Monday, February 13, 2017

2.13.17 - Our pending FA & RFA plus dreaming outside FA?

There's an article @ Bleacher Report written on 2.13.17 by Gary Davenport that ranks the 2017 Free-Agent class by position.   It's an interesting read and covers the full-Monty.  The author states "it's a good year to be in the market for one of those pass-rushers."

Pass rusher will quickly become a huge need if the Packers lose two or more of their following u/rfa players: Nick Perry, Julius Peppers, Datone Jones, or Jayrone Elliott.

Pending 2017 FA (UFA/RFA) by position:

  1. Nick Perry - edge
  2. TJ Lang - G
  3. Jared Cook - TE
  4. Datone Jones - edge
  5. Jayrone Elliott - edge
  6. Julius Peppers - edge
  7. Micah Hyde - DB
  8. Eddie Lacy
  9. Demetri Goodson - CB
  10. Don Barclay - G/T
  11. JC Tretter - C/OL
  12. Christine Michael
  13. Jordan Tripp - LB/ST 

As I previously stated, maintaining a pass rusher presence is paramount; Micah Hyde should also be considered as a priority resign because of the amount of time he played in 2016 due to his veteran leadership and versatility. The only other pending defensive FA is Goodson and he might not be ready for 2017 camp because of the knee injury.

The above listing is my prioritization.  I'm indifferent WRT Christine Michael; would rather see Lacy back and also see if John Crockett can make a jump/return (I liked his spunk).  Doesn't matter to me whether they sign TJ or Nick first or second as long as they sign them both.  Barclay is strictly a back-up but maybe a decent veteran minimum back-up because he can play all the spots (like Tretter).  Only need to resign Tretter if TJ goes elsewhere.

Not being able to resign Nick Perry would be a bad thing; not sure what his open market value will be but acknowledge he'll be costly to retain.  Datone hopefully can be retained via a 1-year prove-it contract like Perry was for 2016.  I'd also love to have Peppers back and would take him over Datone.

Here's an "Ask Vic" question on 2.13.17:
Which free agent in the NFL should the Packers be aggressive to try to pick up in free agency?
I won’t brush off these types of questions this year. I acknowledge Aaron Rodgers’ career has reached the point that a premium needs to be put on the present, so if the Packers can find a difference-maker in free agency, I’ll sign off on taking a swing for the fence. Who is that player? We won’t know until the tags go out and potential free agents have re-signed with their current teams.
Read more: http://www.packers.com/news-and-events/article-insider-inbox/article-1/I-wont-brush-off-free-agent-questions/2ac1b956-f99e-4321-a938-26c47f89a266#ixzz4YbjyFYcn

Vic is right that before we can really speculate on "purchasing" outside FAs we need to know who they'll be and we're still a ways off on that.  I still think it's more important, especially going into 2017, to resign our own guys before thinking about outside guys...but they have recouped Sam Shields' $9m cap number and can/should use that for a veteran CB is one becomes available in FA.

That brings me back/full-circle to the Bleacher Report article.  In the article, Gary Davenport lists the following "top players available" at CB as: AJ Bouye (Texans), Trumaine Johnson (Rams), Stephon Gilmore (Bills), Morris Claiborne (Cowboys), and Captain Munnerlyn (Vikings).  Per Spotrac, there are currently nine CBs making $10m or more per season.  Bouye, Trumaine Johnson, Gilmore, and probably Claiborne will command that amount for 2017.

  • Trumaine Johnson was franchised in 2016 and would cost the Rams 120% of his 2016 contract to retain.  He's a big CB @ ~6'1"
  • Stephon Gilmore and Morris Claiborne are also intriguing
  • It's unlikely that all three hit the market
  • Bouye is the wild-card because he would be yet another high $$ investment for the Texans defense...but probably their top off-season priority too.  Bouye is 25.
  • I would resign Micah Hyde before Captain Munnerlyn.

Outside LB / Edge "top players available": Chandler Jones (Cardinals), Melvin Ingram (Chargers), Malcolm Smith (Raiders), Nick Perry (Packers), and Barkevious Mingo (Patriots).

