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Point of Veau: Packers Shouldn't Quibble Over Less than $1 Million with Jamari Lattimore

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Point of Veau: Packers Shouldn't Quibble Over Less than $1 Million with Jamari Lattimore

Does Jamari Lattimore deserve a salary paying him $1.4 million in 2014? Probably not for a player that's made 46 career tackles in three NFL seasons.

However, the Packers risk losing Lattimore if they don't offer him an original-round tender that assures them the right to match another team's offer, which appears to be the case according to a report from Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette earlier this week.

That doesn't mean the Packers aren't interested in re-signing Lattimore. They just don't want to do so at a $1.4 million price tag.

But considering the NFL's minimum salary for a fourth-year player is in the realm of $730,000, the Packers would be refusing to sign Lattimore over a difference of less than three-quarters of a million dollars.

Remember, this is a team that has nearly $35 million in salary-cap space now that the NFL's new cap for the 2014 season has been set at $133 million.

This isn't the first time the Packers have taken a hard-line stance with a restricted free agent. Just last season, the Packers refused to tender tight end Tom Crabtree and linebacker Rob Francois.

The approach worked with Francois, who re-signed with the Packers on a one-year deal worth $725,000 last year. But by getting into a staring contest with Crabtree, the Packers were the first to blink when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offered the tight end a two-year deal.

If the Packers have to pay Lattimore $1.4 million for the right to keep a key backup, a core special-teams player and a locker-room leader, it's worth the relatively small investment. It's also a salary that gets wiped off the books after just one season if things don't work out.

Now, if the Packers want to part ways with a pedestrian veteran linebacker, they should be looking in the direction of Brad Jones, who has a $2.5 million base salary for 2014.

The difference in production between Jones and Lattimore was probably negligible in 2013, and by releasing Jones, the Packers leave themselves open to more flexibility at the position.

With the potential of using a high-round draft choice at inside linebacker and the possibility of Sam Barrington becoming a viable option in his second year in the NFL, the Packers do have other options.

Of course, the drawback in releasing Jones would be $2 million in dead money he'd cost against the salary cap.

The Packers could also take a wait-and-see approach with Jones, depending on the outcome of the NFL Draft. Should they select a player such as Alabama's C.J. Mosley or Ohio State's Ryan Shazier, they can always cut Jones at a later date.

However it plays out, it's not worth losing Lattimore in the same fashion as the Packers lost Crabtree.

Just give him the tender.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (41) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Jake's picture

Please. Guys like Crabtree and Lattimore are a dime a dozen.

Nopainnogain's picture

exactly. every time someone in a Packer uniform makes 2 good plays, ppl think the guy is irreplaceable. what did the Packers miss out on in Crabtree? absolutely nothing. BJones has shown alot more potential (bigger sample size) to date than Lattimore. He's been a decent-to-good ILB since he started playing the postition up until he got hurt against Detroit last year.

Hank Scorpio's picture

I don't know what the future holds with Lattimore. Only time will tell that.

But hindsight is 20/20 and not tendering Crabtree was a mistake, as things turned out. He's better than both Ryan Taylor and Jake Stoneburner. He's a good blocker that can make the occasional catch and plays nice STs. Neither Taylor nor Stoneburner can make that claim. If guys like Crabtree are a dime a dozen, I wish the Packers had spend a dime to replace him with someone as good. Because they didn't.

Stroh's picture

Sign Quarless for whatever Crabtree got. He's at least as good as Crabtree. We haven't missed Crabtree at all. Easily replaceable player.

Hank Scorpio's picture

If Crabtree is so easily replaced, why wasn't he? The Packers did not have a better blocker at TE in 2013. He added value by being able to line up as a FB and block better than Kuhn. He wasn't much of a pass game threat but he was far better than Ryan Taylor, his primary competition for a roster spot.

Crabtree was at least as good as Taylor on STs.

I would have thought the notion of "overpaying" a solid back-end of the roster kind of guy with a modest contract died when John Kuhn hit that block on Julius Peppers to allow Rodgers to toss the NFC North winning TD. I guess old notions die hard.

Stroh's picture

Crabtree had a negative blocking grade his last year in GB. He wasn't that good. He's being overpaid in TB now, no big deal. How'd the offense do when Rodgers was on the field? More than fine in case you didn't notice.

Good player when left for a bigger payday. Good for him... But certainly not worth losing sleep over since he didn't do anything great.

