Busy Monday for Ted Thompson, Letroy Guion and BJ Raji Returning to Packers

NFL, Green Bay Packers, BJ Raji,

While many of us were busy watching March Madness or doing something more productive with our weekends, Green Bay Packers GM was reportedly doing work.

First came the news about Guion this morning, courtesy of Rob Demovsky:

 

Of course, one has to consider that Guion could still face a possible suspension by the NFL after his recent arrest in Florida on gun and drug charges. Guion paid a fine and took a plea deal.  As a first time offender, the charges were dropped and will not cause Guion to have a criminal record.

A few hrs later, NFL.com insider Ian Rapoport tweeted the news about Raji:

Both items are good news for the Packers’ defense, which had taken a hit this off-season with the departure of several starters.

Here’s hoping we see a rejuvenated and motivated Raji manning the nose tackle spot with Guion spelling him at times while also getting snaps elsewhere along the defensive line. Combined with Mike Daniels and Datone Jones, these are the four players who will be getting most of the snaps at DL for the Packers this season. Mike Pennel, Josh Boyd and Khyri Thornton (remember him?) will be in a battle for the fifth DL spot.

 

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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.

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  • Since ’61

    This is good news. It puts less pressure on the Packers to draft an NT in the early rounds unless an available NT is BAP. ILB and CB are still the major areas of focus. Also, still plenty of cap room to sign a veteran ILB or 2. Thanks, Since ’61

    • dobber

      I think this makes the trade up scenarios more viable as well.

      • Since ’61

        Dobber – I agree, good point! Thanks, Since ’61

      • Sorry – don’t see that. There aren’t “sure bets” past about #15 – and that’s too expensive of a move up for Trader Ted’s blood. 🙂

        • dobber

          Certainly, CMIII was not a sure bet when TT dealt up for him in 2009, and it cost a ton to get back into round 1. I really don’t see it either, but you never know: last time TT made that move, it led to a SB win…

      • TedTomsin

        I agree. A lot of picks and not enough roster space. I think Ted moves up. He does every couple years. This is a good time for that move again.
        Ted

    • Jeff

      I believe the ILB is already on the roster ’61, Barrington has proved he can start and from the way MM talked he likes where Bradford is at in his 2nd year step at the position, I am gonna dub them the killer bee’s and hope they live up to the name 🙂

      They also have Matthews who will jump in an out on certain packages!

      • Ed Schoenfeld

        Barrington is a banger and you want your ILB starters to be a banger and a cover guy.
        Also, In the long run you want Matthews on the edge in any package, and then let him decide if he feels like rushing from the mifddle instead. I think that is part of the strategy with moving guys like Bradford and Palmer from OLB to ILB, because they could ‘switch out’ to cover short routes against a TE while Matthews moves inside for a play.
        To do that they will need to have depth at the cover ILB, as well as someone to rotate in to give Barrington a breather (not currently on the roster unless it is last year’s UDFA Thomas.)
        So I think they will still prioritize ILB in the draft, along with CB. But neither one *has* to be a 1st round pick; take the best player at either who falls to the 30th spot.

      • Since ’61

        Bradford has yet to play a down in a live NFL game. It’s good to know that he is progressing but until he gets on the field in an actual game we don’t know what we have in Bradford. He’s basically an untested rookie. If the Packers bring some experienced depth at ILB then we can bring Bradford along slowly in certain packages and situations. If we don’t add any depth, depending on him to step in and take on a full time role could be risky. Time will tell. Thanks, Since ’61

        • Jeff

          They did sign Josh Francis even thought its his first year in the NFL he has experience in the IFL

  • SchenySchen

    Love it. Both on low cap “prove it” deals. Great move TT. Best player available in the draft is in play. GoPack!

  • packett

    Great news. I also feel it diverts emphasis in top rounds to ILB, CB and TE. Way to go Ted. Either you got nerves of steel playing hardball, or you been doing a fine job of people skills and knew it was coming all along. Now go get an inexpensive veteran ILB so you really have widest latitude on draft day.

