt Lafleur rather than Gutekunst. Gute will make the 'I didn't get to pick my own guy' argument with the Executive Committee. He is their guy. Do not overlook that. Lafleur really is getting the short end of the stick in my view. He deserves better from this organization, but is unlikely to get it.

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flackcatcher's picture

February 12, 2021 at 05:31 pm

I wonder what Gute sees threes years out. So far he and Russ Ball have fought Cap Man to a draw. Allowing them to make runs at veteran talent, but the Cap window is small and getting smaller next year. The Cap numbers for the Packers after this season....are not good. Too much talent in contract years (ironically including the GM) and not enough Cap space, even with a Cap bounce. Which makes this draft one of the most important in recent Packer history. Next season Cap Man Wins. Beyond that...

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