Was The Packers 2019 Free Agent Frenzy Worth It?

The Packers made a lot of noise in 2019, finally making a splash in free agency with four big name signings. Now that we have the benefit of hindsight, we can ask: was it really worth it?

NFL free agency is right around the corner and rumors are (as always) swirling about the Packers.

Brian Gutekunst has been a lot more active in free agency than his predecessor, starting with his his expensive 4-man free agent class in 2019.

Now that 4 years have passed (the length of each of their contracts), we can look back and start to give a full assessment.

First, let's examine how each of them fared:

 

Preston Smith 4 years, $52M
Preston only missed one game in 4 years and started nearly all of them. He came up with 33.5 sacks over his tenure, including 12 in his career year of 2019. He also played very good against the run, setting a hard edge in contain. His steady, balanced play earned him a contract extension from the team (through 2026, when he'll be 34 years old), making him the last man standing from this group.
Final tab: Four years as a consistent, solid-to-good edge rusher for $52M.

Adrian Amos 4 years, $36M
Amos started every single game for the Packers over a 4 year stretch, and barely missed more than a handful of snaps each game (he led the defense in snaps each year). That alone says a ton. His very first game as a Packer, he had a game-clinching interception in the end zone against the Bears. This was the start of something good. Despite never making the All Pro team, or even a Pro Bowl, Amos performed like one of the top safeties in the league for the first three years of his deal. In his 4th year, his play tailed off considerably. Predictably, he was not extended by the team.
Final tab: Three good-to-great years and one forgettable year as a full-time starting safety for $36M. 

Za'Darius Smith 4 years, $66M
Za'Darius was the most expensive guy in the group and he paid immediate dividends. He was a leader in transforming the culture and giving the defense some much-needed attitude. He showed up on the field, as well, earning back to back Pro Bowl recognitions (and a 2nd Team All Pro honor) during his first two years with the Packers. However, the roses wilted after that. Smith missed pretty much all of his third season with a back injury and was then cut, giving the Packers $11.4M of dead cap in 2022, when he turned tail to play for the Vikings.
Final tab: Two great years and a back injury for $51M.

Billy Turner 4 year $28M
Signed for his versatility, Turner was a pretty solid player for the Packers in his starting stints at right tackle and guard for the first three years of his deal. However, he was a disaster in a couple playoff starts at left tackle (which was a failing of the coaching staff as much as it was a shortcoming of the player). He was cut after three years as a full-time starter and left a dead cap hit of $5.8M for the Packers in 2022.
Final tab: Three years as a solid starting offensive lineman for $22M.

 

Only two of the players even made it through their deals, which is actually pretty solid since less than a quarter of free agents finish their four year contracts.

Of the two that finished, only one of the four provided impact commensurate with their salary for all four years of their contract. The guys who were cut early contributed to cap troubles that that echo into this season - the $17.2M dead cap in 2022 represents cap space that could have been rolled over into 2023, where the team currently faces a budget deficit.

Still, this class ended up better than most teams free agent classes. History is littered with disappointing free agency case studies (and, how convenient, you can learn about more of them, and the history of free agency, right here).

This group provided the team with a short-term boost and gave the fans a little excitement, but still wasn't enough to get them over the top.

Four years later, with most of these guys gone, all of them taking a lot of money, and no ring to show for it, we're left with one big question:

Was it worth it?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

 

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__________________________

Bruce Irons has played, coached, and studied football for decades. Best-selling author of books such as A Fan's Guide To Understanding The NFL Draft, A Fan's Guide To Understanding The NFL Salary Cap, and A Fan's Guide To NFL Free Agency Hits And Misses, Bruce contributes to CheeseHeadTV and PackersForTheWin.com.

Follow Bruce Irons on Twitter at @BruceIronsNFL.

__________________________

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7 points
 

Comments (84)

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

March 03, 2023 at 06:27 am

I think it was. Preston and Amos were much better that what they had in place before the signings and played through the contracts as Bruce pointed out.

Z Smith was a pain in the ass and COMPLETELY vanished during the playoffs, but then again, he and Preston formed "The Smith Bros" which was pretty awesome the first 2 years. As we're starting to see "Trouble in Paradise" in Minnesota now with Z Smith, we now know that dude is just a CANCER where ever he goes.

Billy Turners contract was always a bit rich for me, but he was a decent enough RT. At LT he wasn't anything to write home about, especially in the playoffs against stronger competition.

Although I have wondered what "The Smiths" and Amos could have done with a DC like Fangio had he been hired. Does Z Smith sit out the entire regular season in year 3 with a competent DC? I think if a DC like Fangio was brought in WITH Matt LaFleur, we beat Tampa Bay in 2020 and maybe SF in 2021 although that was a ST meltdown almost like none other seen.

I'll say this...I would LOVE to see another spending spree once Rodgers is gone and the damage of the $151 contract is done with. But, ONLY if the Packers have a SOLID coaching staff in place.

I'm almost as anxious to see what LaFleur is like with Rodgers gone as I am to see Love play. MLF isn't going anywhere so I guess we'll see. Hopefully LaFleur's "Lack of Sack" these last few years doesn't cause him to completely lose the locker room and respect of the players currently on the roster. If not, good things should be on the way.

