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Everyone knows that it is unusual for Packers' GM Ted Thompson to go and get big-name talent out of free agency. That didn't stop our Tony Atkins from posting the first "reach" column of Free Agency 2013.
EDITOR'S NOTE: We're going to be throwing out suggestions of some crazy free agent moves over the next few days. Do not assume that we have any insider information on these deals or that we think they will actually happen. It's just fun to speculate, so look at this series as a jumping-off point for discussion, nothing more.
This past season marked the end of many eras in the NFL across the board. There will be no more Ray Lewis yelling on the field, Greg Jennings is likely out in Green Bay, and Steven Jackson even came to his senses and is testing the free agent market. This year the winds of change are definitely blowing in NFL offices. (From an ceiling fan of course, because the office is probably indoors.)
With that said, what about Ted Thompson? Will the winds of change swoon in on him and the Packer organization? I'm sure that is unlikely but I think that it is time for another big move in the defensive backfield; something similar to the one made back in 2006 when Charles Woodson was brought over from Oakland. Last year, the Packers did pretty well in the back of the defense, finishing 11th in opponent's yards per game through the air. Occasionally, there were those games where the defensive backfield would seem hopeless (at Indianapolis, at New York Giants) but overall this group performed a notch above average on the year.
Charles Woodson is gone. Woodson, a proven leader and former AP Defensive Player of the Year was the anchor for this defense for many years. Over time, Woodson would sustain countless injuries that ultimately resulted in him being cut from the roster.
While Woodson wasn't the best defensive back on the roster towards the end, his presence definitely played a role in the coming on of some of Green Bay's younger prospects, such as Sam Shields, Tramon Williams and Casey Hayward. With Woodson gone, the Packers backfield should be in solid shape with the current group but if the arctic winds of change are REALLY blowing in Green Bay, then Ted Thompson should make a serious push for newly crowned Super Bowl champion Ed Reed this free agency. Yeah, it's a reach but so what? It's fun to speculate.
Ed Reed is a proven elite talent but he isn't the same Ed Reed that we all have come to know over the years. As his abilities decline, he still manages to find ways to make big plays when it counts. Last season at 34, Reed didn't look nearly as sharp as he as in years past. He wasn't as solid tackling, he wasn't as quick, but he still managed to crank out a respectable 49 tackle, four interception season. Those are pretty decent numbers for a guy dealing with a torn labrum (shoulder) at the time.
It is a fair argument to say, "You might as well bring Woodson back then," but I believe that Ed Reed coming off of an offseason would still be one of the most dangerous defensive backs in the league. With him playing alongside the younger talents in Green Bay, the burden won't be as heavy for him to perform, which he should have no problem doing.
The Packers are playing with around $21 million in cap space currently and if they could bring in Reed, it would help him get
his first Super Bowl ring... Wait, that already happened back to the Super Bowl with the talent present in Green Bay. However, the rumor mill is already zoned in on Reed who said he could "definitely" see himself playing in New England.
With Woodson gone, the Packers are in good position to make a play for Ed Reed. At this stage of his career, if the price is right, Ted Thompson should really make a move for the future Fall of Famer.