Free Agents Packers Could Ponder

For those of you who know my sense of humor and might be thinking, by virtue of the title, that I'm about to lay out a case for the Green Bay Packers to look at bringing in quarterback Christian Ponder, I'm not.  I'll spare you any more thought of that scary scenario.  

With NFL free agency almost a week old (if you include the legal tampering period), the crop of impact and big-name free agents has significantly dwindled, as it always does around this time.  But there are still a few players that the Packers may take a look at as time wears on and as their asking price drops (but not necessarily their value).

Before we get to the list, I remind everyone that these names are all guys whose contracts expired with their previous teams and they would count against the formula to determine compensatory picks for the Packers next year in 2017.  The Packers were just awarded two such picks, both fourth rounders, for the losses of Tramon Williams and Davon House last year.  Packers general manager Ted Thompson loves his draft picks and starting next year, those extra picks can be traded (up through now, they could not be).  Green Bay has not signed any free agents that were on another team's roster last year and they have already lost quarterback Scott Tolzien and cornerback Casey Hayward.  There are still a few others whose contacts with the Packers are currently up and could depart.  With quite a few guys potentially leaving Green Bay, the Packers may be in position to sign a true unrestricted free agent and still gain added picks next year. 

So who is left out there in free agent land that might actually be a good fit for the Packers?  Sure, there are some "sexy" names such as James Laurinaitis, Arian Foster and Anquan Boldin, to name a few.  But let's be realistic and stick to those who who fit more of the bill that we've become accustomed to with Thompson.

Zach Miller, Tight End

This would be the Zach Miller who was with the Chicago Bears last year and caught a touchdown against the Packers on Thanksgiving night.  Miller is an interesting case because he was out of the league from 2012 - 2014.  He caught 34 passes and had five touchdowns for the Bears last season.  He's not a burner by any means and as much as the Packers need a Jermichael Finley type in their offense, that type of tight end isn't on the market right now.  

Richard Rodgers has been serviceable and we all remember him catching the Hail Mary in Detroit, but he's not a number one tight end and never will be.  Miller, while 31 years old, could become an option the Packers look at if they don't find anything in the draft.  Behind Rodgers right now is Justin Perillo and Kennard Backman, neither of whom are capable of providing what the offense needs from the position.

Andre Holmes, Wide Receiver

A while back, Ian Rapoport tweeted out that the Packers could be looking to bring in a veteran wide receiver.  It made many of us scratch our heads because the Packers already have a stable of young guys that they seem to like and they still have the option to return James Jones if they want an experienced body.  Should Thompson opt to look elsewhere for an option, Holmes could make sense.  He's 6'4" and can get up for jump balls, something quarterback Aaron Rodgers likes to throw near the goal line.  Holmes can play outside, where the Packers could use a true complement to Jordy Nelson and someone to take some of the heat off of Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery in the slot.  Holmes is only 27 years old.  He's rumored to have drawn interest from the Philadelphia Eagles.

Many of you are screaming at me through your computer or phone screens right now about Jeff Janis.  Yes, Janis can also be the outside complementary player to Nelson and has two years in the offense.  Yes, I saw the highlight-reel catch against the Cardinals in the playoffs.  But after two years, the question remains if Janis can be that guy.  The investment in Janis is minimal and the Packers probably saw that they need to give him some more chances to really see what they have in him.  If it turns out that he's just not what they want, Holmes is another option.

Alfred Morris, Running Back

Morris is hardly a consolation prize to those who really wanted to see Matt Forte in a Packers uniform.  But consider that Morris is only 27 years old and best serves as a number two back and in a zone blocking scheme.  Sound similar to what the Packers need?  James Starks is still an option but he's drawn some interest around the league.  If he's not there and the Packers can't find something via the draft, Morris could become a nice option.  He was one of the better backs in the league a few years ago and while Starks would seem a much likelier target of Thompson's, Morris makes the most sense of those outside of Green Bay right now.

