An Offseason Roster Analysis: Linebacker

Draft season is almost upon us, so it is a good time to assess the state of the Packers' roster. Yesterday, we took a look at the defensive line. Let's move on the rest of the front seven, the LBs. Here is a list of players the team has under contract:

OLB Clay Matthews (29Jul09: 5yr/$9.925 mil [$800k signing]) FA: '14
2013: $3.73 mil

OLB Nick Perry (11May12: 4yr/$7.5 mil [$4 mil signing]) FA: '16
2013: $730,875
2014: $1,071,750
2015: $1,412,625

OLB Dezman Moses (30Apr12: 3yr/$1,443,500 [$3.5k signing]) RFA: '15
2013: $480k
2014: $570k

ILB Desmond Bishop (4Jan11: 4yr/$19.05 mil) FA: '15
2013: $3.464 mil ($250k roster+$250k workout)
2014: $3.522 mil ($250k roster+$250k workout)

ILB Brad Jones (21Mar13: 3yr/$11.75 mil [$3 mil signing] FA: '16
2013: $1 mil (+$300k per-game roster+$200k workout)
2014: $2.5 mil (+$300k per-game roster+$200k workout)
2015: $3.25 mil (+$300k per-game roster+$200k workout)

ILB A.J. Hawk (3Mar11: 5yr/$33.75 mil [$8 mil signing]) FA: '16
2013: $1.39 mil (+$2.21 mil roster+$250k workout)
2014: $3.5 mil (+$800k roster+$250k workout)
2015: $3.6 mil (+$800k roster+$250k workout)

ILB D.J. Smith (29Jul11: 4yr/$2.143 mil [$103,152 signing]) FA: '15
2013: $555k
2014: $645k

ILB Jamari Lattimore (28Jul11: 3yr/$1.4 mil [$5k signing]) RFA: '14
2013: $555k

ILB Terrell Manning (11May12: 4yr/$2,271,480 [$171,480 signing]) FA '16
2013: $480k
2014: $570k
2015: $660k

ILB Rob Francois (15Mar13: 1yr/$725k [$50k signing]) FA: '14
2013: $630k (+$45k per-game roster)

ILB Micah Johnson (14Jan13: 3yr/$1.485 mil) RFA: '16
2013: $405k
2014: $495k
2015: $585k

You may notice the disparity: 8 ILBs, but only 3 OLBs. This is mitigated somewhat by the versatility of players like Jones & Lattimore, who actually started on the outside, and Manning, who could potentially move there. Make no mistake, though, the OLB position should be addressed. There should be no immediate concern for players leaving in FA. Only two players become unrestricted FAs after this year, Francois & Matthews, and Clay's extension is being worked upon as we speak.

Injuries took its toll on the LB corps last year, with Bishop, Smith & Perry all coming back off of IR. This is a mild concern, as you can never be sure how a player will recover. However, all the injuries took place early last year (Bishop's especially), so these players will have had ample recovery time when training camp rolls around.

Draft Priority (ILB): Very Low
Outside of a player dropping significantly & getting great value, it's difficult to see an ILB getting drafted.
Draft Priority (OLB): Moderate
While we are set for the starters, depth is a concern. Still, an impact player may be too tantalizing to pass up, even as high as in the 2nd.
Potential 2nd-5th round picks (OLB): Damontre Moore, Jamie Collins, Corey Lemonier, Cornelius Washington, Brandon Jenkins, Michael Buchanan, Chase Thomas, Ty Powell
Potential FA OLB targets still on the market: Calvin Pace*, Andy Studebaker*, Brandon Williams*, James Harrison, Shawne Merriman, Shaun Phillips

*released; will not count against us for compensatory picks if signed

Previous Offseason Roster Analyses: DL

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