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Lance Kendricks Will Excel with Packers, Aaron Rodgers

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Lance Kendricks Will Excel with Packers, Aaron Rodgers

Lance Kendricks should excel in Green Bay with Aaron Rodgers

Lance Kendricks should excel in Green Bay with Aaron Rodgers

The Green Bay Packers surprised everyone by signing Martellus Bennett Friday. But on Saturday, Ted Thompson made another surprise move as he signed former Los Angeles Rams tight end Lance Kendricks.

The move may seem strange, seeing as Green Bay just acquired a Pro-Bowl tight end. But when you think about Jared Cook and just how much he was missed when he was hurt last season, it makes perfect sense.

Everyone wants to talk about how well the Packers played down the stretch with Cook. Well, what if Cook had been healthy for those games? Or what if the Packers had a viable alternative? Maybe they wouldn't have needed to run the table after all. 

With only Richard Rodgers and some no names on the roster at tight end, Thompson had to make a move and Kendricks brings in a very Cook-like player, a guy who has talent, but has never played with a legit starting quarterback.

In six seasons, Kenricks has 202 receptions for 2,132 yards and 17 touchdowns. Last season, he hauled in 50 passes for 499 yards and two touchdowns. It was his best season in terms of receptions and second best when it comes to yards. Kendricks also runs the 40 in 4.57 and is 6-3, 240 pounds. He may not be as big as Cook, but he will cause some matchup problems. He will also provide insurance for Bennett.

More than that, I expect the Packers to play a lot of two tight-end sets. Head coach Mike McCarthy loves tight ends and with the pass-catching ability of Kendricks and Bennett, I would expect him to come up with ways to get them on the field together. 

Kendricks has been a bit underwhelming in his time with the Rams, but he has only missed a handful of games in his career. So he is reliable. He also has never had a quarterback better than Sam Bradford throwing him the football. That will change this season with Aaron Rodgers under center. 

With that in mind, it's easy to see Kendricks excelling in Green Bay just like Cook did last season. He may not have the same impact and depending on Bennett, he may not have as many opportunities. But Kendricks is coming aboard for a reason. He is going to be counted on to stretch the field and split out wide. He is going to be a mismatch guy. 

So if you are wondering why the Packers signed a second free agent tight end in two days, that and Kendrick's ability to provide insurance for Bennett, are the reasons why. 


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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (29) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Turophile's picture

Top three Packers draft needs, imo, were pass rusher, corner, TE (RB would be up there as well if Lacy does not re-sign).

Pass rusher first, because if you wait, even until late round 2, most or all the quality guys are gone.

It seems likely, that this year you could get a good corner in round two.

What that meant was round three was where the Packers would look hard at the best TE available. Problem is, Howard, Njoku, Engram, Everett, Hodges and Butt are probably all gone. Now that matters far less to the Packers, than a couple of days ago.

The Packers can get a project later if they wish, but the real need for a starting level TE with speed has been addressed.

Now RBs like Perine, Gallman and Hunt can be considered in the 3rd. Of course a bargain at another position will very tempting, like a good sideline WR, but there is no doubt this gives the Packers more freedom in the draft.

Ryan Graham's picture

With the addition of Perine or Gallman....woah Nelly. I'm not a Lacy hater but I'll take the younger options to compete over him.

Nick Perry's picture

I really like this move by the Packers. Kendricks might not be as big but a 6'3" man who runs a 4.57 or close is going to be a match-up problem, especially with Bennett, Nelson, Cobb, Adams or Allison out on the field at the same time. They might not be Gronk and Hernandez, but they could be just as big of a nightmare match-up when you include the Packers WR's and Montgomery in the backfield.

dobber's picture

Not Gronk/Hernandez, I agree, but more akin to Jackson/Chmura--although Chmura is bigger and was a better blocker (underrated as a blocker) than Kendricks.

RCPackerFan's picture

I absolutely love the signing of Bennett and Kendricks! Bennett gives them a true TE who is a matchup nightmare.

Kendricks is the type of TE that McCarthy has looking for, for a long time. He is a guy that will be able to be moved around and will be another matchup nightmare type of player in the Packers offense. This just adds another reliable piece to the offense.

I really, really like these signings.

Bearmeat's Phantom Downvoter's picture

Agree with everyone above completely. Where the HELL has this been for 10 years TT??? Now I'm hoping he grabs House and Barwin to help turn around our woeful pass D. Then we really could take BPA in May.