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dobber's picture

March 03, 2023 at 08:50 am

I think the thing that Z and others did--in conjunction with the arrival of a new coaching staff--was shift the attitudes and atmosphere in the locker room and across the on-field aspects of the franchise. There was a lot of bad air that needed to be let out, and regarless of what people think of Z and his t-shirt shenanigans, he was a big piece in updating and freshening the atmosphere.

9 points
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UdderApocowlipse's picture

March 04, 2023 at 09:02 am

I think you mean "The Smith Abattoir." LaFleur was hired for this transition so I am also looking forward to seeing what sort of black magic he's capable of working without Rodgers. I hope your anxiety is the result of some part excitement.

Perhaps some of the big name DC's don't want to coach under LaFleur for fear of being blamed for what might result from Matt's in-game decisions. Then again, these are highly competitive individuals in their field of sportsball. Maybe showing loyalty to Barry is to build confidence a rising up-and-comer won't be thrown under the bus.

I can barely balance on my hooves thinking of the Smith Abattoir.

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stockholder's picture

March 03, 2023 at 06:27 am

The packers did everything right.
What they got wrong was Jordan Love.
Gutey hates Rodgers.

-21 points
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T7Steve's picture

March 03, 2023 at 06:55 am

What's wrong with Love? He's a great project and you could say he spurred Rodgers to two MVPs.

I look forward to seeing Love play at some point and will be pulling for him when he does.

Who's your alternative to Love, if you don't like him, post Rodgers.

Get REAL!

8 points
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stockholder's picture

March 03, 2023 at 07:06 am

You don't sign 4 great FAs.
Then draft a QB.
Especially with a hole at ILB./WR
(And we're talking Rodgers!)
I Say Gutey purposely blew the super-bowl.
With the Love Pick & Avoiding the DL.
It split the Fans and got him back
in good graces with other owners.
This was considered the best FA class
signings in years.
It changed The Black and Blue.
The odds on beting.

-11 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

March 03, 2023 at 08:10 am

Projects do not fill out the Depth Chart. Tee Higgins would have given them Production as the #2 WR and teams would have paid for Dbl teaming Adams in the endzone. Case Keenum was the Journeyman who could start in a pinch. Flacco was also inexpensive.

1 points
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Coldworld's picture

March 03, 2023 at 08:00 am

“Mad Hatter: “Why is a raven like a writing-desk?”

“Have you guessed the riddle yet?” the Hatter said, turning to Alice again.

“No, I give it up,” Alice replied: “What’s the answer?”

“I haven’t the slightest idea,” said the Hatter”

Lewis Carroll

6 points
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BradHTX's picture

March 03, 2023 at 08:37 am

Curiouser and curiouser.

4 points
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Johnblood27's picture

March 03, 2023 at 08:04 am

I didn't know Rod Serling was a Packers Stockholder...

1 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

March 03, 2023 at 08:28 am

Rodgers gave them All extensions on their Contracts. Gutedkunst has the fallback of riding Love's roster spot to go back to the future. It is about Job Security for the brain trust. Quite a few used car dealers on the Packer BOD.
They understand the transactions.

0 points
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NickPerry's picture

March 03, 2023 at 06:49 am

Hey Bruce, I forgot to mention this was a great piece. How AWESOME it was to read about something OTHER than Rodgers!

Nice job, keep them coming. Not just you, but ALL the others who provide us Packers content...For Free!

Thank you...

16 points
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pantz_bURp's picture

March 03, 2023 at 07:11 am

Great point Nick! What a great place to learn, share one's thoughts, keep up to date as well as join a group of fans carrying the G...for free!

For me, it is (dare I say) therapeutic as well.

*Thanks CHTV for all the time and energy put into this TV with rabbit ears.✌️

**I was happy and excited for the signings mentioned above. It seemed like they added some positive energy to the team, and then backed it up (at least the first 2-3 years.). Z seemed to enjoy the role of leader on the D.

3 points
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Savage57's picture

March 03, 2023 at 07:07 am

I'd say you hit 'em all about spot on, and it was important to include the duration of the contracts. Given sixteen years of service the contracts entailed, and getting production for 12 of them is a pretty good hit rate. It says something about FA that's overlooked in the excitement right after the signings, and that's not only getting guys who can make an impact, but can make it last.

P Smith was an A signing, Amos a B, and Z Smith and Turner would qualify as C deals.

11 points
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Since'75's picture

March 04, 2023 at 12:18 am

In hindsight, it wasn't worth it.
The Packers spent 182 million on free agents in total in 2019 and what do we have to show for it?
First off, rarely do you see any teams do that. That 182 million was the equivalent of that years salary cap.
Yes, those signings improved the team, but again....it got us what? Lower draft picks?
A couple of NFC North Banners?
We did get one game short of the Super Bowl, so there's that.
But instead of putting first round talent on the field, Gute put it on the sideline in drafting Love, when Gute gave up on the team winning now.
He drafted for the future.

