Five available free agents who can still help the Packers

The Packers could add more veterans before the season

Photo: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Photo: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL draft is gone, and now teams can reassess their rosters before training camp and the 2022 season. For the Green Bay Packers, the process was important to rebuild the wide receiver room, and general manager Brian Gutekunst also addressed needs in the offensive and defensive lines, plus edge defender and safety later in the draft. Now, it’s possible to evaluate how their pre-draft needs are and what free agents could still be added to help the team in the fall.

Wide receiver was obviously the biggest need before the draft. Now, though, the team drafted three players for the position, besides the prior addition of veteran Sammy Watkins. Therefore, there is no need to add bodies, and the Packers should sign another receiver only if it’s a real difference maker - Julio Jones, for instance, if they think the old star still has something left in the tank. Even Will Fuller doesn’t make that much sense anymore, because Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs are good deep threats to make up for what Fuller would do for the offense.

Edge depth was also a necessity, and the Packers could attack it in multiple ways. First, they drafted Kingsley Enagbare in the fifth round. Green Bay also has Randy Ramsey coming back from injury. Finally, the fact that the Packers drafted Quay Walker should allow them to use De’Vondre Campbell on the edge for some snaps.

Tight end was not addressed at all. The only significant moves made by the Packers were re-signing Robert Tonyan, whose injury situation makes his status unclear for the start of the season, and signing former Saints' draft pick Alizé Mack. For this position, Matt LaFleur's approach has always been trying to be multiple, with three kinds of players. There are the H-backs (Josiah Deguara and Dominique Dafney), the big receivers (Robert Tonyan, Tyler Davis), and the blockers (Marcedes Lewis). It's possible that LaFleur will opt to keep that approach and not add any other player to the room, but it won't be surprising if they sign another receiving option to complement the offense until Tonyan is back.

Maybe the most concerning needs are in the secondary. While they have five excellent starters in Jaire Alexander, Eric Stokes, Rasul Douglas, Adrian Amos, and Darnell Savage, the depth is thin. So that’s where a versatile option, who could play both cornerback and safety, could help to give the team versatility and security in case of an injury.

1) AJ Bouye, cornerback, Carolina Panthers
Bouye is a 30-year-old defensive back who played really well to start his career. He was even a second-team All-Pro in 2017, his first season with the Jaguars. In the last two years, he has had a decline in play, being released by the Broncos and Panthers. Even though he's not a solid starter anymore, he could help the Packers' depth with experience and playmaking ability. Bouye has 14 interceptions and 75 passes defended in 110 career games.

2) Jaquiski Tartt, safety, San Francisco 49ers
Tartt will be remembered by a critical drop in a potential interception during the last NFCCG for the 49ers against Matthew Stafford and the Rams, but the safety had a solid season in San Francisco, getting a 61.8 PFF grade. The problem for Tartt is his injury history - he played more than 10 games only once in the last four seasons. But to be a third safety, especially considering the Packers should use less dime packages in 2022 after drafting Quay Walker, he is more than enough.

3) Carlos Dunlap, edge, Seattle Seahawks
We could have Melvin Ingram here, but the Kansas City Chiefs placed an UFA tender on him, so he won't sign for less than $ 4.4 million. Takk McKinley was another option, but he tore his Achilles in December. Dunlap would come in to be the third edge option ahead of the young guys like Ramsey and Enagbare. He's experienced and productive, with 16 sacks over the last two years - last season, he was a backup in Seattle for most of the time, but still got 8.5 sacks and a 72.1 PFF grade.

4) Eric Ebron, tight end, Pittsburgh Steelers
Ebron was passed by rookie Pat Freiermiuth on the Steelers' depth chart last season, but he had a good history as a receiving weapon. Ebron obviously hasn't justified his draft stock (10th overall pick by the Lions in 2014), but he has had more than 500 yards five times during his career. His best season was with the Indianapolis Colts, in 2018, when he achieved 750 yards and 13 touchdowns.

5) Carson Tinker, long snapper, Los Angeles Rams
Ok, I couldn't do it without adding a special teamer. The Packers have three kickers and only one long snapper, and Steven Wirtel doesn't look like a long-term solution. So, it's fair to add competition. Tinker was the Jaguars' long-snapper from 2013 to 2018, but hasn't played much since. Last season, though, he worked under Rich Bisaccia, the new Packers special teams coordinator, and played one game for the Las Vegas Raiders when Trent Sieg was placed on the reserve/Covid list. After that, he was signed to the Rams' practice squad and got a Super Bowl ring.

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Wendell Ferreira covers the Green Bay Packers for Zone Coverage and Cheesehead TV. He is a Brazilian journalist with over a decade of experience covering the NFL, soccer, NBA, and MMA. Follow him on twitter at @wendellfp  

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Comments (42)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
jannes bjornson's picture

May 10, 2022 at 02:11 pm

James Bradberry

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Johnblood27's picture

May 10, 2022 at 04:22 pm

Ray Bradbury...

great storyteller...

