The lockout is over and the craziness is about to begin. Yes yes, there are still lots of i's and t's and such, but really it's all over. Kevin had a great question about Nick Barnett and his status, but I don't think that he's the only one the Packers may need to trade or cut. Basically these are all going to be guys who are seriously looking at being back ups but are getting starter money. On top of it they are guys who may be coming back from injury, near the back end of their career, and/or have their role replaced by someone we drafted or someone who stepped up last season.
This doesn't mean they are bad players. It does mean they aren't Packer People any more. It just means that they are getting paid more then the worth they give the team and something needs to be done. This is especially true since it looks like the Packers are going to have minor problems with the new cap. This is where the uncapped year bites us in the ass a bit. The Pack were brilliant in using the uncapped year to their advantage. Instead of spending big money on a few players, they just kept moving guys to IR and used their impressive scouting department to keep bringing guys off the street who are pretty darn good. Mix this with some of the good long term deals given out means that we don't have much room under the cap.
Not a big problem though, again as Clayton points out, because a few of these dead wood players could free up all the room TT & Co. need. So who should get gone? Let's take a look after the jump....
Mark Tauscher. This is one Clayton highlighted and it makes sense really. He's had a problem staying healthy, getting paid starter or close to starter money, and now the Packers are pretty stocked with tackles with Brian Bulaga and Derek Sherrod as well as Chad Clifton currently outrunning father time. Hopefully it's just a renegotiation rather than a straight up cutting, but something needs to be done here.
Brady Poppinga. No lie here, I'm not a fan of Poppinga. He was supposed to be a starter when we made the switch to the 3-4 defense but lost his job to Clay Matthews. But hey, Matthews is pretty good so that's understandable right? Then Kampman went down and Poppinga got another chance to start only to be beaten out by Brad Jones. Now I'm starting to think that his starters pay might not be worth a guy who is just a special teamer. Now he's sharing the job with Jones, Frank Zombo, and Rickey Elmore. Even his special teams play (which really shouldn't merit his salary since we were still at the bottom of the special teams hill with him in there) may be replaced with D.J. Smith. All this combined makes Poppinga the poster child for dead weight on this team.
Brandon Underwood. Potential only takes you so far. This becomes more true when Jarett Bush beats you out in the depth chart in the most important game of your career. This becomes even more true when you follow up that disappointment getting arrested for disorderly conduct from the night you get your Super Bowl ring. Oh and he was arrest last year as well for bringing a couple of pros to a party being thrown by your teammates. Oh yeah, and the Packers drafted another corner in the draft who has the size and speed to replace you.....well they drafted that guy before you were arrested for the second time. Needless to say I don't think there will be many tears if Underwood is gone.
Who else do you think might not play up to their contract? Now I'm not talking about guys who are going to be FA's, so no Cullen Jenkins, James Jones, or Darryn College here. Just the guys who may need to be let go in order for the Packers to make the moves needed to stay champions.