Here's the kicker though...we're not done paying for it yet, and we will be paying for it even after these players are gone due to restructuring contracts and kicking the salary cap money down the road each year.
************
Preston Smith gets an A and Z. Smith qualifies as a C?
I'll have what your smoking!!
Z Smith was a playmaker for us, in the two years he played,
Preston Smith might make a play once in awhile, flex his muscles for the camera, then you don't see him for another game or two, until the next muscle flex.
Problem is, between muscle flexes, you don't here his name called much.
Plus he's grossly over payed.
Lets be real, he got payed elite money, but doesn't play elite.

-1 points
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Savage57's picture

March 04, 2023 at 11:36 am

Smoke has nothing to do with it. P Smith - more sacks, more tackles, more hits, more TD's, more PD's, less money.

And let's not forget they paid Z $17M for zero production in '21, and then grab an attitude and go play for Minneshithole.

And it's 'hear'.

0 points
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Since'75's picture

March 05, 2023 at 11:09 am

Oh jeez 😏

Fine...let me help out here 57.

P. Smith...more sacks, more tackles? WTF?
You're going to count the year Smith was injured?...really?
Sounds fair.

Or we can keep it 💯 and compare the first two years they played.

2019,20 seasons (2 seasons)
P. Smith
65 solo tackles
16 sacks
1 forced fumble
1 pick
1 TD...i guess 😲

2019,20 (2 seasons)
Z. Smith
76 solo tackles
26 sacks
5 forced fumbles

Thank you for understanding 🙄

Lets not be mentally devoid of knowledge.
Lets not forget that the Packers asked Z to restructure, which he did to help out.
Then they asked him to restructure again shortly thereafter for the 2nd time. which is when they screwed him to reduce his dead cap money so it would be easier to cut him.

THAT, is when he got his attitude.
But i get it, the Packers do no wrong in some peoples eyes

This smoke is making me thirsty, i could chug down some green and gold kool aid right about now.

"Hear"...got it 😉
Just goes to show, we can never have enough internet grammar cops around!
Thanks Savage!! 👍
That's why you always want to have your sidearm handy, just in case!

BACK THE BADGE!!

-1 points
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Savage57's picture

March 04, 2023 at 11:36 am

Smoke has nothing to do with it. P Smith - more sacks, more tackles, more hits, more TD's, more PD's, less money.

And let's not forget they paid Z $17M for zero production in '21, and then grab an attitude and go play for Minneshithole.

And it's 'hear'.

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Coldworld's picture

March 03, 2023 at 07:10 am

Those free agents played a big part in getting us back into a position to contend. That that did not lead to a championship is not, in my opinion, down to them as a group in terms of play or quality. As such I think that they were a good investment.

18 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

March 03, 2023 at 08:23 am

The intention, the Objective was to Win the SB, not fill out the voids from the fruitless Perry deal and the miss on Josh Jones. They were boxed in as Matthews left in FA. I like the Value of P.Smith, but Zadarious was not a big game guy. Why bring in two guys when they were targeting Gary as the # one pick. Montez Sweat should have been rated right behind him @ edge and forego Savage.

-2 points
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PackyCheese500's picture

March 03, 2023 at 09:47 am

It's easy to criticize the drafts in retrospect, which is what you're doing.

4 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

March 03, 2023 at 10:11 am

I have my draft files from every draft right on the hard drive. If they were targeting Gary, why indulge? I really liked Gary and thought Gettleman would snag him, but he went QB. Remember the strength of the 2019 draft was edge and D line. Brian Burns, Montez Sweat, Wilkins, Simmons. They mis-fired on the Perry Deal and were in Recovery Mode as he washed out after cashing in. Too many bonafide guys in the draft pool to make a the Daily Double in the FA landscape. Zadarious was just a piece of dead cap for the bonus years. He made a difference, but not when it counted in the playoffs to hold position vs the 49rs or Tampa run games.

3 points
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PackyCheese500's picture

March 03, 2023 at 11:37 am

Okay, sorry. If you were saying we should have gotten one of them back then, then you are justified.

You are right in that Z never showed up in the big games.

Out of curiosity, who do you think the Packers' top targets at WR, TE, OL (only if Bakh is traded/cut), DL, EDGE, and S (their top positions of need) should be?

2 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

March 03, 2023 at 12:46 pm

I made a list that my Labrador Retriever selected for us over on the other story regarding the draft and Pickens(DT).
I take notes during the season when you see a guy jump out during the broadcasts. One good thing about the conference championship games is the number of players with NFL potential showing their skillsets. Keeping Bhak is a given for me. The RT is the issue. The right flank is a glaring weakness. Detroit's front four exposed them. B.Jones is going up boards and will more likely will be selected before #15. Paris Johnson as well. I would like to trade down for the extra two pick. I favor Uzomah as the pass rush guy. They need an impact guy here, asap. Gary will be out until deer hunting season. The WR will depend on the demand, but I have followed Tillman the past couple years. The guy I like is Charlie Jones to give the offense a smart and reliable guy to convert the third downs. Michael Wilson from Stanford. Shaw ran Pro style offense. I would like to bag Harrison in the bottom of rd two with another pick via (2024) picks. You know I promote Benton as the 3 tech with pass rush skills.

