Impact Free Agents Still Available for Green Bay

The legal tampering period in the NFL is officially underway, and we’ve already seen center Corey Linsley depart for the Los Angeles Chargers. The Packers did manage to re-sign running back Aaron Jones before free agency even started, though, which helps keep the No. 1 ranked offense in 2020 together. Despite some big-name moves already taking place around the league, there are still plenty of talented players available that could meet Green Bay’s needs. As I write this, I’m wondering if any of these players will get signed right as or right after this article drops. That would be fitting, but while we wait for moves to happen, here are some remaining free agents that would fit nicely with the Packers. To check out three defenders I already wrote about who I’d love to see in green and gold, click here

Casey Hayward, Cornerback

A reunion with the Packers could be beneficial for both parties. Hayward really came into his own with the Chargers, making two Pro Bowls and garnering two All-Pro selections. With Los Angeles, Hayward started 75 games and snagged 14 interceptions, breaking up 66 passes. He was an instrumental part of a maturing LA defense that featured players like Joey Bosa and Derwin James. Hayward wouldn’t break the bank and could be just the fit on a one or two year deal with the Packers on the boundary opposite Jaire Alexander. While I still expect the Packers to draft multiple cornerbacks this year, bringing in a veteran like Hayward secures the outside of the defense while the rookies develop. What’s more, it’s fun to think about Hayward, Adrian Amos, Darnell Savage, and Alexander roaming the secondary together (although Hayward might need to find a new number). 

Larry Ogunjobi, Defensive Tackle

This could be my Browns bias, but I watch a lot of Cleveland football and I love Ogunjobi. He absolutely can be a fit in this Packers defense alongside Kenny Clark and Kingsley Keke. In four seasons with the Browns, Ogunjobi has notched 14.5 sacks, 180 total tackles, and 37 quarterback hits. He had his best two seasons with the Browns in 2018 and 2019, posting 5.5 sacks each season and playing over 70% of defensive snaps. For context, Dean Lowry has never played more than 66% of defensive snaps in his career (or posted more than three sacks in a season). 

Mike Remmers, Offensive Tackle

Yes, I know the Packers just released Rick Wagner who played the same type of swing tackle role Remmers would play for this offense, but Remmers was just released by the Chiefs and shouldn’t cost much on a one-year contract. He’d be serviceable at right tackle, his most natural position, to start the season and allow Billy Turner to open the year at left tackle. With David Bakhtiari potentially unable to start the season, tackle depth is slim, and it’s tricky to think about relying on a rookie draft pick to start at either tackle spot. He was signed by Kansas City in 2020 to provide insurance along the line, something the Packers know all too well, and he did an exceptional job. It’s possible he returns to the Chiefs given they just released two tackles, but the Packers should seriously consider giving him a one-year contract and developing their right tackle of the future behind him. 

Brian Poole, Slot Corner

Poole is an interesting option for the Packers given the need they’ll have at slot corner (Chandon Sullivan could come back, but I’d expect a competition in camp). While he’s had some trouble staying healthy the last few seasons, that could lower his price enough for Green Bay to express some interest. Despite only playing in nine games for the Jets in 2020, Poole still had two interceptions, seven passes defensed, one sack, and 44 total tackles. If the Packers don’t opt to sign a boundary corner and rely on a high draft pick to fill that role, they could bring in a veteran to play nickel in new defensive coordinator Joe Barry’s defense. 

Nick Easton, Interior Offensive Line

Easton is an intriguing player to me given he’s got experience at both guard and center, much like Lucas Patrick and Elgton Jenkins who are already on the roster. While his career has been dampened by injury, if the Packers don’t re-sign an in-house name like Lane Taylor, Easton gives them valuable swing depth, especially if Jenkins moves outside to start the season while Bakhtiari recovers. 

Quinton Jefferson, Defensive Tackle

Once Jefferson got released by the Bills, he was immediately on my radar as someone the Packers might be interested in pursuing. He’s still only 27 and had a productive season with Buffalo despite only starting four games. He had three sacks in 2020, which is just shy of his career-best 3.5 with Seattle in 2019. In his five-year career, he’s had 10.5 sacks, 82 total tackles, and 35 quarterback hits. He hovers right around 50% of snaps on defense, which could make him a solid rotational piece for the defense alongside Clark and Keke. 

