Projected Salary Cap Room For 2017 Prior To Free Agency - $35.541 million
Notable Free Agents: running back Eddie Lacy, guard T.J. Lang, center JC Tretter, tight end Jared Cook, cornerback Micah Hyde, outside linebackers Julius Peppers and Datone Jones, running back Christine Michael, outside linebacker Nick Perry
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers couldn’t have said it any better that the Packers need to “r-e-l-o-a-d”. Word out of Packers headquarters via Ian Rapoport is that General Manager Ted Thompson will be “more active” in this year’s free agent class. Well damn anything is better than the normal status quo which is hardly any moves. Here is my take as to what the Packers might look to do in free agency.
We know the quarterback and wide receiver’s positions are set. The Packers do have right guard T.J. Lang who is a UFA and stated his first choice is to remain in Green Bay. He is a must resign in my opinion, as he is the #1 top ranked RG in pass protection in the league.
Running Back Eddie Lacy in my opinion is expendable with his fluctuation in weight and injury history. Ty Montgomery excelled in transformation from WR to RB and they could resign RB Christine Michael to give the Pack a good 1-2 punch. They don’t need a bowling ball sized 1000 yard RB potential in Eddie Lacy. They need good running backs to keep the passing game honest.
The other must sign is tight end Jared Cook. We finally saw the promise he has shown in previous stops, but now he has a legit QB throwing the ball his way. He probably won’t demand an outrageous contract but the Packers should be able to resign on a 3 year deal a little north of the market value for tight ends.
The Packers will probably resign the backup center JC Tretter, likely will be cheap and won’t count much against the cap.
The defense was ranked 8th overall against the run. They did struggle with top tier running backs like Ezekiel Elliott and DeMarco Murray. The defensive line held their own for the most part, and defensive end Kenny Clark showed promise in his rookie campaign. The linebackers are maturing quite fast, though resigning outside linebacker Nick Perry would go a long way with showing continuity amongst the linebacker corps. Julius Peppers isn’t worth keeping around at this point at his advanced age, especially if he remains a part time player.
The secondary is in a massive need of a makeover at the cornerback position. Safety is in good shape with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Morgan Burnett in the middle. The Packers should have retained the services of Casey Heyward and Tramon Williams, and the secondary wouldn’t have been so badly exposed this season. With the unknown future of Sam Shields the Packers free agent dollars best served signing two very good cornerbacks. I would prefer they go after Stephon Gilmore and Logan Ryan. They are both young (25 and 26 years old), are gifted tacklers, and have a ballhawking eye. Signing them would allow Quinten Rollins to move back to the slot where he shined in his rookie year, and give Damarious Randall more time to grow. Resigning safety Micah Hyde, would give the packers a great backup to Dix and Burnett, but I think he will sign somewhere that he can be a starter.
The Packers are a few defensive pieces away from just a playoff team every year to the NFC version of the New England Patriots. Offense is pretty much set, they just need to revamp the defense in a few areas. If it’s not too much to ask Mr. Thompson do what needs to be done!!