Defensive End "top players available": Calais Campbell (Cardinals), Jason Pierre-Paul (Giants), Jabaal Sheard (Patriots), Andre Branch (Dolphins), and Devin Taylor (Lions).

  • Note: neither Julius Peppers or Datone Jones are listed in the "top players available" for OLB or DE...but Nick Perry is listed at Outside LB / Edge.  Perry is a must resign IMO...and slots $$ wise behind Chandler Jones, Melvin Ingram, Calais Campbell, and Jason Pierre-Paul.  The Packers also need to resign Julius Peppers or Datone Jones too...ideally both...but if they sign a 2nd premier Edge guy (i.e., Ingram or JPP) I'd be fine with that too.

Inside LB "top players available":  Dont'a Hightower (Patriots), Zach Brown (Bills), Lawrence Timmons (Steelers), Perry Riley (Raiders), and Gerald Hodges (49ers).  

  • I'd love any of the first three on the list but doubt those three will be available.
  • I would move CM3 back inside into the rover LB spot full-time / 100% of time.

Loved watching the 2016 season recap video:
http://www.packers.com/media-center/videos/Total-Packers-2016-Season-Recap/41876287-94b9-401e-ac92-332d4b502ef8

Maybe in 2017 they'll be in the Super Bowl...hope springs eternal.

Go Pack Go!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

01.25.17 - Future at RB in 2017 -- other FA thoughts from an offensive perspective

Snippet from Rob Demovsky:

http://www.espn.com/blog/green-bay-packers/post/_/id/37177/eddie-lacys-future-will-impact-what-packers-do-at-running-back

Eddie Lacy says he wants to come back, but at what price?
Ty Montgomery looks like a full-time running back, but can he handle more than a dozen carries per game -- something he did only once this past season after he converted from receiver
And who knows what’s in the future for James Starks, who hasn’t played since he suffered a concussion in a Dec. 12 car crash, or in-season pickup Christine Michael.
It’s why Lacy, whose rookie contract is set to expire, will be one of the Packers’ most important decisions in free agency.
==[end snippet]==
I think the above statements (by Demovsky) are reasonable at this time.  One thing I believe is we'll have three RBs (not including Ripkowski, who I like very much as a FB & occasionally with the ball).  Ty Montgomery is a given and definitely part of the equation at RB (wish he could keep his #88 as a RB).

I would cut James Starks.  I would consider resigning Christine Michael for veteran's minimum as the 3rd RB.  If not, then they'll either have to draft somebody (not a bad option) or bring in a FA, UDFA, one of their practice squad guys, or maybe even bring John Crockett back (2016 IR).

====[snippet]=====
When last seen around the facility, he looked at least as big as he was at this time last year, when coach Mike McCarthy called him out publicly for being overweight. Perhaps the Packers and Lacy would agree on a short-term deal similar to the two-year, $6 million contract Starks signed last offseason. 2016 pay: $867,602 base salary, no bonuses
==[end snippet]==
I'd love to see Eddie Lacy resigned for the 2nd part of the equation at RB.  I suppose the key to resigning him the the financial aspect...what amount will Eddie resign for is the question.  I think he's worth considerably more than what they offered Starks...maybe in the ~$9-10m range but that's just a WAG at this point.  I think anything less than that is good for the Packers.

Demovsky also discusses other offensive players that are pending 2017 FAs (TJ Lang, Jared Cook, JC Tretter, and Don Barclay).  It's highly unlikely the Packers can/will resign all four of these guys. Barclay is JAG but might be worth while to resign as a bench player for minimum salary.  Jarred Cook is pretty much a must sign but the $$ needs to be reasonable for cap purposes.  I'd definitely resign TJ Lang who IMO is the #1 guy that needs to be resigned from an offensive perspective.

Bottom Line: resign TJ Lang, Jared Cook, and Eddie Lacy.

Defense is next to look at...at another time.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

1.24.17 - Things I think about the Packers after being blown-out

So much for posting more frequently...LOL.

OK, so it's now Tuesday, 1.24.17 which is a good ~40+ hours after the Packers were massacred in Atlanta.  I haven't posted anything in the CHTV blog responses regarding the loss.  No doubt the loss was hard for Packers' fans to deal with and witness.  Lots of scathing comments...  On the media end, Bob McGinn posted his usual ratings piece...and he was definitely scathing with his comments!

