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:
- Nick Perry - edge
- TJ Lang - G
- Jared Cook - TE
- Datone Jones - edge
- Jayrone Elliott - edge
- Julius Peppers - edge
- Micah Hyde - DB
- Eddie Lacy
- Demetri Goodson - CB
- Don Barclay - G/T
- JC Tretter - C/OL
- Christine Michael
- 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 acknowledgeRead 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
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.
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:
Maybe in 2017 they'll be in the Super Bowl...hope springs eternal.
Go Pack Go!