The off-season is here and you will find Ted Thompson at the Combine Feb. 28-March 6. That’s where he will get a first-hand look at all the top prospects available in the April 27-29 NFL Draft. Of course, Thompson will draft and/or sign players who aren’t at the combine because that is one of his strengths.
But if the Packers are going to be a Super Bowl candidate in 2017, Thompson needs to do more if the Packers are going to do more than win another division title. The more important date to look at is Thursday, March 9, when free agency begins.
Ted usually looks to re-sign his own free agents and I agree with that if they are worth signing – and the price is right. Let’s take a look at who I think is worth re-signing and some of the free agents who would make the Packers a serious Super Bowl contender instead of a pseudo one.
OWN FREE AGENTS
Jared Cook – Hopefully he realizes that Aaron Rodgers is one of the main reasons he played well down the stretch and he doesn’t ask for a ridiculous amount of money. The Packers need a good tight end who can stretch the field to be successful – period.
T.J. Lang – The Packers lack leadership on the offensive line and that is one of the main things Lang provides, along with talent and the ability to play with pain, something some of the other players don’t have. This is an interesting case because of the off-season surgeries he needs. Will someone take a chance and give him a ridiculous offer? If everything is right, this Pro-Bowler needs to be paid.
Nick Perry – When he was healthy he had a solid season and should be re-signed – but only if the price is right. He got after the quarterback and he showed a tremendous amount of courage playing with only one hand.
Micah Hyde – I never thought I would say this, but the Packers need to re-sign him if they don’t go big-time in the FA market. He is the jack-of-all-trades, master of none and their secondary would have been worse that it was without his fine performance. Plus he returns kicks.
Eddie Lacy – How anyone can re-sign someone who blew up like a balloon IN HIS CONTRACT SEASON I will never know. But Thompson will do it if the price is right. It’s moves like this which make me think he is starting to lose his touch. Oh, BTW, he was injured AGAIN.
OTHERS – JC Tretter has versatility and he is a must sign if Lang doesn’t. Believe it or not, if the price would be right, I would take Julius Peppers back for his 8 sacks and his leadership. Datone Jones had one more sack than I did this year so why would you re-sign him? Because Ted’s ego would find it hard to cut a former No. 1 instead of what’s doing best for the team.
FREE AGENT MARKET
Thompson is too cheap – yes that is the correct word – to sign a FA who would help get the Packers over the top. Yet every year they have salary cap money left over. Some of the more reasonable FA’s that would be available, but I couldn’t see TT doing anything but watching them sign with other teams.
CORNERBACKS – A.J. Bouye (Texans), Trumaine Johnson (LA Rams), Stephon Gilmore (Buffalo)
DEFENSIVE LINE – Calais Campbell (Arizona), Syl Williams (Denver).
LINEBACKER – Don’t’a Hightower (New England).
TALK IS CHEAP
From Mark Murphy down to Mike McCarthy, the Packers sell their naïve fans on their goal is the Super Bowl every year. They have what I feel is the best QB in the league skills-wise in Aaron Rodgers, yet they have one Super Bowl with him at the helm.
Now please understand, I don’t wear green & gold glasses, but I’m a Milwaukee season ticket holder, and I hope they win the Super Bowl every year.
But while most fans get excited about their 8 division titles – who cares! I’m more disappointed in the 1 Super Bowl.
Why? Because I do not feel they do what they can every season to try and get better.
I’m hoping that changes.