2013 NFL Free Agents the Packers Could Sign, but Probably Won’t

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Dan Kopen
Center Dan Koppen is a free agent the Packers could possibly sign, but likely won’t.

We started the conversation about the Packers biggest draft needs by position group on Monday. Now let’s take a look at possible free-agent targets for Ted Thompson.

It’s probably best to get this discussion out of our system right away. As usual, I doubt Thompson will do much in free agency. He signed Jeff Saturday last offseason, and Saturday ended up on the bench. That’s not going to entice Thompson to run back to the free-agent pool for immediate help.

If Thompson does bring in some free agents, they will probably be system-types — role players that most of us have never heard of that may or may not even make the team. But, hey, posting a blank page probably wouldn’t generate much discussion, so let’s pretend Thompson might want to bring in a guy or two from the outside.

Who might be a good fit? Again, don’t get your hopes up, but it’s at least worth discussing.

Jason Jones, DL
The Seahawks signed Jones to a one-year deal last offseason and he finished with just three sacks in 12 games before getting hurt. Since pass rush from the defensive line is a big need, Jones could fit well with the Packers as a situational pass rusher that can play all three defensive line spots. Jones likely won’t attract a lot of attention, but is still viewed as a guy with some upside, so who knows? The Seahawks signed Jones to a one-year “prove yourself” sort of deal. If he can’t get a multi-year offer anywhere, perhaps the Packers would offer him something similar to what he got with Seattle.

Dan Koppen, C
If one guy who used to snap it to Peyton Manning doesn’t work, why not try another one? Koppen is like a younger version of Saturday, with a little bit left in his run-blocking tank. As Manning’s center in Denver this year, Koppen also is likely used to the no-huddle and setting protection while the quarterback changes things at the line of scrimage. I’m sure Koppen isn’t a realistic option for the Packers, but you never know. Falcons center Todd McClure also will be on the market, but he’s probably not a good fit, either.

Danelle Ellerby, ILB
If Thompson wants to bring a little toughness to the run defense, Ellerby could be an option. The Ravens linebacker received a 5.8 grade from Pro Football Focus for his run defense this season. He wasn’t as good in pass coverage, but looked fine dropping back against Denver and New England in the postseason. I’m guessing Thompson is going to focus on re-signing Brad Jones (I believe he likes Jones’ versatility) and thinks he’ll be fine at ILB with the return of Desmond Bishop and D.J. Smith. But if Ted, for whatever reason, feels the need to bring in some new blood, Ellerby could be a good one.

LaRon Landry, S
You want a tougher Packers’ defense? Landry should do the trick. Unfortunately, the time to sign Landry was probably last offseason when he inked a one-year deal with the Jets to try and revive his career. And revive his career he did. Landry returned to form as a punishing tackler and big-hit machine. Yes, he would bring some attitude to the Packers light-hitting secondary, but his price will likely be too high for Thompson to risk it.

Lawrence Tynes, K
Sick of Mason Crosby? Sick of Giants K Lawrence Tynes kicking field goals to beat the Packers in the postseason? Then maybe the Packers should get Tynes in a green and gold uniform. Tynes hit 33 of 39 field goals this season, with a long of 50 yards. Tynes is probably another longshot to join the Packers since McCarthy seems wedded to Crosby despite his struggles.

I think five free agents that the Packers could sign, but probably won’t, is enough to highlight for the moment. Did I miss anybody? Anyone out there, either under or above the radar, that could be on Thompson’s list this offseason?

Remember that the Packers will likely need a couple Brinks trucks worth of cash to try and extend Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews and B.J. Raji this offseason. If you’re going to bring up possible signings, try to be realistic. Don’t proclaim that the Packers should sign Jake Long, Dwayne Bowe and Landry if they want to contend, because that’s just not going to happen.


Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .


