Where Are They Now: Following Former Packers

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With the 2013 season now a quarter of the way over, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at all the Packers who played for the 2012 team who are now playing somewhere else.  Have the Packers really missed them?  Have they made a contribution to their new teams?  (note: snaps are only counting offense and defense, not special teams)

Alex Green (New York Jets)

  • 2012 season: 343 snaps, 135 attempts for 464 Yds, 3.4ypc, 0 TDs, 1 Fum
  • 2013 season (projected): 40 snaps, 28 rushing attempts for 60 Yds, 2.1ypc, 0 TDs, 0 Fum
  • Alex Green never really was able to overcome the ACL injury he suffered as a rookie and became one of the few high draft picks to be quickly dumped by the Ted Thompson regime.  Green quickly found a new home with the New York Jets, one of the teams that curiously have been linked to the Packers (numerous trades of picks, Caleb Schlauderaff and of course Brett Favre).  As of yet, Green hasn’t been able to make much of an impact even with an apparent opening at the running back position with the Jets; Chris Ivory has been hobbled with injuries, Mike Goodson just returned from suspension and KR/RB Joe McKnight was sent packing.  At the moment, Green is projected as the 3rd running back and is on pace for about 60 yards rushing with a 2.1 average.   For the Packers James Starks has played pretty well and Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin have both showed promise.  the Packers are fine at running back without Green.

Greg Jennings (Minnesota Vikings)

  • 2012 season: 416 snaps, 36 Rec for 366 Yds, 10.2 YPC, 4 TDs, 0 Fum
  • 2013 season (projected): 664 snaps, 56 Rec, 1,008 Yds, 18.0 ypc, 8 TD, 0 Fum
  • Perhaps the biggest name to leave the Packers this year, Greg Jennings has caused much of a uproar with Packer nation after being very vocal about how much the “Packers Suck”.  However the market was rather cold during free agency for Jennings and it took a last minute deal with the Vikings for Jennings to get a relative sizable deal.  At the moment, Jennings is projected as a starting wide receiver and is on pace for a 1,000 yard season with 9 touchdowns.  Interestingly, Jennings’ YPC has increased drastically, perhaps because the Vikings are using him more on the outside and less in the slot.  While initially it might look like Jennings is having a bounce back season, keep in mind Jennings only played 8 games with the Packers last season so really Jennings is having a down year by his standards, mostly due to the lack of development of Christian Ponder and a continued focus on Adrian Peterson in the Vikings offense.   For the Packers, Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Jermichael Finley are all playing very well and much like last year, the loss of Jennings hasn’t really affected the offense.  The Packers are fine at wide receiver without Jennings.

Tom Crabtree (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

  • 2012 season: 364 snaps, 8 Rec, 203 Yds, 25.4 ypc, 3 TD, 0 Fum
  • 2013 season (projected): 0 snaps, 0 Yds, 0 ypc, 0TD, 0 Fum
  • A fan favorite, many fans were sad to see the Crabtree go, but most were not concerned this move would backfire on the Packers.  Crabtree is projected as the starting tight end with the Buccaneers, but hasn’t been seen on the field as he continues to recover from a high ankle sprain.  Considering most of Crabtree’s production last year occurred when defenses forgot to catch he could catch the ball and the instability of the Buccaneers’ quarterback situation and overall loss of control by the coaching staff and Crabtree isn’t likely even to match his modest production of last year.  For the Packers, while losing Crabtree hurts their ability to block inline, Andrew Quarless is back and adds a dimension to the passing game as well not to mention Jermichael Finley looks to be playing better than last year.  The Packers have been fine without Crabtree as their running efficiency has gone up.

DJ Williams (Jacksonville Jaguars)

  • 2012 season: 240 snaps, 7 Rec for 57 Yds, 0 TDs
  • 2013 season (projected): 96 snaps, 0 Rec for 0 Yds, 0 TDs
  • Ah DJ Williams, the Packers and fans had so much hope for the former Mackey Award winner when he was drafted and Williams has been given ample opportunity to become a part of the Packers offense after becoming the talk of the preseason during his rookie year.  However Williams has always had a problem catching the ball and with John Kuhn being a better blocker as well as safety valve in the backfield, Jermichael Finley being a legitimate receiving threat on the outside, and Ryan Taylor and Andrew Quarless being better inline blockers, Williams simply didn’t have a forte for the Packers to call on.  Williams was also quickly picked up after the 53 man cut down but landed in perhaps a worst place than Tom Crabtree; the Jacksonville Jaguars are producing some college football like betting spreads and Williams is projected as the 4th TE behind the likes of Allen Reisner and Clay Harbor.  Again Williams’ production will be hurt by the likes of Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne, but if you only caught the ball 3% of the time you were on the field with Aaron Rodgers behind center, more likely the issue is more than whose throwing the ball.  More so with Williams than Crabtree, the Packers have not missed Williams in any capacity mostly because Williams did so little during his time with the Packers.