Zach Brown, Linebacker

On to the defensive side of the ball and and a position that many feel is a need area for the Packers: inside linebacker.  Brown is only 26 years old and very athletic.  He has 10 sacks over three seasons and multiple interceptions.  He's not Danny Travathan, in terms of the publicity and demand he's seeing, but he's one guy from the outside the Packers could take a longer look at.  It is very possible that the Packers are looking to add a linebacker early in the draft and could wait unit afterwards to address the position if they don't land what they want.  Brown is likely to be gone by then, but if not, he could become a big steal in this year's free agent crop.

 

So that rounds out the list of those that I see as best fits in Green Bay.  The question is whether the Packers need to look to free agency to fill that particular need or even see that position as a need at all.  Only time will tell but for those holding out hope, keep these names in mind.

-------------------

Jason is a freelance writer on staff since 2012 and also co-hosts Cheesehead TV Live, Pulse of the Pack and Pack A Day podcasts.  You can follow him on Twitter here

NFL Categories: 
0 points

Comments (25)

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

March 14, 2016 at 06:23 am

The one that makes sense for Green Bay, another of the FA ILB I've hoped Ted would consider (Along with Freeman), has been Zack Brown. He's young, has a motor, could play all 3 downs for the Packers inside, and is even a decent blitzer. Most of all he probably isn't going to cost a ton of money or cost much more than a 6th round comp pick. The Packers improve the Inside and along with Matthews and Ryan, the Packrs would have a pretty damn good LB Corps. It's really a No Brainer.

Of we can hope Joe Thomas Develops further and becomes the next Sam Shields of UDFA instead of the next Bostick.

0 points
0
0
holmesmd's picture

March 14, 2016 at 11:39 am

I really would support the Brown signing. I also actually like Joe Thomas quite a bit but I'm concerned that he's not big enough to be a 3 down ILB'r. Zach Miller was pretty darn good for the Bears as was Benett. I realize MB was not yet released and from what I understand, the Bears are trying to work out a trade. Either way GB really needs more speed in the middle on both sides of the ball to become elite units in 2016!. GP!

0 points
0
0
RCPackerFan's picture

March 14, 2016 at 06:33 am

Out of the list I agree with Nick that Zach Brown makes the most sense. Very athletic and could be the sideline to sideline type of 3 down LB our defense needs.

At this point most players aren't going to command a big salary so they should be able to get him for a decent price.

0 points
0
0
Bearmeat's picture

March 14, 2016 at 10:30 am

RC - why do you continue to expect TT to do what's best for the team before the draft? HE NEVER HAS - with 3 notable exceptions in 11 years. (Woodson, Pickett and Peppers).

All of us agreed at ILB and TE really needed veteran help. Very few of us expected anything to be done about it. An lo and behold...nothing.

Wait until the draft. Being a Packers fan under TT/MM sucks from the end of the season until the draft. Almost always has. Almost always will.

And yet they'll still win the division and be in the mix at the end. I only hope the a few of the young guys step up - because that's our only chance to win it all. TT is not going to add front line vets. He's just not.

0 points
0
0
RCPackerFan's picture

March 14, 2016 at 10:41 am

'why do you continue to expect TT to do what's best for the team before the draft? '

I don't... I honestly don't expect Thompson to go after any FA. I 'hope' he does, but don't expect it.
Just saying 'IF' they wanted to go after a FA Brown would be the best option on the list provided.

I have never said Thompson has to sign a front line FA. Honestly, we don't need him to. What we need is a player or 2 that could come in and compete. A player like Guion. If we can come away from FA getting a guy like him, that would be a good move.

I'm a draft guy. I love the draft. That is where your true team is built. I don't want them going spending a bunch of money on Free Agents. But it would be nice if they could supplement with the draft. Get the value players that can be a rotational guy and help.