2 points
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PackyCheese500's picture

March 03, 2023 at 02:19 pm

Here are my top prospects:

WR:
Cedric Tillman, Tennessee (agree with you here) - rd. 2
Jonathan Mingo, Ole Miss - rd. 3-4
I don't think GB should take a WR in round 1. There are bigger needs, and they've had a track record of success in round 2, especially

TE:
Michael Mayer, Notre Dame - rd. 1
Dalton Kincaid, Utah - late rd. 1-early rd. 2
Tucker Kraft, South Dakota St. - late rd. 2

DT:
Keeanu Benton, Wisconsin - rd. 2
Brodric Martin, Western Kentucky - rd. 4

EDGE:
Lukas Van Ness, Iowa - rd. 1
Felix Anudike-Uzomah, Kansas St. - late rd. 1-early rd. 2
Will McDonald IV, Iowa St. - rd. 2
Isaiah Foskey, Notre Dame (kind of iffy for me) - rd. 2
Mike Morris, Michigan - rd. 2-4

ILB:
Jack Campbell, Iowa - rd. 2

S:
Sydney Brown, Illinois - rd. 2
JL Skinner, Boise St. - rd. 2-3
Quindell johnson, Memphis - rd. 4-5
John Torchio, Wisconsin - rd. 7/UDFA (this guy seems like a super underrated guy who could end up to be a late round STEAL)

2 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

March 03, 2023 at 02:35 pm

If the brain trust is on the same page we will be in good shape. This is a year to get 2-3 picks in rd two. They cannot sleep walk through all this talent as they did in 2020 and '22.

1 points
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Since'75's picture

March 04, 2023 at 12:32 am

Z Smith was a big game guy. Did Preston Smith outplay Z Smith here in Green Bay?
I don't think i'd call Preston Smith a value.
The Packers have paid him 51 million in 4 years for 33.5 sacks and 4 FF's.
Not bad for a guy who requested from MLF that he didn't want to play back in coverage anymore.
Yes, it's true

1 points
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T7Steve's picture

March 03, 2023 at 07:10 am

P. Smith is everything you want in a FA. He's on the field. I think he does better when he has someone to bookend with him on the other side, but that's the same with anyone, I suppose.

I hope they re-sign Amos. Maybe a team friendly prove it deal, except I think he'll get snapped up if they don't hurry. He seemed to be exposed last year by players and the coaching around him. Towards the end of the year, he started to show better when the backfield improved and was playing more aggressive.

No comment on Z. Smith. He's gone.

B. Turner was a good RT a better guard and should have been used there. I've a great idea! Let's try an experiment and have him switch to the left side for a playoff game! We had all season to work with the backups, but I just want to try something new.

7 points
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PatrickGB's picture

March 03, 2023 at 07:15 am

Of course nobody expected the Covid thing to hit and mess up the cap. And Z’s back issue hurt too. But by and large Gute did pretty good. Every FA pickup involves risk and I think it was worth it at the time.

10 points
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BradHTX's picture

March 03, 2023 at 08:44 am

Exactly. If you’d told me at the time that P. Smith would be a solid starter for four years and Amos for three, Turner serviceable for three years, and Z. Smith would be a terror for two years, I’d have said I’ll take that outcome every day of the week, and twice on Sundays. To sign four FAs and not one of them a bust? That’s beating the odds by a healthy margin.

7 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

March 03, 2023 at 10:28 am

Yes a two-year contributor bagging 27 sacks, sitting out 2021 injured. Montez Sweat, on a rookie Contract, 29 sacks, INT and a TD. Looking for the Capologists.

1 points
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PackyCheese500's picture

March 03, 2023 at 11:35 am

You forget we would have taken Sweat over Gary, who has 22.5 sacks, 3 FFs, 23 TFLs, and 176 pressures over 4 seasons (keep in mind that he played just 244, 456, and 681 snaps in 2019, 2020, and 2022, respectively. He never started as a rookie, only started 4 games in '20, and was hurt for half of '22).

That would be sacrificing Z and Gary for Sweat. Z was worth it.

As you have shown, it is very easy to criticize in restrospect.

5 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

March 03, 2023 at 12:50 pm

Sweat over Savage. I wanted two pass rushers, Perry was a flop and Clay III was not extended and went to LA.

0 points
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PackyCheese500's picture

March 03, 2023 at 05:38 pm

Oh, gotcha.

1 points
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Boneman's picture

March 03, 2023 at 07:53 am

I say that it was definitely NOT worth it. Not only did we start the sequence that led us to the salary ca situation we are currently in, you have to keep in mind that we never even cracked the top 10 defensively, we never met our goal of getting to the Super Bowl and we were never again able to go after a 'real' free agent due to these moves. Could we have kept MVS? Signed a guy like AJ Brown? Drafted these positional value spots instead of using picks in the high rounds on RB, TE and LB? It just feels like everything we've done since those signings have had a tinge of desperation. I'm kinda missing Ted!