Erik Walden (Indianapolis Colts)

  • 2012 season: 763 snaps, 27 Tkl, 19 Ast, 3 sacks, 2 INTs, 0 FF
  • 2013 season (projected): 532 snaps, 16 Tkl, 16 Ast, 0 sacks, 0 INTs, 0 FF
  • ·The surprise signing from the Packers roster during the offeason, Walden somehow miraculously parlayed a disastrous season capped off by a complete meltdown against the scrambling of Colin Kaepernick into a 4-year, $16 million contract with the Colts.  Keep in mind this was after the Packers lowballed Walden in 2012 with a 1-year veteran minimum contract.  Walden has rewarded the Colts with even less production than before as he’s again one of the worst outside linebackers in the league and appears to be being phased out as the Colts push 1st round rookie Bjoern Werner into the starting position alongside Robert Mathis.  At the moment, Walden projects as the starting outside linebacker and is on pace for considerably less snaps as well as a drop in all statistical categories.  It’s hard to figure how much of a loss Walden has been for the Packers; on one hand the combination of Mike Neal and Nick Perry has been lackluster at best, but I don’t think Walden would be any better and more likely a lot worse.

Dezman Moses (Kansas City Chiefs)

  • 2012 season: 437 snaps, 12 Tkl, 12 Ast, 4 sacks, 0 INTs, 0 FF
  • 2013 season (projected): 24 snaps, 0 Tkl, 0 Ast, 0 sacks, 0 INTs, 0 FF
  • Another “all Oneida way” player who flashed in the preseason.  Walden actually played a fair amount of snaps with Clay Matthews missing 4 games last year due to a hamstring injury and preferred starter Nick Perry ending up on IR.  In all honesty, Moses actually played pretty well for a undrafted rookie, recording 4 sacks; however injuries plagued Moses during the preseason and with a spate of rookie outside linebackers coming in this offseason, Moses probably didn’t show enough in his limited snaps in the preseason to justify keeping him.  At the moment, Moses projects as the backup outside linebacker and has mostly been relegated to special teams.  For the Packers, Moses is perhaps the biggest loss of the list simply because he has a lot of experience in the Packers defensive system and arguably had one off preseason with the alibi of injuries.  While he’s probably a better option than Andy Mulumba or Nate Palmer, overall I’m guessing it’s a wash as to who ultimately becomes the better player

Frank Zombo (Kansas City Chiefs)

  • 2012 season: 115 snaps, 4 Tkl, 2 Ast, 0 sacks, 0 INTs, 0 FF
  • 2013 season (projected): 36 snaps, 4 Tkl, 0 Ast, 0 sacks, 0 INTs, 0 FF
  • Another undrafted outside linebacker who played a significant role for the Packers ends up with the Kansas City Chiefs, which definitely has something to do with new GM John Dorsey.  After a spectacular showing in the 2010 season where he showed so much promise alongside Clay Matthews, Zombo has just been hit with injury after injury, most notably breaking his scapula during a preseason game in 2011 and being lost for the year.  The Packers obviously liked what Zombo brought but could justify keeping a walking injury list.  At the moment, Zombo projects as the other backup outside linebacker alongside Dezman Moses for the Chiefs and have also been relegated to special teams as well.  For the Packers, any healthy player is a better asset than a hurt Zombo, which is unfortunately the situation that Zombo often finds himself.  The Packers have plenty of young outside linebackers that could conceivably be better than Zombo and don’t have the injury history.

Terrell Manning (San Diego Chargers)

  • 2012 season: 0 snaps, 0 Tkl, 0 Ast, 0 sacks, 0 INTs, 0 FF
  • 2013 season (projected):0 snaps, 0 Tkl, 0 sacks, 0 INTs, 0 FF
  • It’s rare that the Packers give up on a drafted player after only 1 year, especially after Manning made news by declaring himself better than defensive rookie of the year Luke Kuechly.  A mysterious stomach bug derailed Manning for all of the 2012 season and during this offseason, Manning was behind Robert Francois, Jamari Lattimore and apparently was beat out by rookie Sam Barrington.  The San Diego chargers claimed Manning off waivers, released him during the 53 man roster cuts and then signed him to their practice squad.  Also interesting was that with Manning being claimed off waivers, the San Diego Charges released DJ Smith, another former inside linebacker for the Packers who is currently a free agent.  At the moment, Manning projects as the 4th or 5th inside linebacker should he be called up, which is looking more and more realistic as Manti Te’o continues to struggles and the Charger’s defense continues to be decimated by injuries.  It’s hard to say if the Packers would be better off with Manning or his replacement, Manning was a draft pick who again has the alibi of injuries to cover his lack of production, but the fact that Manning wasn’t even able to make the roster of the San Diego Chargers speaks volumes, the Packers have some reliable backups and some intriguing rookies so Manning isn’t likely to be missed.