    • Archie

      Hardball? He paid a weedman and a doughboy $4MM each for one year of services. And the weedman will be suspended for at least the first 4 games. I would have much rather given Pot Roast the $4MM or the NT that signed with AZ. But TT prefers to give it two guys that have already proven football is not more important than weed or food/slovenliness. Packer fans are a funny breed. If management did it, it has got to be good.

      • bwak bwak bwak! 😀

      • Since ’61

        Archie – the 2 deals combined are a little over $3 million for 1 season, not $4 MM each. We all know that you hate TT but why go out of your way to make up facetious facts to do it? Thanks, Since ’61

        • Thegreatreynoldo

          Um, you might owe an apology to Archie. Reports are Raji got $3.5 with incentives to $4 million and Guion $2.75 million. If so, and depending on the structure, my own rant against TT shall be forthcoming, and it will be nasty.

          • Since ’61

            Reynoldo – you may be right. The original reports had Guion at 1.3 guaranteed with incentives going up to $2.75 and Raj at $1.9 with incentives going up to $3.5. However, if yours and Archie’s figures are correct then I would agree with you and Archie that we have overpaid, especially for Raj.

            • Thegreatreynoldo

              Mea culpa here too. I wrote a post on this site mentioning those figures since they were in fact the numbers initially reported by Demovsky and others. Now I will wait to see how the contracts are structured. Think I wrote recently that at least 1, maybe 2, of Guion, Raji, and Pennel won’t make the team, probably 2 if TT drafts an NT in the first 3 rounds. Right now I am assuming that the contracts are structured so that Raji or Guion could be cut if necessary. Liked Pennel, but he better be doing everything he can to make this team.

              • Since ’61

                I try to focus on the guaranteed money. If $2.75 is guaranteed to Guion that’s a bit too high. As for Raji, again if the $3.5 is guaranteed that is also too high. We probably won’t have the final actual figures until later today or tomorrow. Thanks, Since ’61

        • Archie

          I don’t hate TT. I am a critic of his GM ability. If you can’t perceive the difference I guess I’m talking to the wall anyway.

      • TedTomsin

        lol.. Weedman? Hey Archie, TT is smart enough to realize you need a few of those big guys to do all the dirty work. To “pull the weeds” and nobody but the coaches and players notice.. I like Weedman (if that’s what you want to call him) and Raji. He got possibly two huge productive guys at a bargain basement price and you are complaining? Come on man!! This is a home run x 2 for our living legend GM. Thank you Ted!!
        Ted

        • Archie

          Did Guion buy his weed from Raji before he headed home to the southland?

        • Archie

          >>He got possibly two huge productive guys at a bargain >>basement price and you are complaining? Come on >>man!!

          Except now you know that isn’t true. He paid top dollar for 2 JAGs.

      • holmesmmd

        It’s been estimated that almost %60-70 of the NFL smokes weed. So call a guy “the weed man” just because he happened to get popped?

      • WKUPackFan

        “Weed man”, wow Archie, you’d have fit in great with the Nazi’s or Soviet’s, and with the police state rapidly being created here. I guess you support the government keeping Guion’s property as well. Perhaps you missed all the facts about the Stark, FL police and prosecutors. Keep supporting the government taking away other people’s rights, see where that gets you.

        • Archie

          I said nothing about supporting the criminalization of weed possession even with intent to sell. All I said was he was a weedman. Do you deny the facts?

          • WKUPackFan

            I don’t deny what the cops said happened. With Starks track record there’s no way to know what really happened.

          • WKUPackFan

            Archie, from the tenor of all your posts I pegged you as one of those “law and order” guys who always believes that anyone arrested is guilty and the cops are always right. I apologize if my conclusion is incorrect.

            • Archie

              Actually, quite the opposite. No big deal. Since I am a frequent critic of current Packer management, I would think that would rule me out as a right winger.

              Packer fans don’t get me and I get that. I want 5 consecutive Super Bowls and we have the QB/offense to get that done. I am furious that TT is unable to build the semblance of a decent defensive team despite 20 years of trying (GB & SEA). I am equally furious that the majority of Packer fans seem willing to give him a pass on that and hail his string of defensive failures as some kind of genius. Packer fans are shortchanging themselves by giving TT blind loyalty. I applauded the C Woodson and CMIII moves. But I have not applauded much else on defense. I was furious when TT passed on Randy Moss and the guy set an all-time TD record the next year. I was furious when TT passed on Marshawn Lynch and we have seen what he has done since.