40 thoughts on “2013 NFL Free Agents the Packers Could Sign, but Probably Won’t

    1. Where would Osi play? He’s too small to take on double teams of a 34. Situational pass rushing? I don’t think he’ll come to be a situational guy.

        1. No chance Osi would excel as a 34 OLB, look how much Perry struggled his 1st year w/ it. You don’t take players in FA that played a 43 D and force fit them into a 34, it just doesn’t work and its ends up costing alot of wasted money!

      1. Osi’s about the same size as CMIII. I don’t know if he’s got the quickness or burst that the position requires, though.

      1. Bulaga. Nelson at full strength. DJ Smith for depth. They were already damn close with all those guys out.

        Of course, as soon as those guys come back, and if (that’s a big if) they all stay healthy, I’m sure a new set of injuries or obstacles will pop up.

        1. I think Perry could make a huge difference to. Sure he struggled in coverage and seemed to have just one pass rush move (bull rush). I also know I can be a bit critical of Ted T as well. But I refuse to believe that Thompson totally missed on 2 of his first 3 picks this past year. I think Ted made a huge mistake taking Worthy over Devin Still. With that said, I can still see that sack by Perry where he blew by the Tackle on the Colts and blasted Andrew Luck. Now the ref threw a flag that shouldn’t have been thrown, but that was a thing of beauty. Perry’s a smart guy. With a year under his belt I believe he comes back next year and is a 10 sack guy.

          1. What game were you watching? Perry didn’t blow up anyone on that play, the OT blocked inside on a blitzer and Perry was left unblocked! He had a free run at Luck w/o ever being blocked!

          2. Misread that a little, but either way its not like Perry did anything special on that play. He had a free run at Luck. Hardly a play I would point to as an example of how well Perry played. He was left unblocked for Gods sake.

  1. Ron Brace? Played next to Raji at B.C. He would provide some plugging depth at 330lbs. As with TT signings, most are JAGs. He would qualify as just a guy.

  2. Could Glenn Dorsey be signed the same way Charles Woodson was; post injury bargain that nobody is willing to take a risk with? Now don’t get me wrong, Wood was a player before and after the injury. But Dorsey has not been. He does, however, have immense ability. What scares me is how much he reminds me of another #5 overall pick.

  3. I think DL is the right position, but Jason Jones is the wrong player. Tougher run-stuffers like Isreal Idonije or Kevin Vickerson would be more useful. Maybe Richard Seymour as a last-resort rotational guy. What do you think?

  4. The title says it all. It is fun to throw names around but there is no way TT signs anyone. If he signs a free agent it will be Greg Jennings, and that is pretty doubtful. If TT does sign anyone it will be a journeyman DL just like he did this year with merling, hargrove and muir. But it is always fun to hope.

    The stuff I am interested in this offseason is whether TT will franchise Jennings for the purpose of trading him.

    Also, it is unlikely to happen, but a draft day trade with J-mike would make me happy.

    Also, I really hope TT is not in love with Brad Jones. TT has consistently given bad contracts to LBs. really his only major flaw. The packers need someone special inside. Look at the niners LBs, seahawks LBs, and ravens LBs. All can cover a little bit and knock your head off. They need some toughness up the middle.

  5. I’d also prefer it if they dumped Kuhn and picked up a real blocking FB like Jerome Felton or Greg Jones. Kuhn is a folk hero, but his blocking is mediocre for the salary he makes. He’s the poster boy for the toughness/power deficiency everyone is talking about.

      1. Is there any chance the Packers re-sign an ex Packer like Leach? I don’t know.

        Plus, he’s a pure power run lead blocker, and I don’t know how he is at pass pro or catching the ball, to be honest.

        Best pure blocking FB in the league, bar none. Not necessarily what the Packers need or want.

        1. As always, it depends on Leach’s price. But you’d think if McCarthy felt they needed a better blocking FB, they could try and convert Crabtree or Taylor.

