It’s the latter half of February, and the Silly Season is already in full bloom. Though the Packers have to trim $24 million or so from its roster (in view of restructuring Bakhtiari’s deal), pundits are envisioning adding more top NFL talent to the roster. The problem is that we presently have more top talent than we can afford to keep.
Over at Acme Packing, writer Jordan E. Smith has spotted some free agents he thinks the Packers should go after. His first brainstorm is to acquire Allen Robinson, the 27-year-old Bears’ wide receiver. Despite being thrown to by Nick Foles and Mitch Trubisky, Robinson this past season caught 102 balls (6th best), for 1,250 yards (9th best) and six touchdowns. In his seven-year pro career, Robinson he’s accumulated 5,999 passing yards. Pro Football Network rates him as the top free agent WR in 2021.
How will the Packers pay for him? Smith thinks he might work cheap for the chance of hooking up with a top QB. He doesn’t dwell on the fact that Robinson has been a free agent before – the guy who might not care about money got at 3-year deal for $42M last time around. Smith even posits that Robinson might relish being a WR2, which would free him up to getting even more catches while opponents are concentrating on Davante Adams. Sure.
Should Robinson not be willing to work cheap, Smith has another guy in mind: Kenny Golladay, a receiver for the Lions for his four years as a pro. All Galladay has done is topped 1,000 yards in receiving in his second and third years; in 2019 – a season in which he was the league’s top touchdown receiver and was named to the Pro Bowl.
Pro Football Network ranks Golladay the fourth best WR free agent – ahead of guys like Will Fuller, Marvin Jones, Jr., A.J.Green, T.Y. Hilton, and Sammy Watkins. Golladay will probably go for around $12M in a few weeks.
I don’t know Jordan Smith, but his specialty is fantasy football. That would seem to be appropriate.
Not to be outdone, Packers Wire (USA Today) has gone nuts over J.J. Watt. Writer Zach Kruse on February 12 penned over 1,100 words under the headline: “Breaking down if the Packers should sign DL J.J. Watt.” Watt is officially signed through 2021, but he requested that the Texans, release him, and they indicated a willingness to do so. Then that very same day Kruse sent out a second post: “How Packers could get J.J. Watt, and why they probably won’t.”
Still on February 12, another USA Today writer chimed in with this one: “Handicapping the teams that could compete in the J.J. Watt sweepstakes” – this one consumed 1,295 words, and the Packers were thought to be in fifth position.
It turns out the campaign by Packers Wire to get J.J. was just getting started. On February 13, they posted: “Krik Trip and Culver’s are recruiting J.J. Watt back to Wisconsin.” Then on February 14 came: “Report Packers have interest in adding DL J.J. Watt.” The next day’s follow-up was: “How Packers could pitch J.J. Watt on playing in Green Bay.” I haven’t been able to bear checking out the latest from that site.
Watt was about to enter the final year of a 6-year $100 million contract. He’s to receive $17.5M for the 2021 season.
We’re now less than a month from the opening of the free agent free-for-all. Rather than dealing with myths, let’s explore the reality of how the Packers will likely approach the upcoming free agency hysteria.
I imagine that, like every other NFL team that is over the salary cap, the Packers will have little interest in pursuing FAs who are commanding more than $5 million per season. In the Packers’ case, my guess is that Green Bay will be scouring players who are obtainable for no more than $2 million per season. The Packers priority should and will be adding a few guys as backups at positions in which the team is the thinnest.
Even at that price, it’s possible that the Packers could acquire a free agent who could be a starter, such as at guard or inside linebacker. The dream is that the team could strike gold, as the Buccaneers recently did.
In four playoff games the Bucs’ Leonard Fournette churned out 300 yards, including 89 yards on 16 carries in the Super Bowl. Fournette became a free agent just prior to the 2020 season, and the Bucs signed him up for a year at $2 million. He’s about to become a free agent again.
Unlike with the draft, the prospects of free agents are well known. In most cases they have had four or seven or eight years of playing in the NFL. While undrafted players fresh out of college sometimes turn out to be great finds, you pretty much get what you pay for with veteran free agents.