For example: STARS OF THE GAME: 1. T.J. Lang; 2. Jordy Nelson; 3. Don Barclay

OK, so he rates Don Barclay as the 3rd star...wow, that says alot.  Granted Barclay played much better than I expected and had to play quite a few snaps but it speaks volumes that nobody else was worthy of McGinn's star label.  His bottom line (last) sentence about Aaron Rodgers was: "Super Bowl berths are hard to achieve with a franchise quarterback playing well below par."

Yeah, not Aaron's best game during the 'run the table' stretch but he didn't have a ton of help from the skill position players either (sans Jordy early on, and Cook).  Cobb made a few plays but was mostly quiet during the game.  Devonte Adams couldn't do much with his bum ankle.  Monty only played 23 snaps due to injury.  Ripkowski's lost fumble was a killer...but I still love the kid!

The Falcons obviously killed the Packers with an air assault that was lightning quick (typically 1.5 - 2.0 seconds before pass release by Matt Ryan) and lethal -- especially on 3rd down.  Julio Jones was unstoppable...and I was expecting that from him because his talent level as a WR is #1 at this time IMO...the combination of his size, speed, strength, and hands is too much for top tier CBs to handle much less Ladarious Gunter or Damarious Randall.

Speaking of Damarious Randall, to say he had a rough and very inconsistent season would be an understatement.  However, he did flash a few times during the year, especially vs the Seahawks.  The deep ball interception show-cased his centerfield ability...but he was drafted to play CB and he really regressed in 2016 compared to his 2015 rookie campaign.  He consistently provided 5-10 yards of cushion which typically resulted in easy completions against him.  He also got caught peaking into the backfield by looking to see where the QB was going with the ball which also resulted in easy completions against him...several big gainers and/or TDs.

I don't think there's any question that the Packers' biggest need going into the 2017 season will be getting more talent at CB for 2017.  Sam Shields says he still wants to play...  I think even if Shields wants to play they'll need to add more talent to the CB position.  Here's the final listing for CBs on the roster for the Falcons game:

36 Gunter, LaDarius CB 6-2 20124 2 Miami
28 Hawkins, Josh CB 5-10 18924 R East Carolina
23 Randall, Damarious CB 5-11 19624 2 Arizona State
24 Rollins, Quinten CB 5-11 19524 2 Miami (Ohio)
26 Waters, Herb CB 6-0 18824 R Miami
33 Hyde, Micah DB 6-0 19726 4 Iowa

Wow...that looks brutal from an experience perspective...talent level needs improvement too!  Only reason both Hawkins and Waters were on the 53 man was due to injuries.  Available roster spots: 2

Injured reserve and practice squad:

37 Shields, Sam CB 5-11 18429 7 Miami
20 Dorleant, Makinton CB 5-11 18224 R Northern Iowa
39 Goodson, Demetri CB 5-11 19727 3 Baylor
31 Benwikere, Bené CB 5-11 19625 3 San Jose State

I hope the Packers let Shields come back if he wants to.  I'd still try to renegotiate his contract if he comes back and would prefer not to cut him if he wants to play.  If Shields comes back they still should draft a CB as early as possible...maybe even double-down at the position.  I also think they should continue to carry six CBs (including Micah Hyde or some other veteran FA).

Hyde is a pending 2017 FA.  I would consider paying him low-end starter's money because of his role in nickel/dime packages.  They shouldn't resign Goodson (pending FA).  Didn't see enough of Makinton Dorleant to determine his worth.

Quick look at the safety listing:

29 Brice, Kentrell S 5-11 20022 R Louisiana Tech
42 Burnett, Morgan S 6-1 20928 7 Georgia Tech
21 Clinton-Dix, Ha Ha S 6-1 20824 3 Alabama
25 Evans, Marwin S 5-11 21123 R Utah State

I actually like the safety group quite a bit.  Granted, the Packers need Cliton-Dix to step-up even more than he did (I think he deserved his pro-bowl spot) but overall, I was very happy with him and Morgan Burnett because they're turning into quite a good safety tandem.  Like many fans, I also like Brice and think he's got a bright future.  Marwin Evans dropped a gift wrapped interception from Matt Ryan that could've kept 7 points off the board.