0 points
0
0
Since'61's picture

March 14, 2016 at 12:13 pm

RC - perfectly stated. i don't want the Packers spending crazy on FAs either but one or two guys to get us over the hump and provide that extra bit of experience and playmaking during the playoffs is what we need. Very frustrating to be so close every season and we do nothing to finally kick the door down. Bearmeat I know how you feel as well. Thanks, Since '61

0 points
0
0
4thand1's picture

March 14, 2016 at 02:50 pm

NEVER HAS? Ok Pickett, Peppers and Woodson were great pick ups. They helped the team win. The trouble is the defensive picks are often injured and not playing. Time to add his one pick to make a difference this year. The time is right so we can't say "NEVER".

0 points
0
0
Horse's picture

March 14, 2016 at 07:13 am

I think TT is targeting not having a roster meltdown in 2017. Keeping the powder dry is not very exciting, but it beats losing too many players who matter.

0 points
0
0
LeagueObsrvr's picture

March 14, 2016 at 11:08 am

I agree with this. Three-fifths of the Packers starting o-line will hit the market next off-season (assuming some or all are not re-signed before then). That has to factor heavily in TT's strategy going forward and may even affect their plans going into the draft in April. I wouldn't be shocked to see the Packers take an offensive lineman early and draft some depth in the later rounds.

0 points
0
0
Evan's picture

March 14, 2016 at 11:10 am

"Three-fifths of the Packers starting o-line will hit the market next off-season (assuming some or all are not re-signed before then). "

Bahk has a 0.00% chance of hitting free agency.

0 points
0
0
chugwater's picture

March 14, 2016 at 07:08 pm

Yep. Focus on best available def front 7. Only exception is if OL or TE of value is there when we pick.

0 points
0
0
Tundraboy's picture

March 14, 2016 at 01:08 pm

Agree. I'm starting to get the feeling that the first pick will be OL. And fear that almost all the remaining picks will be D line, and that TE and ILB will be in the very late rounds.

0 points
0
0
chugwater's picture

March 14, 2016 at 07:12 pm

It's not three fifths. It's four sixths with Tretter open on the free market too. I'm guessing TT signs D Bahk and one of these three: Sitton, Tretter, or Lang. Taylor or Walker get promoted to a guard spot and a couple others are added thru this years and next years draft.

0 points
0
0
RCPackerFan's picture

March 14, 2016 at 11:42 am

Thompson does always look ahead.

These are the players whose contracts are going to expire after this coming season. Lacy, Crockett, Bakhtiari, Sitton, Lang, Tretter, Josh Walker, Peppers, Datone Jones, Perry, Hyde, Boyd, Palmer, Barrington, Elliott, Pennel, Joe Thomas.

0 points
0
0
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

March 15, 2016 at 02:55 am

Josh Walker will be a ERFA, so GB can keep him w/o any negotiation.

Good work though, as Crockett, Pennel and Thomas surprised me, and don't show up on some website like the link below:

http://www.spotrac.com/nfl/free-agents/2017/green-bay-packers/

0 points
0
0
zoellner25's picture

March 14, 2016 at 09:01 am

No offense to you , Jason, or any other Packers beat writers and bloggers out there, I know you have jobs to do. But stories about the Packers and possible free agents Ted should consider are a waste of time. We all know it. Ted signs so few FAs, it's not even worth my read. He's not John Elway.

0 points
0
0
jeremyjjbrown's picture

March 14, 2016 at 09:37 am

It's just interest reading. FAs who could fit for the Packers.

If your not interested then don't read it...

0 points
0
0
jasonperone's picture

March 14, 2016 at 09:42 am

This is fair and I get where you're coming from. The narrative on Thompson and free agency grows every year and with every passing year that the Packers aren't in a championship game (as hard as it is to get to one, mind you) they become more and more disenchanted. We'll have other things for you to read soon, worry not!

0 points
0
0
croatpackfan's picture

March 14, 2016 at 10:04 am

Once again, Jasone. Your claim: "Behind Rodgers right now is Justin Perillo and Kennard Backman, neither of whom are capable of providing what the offense needs from the position." is not valid. Packers signed Mitchell Henry from PS, and he is TE they think lot of good about him... He was playing with broken bone last TC. That is why they wanted him on PS, but Broncos signed him on the 53 roster. They released him later, because they needed position on the active roster and Mitchell comes back to Packers immediatelly!
I do not know why you are ignoring him. He is not much worse if at all than Kennard Beckman!

