This needs to be the year the Ted Thompson dips into the free agent market. He doesn’t need to go nuts, and he doesn’t need to fill every position through free agency, but right now the Packers are primed on the offensive side of the ball, all they need is a little help on the defensive end and they could be one of the favorites coming out of the NFC next year. And with an estimated 26 million dollars in cap space, they could make it happen.
As I said earlier, the Packers are absolutely scary on offense. The few years before 2013 the Packers were one dimensional, but barring an absolutely disastrous sophomore slump, Eddie Lacy has become the man that they can hand the ball off to when we need a few yards, or need to establish a running game. They have one of the better wide receiver cores in the league with Cobb coming back off injury and an emerging Boykin. And they have arguably the best quarterback in the league, I don’t even have to name him. As much as Packer fans want to criticize the offensive line, they shouldn’t. The Packers offensive line was devastated with injury, and players like Barclay and Sherrod were moving in all different positions. The only open hole is TE, and the Packers are probably not looking to re-sign Finley. While the offensive side of the ball has very few holes, the defensive side of the ball looks like Swiss cheese.
My main priority to sign from the list would be Sam Shields. Although he finds himself in bad positions sometimes, his speed, and surprisingly good hands make him a corner the Packers should keep around. And while I understand the Packers are going to sign most of those players back because of the Ted Thompson way, I really hope they say goodbye to B.J Raji and M.D Jennings. B.J Raji’s numbers are laughable. He didn’t record a single sack this year and only recorded 12 solo tackles the whole season, ranking him 53rd in the league at his position. Haha, like I said it’s laughable.
I also would get rid of M.D Jennings, he was one of the worst safety’s in the league, in fact, according to bleacher report, he was the 67th best. Defense is where the Packers need to look first, and I think that safety is the first problem to address.
This year free agency is absolutely filled with talent at the safety position, but most likely the Packers will miss out because Ted Thompson would rather draft and develop a player like Calvin Pryor than go and get an established player like Donte Whitner.
Ted Thompson should really look at the crop of talent before his eyes this offseason. While Jarius Byrd, and T.J Ward are very unrealistic because of the contracts they’ll be looking for, I really like the idea of the Packers spending a little extra money on Donte Whitner. This would be more than a pickup, this would be a signing that would take away a safety from their NFC West Rival. This would be a deal I would love to see get done.
Now this year the DE/DT position isn’t loaded with talent in free agency, and I would rather have Ted Thompson use their first round pick on Nix III out of Notre Dame or RaShede Haegman out of Minnesota.
Ted Thompson isn’t going to be able to fill both of our biggest holes in the defensive through the draft, as much as he wants too. We can’t even be sure the Calvin Pryor from Louisville is going to fall far enough in the draft for the Packers to snag him. So instead of trying to develop a safety from the second round, Ted Thompson should go out and grab Donte Whitner from free agency and try to replace holes on the D-Line and TE through the draft.
While drafting and developing has been the slogan for the Packers, you just can’t win Superbowls that way. And don’t try to tell me that the Packers did it in 2009. They didn’t. They had three great defensive players they acquired through free agency: Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams and Ryan Pickett.
Like I said, if we make a little bit of a splash in free agency, the Packers could be the best team in the NFC when it’s all said and done. But will Ted Thompson shy away from his "Draft and Develop" system for just one offseason? I sure hope so.