Off-Season Master Plan: Green Bay Packers
By Brian E Murphy, PackersInsider.com senior editor
~I’m not a Capologist, but I will try and be as realistic as possible.
We all know we have a lot of our own UFA’s right now.
HERE IS WHO WILL BE RE-SIGNED
- Evan Dietrich-Smith, slightly below medium pay for starting C.
- Matt Flynn, he has no other options, will be veteran minimum.
- James Jones, already once tested free agency when younger. won’t get huge interest again. good for us.
- Johnny Jolly, his neck worry costs him $ and interest anywhere else. vet minimum 1-year deal.
- John Kuhn, won’t make as much as last contract, but he stays home.
- Jamari Lattimore, minimum deal, might not make team next year.
- Ryan Pickett, nobody else will offer the big old man a deal, so he stays home cheap, we need him.
- Andrew Quarless, he’s not very good, but he’s the best we got now. Won’t cost much.
- James Starks, RB’s aren’t that hot of commodities, so won’t be much competition if any for him.
- CJ Wilson, he’s just a body, and if he costs more than the vet minimum or close, he’s gone.
HERE IS WHO WILL NOT BE BACK
- BJ Raji
- Sam Shields, we all want to keep him, he’s great. But someone -(Minnesota, Miami, Jax) will throw a HUGE offer his way…. Thompson will make the difficult decision to save that money to bring in some help elsewhere and keep more of his other guys, both now and next season.
- Jermichael Finley, don’t know that he will ever play again, but I suspect not for Green Bay again.
- Chris Banjo
- Khalil Bell
- Robert Francois
- MD Jennings
- Mike Neal
- Marshall Newhouse
- Seneca Wallace
Thompson saves the money on Shields and Raji, and he also gets Tramon to re-structure similar to what AJ Hawk did last season.
Teddy goes 2006 again on us, and brings in three good UFA’s on defense. No day-1 or even week-1 Gucci priced guys.
But good values, and guys young enough to help for a good 5+ years like Woodson and Pickett did.
ILB Vincent Rey, Cincinnati Bengals. 6′ 2″, 247, age 26 :: 3-year, $8 million dollar deal.
What to do about Hawk and Brad Jones? Not sure, but they are weaknesses. People do not understand how much better the two ILB’ers are for the 49ers than what Hawk and Jones are. Give them credit for trying. But that only goes so far.
I like this guy Rey.
OLB Everson Griffen, Minnesota Vikings. (Made $490K last year). 6′ 3″, 273 :: 4-year, $13 million
He’s another tweener like a Mike Neal, Nick Perry. But, #1, he HAS produced, and #2, he’s good.
He’ll take the place of Neal, and bump Perry to #3 on the depth chart.
Safety Bernard Pollard,- Tennessee Titans 6’1″ 224 :: 3 years, $10 million
He’s a veteran at age 29. Not too old. 8 years younger than Woodson.
This guy has a physical presence. He will make the tackle, and he will intimidate. He also had 3 more interceptions this season than all Packer safeties combined. He made $1.9 mil this season.
I wanted TJ Ward, Donte Whitner, Jairus Byrd, bot those guys will be more expensive. Certainly too expensive for the Packers.
Pollard can be had much cheaper. And this guy craves winning. He has some of Ray Lewis in him, whom he played with for a few years and won a title with as a Raven last season.
Then you know what The Packers do in the DRAFT?
They take the true BEST PLAYER available.
They don’t reach for the best safety or best DL or ILB or OLB because they have a hole there.
The HOLE is already filled, with a veteran who can come in and from day-one, knows how to play in the NFL.
Meanwhile, the rookie can learn and if he truly is the BEST player available, he will help the team be better -at whatever position he happens to be.
Here’s how it happens to play out, remember, Ted Thompson is in charge of the draft.
Round 1- DE/DT Ra’shede Hageman, Minnesota:: 6′ 6″, 311
Round 2- ILB Chris Borland, Wisconsin:: 5’11”, 246
Round 3- Traded to New England for their two #4 Rd picks
Round 4- TE Arthur Lynch, Georgia:: 6’5″”, 254
Round 4NE- CB Aaron Colvin, Oklahoma:: 6’0″, 192
Round 4NE- S Craig Loston, LSU:: 6’1″, 210
Round 4 Comp (Jennings)- WR Donte Moncrief, Ole Miss:: 6’2″, 226
Round 5- OT Billy Turner, North Dakota St.:: 6’5″, 310
Round 5 Comp (Walden)- DT/NT Ryan Carrethers, Arkansas St:: 6’1″, 330
Round 6- WR L’Damian Washington, Missouri, 6’4″, 208
Round 7- S Isaiah Newsome, Louisiana-Monroe:: 5’11”, 220
Here’s how the new DEFENSE would shape up.