      2. I was at Curly’s for a MM show and the special teams coach was raving about Leach – they deleted that clip from the show because they were moving Leach to practice squad and didn’t want anyone to hear how good he is. Never should have let him go – if TT can bring him back, that would be terrific.

  6. My opinion is other than Steven Jackson, maybe Jake Long, I can’t see GB dipping into the FA market. I don’t think Jackson is the future at RB but he could possibly provide a couple yrs of Harris spelling him at the position.. I can’t see them signing a FA like Jake Long but I won’t rule anything out of the question only because I think that behind the scenes A-Rod will have a lot of influence on what he wants for the team, and his contract situation of course.. I can’t see Rodgers asking for the moon because I think he knows the team is going to need to make some signings to protect him from getting sacked 50 times and improving the pass rush and run d.

    TT and McCarthy in my mind are starting to feel that the window of opportunity is open only soo long now with A-Rodg being 29.. I am not saying they didn’t earlier but Rodgers is not getting younger and before you know it that window will be closed.

    1. LOL… Aaron Rodgers will have a lot of influence on what he wants for the team? TT doesn’t work that way, ask Brent Favre…

      1. I’ve read multiple times that Farve had a lot to do with T.T. signing Pickett and Woodson. Seems odd for a QB to push for defense help, but like I said, I’ve read that Farve had a lot to do with that. BS?

        1. Most QB’s would ask for offensive help.

          But A QB who throws really stupid picks for no reason? Yeah, a QB like that might beg for D help.

        2. Don’t know where you read that, but I seriously doubt Thompson would let Favre have input on FA or any other personnel matters. Thompson identified a need for a DT/NT that was a run stuffer and since we played strictly press coverage at the time, we needed another great press CB opposite Harris. Not like Ahmad Carrol was the answer!

  7. It doesn’t matter! They can get whoever they want, but Capers will find a way to screw it up! His defense cannot stop a good offense! The game has passed him by!

    1. Too expensive. Doubt we get any FAs who cost more than $5M per. And that is a generous cutoff number.

      Also, we just spent a 1st on Perry. Why give up on him so early? Especially since Avril would be making a transition as well. Does not compute.

      Anyone remember how much cap space we had when we signed Woodson and Pickett?

    2. Living in MI, I’ve seen more of the Lions than I care to mention, and Cliff Avril is an enigma. Can make the great, athletic play one minute, then turn around and take the most undisciplined penalty or be ridiculously out of position the next.

      Now that I think about it, he might be a perfect fit for the GB LB corps…

      1. More of the same is not what we need.

        We need another guy like a young Ryan Pickett — violent, relentless, and consistent.

  8. The only FA’s that would do anything for the Packers would be big, mean, aggressive, relentless linemen. Both O and D. Likelihood of finding one of those at the right price? Just about ZERO!

    Like last year the best we can hope for is a few late signings of low price role players that are brought in to see if they might work out. They will probably be gone by the first game of the 2013 season.

    The draft will be used to upgrade the backups a bit more and allow them to dispose of the guys who just can’t fit into the system.

    I wish it were possible to get updates on the physical progress of key players that were lost last year. For the life of me I can’t figure out why a player (Sherrod) needs more than a year to recover from a broken leg. Is there an underlying medical problem preventing recovery? Is Datko responding to rehab? Is Bishop on target? Answers to these and more questions about the physical status of current players will have a major impact on FA and the draft.

    Maybe Riechel can work on that story instead of giving AR cheap shots. I guess McGinn is rubbing off on him.

  9. Desmond Bryant is a free agent. He isn’t the big name, but he is 6-5 290 and can play the 5T. Had a pretty good year last year when Seymour went out. He is only 27 and I don’t think he would break the bank.

  10. We should sign Will Beatty, cause he was on a good Giants line who can’t afford to sign him back because they are already in the red. Also, Lets grab Shonn Greene, a less then solid runner, but more consistent then anyone we ever grabbed in the last 2 years.

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