I didn't expect to be writing this post so early. This is just my Whole Big Plan for the off season, looking at how I would like to see it go, while staying within the realm of realism. No more time will be wasted... on to the blueprint.
There's a big story going on with Joe Philbin, as you all know; his son was recently found dead in a river in Oshkosh. Quite the tragedy. And a little off topic, but it bothers me that nobody on the sports networks really mentioned Philbin's tragedy as affecting the Packers players, except I heard Dilfer talk about it. Seriously, it should be clear that the team's struggles were partially to the fact that they spent the day before the big game at a funeral, and they didn't know if Philbin would even attend the game. All I hear is how great Eli "You can't spell Elite without Eli" Manning is.
And now you can make that two stories on Philbin, with him recently been named the head coach of the Miami Dolphins. That means someone needs to be promoted/brought in to be the offensive coordinator. There's only one right man for the job.
Clements has to be promoted, or else he will join Philbin in Miami as the OC. If he had to make a decision between OC in Green Bay, or in Miami, he'd stay in Green Bay. But if it was QBs coach in Green Bay, versus OC in Miami with Philbin, he'll be gone.
Clements wouldn't have to much pressure on him, because McCarthy actually calls the plays. Another reason Clements needs to be promoted is because of his knack for developing QBs. Rodgers was a 1st round pick, but you can't doubt that he's come a long way. Brady Quinn was a 1st round pick as well. Flynn was a 7th round pick; now he'll be a starter (probably in Miami).
Reggie McKenzie- He's gone to Oakland, and rumors say Winston Moss could potentially be following him. Not sure about replacements or whatever here, probably promote within the staff.
This is where things get tricky. Alot of work to do, especially looking at Finley, Flynn, and Wells. There's a free agent pool for the DL that Thompson will likely give a look. Meanwhile, not many good, experienced 3-4 OLBs out there to pick on.
Scott Wells- YES
Wells needs to be the top priority, even a bit higher than Finley. Gotta try to resign him. Ever heard of tagging a center? Probably won't be necessary, because he will be willing to negotiate and settle for a contract that is beneficial for both sides. Let's say: 3 years, 14 mil
Jermichael Finley- YES
Finley is our other top priority at FA. Finley's drops have been very frustrating, but at the same time he's still very effective and opens up the passing game a bit. I'm not willing to overpay for him, but anything short of completely overpaying, I say keep him. He's a candidate for the franchise tag. But in the end: 4 years, 25 mil, 6.25 mil/yr.
Just for the record, Vernon Davis got 5 years, 36 mil, 7.2 mil/yr, making him the highest paid TE. In 2008, Dallas Clark got a deal giving him 6.9 mil/yr. I think when you consider the level Finley is on, plus the growth of TEs in passing offenses, Finley will need about 6 mil/yr to stay in Green Bay.
Matt Flynn- YES/TAG
I do think Flynn will be tagged, but a deal will be made beforehand to ensure it doesn't end up ruining our cap. Flynn will be tagged and then traded to the Dolphins and Joe Philbin, for a 2nd round pick this year, and 3rd next year. The reason it's not a 1st rounder, is because a team knows they will have to pay Flynn up around 16 mil next season.
Do keep in mind that I'm only somewhat educated on the franchise tag and it's whereabouts, and I'm not sure what exactly is the chances Flynn gets tagged-and-traded. But I do know the Pats did it with Cassell (although a slightly different situation). I read the comments on BirdDogUni's fanpost, but honestly nothing was really cleared up. So considering this is my fake plan/wish list or whatever, I could do it how I wanted to, and this make some sense to me.
And not that I would get pissed or anything, but I'd rather not the comments section of my post become the same thing as BirdDogUni's post, cause his post is strictly on the Tag and Flynn. Thanks.
Ryan Grant- NO
Sadly, Grant won't be back. Teams saw him come on late in the season. We're not keeping him unless he takes a pay cut, and I think some other team will be willing to give him what he's getting now. We'll take our chances with Starks, Saine, and Green.
Donald Driver- NO
He's not a FA but he won't be back next year I predict. We have Borel and Gurley on the PS, and had West as well until the Jags (worst WR core I've ever seen) picked him up. So keeping 3 WRs on the squad seems to be foreshadowing that Driver's days are winding down in Green Bay. Thanks for all the years Donald.
Erik Walden- NO- Walden has been ineffective this season, and nothing suggests he'll improve in the future. No hard feelings, but So'oto, Jones, and Zombo are all better options today and in the longer term. If he doesn't get any offers from other teams, I could see him being back in the mix, but for a tiny contract.
Pat Lee- N/A- Nothing to see here. Lee will probably be in training camp, but might not make the roster.
Howard Green- NO- Thompson plans on drafting a young DT to replace Green, and he's not giving up on Neal just yet. Wilson and Wynn will be back, and Guy in the mix.
Free Agent Signings
I'm hoping Thompson somehow makes a big splash in FA.