Hank Scorpio's picture

Who is losing any sleep? Where in the heck did that come from? And what does Aaron Rodgers and the offense have to do with whether Crabtree is a better player (and worth about 2x the salary) than Ryan Taylor and Jake Stoneburner?

I thought we were having a discussion about the value of players vs the RFA tender amounts. I was using what I considered to be a past mistake as an illustration that sometimes the bigger price is appropriate.

WisconsinRob's picture

Paying a player 2x his value isn't the way any team should do business. Lattimore, like Crabtree, is the very definition of a replacement player. Let him test Free Agency, welcome him back if the number is acceptable. Bizarre stance.

Greenville's picture

Much respect to lattimore but before this year we never hread of him doing anything. But I wouldn't say he really made an impact to even be considered what he's looking for, he made an ok play or to but not worth wat this price says, and if you watched the last couple of game's he was bad.

Brian Stecker's picture

Let him walk. Guys like that are a dime a dozen in the 4th and 5th round. Also you could get an undraft free agent to do the same job. Let him walk. Get the comp pick.

Drealyn Williams's picture

Lattimore's flashes > B. Jones' flashes

Drealyn Williams's picture

Unless we have a hell of a draft or plan on picking up some nice FAs - why not pay Lattimore? We have one great linebacker (Mathews) and one durable linebacker (Hawk). The rest are young/serviceable. Who's the better coverage (Man/Zone) LB we have?

Stroh's picture

Jones allegedly tho I don't think he showed it last year. Need a better playmaker at ILB. I would like to see Karlos Dansby in a Packers uniform next year.

benagain's picture

Dansby is ok. But I'd rather see a much younger, faster, bigger, quicker, and stronger Jason Worilds in a packer uniform.

"need a better playmaker at ILB"?

LB:Worilds ILB:Hawk ILB:Matthews RLB:Perry

Drealyn Williams's picture

Would playing Mathews at ILB limit him,though? Or are you thinking he'll still get many snaps at OLB?

Nick Perry's picture

Agreed, TT isn't about to pay the money Dansby is looking for, not for a guy turning 33 next year. It doesn't take a hell of a lot to improve the ILB position in GB. Vinny Rey would be a nice addition, but he's a RFA.

Stroh's picture

I agree Dansby would be kinda expensive and he is 32 yrs old. But a rookie ILB is probably going to need a year, maybe more, to learn Capers D. So signing Dansby would be a nice bridge for 2 yrs while the rookie gets a chance to develop. He had 19 passes defensed, 6.5 sacks and 5 turnovers forced last year. That's pretty F'in good!

Dansby would solve the ILB problems for a couple years anyway. He's terrific in coverage at ILB. He could play weak ILB for a year or two then move to Hawks position after Hawks contract expires in '15.

Stroh's picture

Worilds played 8 very good games in his career to end last year. Its anyones guess if he continues to play at that level after he gets a VERY rich contract. He's a big risk. Also he played the LOLB spot in replace of Woodley when he had that 8 game stretch. So he would be the LOLB while Perry moved to ROLB in your scenario. I don't see how taking Matthews out of OLB improves the Packers pass rush.

benagain's picture

Worilds is freak athlete; 254lbs, 4.49 40, 1.53 split, 24 reps, 6.95 cone, with a 38" vertical as a 2nd round pick. He's producing from LLB and is about to enter his prime.

Perry has gotten his production at RLB, for the past 6 years.

Both are freaks.

You say dansby had 19 passes defended, 6.5 sacks, and 5 turn overs forced last year. That is production. Barring injury, I'd expect 7.5sacks, 3INT's, 19PD's, 26TFL's, 3FF, & 130 tackles from Clay as a ILB.

Clay has shown effective when blitzing the QB's face, able to spy mobile opposing QB's, and shut-down in coverage from the ILB position. Shut-Down. And Clay is exactly what would firm this defensive front up the middle with run support for a team that has given up 130 rushing yards per game over the last 2 years, ranked 28th. It all starts there. He and Hawk leading & making calls from the middle could also be of benefit. Who knows, maybe playing ILB is easier on the thumbs and hammies. The key to AJ Hawk's Amazing Availability?