Josh Reynolds, Wide Receiver

While I’m not convinced the Packers would add a wide receiver in free agency, especially with a Davante Adams extension looming, we know Green Bay doesn’t have any receiving talent currently under contract for 2022. Josh Reynolds is already familiar with Matt LaFleur’s offense, coming from a Sean McVay system and working with LaFleur in 2017 on the Rams. Reynolds was kind of pushed down the depth chart behind Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods in LA, and it’s possible the same thing would happen in Green Bay with both Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling back for next season, but Reynolds fits LaFleur’s offense and could be due for a breakout campaign if he gets more targets. He’d also have the reigning MVP throwing him the football, which can’t hurt his stock. 

Tyson Alualu, Nose Tackle

Sensing a theme here? Good. Alualu was part of a fantastic Pittsburgh defense in 2020 and is an incredible run-stuffer, a piece sorely lacking from Green Bay’s defense. While Ogunjobi and Jefferson could contribute to the run defense, Alualu is a true nose tackle that would free up Clark to get after the quarterback and bring pressure. Alualu played in 15 games for the Steelers in 2020, breaking up an impressive 5 passes at the line, forcing one fumble, and getting two sacks. He’d be a great early-down contributor who plays roughly 40% of defensive snaps. With the Packers losing Billy Winn and Snacks Harrison in free agency, and needing more production from Tyler Lancaster, Alualu makes a ton of sense for Green Bay. 

 

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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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12 points

Comments (14)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
mnbadger's picture

March 16, 2021 at 12:23 pm

Sign them all Maggie, let's go all in. Should be a fun few weeks. GPG

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Lphill's picture

March 16, 2021 at 12:42 pm

Why not bring back snacks?

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PhantomII's picture

March 16, 2021 at 09:26 pm

He wants 5 million this season.

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Coldworld's picture

March 16, 2021 at 11:05 pm

Snacks was bad when he played.

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Coldworld's picture

March 16, 2021 at 11:05 pm

Snacks was bad when he played.

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rodgersrules's picture

March 16, 2021 at 01:27 pm

Nice list, Maggie. Especially like Reynolds. He'd be a very nice depth piece.

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ImaPayne's picture

March 16, 2021 at 02:02 pm

Its a buyers market if ever. Free agents were warned by their agents, no one is offering the moon and a one year show me deal may be the best you can get this year, wait too long and you may not be playing at all.
If the pack could afford an inside pass rusher and one decent corner going into the draft, they could have the makings of a team ready for the big game.
You cannot draft that talent at the end of the rounds, its not there.

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flackcatcher's picture

March 16, 2021 at 02:30 pm

Like Ernesto said, buyers market. But I don't see Gute making any moves till after the draft. And the Packers have players on the roster or their own RFA to plug what few holes they have. Of course that depends on what changes to the offensive or defensive scheme's the coaching staff have in mind.

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MarkinMadison's picture

March 16, 2021 at 03:23 pm

That might be the smartest list I've seen in a while. Nice work. Ogunjobi? I don't think I can spell or say his name, but sign him.

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NoNonsense's picture

March 16, 2021 at 05:51 pm

The Raiders just released C Rodney Hudson, if GB could sign him for less than Linsley left for and still keep the comp pick from Linsley, that would be a shrewd move.

Id like to see Casey Hayward back in the G helmet again and at least 1 DL addition but i hope they try to maximize their comp picks by signing players who were cut, mostly for cap purposes.

1 guy not mentioned here is DT Kawann Short, I know he's missed a bunch of time the last 2 years from shoulder injuries but if the team doctors check out his injuries and sign off, he could be a great addition.

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PatrickGB's picture

March 16, 2021 at 06:21 pm

First let’s pay for the ones we have.

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egbertsouse's picture

March 17, 2021 at 08:06 am

Gute is already spending too much to retain his C+ level talent. He learned that from Uncle Ted. He needs to go out and improve the team.

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The_Justicar's picture

March 16, 2021 at 07:20 pm

Sign that NT from Pitt.

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Irish_Cheesehead's picture

March 17, 2021 at 07:02 am

Man, it would be nice but I just don’t see Gute signing any veterans until well after the draft with the lower cap this year. We’re having trouble signing some of our own guys because of the cap.

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