-6 points
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Johnblood27's picture

March 03, 2023 at 08:12 am

Ted left the cupboard sooooo bare that Gutey HAD to make these moves to field a competitive team.

The fact that so much value came from these four FA's is gold. NFL free agents just do not have the track record of success that the 4 signees have given.

Preston is a solid guy and has been productive enough given his snaps and salary.

Amos was a great value and a solid player until last season (I still do not understand what went wrong for him, but with the departure of Jerry Gray I am getting the vibe of bad barry smell)

Z showed up on the field for 2 seasons and may have caused a bit of a ripple in the culture/locker room, but evidently his shenanigans didn't set well with players (not voted a team captain) or management (his "injury") and he needed to be gone.

I was never thrilled with "Turnstile" Turner. He was serviceable at guard and average would be a compliment at tackle - either side. For his salary he was a bad investment in my estimation.

Overall, the moves had to be made and they worked out better than most FA moves do. Grade - B, not bad at all.

3 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

March 03, 2023 at 09:17 am

I do not believe Ted had much of anything to do with the Selections in the 2017 draft. He valued big guys and pass rush. King, Jones and Montravious are three strikes and they're Out. Toss in an injured Biegel, on the trade down and you have sink holes that rival South Florida. It did not help to pile on the head scratchers in 2018 with Jackson, Burks and J'mon. Six holes. The replacement theory works if you at least get four years of Production from your picks. You cannot miss on more than the 50% rate.

0 points
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Coldworld's picture

March 04, 2023 at 09:17 am

I agree with you that little of that was truly TT. From what was said at the time of the changes, Russ Ball was effectively running the GM function after 2015 (comments from Murphy). That was what led to the issues between McCarthy and the FO and potentially also the scouting personnel. It was increasingly whispered and hinted at in the media that Ted was no longer really a factor and virtually invisible, even for him.

Certainly Ball was the one who made the call move on from Heyward, Hyde and a couple of others, some of which caused friction in addition to supposed differences in player types acquired versus desired. There was a reason Murphy didn’t leave Ball reporting to the GM, which is highly unusual.

Supposedly until then, the rumor was that Ball was intended to replace TT, with that time on record as his justification for a move from accountant to GM. If one recalls, Murphy claimed that he hadn’t been paying enough attention to the issues over that period when he stepped in to restructure and cited ‘silos’: notably between coach and GM as a prime justification, despite Ball being well and long known as his closest confidante.

0 points
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BirdDogUni's picture

March 03, 2023 at 11:54 am

Ted left the cupboard so bare because he was mentally impaired and Mark Murphy should've been fired for covering for him...

3 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

March 03, 2023 at 02:39 pm

The young' uns were running that draft. Wolf's kid, Gutedkunst, Highsmith and Sullivan with The Wizard of Odd over-seeing the adventure.

0 points
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mrtundra's picture

March 03, 2023 at 08:11 am

In their first two years together, on the field, the Smiths gave us everything we wanted and needed, across the DLine. Turner was a good player, for us, as well. Look at our OLine now, and tell me we couldn't use Turner, again at RT. Amos had a solid year for us and always played well, along the LOS. It's time to move on and none of these guys, save Preston, will be with us. Let's draft another Safety, an Edge Rusher, a TE who can block and catch, and maybe another DL guy and a WR, or two, and let's roll, next season! GO PACK, GO!!!

5 points
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Johnblood27's picture

March 03, 2023 at 08:17 am

OK, Im game...

We couldn't use Turner at RT.

There, I said it.

I would MUCH rather have Nijman or Tom at RT. I would rank Rasheed Walker or Caleb Jones as his equal as a slightly below average RT at far less money and more upside to be explored.

There, my perspective on Turnstile Turner and the GBP RT position.

5 points
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PackyCheese500's picture

March 03, 2023 at 09:48 am

Just look how he did for the Broncos this year

2 points
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coolhand's picture

March 03, 2023 at 11:26 am

I felt Turner was much better at guard than tackle. He didn't seem to me to have quick feet. To move him to LT when Bakh got hurt was a disastrous decision by MLF and his coaches.

1 points
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PackyCheese500's picture

March 03, 2023 at 11:32 am

Nijman would have been better

2 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

March 03, 2023 at 01:19 pm

Yeah, no. Turner was better than Nijman and Turner could play RG as well, a useful ability. [Tom is a different story, so this is limited to Nijman.] Turner's PFF grades were 65, 69 and 66 in GB. Turner got a lot less help than Nijman got.

I don't know what else to say other than I simply completely disagree on their quality of play. As a note, $7M for a guard isn't great, but $7M for a RT is perfectly reasonable. Good signing.

1 points
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BirdDogUni's picture

March 03, 2023 at 08:52 pm

Didn't Turner get destroyed by the Bucs in the NFCCG?

Or am I misremembering?

3 points
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greengold's picture

March 03, 2023 at 08:00 pm

Rasheed Walker may prove to have been a true gift pick. Good player who had a down year entering the draft, with all the physical tools you look for in a starting OT.

