A week has come and gone in NFL free agency. The Green Bay Packers shored up two positions of need on the first day, landing Christian Kirksey and Rick Wagner, two veterans that are expected to become instant starters at inside linebacker and right tackle, respectively. Green Bay also re-signed cornerback Will Redmond, a core special teams player and reserve defender over the past two seasons, to bolster the secondary while bringing back tight end Marcedes Lewis as well.
Still, there are a number of middle-tiered free agents available that the Packers could target as the second week of free agency begins and the NFL Draft approaches in exactly one month. Here are three of those potential targets.
The Packers survived the 2019 season without another devastating injury to Aaron Rodgers. However, the team failed to truly put itself in a place to succeed in the event that it happened, choosing to go with one backup on the roster - second-year Tim Boyle. It has been awhile since Green Bay had a seasoned second-stringer behind Rodgers to provide any sense of reliability and optimism if Rodgers misses even a week on the field.
Perhaps Flacco would want one more opportunity to start for an NFL franchise. But after losing his starting spot to Lamar Jackson two years ago and having his season cut short by a neck injury last year, Flacco’s chances are limited. Cut by Denver with a failed injury designation, Flacco may not be able to return to the field at all.
Yes, Flacco is a game manager type of quarterback, especially at this stage of his career. But a game-manager that can minimize mistakes and occasionally create a big play down the field is exactly what the Packers could benefit from in a backup quarterback. After being sacked nine times in a single game last season, the Packers’ offensive line should be able to protect him if needed, making Green Bay an attractive destination. And maybe Flacco’s pedigree, with a Super Bowl under his belt, could be a good influence on Rodgers in the film room and with the headset as well.
The Packers have already been rumored to have interest in the 36-year old Walker, and the team surely should be on the lookout for tight end help this offseason despite re-signing run-blocking Marcedes Lewis.
Packers among teams interested in veteran TE Delanie Walker https://t.co/nMfuuYqdIL— The Packers Wire (@ThePackersWire) March 18, 2020
When healthy, Walker is capable of being a receiving threat. But ankle injuries have set him back the past two seasons, limiting him to one game in 2018 and seven games in 2019. A team-friendly, one-year contract is realistic for Walker, whose stock has taken a hit from those injuries.
For a team like Green Bay, that contract would be a bargain if Walker can come even halfway close to the output of his 2017 Pro Bowl season. Reproducing Jimmy Graham’s season stats a year ago is realistic and Walker, if healthy, should be much more reliable than Graham at a much lesser monetary figure. There is minimal risk in signing the wily Walker for a team that routinely carries four tight ends and is hoping to further develop youngsters Jace Sternberger and Robert Tonyan into bigger role players over the course of the 2020 season.
APC’s Peter Bukowski recently detailed the Packers’ enormous struggles in run defense last season, as well as the affordable price of interior defensive linemen on the current market. Green Bay has lacked a space-eating player in the middle since the days of BJ Raji and needs one to help free up Kenny Clark as a pass rusher. Tyler Lancaster and Montravius Adams just did not cut it in 2019 alongside Clark. There are still a few options left for the team to consider in free agency and perhaps Poe is one of the more forgotten ones.
Poe is no longer the prized free agent he was a short while ago when leaving Kansas City, and like the names above is coming off an injury-shortened campaign with a torn quad. However, Poe, even at 6-foot-3 and 346 pounds, has been a very healthy player over his NFL career and played in all 16 games in five of his eight seasons. Still just 29 years old, Poe also notched four sacks for Carolina prior to his injury in 2019, but that would not be his primary role on the Packers.
A healthy, bargain-bin free agent that can clog the middle is something that Green Bay should be looking for prior to the end of the offseason. Poe, most likely looking for a one-year, prove-it deal, could be a low-risk, solid-reward solution to the Packers’ porous run defense.