What quality of player will the Packers likely be looking for when free agency gets underway? My guess is that if the Packers pick up any free agents from other teams, they won’t spend more than $2 million per year.
Seeing most fans aren’t all that familiar with lower-tier players on other teams, here’s a list of players with backgrounds with Green Bay who signed on as free agents (mostly in 2020) along with their ages (mostly current ages), teams, and dollars paid per year – all or almost all of these deals were for one year only:
OLB Reggie Gilbert (27), Titans, 750K
Tackle Jason Spriggs (26), Bears, 825K
Safety Ibraheim Campbell (28), Green Bay, 910K
WR Jake Kumerow (28), Bills, 920K
ILB James Burgess (26), Jets, 925K
ILB Jake Ryan (28), Ravens, 925K
CB Tramon Williams (37), Ravens, 1.05M
DL Mike Pennel (29), Chiefs, 1.05M
RB Ty Montgomery (27), Saints, 1.05M
WR Geronimo Allison, Lions, 1.05M
Safety Chris Banjo (30), Cardinals, 1.19M
Fullback Danny Vitale (27), Patriots, 1.3M
DT Mike Daniels (31), Bengals, 1.45M
Safety Damarious Randall (28), Raiders, 1.5M
ILB B.J. Goodson (27), Browns, 2.4M
WR Devin Funchess (26), Packers, 2.5M
Very few of the above players provided decent returns to their current teams. Pretty deflating, isn’t it? For the most part, Green Bay will be looking for reliable backups at positions of need. If the Pack gets lucky, maybe they’ll find an ILB, DL, or O-lineman, or two, who can be a capable fill-in in the event of injuries to starting players.
Goodson has been a starting linebacker for the last four years, on three separate NFL teams: the Giants, Packers, and Browns. After being traded, in a swap of seventh-round picks, Goodson was with Green Bay for all of the 2019 season. Though he played sparingly, as was Pettine’s way, he had 37 tackles, was rugged and aggressive, and covered a lot of ground alongside Blake Martinez.
Instead of staying in Green Bay, Goodson signed a one-year deal for $2.4M. It is likely Green Bay was not willing to go that high. However, hindsight tells us the Pack would have been better off, on the field and financially, by re-signing B.J. Goodson. B.J., who has been largely healthy for the last three years, had 91 tackles as a starter with the Browns this past season. Kirksey, who missed five games, wound up with only 72, though he did have two sacks, four passes defended, and two interceptions.
I wouldn’t mind it if the Packers were to sign up free agent Goodson for $2.5 to $3 million per year, and release Kirksey, whose play has never came close to justifying the 2-year $ 13.5M deal Green Bay gave him. The other thing I’d like is for the new defensive coordinator to play two true inside linebackers, Krys Barnes and Goodson on all but likely passing plays.
Lewis is a fine blocker, but he’s also only a role player on this team – last season he was on the field for 40.6 percent of the offensive plays. The Packers have two exciting young tight ends, Tonyan and Deguara, who are custom-made for a two-tight-end formation on a Rodgers-led attack. Deguara, a third-round draft pick, really impressed me prior to his season-ending injury.
How about offering Lewis, who was paid $2.25M in 2020, one final year at $1.5M or $1.75M – with the thinking that his playing time will be reduced in 2021.
Packer fans, prepare yourselves for a very quiet free agency period for your team. Not only is the team not in the market for a high-cost new acquisition, I doubt that they’ll even be attracted to anyone in the $4M to $8M range.
While the Packers are not likely to add any quality free agents to the roster, they do have good prospects for doing so at draft time – when the team should have the luxury of having 10 selections, including two each in the fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds.
With their high draft picks, Green Bay needs to acquire players who can start almost immediately – guys like Jaire Alexander, Darnell Savage, Elgton Jenkins, and Rashan Gary. With the rest of the picks, the Packers should look for backups who are better than those we have currently – at safety, cornerback, and defensive lineman in particular.