              I don’t know why Packer fans on these blogs see me as negative or hateful. I have strong opinions and I believe the facts have borne me out fairly well.

              I will mention that early on I was in TT’s camp i.e., when he decided enough was enough with Favre. I championed the pick of Rodgers when others were cursing it. I gave him credit for his WR picks. And when he finally learned how to draft OL, I gave him credit for that too. I was happy with the pick of Lacy. I was not so happy with all his RB picks before that.

              I hated to see Cullen Jenkins go when he clearly wanted to stay. I hated to see AJ Hawk and Brad Jones at ILB. I have not been enamored with the picks of Neal and Perry. I couldn’t believe the S situation the prior years. I gave him great credit for his two UDFA starting CBs. I hailed the pick of Heyward. Hyde is a poor man’s C Woodson.

              These are all honest opinions of mine, almost all of which I think have been borne out by the facts. Yet because I don’t hail every move of management I am regarded as a nut case. Go figure.

          • billy

            just like many many NFLers yes he is by your definition, a WeedMan….

  • GBPDAN

    This helps if Raji can stay healthy and motivated/productive, and Guion doesn’t miss to much time with the suspension. Suspended players take a few weeks to get back in football shape and will need to be eased back in to avoid injury. I just don’t see RG not suspending Guion with that much weed and all.

    • dobber

      This will make the roster situation coming out of camp all the more interesting since they’ll have to carry an extra body or two for the DL for the first 4-6 weeks.

    • Ed Schoenfeld

      Guion getting suspended depends on if he is in the “program.” already. First offense (if that is what it is) puts the payer in the substance program.
      But I agree that any player being “in the program” already is the way to bet. This is one of those events where it pays to be a pessimist and hope to be proven wrong 🙂

  • funcrusher

    The run defense should improve, but it looks like it’s going to be another year of the DL not generating any sort of pass rush. The Packers desperately need another pass rusher on the outside. I’d love it if Eli Harold fell to them in the first.

    • dobber

      I agree: get a player that can allow the Packers to limit Peppers snaps. He can’t play as much has he did last year (or the year before in CHI) at his age.

      There’s depth at OLB/DE, too…if they can’t get someone like Harold, I like Danielle Hunter from LSU (2nd round) or Lorenzo Mauldin (3rd round) from Louisville.

      • funcrusher

        I like Danielle Hunter too. He’s a great athlete and their defense is lacking great athletes.

      • WKUPackFan

        Mauldin is a beast!

        • dobber

          Really like this guy. Has played with his hand on the ground and standing up. Has size, athleticism, desire, character…would love to see him in Green and Gold, but as I read, it appears my thought of him making it to the end of round 3 is pretty unrealistic…

          The question is: is he worth a late second rounder? I think he might be…

          • WKUPackFan

            Agreed!

    • Archie

      It could happen (Eli).

    • Nick Perry

      Bingo on the drafting of Eli Harold! I love that guy at 30 for the Packers. I think he’s a kid that could come in and have a big impact on passing downs like Matthews did his rookie season.

      • funcrusher

        I thought Raji would come cheaper too, but they’re so far under the cap, what difference does a couple million dollars make? Since it’s a one year deal, it’s not like it’s going to hurt our cap in the future. They wanted Raji back and seem to think he’ll have a big year, so I’m glad Ted payed a bit extra to get him.

        • Thegreatreynoldo

          $2 million too much for Raji, $1 million too much for Guion, and pretty soon you have real cap money. Funcrusher, I’m not sure of your age, but old folks like me remember Sen. Everett Dirksen and his famous quote.

  • Tim

    Why is everyone seemingly so adverse to Mtthews as a fulltime ILB? Even former all-pro teammate Woodson noted he tried to get Pack to make the move when he was here. It was extremely clear last year that such a move completely altered the D! It also showed that Clay plzyed way better after the move with more impact opportunities. Even made Pro Bowl after a rather much mundane first half of season. Clay is a perfect fit at ILB. Leave him there and move him outside on obvious passing downs!

