NFL teams must be below the 2014 salary cap before 3:00 PM Central Time on Tuesday, March 11th, which marks the start of the 2014 league year. As a result, many teams are releasing players to free up salary cap space. Of course, many players are still useful, and some of them could certainly be free agents who would appeal to the Packers for a variety of reasons.
Therefore, we will break down the cuts from the past few days and look to see if any of them make sense for Ted Thompson and company.
- Chicago Bears: P Adam Podlesh
- Cleveland Browns: WR Davone Bess
- Denver Broncos: DB Champ Bailey
- Minnesota Vikings: TE John Carlson
- Pittsburgh Steelers: LB Larry Foote, OT Levi Brown, CB Curtis Brown
- St. Louis Rams: CB Cortland Finnegan
- Philadelphia Eagles: WR Jason Avant
- San Diego Chargers: CB Derek Cox, FB Le'Ron McClain
- Washington Redskins: DE Adam Carriker (failed physical), P Saverio Rocca
There are a few names here which could be interesting for the Packers. The cornerbacks stick out especially here, and Cortland Finnegan is probably the biggest name among all the players cut over the past two days. He was signed to a five-year deal in free agency before the 2012 season, and started out playing very well for the Rams (with an interception in each of his first three games), but midway through his first year there his play tailed off considerably. He intercepted only one pass over the past 20 games and racked up an absurd grade of -32.5 over those 20 games, according to Pro Football Focus. He finished the 2013 season on injured reserve with a broken orbital bone. Known for taking dumb penalties from his time in Tennessee, Finnegan reverted to those ways in 2013 and has now been released, saving the Rams $4 million against the cap in 2014. Don't look for him to be a Packers target, as he will likely try to command a high salary despite his recent poor play.
Derek Cox is another intriguing name, as he racked up four interceptions in each of the 2009, 10, and 12 seasons with Jacksonville. He signed with San Diego before last year, but was benched late in the season due to poor play. Curtis Brown was a depth corner for the Steelers this year who played mainly on special teams. The third-round pick in 2011 tore his ACL late in 2013 and is expected to be ready for training camp.
Larry Foote is a veteran inside linebacker who has played in a 3-4 defense for a long time with Pittsburgh, but he is also coming off injured reserve, having torn a biceps muscle in week one. He will also be 34 years old by the time the 2014 season begins, so he seems like a highly unlikely target for the Packers.
As for Davone Bess, the wideout has been deeply troubled off the field and not terribly productive on it. Hist best season was in 2010, when he caught 79 passes for 820 yards and five touchdowns for the Dolphins, but he started just three games for the Browns in 2013 and recorded less than nine yards per reception.
Carlson, a Vikings cap casualty, has done little as a receiver from the tight end position in recent memory, but he could provide a little bit of assistance as a run-blocker. He does have some experience lining up as an H-back, which could make him more appealing to NFL teams, but he has suffered numerous injuries in recent years.
Avant and McClain are other notable names, but neither projects as a player that the Packers would be interested in.
All in all, the past two days have been devoid of veteran cuts who may interest the Green Bay Packers. We will keep an eye on the transaction wire, though, in case that changes in the next week.
UPDATE 10:15: The Broncos have released seven-time All-Pro Champ Bailey. The 35 year old Bailey played cornerback for the Broncos this past season, but could move to safety.