LLB:Worilds ILB:Hawk ILB:Claymaker RLB:Perry

or even
LLB:BJones ILB:Hawk ILB:Claymaker RLB:Perry
(BJones is not good in run support and is even less an ILB than Hawk. He was a LLB though, and successful there as a rookie.)

benagain's picture

......And Clay could still rotate out to OLB by rotation, sub-package, or injury.

Another thing is I love Mike Neal as a 3-4 DE/DT. Mike Neal was a slightly bigger Aaron Donald of his draft class. I'd like to see him put about 8 pounds back on and play Dline full-time.

If so, I'd like Ted to resign the guy. with Shields, EDS, Quarless, & Lattimore

Nick Perry's picture

Dude I would love Carlos Dansby in a Packers uniform and I know he's 32, turning 33 in the middle of the season I believe. Anyways you're absolutely correct about him. He can be the 3 DOWN ILB the Packers need and get a few good years out of him. With the cap number rising next year and the year after as well, the Packers actually could sign him and if they lose Shields, still sign another CB like Thurmond of Seattle for example. Just a example folks. I said Thurmond because he won't cost to much, compared to Shields anyways.

Stroh's picture

Where was Worilds for the previous 3.5 years of his career? His official time was 4.65 in the 40. No ones disputing that he's a very good athlete, he's in the NFL for god's sake. But he's only produced in the last 1/2 of last year. Where was he for the rest of his career?

Mike Neal USED to be a 294 lb 34 DE. He couldn't stay healthy when he was that big. His muscles were literally too big for the rest of his body. He's in the 270-275 lb range now and he isn't going to go back up. Neal already has said he likes being where he is now.

I don't disagree that Matthews could play ILB, but there is an unknown involved since he had never done it. And moving Matthews would mean we are paying 3 OLB, pass rusher money and only being able to really use 2 of them in that role. Doesn't make sense...

There's also no knowing if Matthews would even be open to such a move. I think he likes being an OLB, just like his dad was.

All your dreaming is really great, but impractical. It'll NEVER happen. How about if we deal in reality.

Hank Scorpio's picture

Nick Perry,

I'm not a big fan of signing Walter Thurmond, or any other DB from Seadderal, unless the team pharmacist is included. Suspensions for violation of the NFL drug policy run rampant in the DB room for the Seahawks, including Thurmond. I do believe the probability is relatively high that the performance of Seahawks DBs is chemically enhanced.

There is just too much smoke there to ignore the possibility there might be a fire...a pattern of suspensions, a coach with a history of playing fast and loose with the rules and an uncanny string of late round draft success.

Pass on Walter Thurmond, please.

4thand1's picture

I remember watching Bishop the 1st couple of years. Played great ST's and kept getting better every time he got on the field. When he finally got the starting job he played great. Then got hurt:(

KennyPayne's picture

GB get rid of a wildly overpaid pedestrian linebacker you say?

How about a 30 year old who has been given 8 years to become a player, has been paid 10s of millions of dollars, and who counts over $5M against this season's cap?

Why does AJ Hawk get a free pass given his huge salary for a career of pedestrian play (at best)?

zeke's picture

"Why does AJ Hawk get a free pass given his huge salary for a career of pedestrian play (at best)?"

Because the coaches/front office value him more than the fans do.

benagain's picture

Lattimore looked poised to take it to another level last year. That would be Hawk and Jones's level. He may end up being better than either, for $1.5 million, PAY THE MAN.

The coaches/front office over-estimate and over-evaluate Hawk's ability to play ILB in a 3-4. Just like they over-estimated and over-evaluated MD Jennings ability to play Safety. While failing to work Hyde in at safety as well.

The TKstinator's picture

Good answer.

Tobey's picture

Personally, I thought Jamari played extremely well while Jones was injured AND THEN...when Jones got healthy...Lattimore was shitcanned to the special teams again. Didn't understand that move at all. And the defense returned to the shitcan with him. Wow...I'm not a fan of Brad Jones; he doesn't tackle anybody, he, "helps them to the ground so they don't get hurt"...and that's how I characterize his tackling. Looks like he went to the school of "heads up tackling", like they teach youngsters these days. Am I right, or am I right??
Lattimore did just about everything you could ask and more, of a back up (and to who?...Jones and Hawk?).
Signing him to the tender, for me, is a no brainer.
Sometimes TT gets too tight with his purse strings.