Next up: Can restructuring of high-priced contracts save the day?
Maybe this sheds some light on ….
A) Why Love couldn’t beat out an UDFA for 2nd string QB
B) Why we heard negatives about Loves performance in camp
C) How much of a project he really is.
” Love still has a lot to work on, with his field vision being painfully bad. He consistently locks his eyes on his primary read and does not move them away. He stares down targets and does not look off defenders. Love must start reading the field, working through his progressions, and making better decisions. Team sources felt that Love should have returned for his senior year to improve before going to the NFL, but he declared for the 2020 NFL Draft. One team source said they had a fourth-/fifth-round grade on Love. A few other teams said they had Love graded in the mid-rounds, but the team that likes him enough to draft him could do it in the early rounds because he has a starting skill set.
It’s being reported by sbnation that Christian Kirksey and Rick Wagner have been released. It’s good to see that Packers are acting without delay to address the salary cap overage. Could it be that the Packers are doing their best (going all in?) to re-sign Aaron Jones? At any rate, they are addressing the situation head on – I expect more player releases are soon to follow.
You are right Rob. The silly season is in full swing. The quote; “we already have more top talent than what we can afford to keep”, should be re-quoted to: “we already have to many 2nd and 3rd tier players being over valued, let alone overpaid”. To really see how silly it is out there in internet land, take a look at the overwhelming you-tube videos out there of people projecting FA landings, and mock drafts. Hell, we even have 15 year old forecasters out there with all their wisdom putting in their 2 cents. You gotta love it. It keeps the off season interesting, if not silly.
Wagner is a tough cut, after a slow start, he played well during the season sans Tampa Bay.
Releasing him netted the Packers 4.25 mill in cap relief, but….with Linsley and Wagner leaving, and a question mark on the return of Bakhtiari, this move puts more pressure in the draft for O line need. Possibly expect at least two lineman in the draft.
They may plan on inserting Runyan at one of the guard positions, or….maybe they have him eyed for playing center, idk.
Regardless….look for the O line to possibly be a priority in the draft.
The Packers could…..find a low cost band aid type lineman in free agency, but keep in mind, any money spent doing that, comes out of the cap savings of releasing an already proven player in Wagner.
Example…lets say they sign a FA lineman for 3 million….then all you really saved releasing a proven Wagner is 1.25 million.
That’s a dance i’d rather sit out…too risky for a low upside.
As far as Kirksey, he was largely a disappointment from go. How many years has it been since the Packers have been looking for a ILB?
Kirksey was the Packers 2nd free agent signing where the hype was, both players had ties to Mike Pettine.
I can remember some years ago where our only real team need was cornerback, and ilb. The more things change, the more they stay the same
Well…welcome to 2021 when we’ll be looking for O-lineman, a corner, an ilb, a D-lineman, receiver?,
Am i missing anything besides possibly a rb with some speed?
I agree PF4L. ILB, DL, WR have been obvious needs for a long time. They keep patching those holes with UDFAs’, picking up 2nd, 3rd, or 4th string players off of other teams practice squads, players off the street that haven’t seen action in a couple of years; trying to address those needs while spending as little as possible. TB and SF exposed those weaknesses in the last 2 NFCCGs! Best quote? “The more things change, the more they stay the same”
Like i’ve previously stated, all the hype of the Packers/Watt speculation is purely rooted from his ties to Wisconsin…..and nothing else.
“As a Wisconsin native, Watt heading to Green Bay is sensible based on how the homecoming would enhance his personal brand on and off the field. He already has earned legendary status as a former Badger…..” – Bucky Brooks
What! PF4L. You’re drinking the Tom Silverstein water, lol. Veteran player with juice left that was released at a position the Packers are in need. No ridiculous contract demands. Dont have to give away draft picks. Packers cant pick up the phone quick enough on those type guys in a normal off season.
I’ll assume you are talking about Watt.
How do we/you know what his salary demand is?
He was slated to make 17.5 million this season.
Even if he would take 12 million/year on a 2 or 3 year deal, do you think the Packers are in position to pick that up?
