The free agency deals have slowed down to a dribble, with close to two-thirds of the eligible players having secured contracts. The Green Bay Packers, however, still has several players – or former players to be more precise – that have moved up the list of free agents who are still free.
Davon House is the third highest rated available cornerback out of 27.
Among guards/centers, Jahri Evans is fourth out of 22 players left.
Jeff Janis is rated 10th by rotoworld.com among 21 remaining available wide receivers.
Richard Rodgers is rated 10th out of 15 remaining tight ends.
Ahmad Brooks is 11th ranked out of 22 edge defenders.
Quinton Dial is 12th out of 26 defensive linemen.
Packers’ Apparent Personnel Strategies
What do the above player statuses say about the plans of Green Bay’s front office people?
I’d say that the team has little or no interest in re-signing Janis, Rodgers, Brooks or Dial. If they had much of an interest, it would have been shown by now, as none of the four would cost much to keep on the roster.
Davon House is a different story – based on reports, the Packers have had some talks with him or his agent recently.
Battle Among Guards
Veteran guard Jahri Evans, who’s is now rated among the top remaining guards, is likely to be picked off by another team at any time. While I suspect the Packers might still re-sign him, it seems it would only be for a very low-ball deal.
This suggests one or two things. One is an acknowledgement that 2018 is a rebuilding year for the team, and they’d rather be providing experience to young and rising players than to one who is almost surely in his final year in the league.
The second possibility is that the Packers expect that one or more of the young guys will prove to be a starter-quality NFL guard: Justin McCray, Lucas Patrick, Kyle Murphy or Kofi Amichia.
Of the four, McCray has the best chance of becoming a starter if Evans is not re-signed.
Kyle Murphy was a four-year starter at Stanford, where he was named to multiple first-team and second-team All-Pac-12 teams. He was primarily a tackle for the Cardinal, though he also played some at guard. I had forgotten that Murphy had actually started the first three games of 2017, at tackle, before a foot injury sent him to injured reserve. The Packers got him in 2016 in round six of the draft. Critics have questioned his quickness, a trait that might render him more suitable as a guard.
Kofi Amichia was also a sixth-round choice, taken last year. He was waived in September, signed on to the practice squad, and then signed a reserve/future contract with the team on January 3.
These four young players will be battling it out at training camp for being the top backup guard or for becoming Jahri Evans’ replacement.
Green Bay’s plans for its wide receiver group – which I have viewed for some time as its top player personnel challenge – will get extended analysis in my next post.