2017 December : Packers Insider

Packers 2018 Mock Off-Season V1, Free Agency

December 29, 2017 by  
Filed under News

From Brian E Murphy, Packers Insider Senior Editor

~For the first time since the 2008 season, the Packers didn’t make the playoffs, thus their off-season began a lot earlier than usual.

I will be taking time to do a mock each week between now and late April, when the 2018 NFL Draft commences in Arlington, Texas at AT&T Stadium.

For this first one, I am going off the guess, assumption, that Mark Murphy will let Ted Thompson make the calls, and thus not fire himself. And I am guessing he will choose to keep his head coach, Mike McCarthy. I am assuming that Dom Capers is let go.

As to who fills Capers job, I nominate Gregg Williams, he of the BountyGate scandal in New Orleans.

A year ago, when the Rams fired everyone from Jeff Fisher on down, Williams was let go as their defensive coordinator. The Browns made him their defensive coordinator, so he’s suffered through a 0-15 season. It’s possible he wouldn’t leave Cleveland for a similar position. But Ted Thompson did try to hire Williams in 2009, but Williams’ wife didn’t want Green Bay, so he went to New Orleans, where they won the Super Bowl that first season for him. That season, of course, was famous for the Bounty Gate.

Remember, that was the playoff where Capers’ Packers defense got torched by Kurt Warner, who had more touchdown passes than incomplete passes, in the Cardinals 51-45 overtime win. The next week, Williams’ Saints’ defense battered and bruised Warner, blowing the Saints out. The next week they battered, late hit, bruised the Vikings’ Brett Favre, who had torched Capers’ Packers’ defense two times during the season.

Given a choice between Green Bay and Cleveland, perhaps now Williams’ wife will find Green Bay to be suitable. And Williams has to be smart enough to know that if he could just field a decent to good defense, he’d have a chance at a Super Bowl every year as long as Number 12 remains unbroken.

That being said, onto the players.

The biggest question in the off-season was impending free agent Davante Adams.
UPDATE: Adams has chosen to re-sign with the Packers, inking a rich 4-year deal to remain with Green Bay.

Next up will an attempt to reduce the cap numbers to Jordy Nelson and/or Randall Cobb. Those things are sensitive, but both players are unselfish, non-divas, and I expect them to make something work. Nelson has mentioned the look-ahead thought of “retirement” already, which is never good. Cobb is much younger and is a good complement to Adams.

The Packers still have a whopping 10 free agents. By salary, they are:

  • SS Morgan Burnett
  • OLB Ahmad Brooks
  • CB Davon House
  • RG Jahri Evans
  • LS Brett Goode
  • DT Quinton Dial
  • TE Richard Rodgers
  • C Corey Linsley
  • CB Demitri Goodson
  • ST Jeff Janis

All of them are in their 20’s, except Brooks, Evans, and Goode. I think those three are gone. The others will be brought back. Linsley will get a significant raise, although his play has been below average. He should not get a huge deal like the Browns gave to J.C. Tretter. But you never know.

Nobody else wants House, Dial, Rodgers, or Goodson. Someone might throw a nice offer at Janis knowing his special teams prowess. And someone like Arizona, might believe in his abilities as a receiver, since they saw it first hand in that playoff game in January, 2016.

That being said, let’s dive into FREE AGENCY before the DRAFT.
Remember, last year when the Falcons eliminated the Packers in the NFC Title game, Aaron Rodgers talked after the game about making sure we go “all in” every off-season. Whether that was the reason, or if Eliot Wolf is doing more of the personnel stuff aside from the Draft, is it a coincidence that Thompson “went wild” in free agency, signing four guys?

He signed two tight ends, the guard Evans, and the OLB Brooks. Brooks had been very durable, but of course, once he put on the mustard G, he broke down and missed all kinds of time. Still, he was decent when he did play. The Packers pass rush has been awful, with starters Clay Matthews and Nick Perry always hurt. Contrast that to Pittsburgh, where their starting linebackers Bud Dupree and rookie T.J. Watt never missed any games. That’s why James Harrison never played, and why he got mad and forced his release, ending up with the Patriots.

The Packers did okay with their free agent signings last year, but the huge miss was Martellus Bennett of course. He has always been a racist, malcontent. I saw it first-hand in Dallas where he was drafted. He didn’t get along with, nor like Jason Witten. Anyone who doesn’t like Witten has a problem. Lance Kendricks was a disappointment too. Jahri Evans stabilized the offensive line, and would be considered a decent signing. Still, he’s really getting up there in age, and I expect the Packers to go cheaper and younger there.

FREE AGENT ADDITIONS

Last year, Thompson added four, and I will keep it at four again. I will be realistic, and not dip into any guys who will be huge ticket purchases. So cross off the top five guys at each position.

I also am not adding anyone who is close to 30 years of age.

CB Nickell Robey-Coleman, Rams, age 25.