OLB, From Dallas Cowboys
Never liked the idea of getting a former Cowboy, but Spencer is undoubtedly is a good OLB who won't have to make any transition into our scheme. Spencer has 6.0, 5.0, and 6.0 sacks in the last 3 seasons, and has 8 forced fumbles over that span. He'll need a decent deal, but won't cost a fortune: 3 years, 13 mil, 4.3 mil/yr.
QB, From Pittsburgh Steelers
Dixon isn't expected to challenge Aaron Rodgers for the starting job, but he's a capable backup who would be a good fit in our offense in my opinion. Consider, our offense, along with the Patriots, is the NFL's closest thing to a spread offense. Dixon played in the spread in college, and would love the idea of playing in an offense like ours. He's been good as a spot starter in Pittsburgh, and has performed decent in the preseason, and is only 27 years old. I'd like to see a battle between him and Harrell (whom I'm not completely sold on).
1st Round- #28 Overall
Jared Crick DE/DT Nebraska
Crick is the ideal fit in at end in our 3-4 scheme. His stock dropped a bit because he missed most of this season with a torn pectoral, but we're still talking about a guy that dominates Big 12 guards in his Sophomore and Junior seasons, making 1st team All-Big 12 both of those seasons.
Other possibilities (same position)- Fletcher Cox (Ms St.), Brandon Thompson (Clemson), Jerel Worthy (Mich. St).
2nd Round- #40 Overall (FROM MIA)
Lamar Miller RB Miami (FL)
Miller is the real deal. He's one of the fastest backs in the class, and he has good size to go with it (5'11" 212 lbs). Miller is younger and have less mileage on him considering he only played 2 seasons in college, and took limited carries as a freshman.
RB isn't exactly a "need", but upgrading the position with a young talented player is something I'm in favor of. Miller's excellent hands assure he'll be an integral part of the passing game as well.
Watch the below video to see how good he really is.
Other possibilities: David Wilson (Va Tech)
2nd Round- #60 Overall
Jayron Hosely CB Virginia Tech
Hosely is a tough, strong corner for Va Tech. He's got good size at 6'. He's gotten beat deep a few too many times this year, but he's still talented and will get better. I watched their BCS Bowl game vs Michigan, he was absolutely great in that game.
Other possibilities- Stephen Gilmore (So. Carolina), Casey Heyward (Vandy), Brandon Boykin (Georgia)
3rd Round- #92 Overall
Brandon Lindsey DE/OLB Pittsburgh
Lindsey will be a DE conversion project, but considering we have our current starter in Anthony Spencer, so he will have plenty of time to convert positions. Lindsey made 1st team all Big East last season at End, showing his superb pass rushing ability with 8.5 sacks.
Other possibilities: Donte Paige-Moss (No. Carolina), Emmanuel Acho (Texas), Shea McClellin (Boise St)
Jeff Allen T/G Illinois
Allen has played both tackle positions and has held up well. He could be more of a developmental tackle if he doesn't move quick enough to handle speed rushers, but he should be good as a backup tackle either way. Offensive line depth is never a bad idea, and we can be sure that Ted Thompson won't ignore the line.
Other possibilities: Levy Adcock (Ok st), Ryan Miller (Colorado), Tim Compton (So Dakota)
4th/5th Compensatory Pick
Eddie Pleasant S Oregon
I'm going to say that Collins will come back from his injury and start next season, but either way, in the late rounds it's a good idea to add depth at any positions that need it. Pleasant is a decent play maker for the Ducks who's game could translate to the NFL as a capable backup/spot starter.
Other possibilities: Duke Ihencacho (SJ st), Matt Daniels (Duke), Janzen Jackson (McNeese)
David Molk C Michigan
Wells gets resigned, but he's still getting up there in years. This is really just a depth selection for now, but Molk could be the starter down the road. He's currently underweight a bit at 290, but should add a few pounds without losing mobility.
These picks, Thompson usually takes the best player on the board, and often takes FB/TE Hybrids because he likes having way too many of them.
Look for some more O-line depth, and players anywhere on defense.
Not necessarily the 53-man roster, but this is we could be looking at in the preseason games, minus a few of the 6th/7th round picks I didn't predict, and a few UDFAs.
FB: John Kuhn, Ryan Taylor
TE: Jermichael Finley, DJ Williams, Andrew Quarless, Ryan Taylor, Tom Crabtree
C: Scott Wells, Evan Deitrich-Smith, David Molk
I really thought hard about where exactly the Packers needed to improve most, and looked at all of the options. I decided that most of the work should be on defense, namely on the front 7, and if possible, getting one of the stud RBs in the draft, Miller or Wilson. Upgrades at OLB with Spencer, DE with Crick, and RB with Lamar Miller, with added depth in the secondary and offensive line.
I think this off season could put us back on top.
So, there's my plan. Feel free to pick it apart, and go ahead and vote in the poll so I know how you guys feel I did.