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LLCHESTY's picture

May 10, 2022 at 02:54 pm

Think I'd go Justin Houston over Dunlop. Houston is 34 but has still been productive the last two years and might take less for a ring shot. Agree on Tartt, 4 straight years of PFF grades over 60 and has started games at both FS and SS for the 49ers.

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Johnblood27's picture

May 10, 2022 at 04:22 pm

Sam Houston...

great leadership...

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Thegravedigger's picture

May 10, 2022 at 04:49 pm

i live in ny and dunlap supposedly was destroying mekhi becton in practice before his injury for the jets last season. for whatever thats worth.... tart is a beast, can tackle and is a smart player, similiar to amos but more injury prone. he would be an awesome pick up as a dime safety.... but i dont think packers would do that, id take a flyer on dunlap over tartt just because of the importance of position.

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jannes bjornson's picture

May 10, 2022 at 06:33 pm

Ingram

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WendellFerreira's picture

May 11, 2022 at 08:54 am

The problem is Houston has also received an UFA tender.

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LLCHESTY's picture

May 11, 2022 at 03:34 pm

I didn't remember there was such a thing. A little surprised it's not used more for aging veterans that sign a one year prove it deal and then show out. The players probably wouldn't like it much but they agreed to the CBO.

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jhtobias's picture

May 10, 2022 at 02:58 pm

Good list . Let's talk finances . Can someone please justify why Dean Lowrey should have a 8 million dollar cap hit? You can save 4 million and use it towards one of these players mentioned above.

Dean played well last yr and I'm sure they could justify 4 million max but that's up to dean and his agent. Truth is with a probable 5 2 4 defense how many snaps will he even play?

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HawkPacker's picture

May 10, 2022 at 03:22 pm

I have been saying for the last month or so that they will drop Lowry after June 1, when it will save the most CAP for the packers. I still say they will do it! I originally thought they would take a WR or TE but with drafting three WR's and signing Sammy Watkins, maybe a TE or DB would be nice.

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LLCHESTY's picture

May 10, 2022 at 03:54 pm

Doubtful, he's the best 5T they have. They play base less than 35% of the time but that's still a lot of snaps over the season. Reed has some length and can probably man the other 5T spot but he hasn't played in a 3-4 since college. Unless their thinking about taking Clark off the NT spot completely and that seems doubtful too.

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MainePackFan's picture

May 10, 2022 at 07:11 pm

I agree LL. Lowry will be a Packer this year, and he should be.

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Johnblood27's picture

May 10, 2022 at 04:23 pm

Lowry's has great steaks...

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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 10, 2022 at 04:49 pm

Don't forget their season salt J-blood!

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Bure9620's picture

May 11, 2022 at 05:21 am

Lowry's hit is actually $8 million currently. The Packers could very well designate Lowry as a Post June 1st cut. This would free up about $5.9 million in cap space whereas it would only free up $4 million before June 1. This is my prediction. The Packers would only carry $2.1 million in dead money this way. They could potentially restructure his deal and free up about $3.3 million but I am more doubtful of this option as if it were an option, the Packers would have already approached his agent about a restructure and it would have been done. $8 million is steep for a rotational depth player.

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Coldworld's picture

May 11, 2022 at 11:38 am

I think it’s at least plausible that they do move him. Possibly via a trade for a pick next year. Looking at the DL, it depends on how they see others being used and how much they want Reed to play, Clark to move and what they feel about the youngsters and, critically, what they might feel they can do with that cap in this cap spartan year.

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splitpea1's picture

May 10, 2022 at 03:15 pm

What, no Gronk on the list? You didn't say the options had to be realistic!

Ebron? Meh....

Tartt is an unloved player in need of a fresh start; almost the red-and-gold version of our beloved Kevin King. Still, given our lack of veteran depth, it might make sense to sign him--I think. Better sign somebody unless the Packers feel strongly Scott is ready to assume a larger role--but he's only played a total of 89 defensive snaps.

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Johnblood27's picture

May 10, 2022 at 04:24 pm

I like apple tarts...

as well as sweet little tarts... but if the first batch is used up I wouldn't take any retarts...

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jannes bjornson's picture

May 10, 2022 at 07:12 pm

Shawn Davis is on the squad. See if Scott can maintain a role?

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MainePackFan's picture

May 10, 2022 at 07:17 pm

I think they keep King. They are invested and he knows the system.

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Bure9620's picture

May 11, 2022 at 05:31 am

Kevin King is a Free Agent

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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 10, 2022 at 04:52 pm

Dunlap? Dunlap? Ain't he gaining weight to the point his belly dunlap his belt?

Come on! :)

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13TimeChamps's picture

May 10, 2022 at 05:12 pm

I remember when this site used to be about football as opposed to the comment section being taken over by lame attempts at humor.

