Tramon Williams became the third Green Bay Packers’ free agent signing of the offseason, reuniting with the team on March 22. That was 10 days ago.
Other than the visit to Green Bay by receiver Jordan Matthews, which also took place on that day, all has been quiet around the front office since then. That’s understandable, as almost all of the most sought-after free agents have been taken.
For some examples, only three of the top 17 edge rushers (as ranked by rotoworld.com) remain: Junior Gallette (8), Connor Barwin (9), and Charles Johnson (11). Only nine of the top 30 receivers are left, headed by Matthews, whose knee and ankle surgeries in December must be giving teams pause. As to cornerbacks, all but two of the top 20 are gone – Davon House, originally ranked 19th, is one of them.
Who’s left hanging from last year’s team? In addition to House, it’s guard Jahri Evans, tight end Richard Rodgers and linebacker Ahmad Brooks. Except for House, who the Packers have shown some interest in, the Packers seem to have little need for, or interest in, the rest.
I should mention in passing that ex-Packer LaDarius Gunter had become an unrestricted free agent for almost two weeks last month, until Carolina re-signed him on March 26. There’s room for debate whether this was an opportunity missed by the Packers.
Where have the Packers come from and where are they now as this wild free agency period winds down? I believe the gaping holes entering the free agency period were at wide receiver, cornerback and edge rusher – and I think that’s also the consensus. The Packers have not obtained a new wide receiver or edge rusher. They did bring back cornerback Tramon Williams, though most would agree it’s at most a partial solution.
Instead the Packers went whole-hog and overpaid for tight end Jimmy Graham. They got another quality defensive lineman in Muhammad Wilkerson. And they obtained another backup quarterback in DeShone Kizer, by way of trade, which I think was sound planning.
Given that Green Bay hasn’t made a tight end a key component of its passing game since Jermichael Finley’s half-season of 2013, I refuse to view the tight end job as a pressing need. Since the Packers seldom use more than two down linemen at a time, Wilkerson didn’t fill a gaping need either. Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark are solid.
My view is that the Packers actually have needs for two new wide receivers and two new corners – a starter and a proven backup for each position. Why has the team done nothing to satisfy the most pressing needs on the roster? What am I missing?
I’m not sure what to expect anymore out of the re-aligned Packers’ front office. I’m left to expect they’ll be using the draft to fill these roster holes. The trouble is that rookies – even relatively high draft picks – can’t realistically be expected to perform like veterans in their first year.
I went out a limb back on March 21 when I theorized that “the Packers are knowingly sacrificing the 2018 season so that they can make the strongest possible postseason run next year.” These last 10 days, however, have made me more convinced than ever that 2018 is a rebuilding year in Green Bay. And that’s not April Fooling!