Smaller than what we’re used to seeing in Green Bay, with a new coordinator comes significan changes, and that includes the “CB criteria” that has crashed and burned too many times, from the 51-45 Arizona playoff loss of the 2009 season, to making Kaepernick look like a Hall of Famer two times, to Hai Mary allowed to Eli Manning to Hakeem Nicks in the 2011 playoff loss, to letting Larry Fitzgerald go 75 yards on the first play of overtime in the 2015 playoffs, to barely covering anyone on the Falcons in last year’s playoff loss. Things have to change, and perhaps an inch or two isn’t that significant if it means getting someone who knows how to cover and tackle.


Very interesting highlight here, from last year (2016). Play one, you’ll notice Ted Thompson’s 2nd rd pick from a few years ago, Jerel Worthy (did not know he was still in the league wow) being given a free sack, or TFL on Todd Gurley. Then the next play, NRC will take a pick to the house, off Case Keenum, now of the Vikings. 

Rams' Nickell Robey-Coleman among most underpaid veterans in NFL

With Lamarcus Joyner moving to safety in new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips’s defense in Los Angeles, new addition Robey-Coleman has a chance to make a big impact as the team’s primary slot cornerback. The former Bill was a mainstay at that spot in Buffalo, where he racked up 160 tackles, five sacks, and three interceptions in 64 appearances over his first four seasons. But the undersized nickelback (who measures in at 5-foot-8 and 165 pounds) didn’t see much demand on the open market, and was forced to take a one-year prove-it deal with the Rams.

CB E.J. Gaines, Bills, age 25.

The cornerback has been a great fit in Sean McDermott’s zone coverage scheme.

In 10 games this season, Gaines has recorded 51 tackles, seven passes defended, one interception and two forced fumbles. Pro Football Focus (PFF) also has Gaines having a strong season. Gaines is currently listed as PFF’s 29th ranked cornerback with an 83.0 grade.

I like both of these cornebacks with experience from the Rams and Bills defenses. Those defenses are always better than the Packers, and they seem to know how to cover a lot better, and tackle.

TE Luke Willson, Seahawks, age 27.

Everyone else will be salivating over their other free agent tight end Jimmy Graham. Seattle was rumored to be dealing him midway through this season, then he caught fire and scored in almost ever game.

They’ll pony up to keep him, even if Russell Wilson has to chip in. Willson will add more juice than either Bennett or Kendricks offered as free agents this season, and surely more boost than the lumbering Rich Rodgers provides.

TE Troy Niklas, Cardinals, age 25.  6-6 1/2, 270

Four years ago, there were quite a few national mock drafts that had the Packers taking Niklas at the end of the first round. He ended up going to Arizona in the second round, where I thought he’d become a stud in the mold of Gronk. But he’s had a few little injuries like fingers and a hernia, and has had three or four surgeries, causing a lot of missed time. Sounds like he should have been a Packer.

None of his injuries were knees, achilles, or legs, so he should still have his legs left. And with the massive size, can be the weapon in the red zone that the Packers wanted from Bennett.

 

 

Davante Adams avoids free agency, signs multiyear extension with Packers

December 29, 2017 by  
Filed under News

Packers’ Davante Adams avoids free agency, signs multiyear extension

~

  • Rob Demovsky ESPN Staff Writer, Jan 29, 2017, 5:16 PM CT

 

GREEN BAY, Wis. — A little more than two weeks after Aaron Rodgers made a plea for the Green Bay Packers to sign wide receiver Davante Adams, general manager Ted Thompson got the deal done.

Adams, 25, signed a contract extension, the team announced Friday. The deal is for four years and $58.75 million, with $32 million guaranteed and an $18 million signing bonus, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

19 adams almost td

“He’s making a lot of money this year,” Rodgers said Dec. 12. “Hopefully we pay him sooner rather than later. He’s a talented guy who has just proven it week after week. He’s tough to guard. It’s tough to guard him one-on-one.”

At $14.7 million per season, Adams would rank fourth among all NFL receivers. He will be the third Packers receiver to average around $10 million per season; Randall Cobb has one season left on his four-year, $40 million deal, and Jordy Nelson has one season remaining on a four-year, $39 million contract. One or both players could be in danger of being released or having to take a pay cut this offseason.

Adams leads the Packers with 74 catches for 885 yards and 10 touchdowns in 14 games, surpassing Nelson as the team’s No. 1 receiver.

wc1_adams

Adams did not play last week against Minnesota because of a concussion, his second this season and third in 14 months. Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis and Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan served one-game suspensions for concussive hits on Adams.

(BY DEFINITION, based on the penalities, BOTH of those were DIRTY HITS, as illegal. Tony Barr’s hit on Aaron Rodgers was later and dirtier, with pure intent to injure, which it did, but someone the nonsensical NFL didn’t call that late hit a penalty, nor fine or suspend Barr. Payback will have to come from the Packers in 2018)

Adams won’t play in Sunday’s season finale at Detroit because of the concussion he sustained on Dec. 17 at Carolina, and he has not been available for interviews since that game. But teammates and coaches said he had wanted to come back and play this season.

Davante Adams has shown he has the ability to step up big in the biggest games. He was a key cog in big close wins over New England and over Dallas in the NFC Divisional game.

Davante Adams has shown he has the ability to step up big in the biggest games. He was a key cog in big close wins over New England and over Dallas in the NFC Divisional game, in his rookie year on the way to the NFC Championship game.