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Packers’ free agent losses lead to top-10 roster turnover ranking

It was the loss of quality more so than quantity for the Packers, who saw several key contributors leave in the offseason.

NFL: Preseason-Oakland Raiders at Green Bay Packers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

We know that the Green Bay Packers lost a lot of key players in free agency this year; that much is certain just by a quick look at the list of free agents who signed elsewhere. However, Over The Cap has done much more, taking a look at each NFL team’s roster changes to rank the turnover for each franchise during the 2017 offseason.

The Packers finished with the tenth-most turnover, according to their formula, which surprised this writer, who expected that they would rank even higher than that.

Let’s take a little bit of a look at OTC’s methodology. First, they compiled a list of the players who were on each team’s 2016 roster and contributed with any snaps on offense, defense or special teams. They then ranked teams based on offense/defense snaps lost, both overall and by players who are currently on another NFL roster. (For example: James Starks qualifies in the first category, but not the second.)

Then they examined the number of special teams snaps lost to players who remain on an NFL roster before tabulating the total average yearly contract value of the players who departed.

The Packers rank sixth in that average annual contract value, as the departed players signed new deals worth about $4.5 million on average. The Houston Texans led the way at $6.2 million, followed by Tampa Bay, Cincinnati, Washington, and New England. That appears to be the measure by which the Packers rank the highest; several teams lost more than 20% of their snaps, both overall and on special teams, while the Packers were under that mark overall.

Essentially this breakdown means that while the Packers are middle-of-the-pack in terms of the number of snaps they’re losing from last year, what they’re really turning over is quality players, more so than sheer quantity.

Looking across the NFC North, the Vikings rank higher than the Packers, coming in at the eighth spot overall. Their biggest losses came on special teams, as they lost nearly a quarter of their snaps on those units (22.5%) compared to the Packers’ 13%. The Lions ranked just behind the Packers in 11th overall, but they lost a massive number of overall snaps: a whopping 27.1%. However, half of those snaps were taken up by players who aren’t on rosters now. Finally, the Bears (19th overall) have lost more than the league-average in total snaps, but come in with low marks in special teams snaps lost and average contract value.

Although this measure does not quantify how well teams adjusted to their departures, it does give an idea of just how significant the number and magnitude of the changes are. Hopefully the Packers’ shrewd moves, such as signing Martellus Bennett and Jahri Evans, will serve to effectively fill the gaps left by high-priced veterans departing in free agency.