Packers fans have seen a lot of big names and sentimental favorites either cut or allowed to sign elsewhere in free agency over the last two seasons.
The most recent casualty was Desmond Bishop. The inside linebacker’s exit came after guys like Greg Jennings, Charles Woodson, Tom Crabtree and Scott Wells were given their walking papers or not resigned in the last two offseasons.
Of course, losing name players always gets a certain segment of Packers fans riled up. Never mind the fact that the vast majority of players cut or not resigned by Packers GM Ted Thompson have gone on to do very little once they’re picked up by another team. The initial shock of losing a player who fans have formed some type of connection with usually causes some sort of backlash.
So, who’s next? Which one of our beloved Packers will be axed by the evil Thompson or not resigned because Packers salary cap whiz Russ Ball says, “Screw the fans! This guy isn’t worthy half of what he’s asking!”
Here are some possible candidates (I tried to limit it to players that the fans generally like. Hence, Jermichael Finley was not included):
CB Tramon Williams
Throwing Williams’ name out there makes me feel like Skip Bayless, but consider: 1) Williams will be 31 next season; 2) He’s due to make $6.9 million in 2014; 3) He hasn’t been able to repeat the success he had in 2010; 4) The Packers have a lot of young talent in the secondary; 5) He’s been bothered by a bum shoulder going on two years now. Kind of sounds like a prime candidate to fall victim to Thompson’s axe, doesn’t it?
FB John Kuhn
If the Packers had any sort of confidence in the pass-blocking ability of the running backs currently on the roster, I think they would wave bye-bye to Kuhn and his $1.8 million salary today. Packers fans boo Kuhn whenever he touches the ball, anyway, so maybe they wouldn’t be too upset about this. Wait…oh, they’re saying “Kuuuuuuhn!” Never mind, fans would be pissed. But Kuhn isn’t going anywhere unless one of the young backs shows the immediate ability to read blitzes and be a shut-down pass blocker.
WR James Jones
This is a contract year for Jones, and if he has another season like he did in 2012, he’s going to want a big fat deal. Aaron Rodgers had to lobby to bring Jones back the last time he was a free agent, and even then, Thompson didn’t budge until Jones found out that nobody else besides the Packers wanted him. I wouldn’t put Jones in the fan favorite category yet, but if he’s rolling in November like he was last season, he probably will be. At least, he will be enough of a favorite to cause a little bit of an uproar when Thompson lets him sign an overpriced deal with the Vikings.
DL Ryan Pickett
Next season will be Pickett’s 14th. He’s a one-dimensional space-eater that still does what he does well, but can you see Thompson re-signing a 35-year-old fat guy? I suppose it’s possible if Pickett has another good season in 2013 — hell, anything is possible if the price is right — but I wouldn’t count on it.
Who did I miss? Remember, it has to be a player that the fans like, a guy you think has a legit shot of being cut between now and the start of next season, or not re-signed next offseason (For example, I think the Packers will re-sign B.J. Raji, so I didn’t include him on the list).
It’s time for me to stop writing about the Packers and start my work day before my boss takes out his axe and cuts me.——————