These are my draft notes on Walker:
_____

OT Rasheed Walker - Former big recruit who showcases his athletic chops on film often. Ugly wins pop more than expected, but he has invaluable recovery skills and legitimate NFL offensive tackle length. If he learns to keep the gate closed longer this can be a steal for Green Bay

Walker possesses enticing power and measurables but has issues that could be challenging to correct if he stays at tackle. Ohio State defenders were able to burn up his outside edge, which creates concern about his pass pro range, but it can be hard to beat his anchor with pure power. He has issues playing beyond his base, creating chronic over-extension that will be exploited by skilled NFL rush talent. He's capable as a run blocker and should keep getting better with more hand work. Walker projects as a right tackle on the next level but might move inside to guard if his range and balance in pass sets aren't up to par.

STRENGTHS:
* Displayed ability for quick and vertical sets.
* Stout core withstands a bull rush.
* Fires hands through defender's pads.
* Extends and presses rusher past the arc.
* Controlled inside power step for firmer post.
* Better hand placement will bolster drive blocking.
* Power to shove and clear debris from the lane.
* Able to hold his ground in base blocks versus power.
* Adequate adjustments in space.

WEAKNESSES:

* Might not have enough range to play left tackle.
* Base can get too wide in pass sets.
* Weight sits on his outside foot in pass slides.
* Reaches and leans rather than maintaining flat-back posture.
* Opens door wide for a variety of inside counters.
* Lacks twitch fitting into run block.
* Hands need to be faster and more accurate.
* Needs to improve positioning after contact.

Ranked Overall #121 by PFF

Ranked Overall # 105 Ourlads

Ranked Overall #93 by Athlon

Ranked Overall #138 by The Sporting News

If you wince at some of this stuff, you ought to look back at David Bakhtiari’s draft profile. I swear by Athlon & Ourlads, and have followed TSN since decades before the interwebs.

Walker with Steno’s coaching, for a full year of development could surprise.

As for Turner, he turned in some good games for us and thought he proved himself with his versatility. He certainly wasn’t a bust. Played in a lot of wins over his 59 games in 4 seasons.

The best? No, but good. Fans know Rodgers took a lot of sacks instead of throwing to give his WRs chances to win contested battles . It’s been his MO for years.

2 points
4
2
13TimeChamps's picture

March 03, 2023 at 08:39 am

In the 2 seasons before the signings, GB went 13-18-1. The next 2 years they went 26-6 and hosted the NFCCG in Lambeau after the 2020 season. No way that happens without those signings. So, yes, it was worth it.

13 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

March 03, 2023 at 11:36 am

Well Champs...you beat me to this comment. The results on the field for a team game need to be included for this FA class. Thumbs up!

Gutey had his worst draft in 2018 (only Alexander the Great remains) and followed that with his best FA offseason in 2019.

2 points
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PackyCheese500's picture

March 03, 2023 at 10:13 am

The Packers have met with some of the top TEs at the combine. They have met with Dalton Kincaid and Michael Mayer, and are scheduled to meet with Luke Musgrave.

1 points
4
3
stockholder's picture

March 03, 2023 at 11:24 am

The only way you take a Te.
Is because the All in failed.
Unless they get an extra pick.
Drafting a TE early: is the wrong move

-5 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

March 03, 2023 at 02:43 pm

Kraft with a move Up in rd three, if necessary. Then sniff out the Big Ten guys. Rebuild the Room. Bring in the components of the New Offenses.

0 points
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splitpea1's picture

March 03, 2023 at 10:54 am

I think so because we got some upgrades where we desperately needed them at the time. We would have never been in the position to contend if we had relied solely on the draft. Say what you will, but at least Gute broke the barrier of not signing notable outside FAs that had been in place for much of Ted's tenure.

3 points
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Bitternotsour's picture

March 03, 2023 at 01:36 pm

you can only say that if you have no idea of what happened in Thompson's career. He signed
A. Charles Woodson
B. Julius Peppers
C. Ryan Grant

and a host of others. I don't know why this narrative won't die. Thompson signed free agents, he just didn't sacrifice picks. He signed his own free agents most frequently. He also seldom overpaid. He ran a tight ship. Stop the slander.

-4 points
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splitpea1's picture

March 03, 2023 at 03:30 pm

Note that I said "much" of his tenure. Who else does this "host" of other notable players (no, I don't include Green because he was a waiver claim) include besides Pickett? And Grant was one of his own FAs after being acquired from the Giants previously for a draft pick.

So that's why the narrative remains. No slander, just the truth. You might want to get your facts straight before you post.

0 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

March 04, 2023 at 07:49 am

His back was against the Wall after so many whiffs in his drafting. The Depth Chart was barren. He made the moves, but they are also a part of the CAP Hell equation.