I’d give up a pick and give Gilmore 10 mill/year before i would justify signing Watt. .At least that way we would KNOW we are improving the team through a draft pick.
THAT…is a position of need. Did you watch the Packers in the NFCCG?
Skinny….the Packers can’t sign every big name player that becomes available…we’ve been through this.
Kirksey and Wagner being released is not a big surprise. The releases needed to happen before roster bonuses were due on about the 19th of March. The EARLY releases well before roster bonuses are due indicates to me that the Packers believe they have better and more healthy players on the current roster that can replace both at less cost.
The interesting part to me about yesterday’s release is why not release P.Smith at the same time? P. Smith has a roster bonus due on the same date as Kirksey and Wagner, and P. Smith’s roster bonus is a little more than the other two combined. It appears something may be going on with P.Smith’s contract (restructure?) or the Packers have a team interested in trading a pick, or young player for the rights to P.Smith?
I think they are fishing for a trade partner for P. Smith before giving him away.
I don’t blame them, giving him away isn’t a good look.
Not after collecting 27.5 million for 2 years. Sure he had some sacks in 2019…but they were damn expensive.
Lowry is next.
I think this year provides an opportunity to sign some decent players for one year contracts.
There are some teams that have good salary cap surplus this year and they can prosper from that. Those teams will be able to sign some top free agents and both parties will feel good about the deals.
I do believe after the first wave and a half of signings some quality free agents are going to be saying why sign a long term contract at reduced cost? After all there is over a half a billion dollars less floating around the NFL for players THIS year. Why not wait one more year when the cap may be increased substantially and then sign a new 3 to 4 year contract?
If a player decides to take the risk (injury) and sign a one year contract they will want to do so with a team that has a chance at contending. In addition those players will want to receive some signing bonus money. Bonus money of varying amounts on a one year contract may be warranted depending on the players quality. Teams can make those one year contracts with signing bonuses into two or three year contracts voiding the last year or two similar to how the Rams signed Leonard Floyd last year. Add in some incentives that won’t be tolled until 2022 and you can sign some quality free agents. You may only have those players for one year if you can’t extend their contract, but you can procure some good players in free agency.
I mentioned previously there might be some bargains to be had with teams dumping bloated salaries. Usually those are for veterans who are on the tail end of their careers, that is where 1 or 2 year deals make sense with a team option for year two.
And as you stated, those guys might want another shot at a ring. It’s just hard to imagine the Packers being big players in that mix, citing the fact it just doesn’t seem like Gutes priority is to get as much talent on the field as possible. That clearly hasn’t been his priority. Maybe he’ll re-adjust his thinking on that, but i’ll have to see it first.
If you find a gem worthy enough to give a 3 or 4 year deal to, the 2022 cap is anticipated to increase 47 million to next year according to OTC, if you really like someone the way i like Gilmore.
They should have went after Gilmore back when he signed with the Patriots.
IMO, if we had Gilmore last season, the Packers most likely get to the SB.
But someone valued bench players over team improvement…..on the field.
That isn’t some deep vast genius proclamation from me….it’s common sense based reality.
I thought the same about Gilmore in early 2017.
Howard March 7, 2017
House will not be the answer as a #1, but could help as a 2. I would prefer Gilmore as a #1 and I would not care if it came at an average of 12 to 13 mil. A year. Shit Shields was averaging 10 mil a year and the cap has raised approximately 25% since that contract was signed.
I think the Patriots signed Gilmore for an average of 13 million a year a few days to a week later. SHIT!!
Yup; I feel your pain Howard! Not only would Gilmore have been a leader in that secondary but; other than Savage and Alexander, they could have better spent 2- 2nd round picks in 2018; (King and J. Jones); a 2nd rounder in 2019 (Jackson) and a 6th rounder in 2019 (Hollman). They say shut down corners are hard to come by in the NFL, if you get a chance to secure one; do it! they’re worth the money.