Ryan Graham's picture

My personal thought, and it might sound a little conspiracy theorist of me...what leverage does Ted have over Aaron Rodgers? What does this team do when he walks at the end of his contract? I think Ted is trying to appeal to arguably the most talented quarterback in the NFL before he's non-committal to the Packers. Ted has nothing without him. In all reality for the most part he's put out subpar talent, on defense in particular, around him forcing him to be this supernatural accurate quarterback under pressure needing to win 6 games straight, just to make the playoffs. This could be way off course. If this is the case, if it's not, either way I like what I'm seeing so far.

zeke's picture

I'm going to go with "way off course." I agree that 12 is a generational talent, but I think Jordy, Bakhtiari, Lang, Adams, CM III, Clinton-Dix, Burnett, Daniels, etc., are more than nothing. I get the frustration with not getting over the proverbial hump for the past few years, but to say that the roster is bereft of talent outside of ARod might be a bit much.

Ryan Graham's picture

I agree, I don't mean to demean the talent of the team particularly on offense. But you replace Arod with an Alex Smith or a Tyrod Taylor, this team is not winning their division, barely making the playoffs occasionally, not in the discussion for nfc championships and leagues away from the super bowl. Ted's no dummy he understands this.

dobber's picture

I would argue that part of the issue is that the Packers are going to have to make some hard decisions at WR in the next couple years...Nelson and Cobb are both up after the 2018 season, Adams is up next off-season. No guarantee that Cobb makes it to the ends of his deal: I could see Cobb being cut after next season when the Packers could save almost $9M against the cap with $3.3M dead money. Nelson will be 33 when his deal ends.

Bennett's on a 3-year deal. I still haven't seen the specs on Kendricks's deal, but I'm guessing it's likely 3 years with little guaranteed money. The hope is that this will bolster the run game, too.

The pass-catchers in GB are in the process of turning over. Don't be surprised if the Packers look for Jordy Nelson 2.0 in this upcoming draft (assuming they fix pass-rush and/or CB issues prior to that). They took a stab at it in the bargain bin with Janis and are trying Davis, but I don't see either of those guys panning out as a #1.

RCPackerFan's picture

Completely agree!
It feels kind of weird talking about not only signing 1-2 players but hoping to sound more. I feel a little greedy when I say I want them to bring in House and Barwin. But ultimately those would be 2 more really good signings.
They would help fill the holes that are in the roster right now, and would allow rookies brought in some time to develop. If they drafted a CB or OLB they maybe wouldn't have to play right away. They could be used situationally until they were ready.

I'd still like to see them bring back Lang and Lacy also.

Ryan Graham's picture

Signing Barwin and House, drafting OLB and CB early are the sound moves. Ted is letting Lacy and Lang test the market obviously and the fact that Latavius Murray and Adrian Peterson are visiting Seattle after Lacys visit tells me that his meeting didn't go as planned. Lang already met with Seattle and LA and it's been quiet since. The only way Lang or Lacy are brought back are on team friendly hometown discount deals.

Hematite's picture

Lang has signed with the Lions.

dobber's picture

With Abbrederis and Thornton over there and now Lang, the Lions have taken over from the Vikings to become the new destination for Packers cast-offs.

Bearmeat's Phantom Downvoter's picture

I'm ok with that.

Paying 9 mil AAV for an over 30 RG who's beat to hell? You can have him Lions. I'll take the 3rd round comp pick next year. Draft a versatile interior OL in the middle rounds and let him compete with the depth already on the team. OG is NOT a premium position. I'd rather spend the money on QB, pass rush, pass catching and CBs.

Bearmeat's Phantom Downvoter's picture

Assuming we draft a pounder late, I'd be OK with Lacy on a 1 year deal with minimum guaranteed money. Lang... Hmm... I appreciate what he's done here. But he's 30. And he's beat to hell. I really think paying 9 mil or more AAV for an over 30 RG is somewhat foolish. I'd rather draft an interior OL in the middle rounds and let him compete with who we have already.

Ryan Graham's picture

*Ding ding ding* right on the button. Isaac Asiata, Ethan Pocic, Pat Elfein all great options for round 3. There's more too even further down, it looks as though offensive line is rather deep as well. I don't like looking at mock drafts as anything more than a reference point because you never know what teams are gonna do. And each pick alters what every other team does, and this draft is absolutely chuck full of talent. It's been a very interesting offseason so far exciting for Packers fans, and it's only been 3 days. Just, very weird

Turophile's picture

Ryan Graham, excellent choices for G/C's, especially as two of them (Pocic, Elflein) tend to be listed as centers. Not only can the two centers play guard, they are better than many guard choices there in the 3rd - 4th round range (though Pocic will probably need more strength work than the others).

One thing I noticed when I messed around with the Fanspeak draft simulators, is that centers often dropped a round or so, whichever of the boards & team-needs options were selected. If this plays out the same in the real draft, they could be high value picks when taken.

