Man, what an exhausting day. I’m not sure if I ever remember the first day of free agency being quite like this, but then, maybe I just wasn’t paying that close of attention. For me, it relates to the Green Bay Packers.
Sure, we watched guys we wanted get signed by other teams, but there’s nothing new there. That No. 1 corner? Big Ted will have to conjure him out of thin air!
Gone are A.J. Bouye (Jacksonville), Stephon Gilmore (New England) and Dre Kirkpatrick (Cincinnati). Logan Ryan is still available, although he’s more of a solid No. 2. Prince Amukamara is still out there, but he’s only an improvement of the slobs we got, not anywhere near a No. 1. Davon House… well, we’ll save that for another day.
Interestingly, the guy Andrew said the Packers should trade for — Malcolm Butler — is actually on the trade block!
Of course, I would crap not only my pants, but every other Packers fans’ pants simultaneously if Big Ted even picked up the phone and asked about acquiring him.
Ultimately, day one of 2017 was different because so many Packers were either signing elsewhere, making visits or re-signing. Typically, the Packers re-sign a guy, maybe two and that’s that. Not this year…
Linebacker Nick Perry: five years, $60 million
Boom! No. 1 priority is back in the building! That’s great. What isn’t great is the Packers probably overpaid for Perry. He has had one good season in his five pro seasons. Yet, he’s now worth $12 million annually. Thing is, the Packers’ defensive roster is so shitty, they had to re-sign Perry. Because they couldn’t “draft and develop” well enough on that side of the ball and refuse to bring in any outside help, they were painted into a corner. Either overpay the guy who’s only good season was the career year he had in his contract season or suck worse on defense than you did last year. Perry may never reach his team-high 11 sacks of 2016 again, but he is the team’s best run defender. Worth $60 million? No, but that’s free agency.
Guard Don Barclay: one year, $1.3 million
I know, you’re ecstatic. Big splash, Ted! Way to bring back a backup offensive linemen on day one, you shrewd operator, you! Hell, the Packers even gave Barclay well more than the veteran’s minimum. They must LOVE him! Actually, no. He’s a contingency plan, which clues us into something else.
Center J.C. Tretter: three years, $16.75 million (Cleveland)
The Browns, one of the NFL’s junior varsity squads (along with Jacksonville), invested heavily in their offensive line on day one. They added the top guard on the market — Badger great Kevin Zeitler — and signed right tackle Joel Bitonio to an extension, in addition to landing Tretter. Throw long-time left tackle (and Badger great) Joe Thomas in there and you have the makings of one hell of an offensive line. Too fucking bad you don’t have a quarterback! Look, plain and simple, the Packers weren’t going to pay Tretter this much. They simply couldn’t afford to. We love the athleticism Tretter brings to the table. We hate his injury history. The Packers will get by with Corey Linsley.
Defensive Back Micah Hyde: five years, $30 million (Buffalo)
A lot of people were pissed that the Packers let Hyde go. That’s understandable, considering the despicable state of their secondary. Some of those people were more pissed that the Packers didn’t even offer Hyde any kind of deal. That’s not out of the ordinary for the Packers at all, however. Hyde wasn’t a free agent priority. He wasn’t even a starter in Green Bay and wasn’t going to be. While we appreciate his talents and contributions, there is no way the Packers could or should have paid the starting safety-type money Buffalo doled out unless they were planning on cutting Morgan Burnett and giving Hyde his job. And we all know that isn’t happening. The Packers need a No. 1 cornerback, not a third safety getting paid $6 million a year.
Who’s Shopping Around?
Guard T.J. Lang: Detroit and Seattle
Lang is going to get big money. We’re pretty sure he was hoping the Packers would just pony up after seeing the market. The Packers clearly didn’t want to do that. Thus, Lang is off to his native Michigan to visit the Lions and then on to visit the Seahawks (if he makes it out of Detroit without becoming a Lion). The Lions may be the Lions, but Lang is a Detroit guy, so there’s definitely an appeal. The Seahawks had one of the worst lines in the NFL in 2016, but they still made the playoffs and are a perennial contender. You can bet there’s an appeal there, too. My bet is the Packers are at $8 million annually. If one of these teams goes to $10 million, I’ll wager T.J. Lang is a goner. And that’s why Don Barclay was re-signed so quickly.
Running Back Eddie Lacy, Minnesota and Seattle
The Seahawks are intent on poaching someone from the Packers, aren’t they? This tour is more about health. Lacy is actually also scheduled to visit the Packers. You can bet the first thing anyone wants to do is see how his surgically repaired ankle is looking. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lacy came to Green Bay, got a clean bill of health and signed a short-term deal. I also wouldn’t be surprised if Lacy signed elsewhere. Both the Vikings and Seahawks need a back. Adrian Peterson is a free agent (who has drawn zero interest from anyone) and probably won’t be back. Seattle tried to pretend Thomas Rawls was the answer at the end of last season. In either instance, a healthy Lacy is a huge upgrade. Also, in either instance, Lacy is going to get killed. Those offensive lines are probably 31A and 31B in the NFL. Atrocious!
Who Didn’t Get Tendered?
The Packers weren’t high enough on three of their restricted free agents that they didn’t both to tender them. That means these guys are now unresticted free agents. It doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t be back with the team — the Packers could sign them to minimum-salary deals — but in the past, non-tendered players have typically not been in the Packers’ plans.
- Linebacker Jayrone Elliott — was finally given a chance to make an impact on defense in 2016 and failed, possibly spectacularly.
- Linebacker Jordan Tripp — a late-season pickup by the Packers after being waived by Seattle with an injury settlement, so zero surprise here.
- Running Back John Crockett — the former undrafted free agent spent all of 2016 on IR with an injury that didn’t require him to be on IR. The Packers are replenishing their running back stock.