Another big cornerback disappointment to me was the Vikings taking Xavier Rhodes one pick before the Packers in 2013. I was hoping Rhodes would be available and he almost was. Both Gilmore and Rhodes could be available this off season. Either would be a big plus to the Packers secondary.
I have to go by memory but i think the Queens released Rhodes to clear some cap space, caused by the effect of Rhodes seemingly losing some skill. He seemed to have a good 3 or 4 year window, but then started giving up a lot of TD passes if i remember correctly (See Kevin King).
Looking at him currently, it looks like the Colts got quite the deal on him a year ago for 3 million.
My guess is the Colts may be trying to work out a 2-3 year deal with Rhodes. We will know soon.
His stats look good for the Colts, but i have no clue how many TD’s he gave up.
But a change of scenery seemed to do him wonders.
Yes!!…i wanted the Packers to sign Gilmore also. They still could have drafted King because according to PFF, they have King graded as almost an adequate back up in the NFL.
But then again Gute thought he was a good starter and he’s the expert talent evaluator, not i.
Rhodes fell off a cliff at the end of his viking tenure. Gilmore could still be a legit #1 corner. Hard to tell with all the opt outs and dumpster fire team post brady.
“It was not too long ago that the Green Bay Packers were searching year in and year out for help early in the draft to shore up the cornerback position. When the Packers drafted Jaire Alexander three years ago, the unit quickly evolved into a team strength in the years that followed and restored optimism that the future of the position was in good hands. Yet, following a rather inconsistent 2020 season, it appears that cornerback will need to be addressed this offseason once again.” – Shawn Wagner
” In 2019, King was beginning to look like every bit of the player the team imagined when they selected him in the second round after fighting through a myriad of injuries as a professional” – Shawn Wagner
If you say so Shawn.
(2019 PFF Grade: 55.7)
“At the same time, the Packers’ lack of depth at corner makes him tough to lose this spring in particular. At just 25 years of age, King possesses the kind of length, height, and speed that are coveted in today’s NFL for the boundary. There is an argument to be made that King has still not reached his ceiling.” – Shawn Wagner
(Cough…..There is also an argument to be made he doesn’t have NFL basic standard coverage skills.)
This….from a realist and critical thinker….
“The Packers have spent tons of capital attempting to fix the cornerback position, but a fixation on tall/big corners and converted college safeties just didn’t work out. Mercifully, Jaire Alexander finally managed to break through, and six years of cornerback futility came to an end, but not before it once again cost the Packers a trip to the Super Bowl.” – Paul Noonan
(Hear that Gute?)
Don’t just take it from me.
“Alexander was Pro Football Focus’ number one overall corner. King was their 99th. He’s a free agent, and it’s unlikely that he will be returning.” – Paul Noonan
(Perspective….99th…..IS A BACK UP!)
Hear that Gute?
Let’s not forget before the Alexander and Savage picks, all the choices they made that didn’t pan out for some reason or another. Some were high picks like Randall, Clinton-Dix, Rollins, J. Jones, and some in the lower rounds like Gunter, Goodson and House. Also , the baffling reason that they couldn’t find a position for Hayward, who was a fine athlete and went on to a great career for the Chargers. You can’t expect all those players to make a great impact, but before 2019, they were batting below the mendoza line. And now, it needs to be addressed again.
When i say it takes years to fill a positional need, that comes from not forgetting much of anything and having a pretty good memory.
Hell, i remember off the top of my head when our defense went from 5th in 2010, and fell to 32nd (that’s last) a season later. 27 spots?….r u kidding me, how does that even happen?
I remember Favre throwing 6 picks in one 2001 season playoff game against the Rams. Again…how does that happen? I didn’t think it was even possible. Could someone actually be that careless…6 times?
It takes a fucking season for Rodgers to throw 6 picks.
Top Three Reasons Not To Resign King, No Matter How Cheap.
1) We’ve had him cheap for 4 years, where has it gotten us?
2) We’ve had him cheap for 4 years, where has it gotten us?
3) We’ve had him cheap for 4 years, where has it gotten us?