0 points
0
0
jasonperone's picture

March 14, 2016 at 03:41 pm

None of Perillo, Backman nor Henry are anything close to proven nor do we know what they can be. Same with Henry. As much as the Packers may have seemed to like him, they weren't willing to give him a roster spot so I certainly can't rate him above the other 2 who did get spots, injury or not. If a team likes a guy enough and he's the potential answer to a missing piece, do they really put him on the practice squad where any team can make him an offer?

If these guys had really solid potential to become more, I think we'd have more of a hint of that by now. Sure, one could come up during camp and this next season, but I'm not going to be the one to proclaim it. I'll gladly say I was wrong after the fact, though. That should tell you how good I think the odds are that I'll be scooping up crow with a fork on this topic.

0 points
0
0
croatpackfan's picture

March 15, 2016 at 03:47 am

I did not advocate or complain of the order in which you mention Mitchell Henry, but I noticed that you are constantly not mentioning him (even not at the end of the order!). I just point out that Packers have 3 TE on the roster already. All of them may be busts, but they are signed as TE! That was all what I mention. Also, I agree with you that history teach us there was number of the players Packers liked and believed they will blossom, but they fails. But, sometimes that happened. I'm optimistic enough to believe that Mitchell Henry can become valuable TE for the Packers, because Broncos also saw something in him. Broncos signed him on 53 roster last season!

0 points
0
0
Maverick91's picture

March 14, 2016 at 10:07 am

Zach Brown makes the most since, will fill our biggest need and will make an impact for a reasonable price. I also think Ted's waiting for the Bears to cut Bennett so that he can fill our void at at TE, plus he won't have to give up one of his precious little comp picks to sign him. As usual only time will tell.

0 points
0
0
MarkinMadison's picture

March 14, 2016 at 10:48 am

1. MM said the Packers may surprise some people in FA this year, so yeah, I expected something. To me signing Trevesan would have been a real splash, a real statement that the Packers were taking a run at the SB this year. Disappointed that TT never even picked up the phone.

2. There are two positions worth talking about in FA: ILB and TE. Both are positions where the Packers are likely to get a look at 0-1 impact players in rounds 1-2 of the draft. Both are positions that need an upgrade. Both are positions where if you picked up a mid-level FA you would then be able to stick to BPA in your draft, including picking up a TE or ILB in rounds 1-2 because quite frankly there is room for two starting caliber TEs or ILBs on this roster right now.

3. I don't see Zach Miller as a sure fire upgrade over the existing roster. I do think Zach Brown is an upgrade over any ILB on the current roster, unless you still want to see CM3 play ILB. I think waiting to get him until after the draft has a lot of risk and little upside.

4. If you can't get a TE then getting a big tall WR may be the next best thing. Yeah, I know, on paper the Packers are stacked at WR. The reality of how guys played on the field last year should give everyone pause. And if nothing else you can cut a TE if you bring in a big WR and just go more 3/4 WR sets.

0 points
0
0
4thand1's picture

March 14, 2016 at 02:55 pm

A big tall WR could easily take Adam's job. Cutting Adams would cost nothing against the cap

0 points
0
0
Tundraboy's picture

March 14, 2016 at 12:59 pm

What bugs me about articles like this is that because of our history and reluctance to sign FAs, any prospective FA possibility offered is always a function of If. If we do not find someone in the draft then.... Or if he is still available.... Can not ever expect to sign anyone decent if we wait until after the draft or wait too long. So I have no expectations of the Packers until they surprise us. Otherwise it's going to be "draft and hope" this year. Not develop, hope because we are close enough to not have to wait if we choose. Hope we get a bit bolder this year. I do believe we are good enough but we have to plug some holes. So why wait.

0 points
0
0