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So the NFL wants to suspend Green Bay Packers linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers. We still doubt that will happen, but the threat has definitely been presented.

What if?

Certainly the Packers aren’t going to be better off without two of their star defenders. However, they appear poised to mitigate any potential loss. Before we get into how, we should mention that even if there are suspensions, we’re not going to be talking about a year-long benching. We’d estimate between one and four games.

How would the Packers survive?

When the organization trotted out Ted Thompson on Tuesday, he mentioned that the team has a contingency plan in place at every position.

One of their best contingency plans might be at outside linebacker, where they seemingly have unprecedented depth.

Matthews would clearly be the bigger loss, as Peppers isn’t a full-time player at this point in his career. Although Julius is a No. 1 on the depth chart, Nick Perry is poised to get more snaps than Peppers anyway.

If you think back to last year, Matthews was on the inside. Mike Neal, who was no better than mediocre, got more snaps than Peppers at outside linebacker. The Packers are in a better position with a healthy Perry and no Peppers than they were with Neal starting.

Matthews is tougher to replace and we suspect the Packers would do that by committee. That committee would be made up of Jayrone Elliott, Datone Jones and possibly Lerentee McCray.

Elliott, a former undrafted free agent, is already expected to have an expanded role in his third season. We’ve seen flashes of playmaking ability in limited action in the past. See last year’s victory over Seattle as Example 1.

Jones, a former defensive end, has shown ability as a pass rusher at outside linebacker and McCray has been one of the pleasant surprises in camp.

We haven’t even mentioned third-round pick Kyler Fackrell yet. Fackrell doesn’t look ready to contribute just yet, but even if there are suspensions, he probably won’t have to.

The Packers defense wouldn’t be as good without Matthews and Peppers, but they could definitely still be a serviceable unit if those guys were lost for a period of time.

Joseph Bonham

Joseph is a fiction writer when he isn't doing this. In his spare time he likes to do manly things like drink beer and procreate.



  1. ay hombre August 17, 2016

    Suspensions won’t happen without appeals. So I wouldn’t expect anyone to miss games this entire season. If that happens Peppers likely retires and won’t have to miss anything.

    1. Tucson Packer August 17, 2016

      Oh, you don’t think the Ginger Hammer can just suspend willy-nilly without any actual evidence for provocation? Screw appeals, Ginger will suspend all now and shut down all appeals later. Master and Commander. Judge and Jury. Absolute power corrupting absolutely. “How DARE someone tell ME no!, I am gonna suspend you now!!” He is going to take YOUR ball and go home, to his castle the NFLPA built.

      Don’t forget that ol’ Ginger’s wife is from Chi-town and is a life long Bears fan. I am sure she is still giving him crap for letting those fudge-packers win the Lombardi (again) in ’10.

      1. PF4L August 17, 2016

        Interesting..I didn’t know that the NFLPA built Goodell’s castle. Here i thought Goodell built his own castle from wages he receives from the NFL for growing the sport, it’s tv contract’s, and also increasing revenue almost 10 billion dollars since he became commissioner. Since the NFL salary’s is based on total revenue and are paid out at over 50% of revenue just to the players, that means that Goodell is responsible for the players receiving 5 billion dollars more in wages since 2006, i’m not that bright, but i think that buys a lot of castles.

        Correct me if i’m wrong, but DeMaurice Smith’s wages are paid from the money deducted from players checks as Union dues? So maybe, more accurately, it is Goodell who built Smith’s castle.

  2. Icebowler August 17, 2016

    They are going to be “suspended indefinitely” until they interview.

    1. PF4L August 17, 2016


  3. PF4L August 17, 2016

    Is this similar to the contingency plan the Packers had when Rodgers broke his collarbone? I think the contingency plan is, have the offense score 50+ points, because w/out Clay and Julius, we have next to nothing for pass rush outside of Mike Daniel.

    Not sure why you doubt that any suspensions will occur, if they don’t cooperate, i’m 100% sure there will be indefinite suspensions. But hombre makes a valid point, suspension’s could be lifted if they appeal successfully. But at what price? The only thing that does, is start the circus, it will follow us all fucking season led by every media outlet out there, just like deflategate.

    To me, if these players are innocent, the only reason they are being told not to cooperate, is under the direction of the NFLPA, trying to get a .lb of flesh from Goodell, dragging these players through the court system.

    So if this all goes down, ask yourself, who loses in all of this…..i say the players lose, the Packers lose, the team loses because it’s highly disruptive, the NFL players again lose millions in litigation, just like in deflategate. So at the end of the day, the biggest losers are the players, and the Packers as a team.

    The winners? DeMaurice Smith’s cronie lawyer buddies..again.