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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 10, 2022 at 05:37 pm

I apologize 13TimeChamps....I can assure you my humor might be lame but my attempts are filled with vigor and my thoughts true as a GBP fan.

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MainePackFan's picture

May 10, 2022 at 07:19 pm

I don't mind the attempts at humor if it's a filler between inciteful comment :)

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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 10, 2022 at 07:24 pm

It was a good reminder from 13TimesaChamp, MainePack. I was just having fun but I didn't even think (or know) Wendell, who wrote the piece. It was no disrespect to him or the readers...truly. Poor judgement on my part on this one.

So, sorry Wendell. Thanks for taking the time and insight to write this piece...it is appreciated!👌👍

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BirdDogUni's picture

May 10, 2022 at 07:39 pm

%Em... I love your humor. Inappropriate timing or not.

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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 10, 2022 at 07:49 pm

B-Dog, I appreciate your energy! I ain't gonna change BUT I will try to PUMP THE BRAKES a bit and limit my comments...not 1,001 (dalmatians) a day. ;)

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Rebecca's picture

May 10, 2022 at 07:33 pm

It looks like a big ol tire!

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Pantz_Burp's picture

May 10, 2022 at 04:55 pm

Tinker? Tinker? Let's not tinker with the special teams o-line any longer please! Unless tinker means 11on the field...

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BAMABADGER's picture

May 10, 2022 at 05:30 pm

If Rich Bisaccia swears by him.... sign the LS on the cheap. The current one is expendable.

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Coldworld's picture

May 10, 2022 at 05:55 pm

If he did, I’d think we’d have done so already.

Of those mentioned, only Tartt seems to me like a good option over what we have.

I might look a Jared Cook at TE, but only if Tonyan is likely not back before mid season. At CB, I’d go King if we had to on a cheap deal, given the list available.

That said, there is no rush at this point as cost likely falls till camp and no football is being played. Wait to see if any more shake free and if there are injuries unless Gute sees a hole and a good fit at a good price.

One minor note, Davis is not a move TE, he’s a traditional one. He blocks well.

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greengold's picture

May 10, 2022 at 06:52 pm

I have one thing to add: THANK YOU CHTV for bringing Wendell Ferreira into the fold here.

This is great. Agree on all of it. Nicely done, Wendell, Al, Corey & Aaron. It’s just so smart bringing a Pro Personnel perspective into this now. I’ve really enjoyed reading your work here at CHTV, Wendell. Cheers, to you!

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WendellFerreira's picture

May 11, 2022 at 08:55 am

I really appreciate it, man!

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Dragon5's picture

May 10, 2022 at 10:22 pm

Pass on Tartt, enemy year.

Kicking tires on Jared Cook still seems plausible given he's a cheap stopgap, his receiving prowess as our WR pups develop, and prior experience with Rodgers.

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BuckyBadger's picture

May 11, 2022 at 01:13 am

I know he isn't popular but I would like to see Clowney be that 3rd edge rusher. Guys is still a talented player and plays the run extremely well too. Extend Alexander, Cutt Lowery and I think you have enough to get Landry (Julio doesn't interest me at all) and Clowney and this team could be better than last year.

After looking their guess at the 53 I think Edge is the biggest issue going into training camp. WRs can be plugged in, if Gary or Preston go down or even can't get a good rotating player QBs will have too much time.

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Johnblood27's picture

May 11, 2022 at 06:24 am

...unless Wyatts first step can free up Clark for immediate pressure up the middle.

I could also see Walker getting some OLB rotational snaps.

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BuckyBadger's picture

May 11, 2022 at 08:58 am

I am sure he will but that is a lot to ask of a rookie. If Gary or Preston go down or even get dinged up during the game opposiing QBs will have a lot of time to throw.

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Johnblood27's picture

May 11, 2022 at 08:04 pm

It's a team game Bucky, there are a lot of players on the roster and some pretty good coaches on the sidelines.

The GBP will triumph!!!

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PatrickGB's picture

May 11, 2022 at 08:26 am

Kevin King. (Don’t laugh) . He already knows the defense and can play well when he is not the expected starter.

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BuckyBadger's picture

May 11, 2022 at 09:00 am

I don't see the need to bring in a corner. Top 3 guys are as good as any and they can develop the rest.

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Coldworld's picture

May 11, 2022 at 11:50 am

Nixon is a STer, SJC a guy with a lot to prove, Ento seems to have coverage aptitude but has to have learned to tackle. A lot of questions about the back ups and only one UDFA (Texada). We also picked up Kiondre Thomas, an athletic former UDFA (great 3 cone) with the Browns who got injured and eventually waived. I could easily see a SFA being added later and cheaply. King wouldn’t be a bad choice as depth, if those mentioned here, perhaps the best, but it could easily be an unknown if we do.

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