0 points
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PackyCheese500's picture

March 03, 2023 at 11:40 am

The latest PFF mock (Rodgers is traded to the Jets for pick 13 and a conditional 2023 first:

13: EDGE Lukas Van Ness, Iowa
15: Traded to Chargers for picks 21 and 53
21: TE Michael Mayer, Notre Dame
45: S Sydney Brown, Illinois
53: ILB Jack Campbell, Iowa
78: Traded to texans for picks 104, 138, and a 2024 5th-round pick
104: WR A.T. Perry, Wake Forest
115: DT Brodric Martin, Western Kentucky
138: WR Michael Wilson, Stanford
151: C Ricky Stromberg, Arkansas
170: S Quindell Johnson, Memphis
217: EDGE YaYa Diaby, Louisville
224: TE Blake Whiteheart, Wake Forest
233: K Chad Ryland, Maryland
239: C Alex Forsyth, Oregon
243: CB Rezjohn Wright, Oregon St.

One of Forsyth or Stromberg would be converted to guard.
I think that ILB could be a sneaky position of need for the Packers. De'Vondre is 30 and didn't have the greatest season last year, and while Walker is promising he is still somewhat of an unknown (it's looking good though). Krys Barnes and Eric Wilson, two of our main backups, are also free agents.

I like (and I think the FO will too) Iowa ILB Jack Campbell. He feels like another Packers-y player to me. His physical presence, football IQ, and instincts are what we need in the middle of our D. He's also a very good tackler and run defender. I think we should replace one Campbell with another; a post-June cut or trade of De'Vondre would save 5+ million in cap space and probably get us an extra 4th or even a 3rd round pick in 2024.

-3 points
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BirdDogUni's picture

March 03, 2023 at 12:13 pm

IDK, but I would guess Van Ness would be the 1st player in history who never started a game, but goes #13 overall... ?

1 points
1
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stockholder's picture

March 03, 2023 at 01:26 pm

BP 17 - To Low.

1 points
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PackyCheese500's picture

March 03, 2023 at 02:07 pm

Just because he never started isn't an indictment of his talent, but rather that of the Iowa coaching staff. He played substantially in a rotational role, though. It's actually impressive he was able to be so productive in college considering he didn't start. He also blew up the combine.

He was a Sophomore in college, and I think the starters are always the players with the most seniority at Iowa. IDK, that's just what I've heard.

-1 points
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croatpackfan's picture

March 03, 2023 at 12:30 pm

McDuffie showed some improvement last season when he was used on D. So, we have at least 3rd serviceable ILB.

4 points
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PackyCheese500's picture

March 03, 2023 at 02:06 pm

Is he good enough to be a starting ILB? I think he is a good #3 LB and ST contributor. I think we need to move on from 30-year old Campbell. Jack Campbell is a can't miss prospect at ILB IMO

1 points
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stockholder's picture

March 03, 2023 at 09:27 pm

Which is why I want Nolan Smith.
Believe or not:
He wasn't happy with his 40 time.

0 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

March 04, 2023 at 07:54 am

He's not an Edge guy. He's an OLB in a 4/2-4/3 set up. What were his reps on the bench? Could Barry scheme him effectively? Spags would look his way maybe, but they are Ahead of the Curve, selecting Karlaftis with the one pick and bringing in your guy Chenal ( from Grantsburg, WI by the way, Gutey) as the designated pass rusher on 3rd downs. They Rebuilt the pass rush and won the SB. He took Walker and Rhyan.

0 points
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Leatherhead's picture

March 03, 2023 at 12:41 pm

I like all the picks we get towards the top. I'm a little disappointed that we're not getting offensive linemen earlier, but if we're happy with Newman and Walker as our primary backups, that's OK.

I'm wondering why we spend #53 on an ILB when we already have Campbell and Walker?

0 points
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2
PackyCheese500's picture

March 03, 2023 at 02:05 pm

Here's why we go ILB: I think a post-June trade or cut of the 30-year old De'Vondre Campbell is possible. If this is the plan, we need another guy to complement Walker. It looks like 2021 was a fluke, and that Campbell is just an average player that is below-average against the run.

Everyone talks so much about the Best Player Available, and that is what I think Jack Campbell is. I think he is a great fit for the Packers and I wouldn't want to miss out on him. He brings the physicality and leadership that this defense was sorely lacking in 2022. Ultimately, he's just a prospect I don't think the Packers would want to miss out on. Why is it okay if the BPA is a running back but not a Linebacker?

I think if Bakhtiari is traded, we definitely take an OL toward the top. Hopefully Skoronski. It looks like he'll be staying, so that's what I'm assuming (letting Tom be our #6 OL that can fill in at any position).

-2 points
1
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jannes bjornson's picture

March 03, 2023 at 02:53 pm

Wright will probably go in the fourth round, or higher. CBs are in demand over the first two rounds. The Pack should get 2-3. Safety is not a panic situation. Savage has to show up for his cash and they have Douglas.
Re-sign Rudy Ford as a SS.

0 points
1
1
BradHTX's picture

March 03, 2023 at 03:37 pm

Lots to like about that mock, but nothing more than trading the 3rd rounder.

3 points
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PackyCheese500's picture

March 03, 2023 at 04:02 pm

Yeah, thanks...I don't want them to be picking in the 3rd round this year

0 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

March 03, 2023 at 11:50 am

I do consider Gutey a very good talent evaluator. But the hitch pin to success on the field requires outstanding coaching.