    • Since ’61

      Tim – a strong edge rusher is critical in today’s NFL, especially in a 3-4 defense. CM3 is one of the best edge rushers in the league and you want your best players doing what they do best on as many snaps as possible in every game. Thanks, Since ’61

      • dobber

        I do think that CMIII rushing up the gut made a difference for the defense, but if you’re going to move him inside, you need to have a replacement to threaten from the outside or offenses will just make the call at the line to roll to the weak side of the field (where CMIII and Peppers aren’t). I do like the possibility of making an early pick for an outside rusher either as a college OLB or a DE–>OLB conversion. Peppers ain’t gettin’ any younger…

        • Since ’61

          Agree.

        • Exactly – and I think this is where Ted goes at least 1x in the first 2 days of the draft. This draft is strong at CB/DL and OLB – weak at ILB and TE (and QB).

          I’d bet we get 1 or 2 guys to help out immediately, but the rest are classic “depth” picks to offset future FA losses.

        • TedTomsin

          Do not dismiss Jayrone Elliott. This guy is tall, lanky, with speed and some strength. He’s got his rookie year over with now comes the fun part watching this guy grow. You put some yellow shoes on this guy and the no. 68 and you will think you are watching L.C. Greenwood. This guy has a bright future starting this season. It’s going to be hard to keep him off the field.
          Ted

          • dobber

            I hope you’re right.

          • billy

            hahaha….another guy that the Packers hope “takes the next step” just like Nick Perry…maybe this year!!!

    • dobber

      My view is that the Packers (like most teams) play so little base that Matthews as a true, 3-4 OLB, is in that role maybe 30% of time? I thought someone reported that the Packers played fewer than 1/3 of their defensive snaps in base last season.

      With that in mind, scheming Matthews/Peppers/Neal/Perry in each sub-package is what’s really important…whether it’s inside or outside. They still need a sideline-to-sideline chaser, or at least someone who drop effectively into coverage or who can run with TEs and RBs. I don’t think that’s Barrington at this point and I doubt that it’s Bradford or Palmer or anyone else they might convert.

      In the end, the improved play of the defense when CMIII moved inside part-time might have been every bit as much a function of who the Packers were taking off the field than who they were putting on the field.

    • Archie

      I agree Tim.

    • Thegreatreynoldo

      I agree, Tim. I suspect that ILB/hybrid is CM3’s best position.

    • Savage57

      First, the word you’re looking for is ‘averse’. Before you get your back up, think of it as trying to help rather than dogging you.

      Second, if they play CMIII at ILB too many snaps, they’re going to lose him. Either to injury, fatigue or Clay’s perception of himself as an OLB that plays to sack the QB. Got a bit of Gastineau in him, that boy does.

      Need an every down, cover ILB to complement Barrington and allow CMIII to roam at his leisure. Works better for him and makes him more effective that way, too.

      • Tim

        Here’s a real thought…, Pack needs a few more real “impact” players on defense – guys who make a statement with their play! We have Matthews and possibly Peppers, but other than that no “Legion of Boom” types. I’ve been paying close attention to the draft and am quite impressed with this safety from Bama – Landon Collins. He hits like a wild man! Makes people pay dearly when they come into his area. He reminds me a ot of Woodson as he is always around the ball. If he’s available when it comes close to our pick – say a few picks before before Indy chooses, I’d offer a “switch” by trading away their current free safety Burnette and a lat round pick, move Dix to Burnnette’s old position and insert a real playmaker and dominant defender like Collins who is not afraid to make am intimidating statement with his strong play (see Reed. Polamalo, Chancellor etc.. Now we can build upon two “studs at thew Safety position, like the Seahawks do with their corners. Then in round 2 go after the Clemson ILB Stephen to pair up with Clay. Could have quite the defense! But that would take TT to actually go for it. He rarely if ever makes the right call on defense. Ultimately both he and MM are lucky to have had two HOF QBs. Just a shame we’ve only won 1 SB in this era! That falls solely upon TT!