4thand1's picture

Jones had 84 tackles with 3 sacks in 12 games, which he was playing hurt in some of the time. He tackled someone. Jones was playing a lot better than Lattimore .

madmanJack's picture

if everyone stayed as healthy as Hawk, we wouldn't have such a terrible defense. Both Lattimore and Jones had health issues last year....hawk has been there year after year without missing a beat. may not be the best but he's reliable.

Lattimore hasn't done anything to command a 1.4 million dollar pay check. when he plays for a whole year at a high level, then ask for a raise.

Archie's picture

Lattimore is as good or better than any ILB on the roster currently and he has a higher ceiling than any other ILB on the GBP roster. The problem with evaluating ILB talent has been acute with Winston Moss in charge. Now he is promoted to OLB + ILB. The Packers brass = ass-clowns. I wouldn't let TT be the GM for my LL team. The guy is horrible. Packer fans need to wake up. One more bad draft/FA year and this team is toast. Why do Packer FAs want to sign elsewhere every year? Cullen Jenkins, Scott Wells, Greg Jennings and now Sam Shields/BJ Raji. The talent drain in GB is net negative since SB win and it is gaining momentum. I would have thought a view of TT's masterpiece sans AROD last year would have been a wake up call to all Packer fans but apparently not.

4thand1's picture

Take a pill hater.

Stroh's picture

Lattimore is terribly inconsistent. He can play well and really show up sometimes and others he makes too many mental mistakes. Same issue plagued Bishop for a few years and was the reason he didn't start sooner. When/If he becomes more consistent he'll be a starter and might be a playmakers. But the coaches won't play him until they know that he's going to play consistently and be were he's supposed to be. Its up to Lattimore to prove that he can be that. Until he does he's a fringe player for the Packers. Good enough to be a starter, but also bad enough to not be on the roster.

Stroh's picture

Archie the ONLY Ass Clown around!!!

Lou's picture

The difference between Francios (when healthy) and Lattimore is that Lattimore has played OLB, both have been ILB backups and have excelled on special teams. If Thompson would not tender Francios it would be hard to believe that some OLB experience would make the difference in tendering Lattimore. Lattimore had a solid game vs the Browns but like all young players was inconsistent and missed some assignments in others.

Stroh's picture

Francois was an OLB his first offseason in GB. They moved him to ILB after a year IIRC. Just like Lattimore a failed OLB moved to ILB.

ray nichkee's picture

Lattimore is worth a buck and a half. They have a lot of $ tied up in ILB but it has to get better. This year? Maybe not but it would be nice. Next year someone will step up or this will be the mess that some predict. Just a few new pieces and the D should look servicable if not better. I am sick of this fire and rebuild shit-superbowl or nothing loser posts. Most of them are gone all at the same time(coinsidence?) And I hope for good. If this shit don't change it a few years and starts to look like the sherman years your hater comments will be echoed. Unless TT trades up in the 3rd Rd for a punter I will wait and see how the year unfolds until I flap my lips with hate and disrespect for the pack and somehow use the excuse that I care and want them to win. We all know by now where improvement is needed. Let's let it unfold. I can't wait for free agency and draft. As good or bad as it will look to some people, it don't mean shit until the games start. How many people will have the same views then? Probably just the haters if things don't look good. Sure there are a few homers but the majority have some sort of perspective as to what really goes on and some just hate. Superbowl or bust. From what I remember the giants have been the only team to win it twice in the last ten years and look at them now. Look at them everyother year. I would take almost anybody we have on offense over them. They do have a defensive front that can look good at times as we have seen.

Jordan's picture

Why all the fuss over an aging average special teams guy with no real long term upside?

He'll be replaced in the draft if he doesn't sign at the minimum.

Reminds me of Saints overpaying Korey Hall when TT let him walk. Hall was a good special teamer and backup for the packers. But sometimes you've got to let a guy walk. Special teams is a young mans game.

steven's picture

memory: do you guys recall when matthews striped adrian peterson and took it back for a t.d. his rookie season. Just watched the highlight. Man we should of known he was going to be special then

Jordan's picture

For me, I saw Matthews flash his rookie year. You saw the speed. But it wasn't until week 1 vs Eagles in 2010.....when I saw him more or less end kolb's career as an Eagle. He caught a fleeing kolb and mounted him like a dog and rode him while sliding on to the ground. . He was a monster. Kevin kolb still has nightmares about that game. His jaw still hurts. ;)
The eagles game was the defining moment (for me).

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