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Makeover at Linebacker Continues as Jamari Lattimore Signs with Jets

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Makeover at Linebacker Continues as Jamari Lattimore Signs with Jets

New York Jets linebacker Jamari Lattimore—Andrew Weber, USA TODAY Sports.

New York Jets linebacker Jamari Lattimore—Andrew Weber, USA TODAY Sports.

The transformation at the inside linebacker position continues in Green Bay as the Packers parted ways with the third player at the position this offseason.

Jamari Lattimore signed with the New York Jets, the team announced on Wednesday. He joins A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones as members of the inside linebacker corps that have departed Titletown in the past two months.

After spending four years in Green Bay from 2011 to 2014, Lattimore was an unrestricted free agent, allowed to sign with any team he wanted.

The Packers didn't appear to make much of an effort to re-sign Lattimore based on the roughly three weeks time that elapsed since the opening of free agency.

Lattimore originally came to Green Bay as an unrestricted free agent out of Middle Tennessee State, beginning his professional career as an inside linebacker.

Like Brad Jones before him, Lattimore was shifted to inside linebacker after two years. In four years, he started nine of 49 games, making 85 tackles, two sacks and one interception for the Packers.

All nine of Lattimore's starts came in the past two seasons, but he never could keep a full-time grip on the job. His 2014 season ended on injured reserve after 11 games with an ankle injury.

Lattimore's biggest role arguably came on special teams, where he made 19 tackles on that unit in his four seasons. He was voted a postseason captain by his teammates in 2012, representing the special teams.

Details of Lattimore's contract have not yet been made public. Last year, he signed a one-year tender offer from the Packers worth $1.4 million.

If Lattimore signed for enough money and sees enough playing time, it's possible he could qualify for the league's compensatory draft pick formula, netting the Packers an extra selection.

Lattimore would probably have to come close to a deal nearing $1 million or more to qualify.

The inside linebacker situation in Green Bay remains one of uncertainty. Clay Matthews brought stability to the position, but it remains to be seen whether the Packers are willing to play him there full-time or continue in a timeshare at outside linebacker.

Sam Barrington is the only other experienced option at the position. Other possibilities include outside linebacker converts such as Carl Bradford and Nate Palmer, each of whom made the conversion to the position late in training camp last year.

Practice squad linebacker Joe Thomas also comes back for another season.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (12) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

HankScorpio's picture

Good luck to Lattimore in NY. I had some hopes for him but it just didn't pan out. I hope the fresh start works to his benefit.

ballark's picture

The crazy thing here is what Brian mentions at the end of the article, and it's nuts. That Matthews (our best OLB) and Barrington, a guy with half a year of experience is all we got at ILB. Behind them,. Bradford, Palmer, and Joe Thomas. That's it.

On the flipside, the other certainty is that Ted always has a plan. So the fact that Jamari, while not a star, but a guy who certainly contributed, was allowed to walk, that says.....something (I have no idea what).

So here's my question: if the situation holds, is it crazy to think the Packers draft an ILB at 30 and then grab another in the 2nd? I wouldn't complain.

4thand1's picture

What it says to me is, they got rid of all the dead weight at ILB. Expect to see a rookie there with fire this year.

MarkinMadison's picture

Generally agree with the forecast, but think it will be driven more by what is available, not their plans for CM3. CM3 will be forced to play ILB (or not) accordingly. Personally, if the talent is at OLB and not ILB, I'd say pick the OLB and slide CM3 inside more often.

L's picture

I have to agree with your sentiments that the decision making will be more or less driven by what is available. Also, I'm wondering what the chances are that the Packers include moving Sean Richardson into more of a hybrid ILB/S position this year where he's on the field for the more obvious passing situations playing the role of an ILB, but clearly as one who's better at providing coverage down the seam.

L's picture

Two seasons ago the Packers featured Richardson in that hybrid role in certain defensive sub-packages which is why Brain Carriveau or maybe it was another writer wrote a pre-season (before last season) article discussing the possibilities of seeing D.Capers trying defensive looks with either C.Matthews shifting and playing ILB or S.Richardson filling in as a hybrid ILB/S more often in the coming season. The article came out when it was made known that the Packers would be working on some new defensive looks for the coming season (2014-15). That article had images of game footage showing S.Richardson performing in that hybrid role during the 2013-14 season, but also went on to note that it appeared to be more or less a game specific sub-package that didn't seem to get used much in the remaining games of that season; however, within the highlighted plays for the article it discussed how the sub-package was successful the times it was used during that particular game. I recalled the article indicating that S.Richardson was able to provide fairly decent coverage against the TE running down the seam and that it might just be something the Packers might integrate more of for the coming 2014-15 season. That didn't appear to be the case last year, but the C.Matthews move to ILB clearly was one that got adopted and a lot more frequently as the season wore on, so who knows what 2015-16 might hold for either of those two possibilities.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I went back and forth as to whether GB should tender Richardson if all he can do is Special Teams and be the spy when we play Russel Wilson. I hoped the tender meant that at least in practice the coaches saw some glimmer of understanding happening with regard to coverage. I don't remember seeing any such evidence during games. I too would love a link showing Richardson being used to cover. Since Richardson is good on STs, I suppose tendering him makes sense, particularly if he has any upside actually playing some defensive snaps.

Brandon Piccione's picture

If nothing else this will force mccarthys hand. He has a tendency to be loyal to a fault with his players. Had Hawk, Lattimore, and Jones not been on the team last year, McCarthy and company would have had to experiment earlier, with better results

ballark's picture

I keep laughing, thinking of the Packers ILBs at camp like that scene in Major League when all the guys show up in spring training.

EdsLaces's picture

What league were u in? California penal.

Brandon Piccione's picture

Well Brad Jones played a decent amount last year, so anything is an upgrade. Playing with ten defenders would have yielded better results.

Irish_Cheesehead's picture

We're losing a lot of special teams guys. I'm worried our special teams is going to be horrible. Oh wait... they were already horrible.

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