        • dobber

          In some ways I look at this as a year where TT might trade up to try to get that extra impact player for the defense, but my initial guess would be that he would be looking for an outside rusher and/or a tank for the DL, and it’s a deep year at both of those positions.

          Hadn’t really considered SS…

          • Tim

            Get the chance, check out Landen Collins videos and profile. He will be a “stud” on defense. In fact many have him being picked by Pittsburgh to replace Polomalo. Would just love to have such a guy intimidating backs and receivers alike coming up from the SS position and making highlight reel hits! That would change the perceptions of a GB defense being “soft.” Dix has already shown he can hit and tackle. Burnette, not so much, although he had a much better year last year he’s still not the “dominating” safety a great defense has (i.e. Lott, Reed etc.) Come on Ted, make a “real” move here. D-line is pretty safe right now with the re-signings. ILB can be addressed with the pick of Stephen Anthony – another tough hitter to pair up with Matthews – who again plays better at ILB. Let Perry, Neal and Peppers man the outside and move Matthews out on clear passing downs. But get a real intimidator at SS or at CB. We need to compete with the so-called “Legion of Boom” with our own version of Packer “BOOM”

  • Big T

    We got two JAG’s back, sweet…

    • dobber

      I won’t argue on Raji until he shows something, but I thought Guion played at more than JAG levels later in the season last year. On a one-year deal, both of these guys will be motivated (or as motivated as Raji gets) to make something happen. I think these were good investments.

      …nobody says that when we hit September that either of these guys will actually make the roster. Whatever the case, the roster is stronger now than it was 8 hours ago.

      • Thegreatreynoldo

        Not sure what your definition of JAG is. Since Guion can be a starter, albeit one that you’d ideally replace, and who would be a good back up even long term, IMO he is a JAG+. I’m guessing TT drafts a d- lineman, so I think at least 1, maybe 2 of Guion, Raji, Pennel, Thornton and Boyd won’t be on the 53 in September.

        • billy

          Guion was one of the lowest rated D linemen in football last year, he did play better toward the end but certainly isn’t anything close to very good or all pro…he’s a JAG!!

  • chicagomark

    It would be great to see someone being able to step up when Mathews goes out. When the Packers were up 16-0 in Seattle they put up a graphic saying that the Packers have lost only once with Rodgers starting when up 16-0. That was the Cincinnati game of 2012. In both games, Mathews went out with an injury and the defense fell apart. The Packers need another defensive star to rally the rest of the team.

  • Archie

    I am OK with these signings but they should not have any effect on GB’s draft plans. Raji & Guion may be the present in GB but the draft is about the future. I strongly doubt either of these guys will be in the NFL in 2 years let alone in GB. I think TT paid them top dollar. I was expecting more like $2MM/yr each.

    • Since ’61

      Archie – Guion signed for $1.3 million and Raji signed for under $2 million. That is less than you were expecting. Not sure where you are getting your info from about these contracts, but RELAX. Thanks, Since ’61

      • TedTomsin

        lol…That’s funny Since 61. Hey Archie Ted got even less for them than you wanted. Apologize immediately damnit!!

        Ted

    • Thegreatreynoldo

      Absolutely agree. 1 year deals just kick it down a year. Phillips or Goldman both still make a lot of sense, if TT likes them, as would a DE or OLB. Word now is that the deals with Raji and Guion are for much more dough than previously reported. I’ll wait to see the details.

  • IF Raji comes to play at NT like he did in 2009 and 2010, this is going to be a seriously good DL. Not world beaters mind you, but definitely top 10 in the NFL. They’ll keep the ILBs clean and shut down running lanes. Pennel making a 2nd year jump and of course Daniels. I’m still hopeful for Datone too. Looking forward to seeing a Packers D that can stop the run.

    That said, if these things pan out, Raji, Daniels and Guion are all going to be seriously expensive next offseason too. Good problem to have I guess.

    • Thegreatreynoldo

      Which is why TT should draft a NT, DE, or OLB if he thinks a player at that position is BPA. I think that is what you implied above. I’d be okay with drafting any position at #30 if TT thinks the guy is BPA, or special.

  • TedTomsin

    Smashing news!! Ted does it again!!
    Ted