    Ask yourself what would happen, if Clay and Mathews, because they know they are innocent, go to the NFLPA and ask them, that they just want to talk to the league and put this behind them and get it over with. To spare themselves, the team, and the Green Bay Packers and it’s fans, the drama and media turmoil that this would all cause. do you think the NFLPA will tell them, ok, go ahead?

    I don’t think so. Only because the NFLPA needs some high profile big name Martyr’s to fight the NFL again, and who better than Mathews and Peppers? Would Smith pass up a chance to get the NFL back into court again, especially after being salty about losing deflategate? I hope i’d be wrong, but i don’t think so. They’d rather us these players as pawns to get at the NFL. Because all they have to lose is the Players associations money, it’s not like it’s their money. Well, check that, that money will then be going to Smiths lawyer friends he hires.

    I’m not concerned of a couple players losing a few games, i’m more concerned that this becomes a circus and stretches over the length of the season, and brings with it the stench that it creates.

    1. PF4L August 17, 2016

      *Clay and Julius

    2. Deepsky August 18, 2016

      I don’t know if they have next to nothing.

      The Packers, in trying to figure out what they had in Mike Neal, gave him a lot of snaps last season and he did little with it. Datone Jones and Nick Perry each had half the number of snaps and produced about the same. I’ve always been a firm believer in Perry. For some reason people knock Perry and forget about his key strip sacks. I think if Jones and Perry can stay healthy and get more snaps, their production will be decent.

      As for Jayrone Elliot, he actually lead the Packers in sack percentage, even higher than Peppers.

      I also think Kyler Fackrell is the real deal. He’s a true 3-4 outside linebacker, not some converted 4-3 defensive end.

      1. Phatgzus August 18, 2016

        Agreed on Perry and Jones-JOnes has always been a better pass-rusher than run-stuffer anyway.

        Elliott needs to be a lot more consistent, disappears way too often for far too long.

        I think Fackrell’s coverage ability is the real deal, one of his major knocks was his pass rush, particularly his lack of variety, this should change some with time. Another knock was his size, considering he’s about the same weight as Matthews I don’t think he’ll be great setting the edge, hopefully he won’t be a major liability and can be a 3-down player.

  4. Howard August 17, 2016

    I agree that the NFLPA is holding back the players from interviews. When it comes to Matthews and Peppers losing weekly pay checks, then I believe Matthews and Peppers will push back on the NFLPA. Matthews stands to lose over $500,000 a game. Peppers a little under $500,000 a game. I do not care how much money a player has made over his career you do not give that up without a fight, even if it is the NFLPA.

    1. PF4L August 17, 2016

      I hear ya, but it’s not just about the money, not even close.

  5. PF4L August 17, 2016

    Rodgers was asked on the jim Rome show, if he felt Goodell held too much power….

    “If that is the case, we have nobody to blame but ourselves,” Rodgers replied. “Because we had the opportunity in the CBA to make some legitimate changes to that. I think there was probably too much pressure to come to a deal when we had all the power on our side.

    “That was something we should have had negotiated into the CBA because there shouldn’t be somebody who is the judge, jury and executioner, as they say.”

    Exactly correct, and because of the ineptness of the NFLPA not negotiating these very issues that they are constantly complaining about. Thus then, the players and their teams have to pay the price by the NFLPA under court litigations, because of the NFLPA’s own ineptitude and failures to address that VERY issue before signing off on a 10 year CBA deal “ALLOWING” Goodell that very power, they criticize him with having.

    That’s why, i cant stand any of this shit. In essence, the NFLPA is angry, and litigates everything that they deem unfair and an abuse of power, at the peril of it’s own membership but at the same time, signed off on giving the NFL that very right for 10 years. And then pretend they have the players best interest in mind. Six years too late assholes.

    The players should be pissed off at the Union for derelict of duty, not the NFL. It’s so misguided.

    1. rebelgb August 18, 2016

      PF4L said it all. Further those assuming litigation will delay the suspensions till after the season are simply wrong. Deflategate proved the Commisioners right to give Suspensions for Conduct Unbecoming the League. This certainly can fall under that precedence, so there is no need for future judges to delay decisions on these appeals. It is likely that any appeal by the players would be sped through the courts (if even heard) and if anything Matthews and Peppers would likely be suspended midway through the season or nearer its end… so at the worst possible time.

      Matthews and Peppers say they have nothing to hide, well then get your ass into the office and talk to the NFL and end this charade.

      1. PF4L August 18, 2016

        Exactly, clear your own name if your innocent, don’t derail the season, lose team focus, don’t hurt the team, Packer fans, the reputation of the Packers, only because the NFLPA wants to use you as pawns as against the NFL. The NFLPA doesn’t give a shit about Mathews or Peppers, or the Green Bay Packers. They only give a shit about being in the news fighting the NFL.