The Packers obviously have needs at other positions.  Number two on my positions of needs list is at LB, where there are three pending 2017 FAs with Julius Peppers, Nick Perry, and Datone Jones.

95 Jones, Datone DE/LB 6-4 28526 4 UCLA
91 Elliott, Jayrone LB 6-3 25525 3 Toledo
51 Fackrell, Kyler LB 6-5 24525 R Utah State
50 Martinez, Blake LB 6-2 23723 R Stanford
52 Matthews, Clay LB 6-3 25530 8 Southern California
56 Peppers, Julius LB 6-7 28737 15 North Carolina
53 Perry, Nick LB 6-3 26526 5 Southern California
47 Ryan, Jake LB 6-2 24024 2 Michigan
48 Thomas, Joe LB 6-1 22725 2 South Carolina State
58 Tripp, Jordan LB 6-3 23425 3 Montana

Jayrone Elliott will also be a FA in 2017 but he's of the RFA variety.  He's a very good ST player so I'd probably make him an offer (lowest tender).  Perry will cost (and be worth) the most money.  I'd offer Datone a prove-it deal and bring back Peppers (at a reduced rate) if he still wants to play.  

Jordan Tripp is certainly replaceable (and should be) and probably Joe Thomas too.   Available roster spots: 2 

I'd draft another edge rusher and I'd use CM3 strictly in the rover role (his best role).  I didn't see enough from Kyler Fackrell to determine his worth or potential...but I'm hopeful.  If Fackrell can become a starter it'll be huge, especially if he can be moved around like CM3 can.

Offensive skill positions:

32 Michael, Christine RB 5-10 22026 4 Texas A&M
88 Montgomery, Ty RB 6-0 21624 2 Stanford
44 Starks, James RB 6-2 21830 7 Buffalo
89 Cook, Jared TE 6-5 25429 8 South Carolina
82 Rodgers, Richard TE 6-4 25725 3 California
17 Adams, Davante WR 6-1 21524 3 Fresno State
81 Allison, Geronimo WR 6-3 20223 R Illinois
18 Cobb, Randall WR 5-10 19226 6 Kentucky
11 Davis, Trevor WR 6-1 18823 R California
83 Janis, Jeff WR 6-3 21925 3 Saginaw Valley State
13 McCaffrey, Max WR 6-2 20022 R Duke
87 Nelson, Jordy WR 6-3 21731 9 Kansas State
40 Kerridge, Joe FB 6-0 24524 R Michigan
22 Ripkowski, Aaron FB 6-1 24624 2 Oklahoma
Injured reserve:
27Lacy, Eddie         RB5-11234264Alabama

14 offensive skill position players is a doable number.

RB - Both Starks and Christine Michael should be replaced and I'd bring back Eddie Lacy on a prove-it deal.

Max McCaffrey will almost certainly be replaced...but not sure they'll keep 7 WRs again.

TE/FB are treated similarly by McCarthy.  Jared Cook is a priority 2017 FA.

Ted Thompson's mantra is draft & the coaches develop.  Has signed two future HOF players via FA (Charles Woodson and Julius Peppers), other notable signing was Ryan Pickett.  No busts in FA based-on an expenditure perspective.

The Packers lost Casey Hayward via FA and should get a compensatory pick for him (5th?).

I'm not sure if the Packers will receive a draft pick from the Bills for the OLB we traded to them.  If so, that'll be an additional 7th round pick.  That would make nine total picks for Ted.

Speaking of Ted, I've been reading/hearing internet reporting/opines from the media and definitely blogs/tweets regarding Ted Thompson's future.  Expectations, wants, and WAGs abounded with the desired outcome of Ted stepping into a senior scouting role and somebody like Elliot Wolf assuming the GM role.  Other options could be John Dorsey (a long time favorite of mine for GM), possibly raiding Seattle, or maybe even Brian Gutekunst, Director of Player Personnel.  I'd be good with Elliot, John, or Brian taking over...or John Schneider.