Reasons 4, 5 and 6.
4. He can’t catch
5. He can’t tackle
6. He can’t cover anyone
Those are important things for a corner, IMO
Well,,,i read part of the article, the Allen Robinson part anyway. It’s hard to take some things seriously, almost as much as i find it difficult to believe how some journalist can receive a paycheck writing absolute garbage.
Jordon E. Smith thinks Robinson might work cheap for the chance of hooking up with a top QB. Lol…is that what he “thinks”?
” the guy who might not care about money got at 3-year deal for $42M last time around.” – Robster (voice of reason)
What’s next?…..”Smith even posits that Robinson might relish being a WR2
Lol….That statement is based on what….fiction?
Only in America can someone get paid to write such idiocy.
“Aaron Rodgers might re-work his contract and take a salary of 2 million a year, just to help out the Packers cap situation” – PF4L
Speaking of rockheads, i have to share this. The following is a convo with someone who will not lay 1% blame on Gute, for not drafting to win now. Matter of fact, i doubt he thinks Gute ever did anything wrong in his life. Here’s an excerpt, and my reply. Put your thinking cap on, this dude goes deep.
“”How many QBs not named Brady have won a Super Bowl after age 37? It’s a short list. If I was a betting man, I’d bet we won’t win a Super Bowl with Rodgers. Not as a commentary on his skills, which are amazing, but simply an acknowledgement that most Super Bowls are won by guys a lot younger than him.” – LH
So what your saying Letterhead, is if we had a QB not as good as Rodgers, we could win a SB if he was younger?
I’m speechless, i don’t know how to respond. You really must have taken your time and thought that out Letterhead. I’m clearly impressed.
PFF for at least last year had Rhodes (76.3) graded much higher than Gilmore(61). PFF does not grade on how the team is doing. PFF grades on how the player is performing in various aspects of their position responsibility. For at least last year Rhodes may have been a better corner.
If given the choice Between the two I would still take Gilmore. Rhodes is now more of a zone corner, although he can be physical at the line if needed. I think Gilmore can play better man coverage and as his speed diminishes could still be a very good zone corner. Gilmore can also be physical against receivers.
The above was meant as a response to stiggy.
I’m more referring to Rhodes being benched during his last season in Minnesota for ineffective play.
Not sure what he did on Buffalo last year but Gilmore is only a season removed from dpoy.
Based on Gilmore’s recent history, i’ll give him the benefit of the doubt regarding his performance last season. He missed 5 games due to Covid and injury.
I’ll take that dude everyday and 4 quarters on Sunday.
To me, i can’t help but wonder. After Rhodes was released from the viking’s, couldn’t he have been cheap depth for the Packers?
We should probably talk about this Davante Adams thing pretty soon, like if we get a new article.
Zach Kruse hit it on the head. The Packers dont have anybody on the DL that can do what Watt does. But the continued storyline is most (not me) think Packer fans just want Watt back because hes from WI. People are so fucking stupid. Last couple years we bitch that Kenny Clark doesnt have anybody on the DL to take the pressure off him. Now we got a shot at one and idiots like Tom Silverstein and these other bloggers and tweeters are taking the angle that the Packers dont need another star player. WHAT? No one gives a shit about that. I want Watt because hes a veteran player who can still play and help this defense out in the trenches. Would you rather run Dean and Kekee again next year? Hell no.
When skinny says “People are so stupid” he’s referring to me :)
S’ok…i can take it .. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The Packers weren’t even one player away from being the Superbowl Champs this year. A little better play by just one or two players, and the Buccaneers were beaten.
If these people want to see a great team laid to waste, just watch what happens if they overpay for a talent like Watt, only to weaken another area that’s now as good as needs to be to get the job done. Be aware of the expenses. Realize that Tom Brady plays for less than Aaron Rodgers, and that with the money the Buccaneers saved, they were able to surround Brady with just the right tools to get the job done.
Brady has never been too greedy to go out and by sharing, gather himself Superbowl Rings for near every finger. Meanwhile, The Packers almost made it once again ….