DE/DT: Daniels, Hageman, DJones, Worthy, Wilson, Jolly* (neck probably has ended Packer career like Collins, Sterling)
NT: Pickett, Josh Boyd, Carrethers
In Hageman and Datone Jones, Capers now has his tall DE’s for his ideal 3-4 DEs.
Daniels is effective from inside, something we’ve been looking for from Worthy. Third year a charm?
The big Beef is as good as this year as Carrethers replaces Raji for a fraction of the price. Jolly hopefully will be healthy enough to be back, but I don’t expect that from all reports now, and from the typical bad luck the Packers get regarding necks.
OLB: Matthews, Griffen, Perry, Mulumba
ILB: Rey, Borland, Hawk, B Jones, Lattimore
I like Hawk and Jones. I just think they are below average.
Hawk is reliable, dependable, and average. Amazing he’s the highest pick the Packers have had since Tony Mandarich in 1989. Wow.
Brad Jones, I also like, but he’s not an inside linebacker. That spot was Desmond Bishops. Jones was drafted as an outside linebacker with his edge pass rush being his specialty.
From the little we have seen in the NFL of Rey, I think he would beat out both of the soft vets.
And even though we’ve seen nothing in the NFL of Borland, I think this guy has “it”. I think he’s a smaller version of Luke Keuchly. He’s everywhere. He’s hyper. He just sniffs out the run. Has instincts. He sees things quicker than most. Something we don’t see from the current ILB’s.
I believe the play of Borland will spark this defense, and people will say “Oh that’s how an ILB is supposed to play the run in a 3-4 defense?!”
I have seen Everson Griffen in the NFL and think he’s what Thompson and Capers hoped Perry would be. Perry has been good at times when healthy.
Those top 3, all USC guys, would be great -IF healthy. Mulumba has some potential as we saw, but he should be the #4 guy.
Griffen has a chance to be a stud. He’s on the larger side like LaMarr Woodley.
I would love to steal a Viking back. Last time the Packers stole a guy on D from them, it was the GraveDigger. Gilbert Brown worked out pretty well for the Packers.
CB- Tramon, House, Colvin
CB- Hayward, Hyde
S- Burnett, Richardson, Bush
S- Pollard, Loston
Draft & Develop…… As good as Hyde was this year, I expect him and House to both be better next year. House HAS to bulk up. Get him to Seattle and find some of those SeAdderal supplements. Those Seattle DB’s are strong and somehow stay healthier.
Of course, Hayward was no better in his 2nd year than his rookie year, because his hamstring was weak.
Richardson showed some good stuff, but he’s not perfect either. At least he’s physical.
So is Pollard. I believe he not only brings the physicality we are missing, but I think he will rub off on the other guys, and toughen them up a bit. Loston is a good player from a great defensive program at LSU.
Burnett has to be better than this year. Whether he needs to study more, or whatever, he has to be better. Getting a veteran next to him in Pollard, I think that will help Morgan out a lot.
On offense, don’t forget they still have Jonathan Franklin and DuJuan Harris at their disposal.
Harris was good last year.
Jermichael thinks he’ll play again. I’d say that’s about 50-50, and for the Packers, seems doubtful.
But I know he’d love to come back to Green Bay.
I think they have to keep James Jones.
Number one, he won’t be that expensive. He didn’t do much in his final game except not come up with the two 2 big tough catches vs the 49ers.
He won’t garner much interest, except perhaps from Minnesota. Just kidding. Not this time Vikings. They’re set at WR enough finally they won’t mess with the Packers there this time. Same with Chicago, who has two great receivers already. Jones is cheap enough he stays. Thankfully.
Number two, Jordy and Cobb will be due new contracts next season, and you have to be ready in case we lose one of them. Jones is important to us.
The offensive line will get back OT Bryan Bulaga, and J.C. Tretter, who was a nice draft pick last year. Don’t forget about him. He will help somewhere.
If they have an average (average for the league, not for them) year with injuries, I think the Packers get to at least the NFC Title game, probably the Super Bowl.
If the Injury-God’s reverse the jinx on the team, and they have the opposite health luck, like the 49ers, Philly, enjoyed this year, I see the Packers going 15-1 (like 2011) but with a good-great defense, they kick everyone’s butt in the playoffs and beat Denver in the Super Bowl.