Pettine was a huge disappointment given his resume. Barry was just a stupid decision and smacked of desperation to hire a crony after MLF lost out on Leonard (which was bold and imaginative). And for 2023, the stupid is going to compound.

OLB coach Smith is gone. Gray is gone. Both were the top D coaches on the Packers.

Stenovich was a very good OL coach. He is not a good OC and promoting him and Butkus made both assistant spots much weaker.

I still believe the overall talent Gutey has brought to the Packers is very good. But the MLF coaching staff is not.

9 points
10
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PackyCheese500's picture

March 03, 2023 at 02:09 pm

Well said, LP. I agree

1 points
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croatpackfan's picture

March 03, 2023 at 12:35 pm

Well, I read your posts and with lot of written I agree.

Only one thing doesn't sound well for me. There are some TT evaluators claimed that he was not bringing FA on the team.

To remind you of one, very significant FA signing made by TT - Charles Woodson. And, as I remember correctly, he brought several FA during 2010 season when Packers were decimated by injuries and make that SB run possible. Isn't he?

3 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

March 03, 2023 at 01:20 pm

Pickett and Peppers were very good FAs signed by Ted too. Sir Charles was the best.

3 points
3
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Bitternotsour's picture

March 03, 2023 at 01:39 pm

Peppers is a damn hall of famer...
Pickett was a force of nature.

3 points
3
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pantz_bURp's picture

March 03, 2023 at 01:46 pm

What about Howard Greene (?) who got a hold of Ben's arm in the Super Bowl which allowed Nick to return the int for a touchdown...IIRC? Not the biggest signing, but he knew his role and played it well.

Desmond Howard?

Yeah, Peppers...the perfect guy to be the first one off the bus! 😁💪

4 points
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13TimeChamps's picture

March 03, 2023 at 03:50 pm

"In Super Bowl XLV against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Green was able to hit quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's arm forcing an interception that was returned for a touchdown. The Packers eventually won the game 31–25."
Good recall. I had forgotten about that play.

Desmond Howard was a Ron Wolf signing, not Thompson.

2 points
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pantz_bURp's picture

March 03, 2023 at 03:57 pm

Thanks for the correct info on DH 13x.

Desmond was a game changer. Has a smile as big as Double D's.

2 points
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croatpackfan's picture

March 03, 2023 at 02:52 pm

So, after all, it is not true that Ted Thompson was not active on FA market?

0 points
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Coldworld's picture

March 04, 2023 at 09:31 am

He was not very active beyond depth. He openly preferred to develop within. If he did take an established player, it was when a player was, in his view, clearly talented, better than we had, with a skill set we could use and significantly undervalued in the market: for example Pickett, Woodson, Peppers. Howard Green was a need driven in season pick up of a guy who had talent but a questionable motor. He did almost nothing until the playoffs. He did little after. Great pick up for us as it turned out, but a different scenario.

0 points
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davekenya's picture

March 03, 2023 at 02:31 pm

I agree with folks here who said Gute's FA frenzy was worth it -- dollars well spent. GB would not have had the (immediate) success they enjoyed w/o these.

I did not appreciate that the 'hit rate' for UFAs lasting out their 4-year contracts is less than 25%. Our edge rushers were a big liability at the time -- so while for 5 seconds I remember thinking it was overkill drafting Gary when you had the Smiths, you never know how the Smiths would pan out ... so Gary was great insurance (and could be part of a rotation) so that all was smart and explains why Gary was the #1 pick.

One small thing I'd add...Gute (relatively speaking) started out his FA spending with a clean slate -- he did not have a lot of dead money carried over from TT (b/c of how TT operated towards FA spending). Thus, Gute was able to 'indulge' more in his FA spending early on (compared to now). As such, he could 'get away' with spending a bit more on these FA pickups and not worry as much about the immediate (year or two) cap impact these contracts may have. That was a short-term luxury now long gone as Gute's approach to FA and spending mirrors more GMs around the league...and he has to consider the cap liabilities he's created in what he's able to spend in FA (that he didn't have to worry about in his earliest GM years). I hope this makes sense -- I know what I want to say but for whatever reason am having a hard time articulating it...

2 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

March 04, 2023 at 08:09 am

What about Perry's Deal?

0 points
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gpt999's picture

March 03, 2023 at 03:10 pm

In my opinion, it was worth it! It changed the impression - somewhat - that GB was not a "cheap" franchise and would spend money to win. I also think it put to an unofficial end the Ted Thompson model - grow from within and don't spend a lot of money on free agents. And while Thompson's model was legitimately born out of the years of financial survival for GB, those days are well behind us.

On the other hand, the recent "free wheeling spend future money now" model in GB is also dangerous. It assumes you have the horses to win now and a coaching staff that can maximize the talent pool that they possess. On the latter issue, I have serious doubts.

2 points
2
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lou's picture

March 04, 2023 at 07:29 am

Very good article and sound reasoning. Only thing I would point out is in reference to Preston Smith setting an edge, he gets caught inside way too much. They haven't had an outside LB consistently set a hard edge since Nick Perry.

0 points
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