We’re experiencing one of the most active free-agent market periods in Green Bay in recent memory. While the Packers have made only one big-name new acquisition, there have been several other moves that will impact the team – mostly on the departure side of the coin.
The 2017 Packers will be without veterans Julius Peppers, T.J. Lang, Sam Shields, James Starks, Eddie Lacy, Jared Cook, J.C. Tretter, Datone Jones, and so on. There are going to be many opportunities for players who eventually make the final 53-man roster to advance to starter roles or move up into the top backup positions.
While personnel activity has slowed down a week into free agency, the Packers are a long way from filling out their roster. The current average number of players signed by the league’s teams is 63.7. The Steelers are at the top of this list with 77 players onboard. At the bottom is Buffalo, with only 55 players under contract out of 90 slots.
Where do the Packers find themselves on the spectrum? Next to last – Ted Thompson has only 59 players signed.
Who is still out there that might be tempting to Thompson? How about ex-Packer outside linebacker Erik Walden, who quietly recorded 11 sacks in 2016, his best of four years with the Colts? The 31-year old also made 42 tackles (nine for loss), forced three fumbles and had 17 quarterback hits. He’s coming off a contract that paid him $4 million per year.
Running backs abound. There’s Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, and LeGarrette Blount. Though Christine Michael seems to be barely a blip on the Packers’ radar, with Eddie Lacy gone, his stock goes up a bit. I don’t see him as anything but a backup, however.