Ryan Graham's picture

We all know Ted's love for versatile players, especially on the offensive line. My thought is you just gave up Tretter, you need someone that's going to eventually step into that role. I really like Elfein a lot and I think he may even get pushed back into the 4th. We won't know until draft day but that's the kind of guy I want in Green and Gold. The media always states he drafts BPA but if you read between the lines he drafts for need. I also feel like Ted has a lot of confidence in either Spriggs or Murphy to jump up this year. I believe Spriggs will be the next guy up based off of last year.

Chris Peterson's picture

I love adding both tight ends. I also think the perfect moves would be adding House, Barwin and Lang. I don't care too much either way on Lacy. But I do think that if he came back and stayed healthy, he would have a good season.

lou's picture

It became apparent that that through the draft (Rodgers although serviceable - Backman ) and UFA's (Bostick - Sandland - Cajuste) although Sandland got his practice squad money increased were not the ANSWER, hence the 2 surprise moves by Ted. As indicated in the blog correctly, Cook's contribution made it cyrstal clear what the offense was missing. Also surprises was the fact that Hyde who appeared to be a solid core player although not a premium starter was not offered a contract period. My guess that will lead to more surprises in the next week on the defensive side of the ball. Everyone would love to keep Lang but that $10M-$12M may be part of the possible defensive surprises on the way. Good start to free agency for the fan base.

EdsLaces's picture

If we did pick up Barwin and House we could almost get away with drafting McCaffrey :)

MITM's picture

It seems to me that whenever you hear the Packers contact a player, as they did with Barwin and House, and then it becomes quiet afterwards, im confident we get them. Remember how long it took to finally sign Cook last year after it was reported we were interested in him. During that period where there were no updates you also didnt hear any news of said player speaking with any other teams either, and then we got him. Hopefully its the same here. No rush to sign House he should be attainable and I believe Barwin would prefer Green Bay and a shot at a ring over any other team that may be interested. Ive posted this at least 3 times already but Lacy House and Barwin and my offseason is made. The draft is gravy from there.

akeemthedream's picture

I don't think the Packers will sign an OLB, nor will they draft one in rds 1 or 2. Say what you will about Matthews and Perry, but the fact of the matter is they will be your starting OLB's next season. Whoever you bring in is going to be a backup/situational guy. Why would Barwin want to be a backup? Also - he's not going to sign for backup money and the Packers already have a bazillion $'s locked up in Clay and Nick.

They'll re-sign Jones to back up Perry and they have Fackrell to back up Clay.

They'll draft an edge (or 2) but it'll be someone later on that the can develop.

Ryan Graham's picture

You may be very right. Then again, look at last year. They had 30M tied up with Clay Peppers and Perry. The system required all three. I would think they would try to draft an edge early to maintain that at least. In a year or two we could possibly be looking at Perry and said early edge pick. You make some good level headed points nonetheless. Looking at the spending thats been done so far the least likely scenario is signing Barwin. Realistically I see him going to the Colts over the Packers.

dobber's picture

Packers are still short a Peppers (or someone who can fill that role) and Jones is not yet in the fold. They're going to need another warm body, yet, either early in the draft or off the FA scrap heap.

akeemthedream's picture

"Definitely need more than Perry and Matthews."

That's why I suggested:
-Fackrell (who I bet the Packers like a lot more than everyone else does)
-1 or 2 mid round picks

When Matthews moves around, Fackrell will be their guy.

JP's picture

I think we should explore Kyle Fuller from Chicago. Rumors has it he is not happy in Chicago. I would look at a 5th round pick with us getting Fuller and a 7th. I would explore Cobb and a 3rd grade to St. Louis for Johnson and a 5th. I would look at adding Barwin or Margus Hunt and move Clay Matthews inside perm. So he can cover tight ends. Clay really needs to take a 6 million haircut per year. I would rather have Murray from Oakland than overweight Lacy. On a side note the longer Hankerson sits the cheaper he becomes that would be a awesome signing.

Handsback's picture

As was discussed in another posting, Lance will play a lot, at least in my opinion, as an H-Back. It won't surprise me to see him line up in front of Rip or Monty for short yardage. I know it's not directly related, but signing Kendricks may be the hedge against not signing Lacy. They will use Rip as that short yardage guy and Monty to get 20 carries a game. Kendricks will be used/lined up as a lead blocker, but has that option of positioning himself at the edge as another receiver. I know it's just another wild theory, and I'm not sure Monty can carry the burden of 20 totes/game. (His size says he can, but not sure his body can do it.) It's like MM has two new toys and already has a plan in place to use them after never having that ability before. So I'm guessing how he's going to do it.

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