Desmond Bishop (Minnesota Vikings)

  • 2011 season: 916 snaps, 95 Tkl, 26 Ast, 5 sacks, 0 INTs, 2 FF
  • 2013 season (projected): 56 snaps, 12 Tkl, 4 Ast, 0 sacks, 0 INTs, 0 FF
  • Perhaps the one example of a player who finally broke free of the “All Oneida” curse, Bishop actually converted several spectacular offseasons to a successful regular season showings.  Unfortunately, Bishop tore his hamstring (which is potentially career ending) during the 2012 preseason and it appeared that the Packers were convinced he’d never return as they released him right as the offseason started.  Naturally, all big name former Packers end up with the Minnesota Vikings, but the Packers were proven right as reports indicate that Bishop just barely made the roster.  At the moment, Bishop projects as the backup inside linebacker and doesn’t seem to be destined for a larger role unless injuries strike.  If Bishop ultimately regains his 2011 form, then this will be a huge loss for the Packers defense as Bishop was their best inside rushing threat as well as a thumper on run defense.  However it appears as if Bishop is still recovering from his hamstring injury and may be too old by the time he fully recovers.  At the moment it looks like the Packers are better off without Bishop but that could change if Bishop has a fast recovery.

Overall, looking at the list of former Packers is like looking at a double-edged sword.  On the plus side, I don’t think the Packers have regretted letting any of these players go; obviously Greg Jennings has been the most productive of the group, but he certainly hasn’t lived up to the contract that the Vikings have given him as of yet.  Only Erik Walden has recorded any significant snaps outside of Jennings and frankly Walden was more of a liability on the field than anything else so it appears that the Packers really do know when either a player is on the back end of their career or has just hit the wall in terms of their ability.  On the negative side, it’s a little distressing to see the Packers rely on so many players that aren’t even contributing on their new teams.  Moses, Crabtree and Green all played significant snaps last year for the Packers but have barely seen the field this year, let alone made plays.  I haven’t even mentioned Graham Harrell, the Packers backup quarterback in 2012 who didn’t even make it to the 75-man roster cut and is currently a free agent after being signed and cut by the New York Jets.  Overall, I would say the Packer definitely give their own players as many chances to make a difference before ultimately giving up on them, which shows a good front office and coaching staff.  On the other side of coin, it looks like a player is really done if the Packers give up on them.




Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.


33 thoughts on “Where Are They Now: Following Former Packers

  1. “Interestingly, Jennings’ YPC has increased drastically”

    Well, the early numbers that you are extrapolating over the season include a 70 yd TD catch that drastically affects his YPC. It will regress to his career average range by the end of the year.

    1. True, but he’d still be +3YPC even factoring out the long TD. Like I mentioned in my article, I think Jennings is being used slightly differently by the Vikings, more like more on the outside than in the slot, which should result in a higher YPC but a lower number of receptions.

      1. Take away the 70 yd completion and his 15 ypc average is right in line w/ his career numbers. Last year Jennings was never right and he never got in sych w/ Rodgers who had gotten into form w/ Jones and Cobbs very well last year. Jennings numbers last year were an anomaly due to his being in and out of the lineup a lot. Its early in the season and I think Jennings will do OK but not great. He simply doesn’t have the QB he’ll need to stay on his current pace which was pretty ordinary till his last game when he had his only 2 TD’s and easily the most yards of the season. I’ll guess he’ll have 1000 yds barely, 6 TD’s and average 14 ypc.

  2. In cutting or not re-signing these guys, it doesn’t appear that the Packers left a lot on the table.

    What would be an interesting comparison, and one that would flesh this idea out, would be to not only compare each of these guys last season numbers to their current season projections, but also compare their numbers to the projections of the players still with the Packers who replaced them.

    Then we’d get a more accurate indicator if they were really the ‘right’ moves.

    What say you, Hobbes?

    1. I actually thought of doing that, but as I went through the list it became rather hard to decide who was replacing who. For instance, I have no idea who I put as Jennings replacement and you could put either Neal or Perry in Walden’s position. Also some of the key backups from last year also make it hard cause they likely weren’t supposed to play all that much; it would be rather unfair to compare Dezman Moses to say Andy Mulumba because Mulumba isn’t likely to see the field nearly as much as Moses did. Still if we could come up with a “consensus” replacement that would be an interesting analysis.

  3. Two things really bother me when looking at this list.
    First, most of them were let go and/or aren’t currently producing because of injuries. Granted, the whole league is in a triage situation right now, but all I care about is the Packers, and I wonder how many of this year’s players will end up in this kind of article next year.
    Second, that’s nine guys, and five are linebackers. They’ve been trying to find a complement to Matthews since they got him, and, even considering those they retained, they can’t do it.

    1. I would assume the turnover would be identical for a lot of teams, there is a lot of new talent coming into the league every year and getting injured is one sure way of getting cut for a younger and cheaper option. Also take the 5 linebackers with a little salt. Desmond Bishop, Terrell Manning and DJ Smith all play inside linebacker so wouldn’t be a complement to Matthews. Also keep in mind Zombo and Moses were backups that ended up seeing more time than they should, while I’ll leave you to decide on what you think on Walden.

    1. Jennings and Walden certainly will factor in based on the contracts they ultimately signed, being “starters” and the number of snaps they’ll ultimately end up taking. Crabtree might factor into the equation as he signed a reasonable contract and is a “starter”, but if he continues to miss games due to injury, he will likely get factored out of the equation. My feeling is Zombo will most likely not be part of any supplemental draft pick(s).

      1. Crabtree and Zombo do not figure for compensation because they were Restricted Free Agents. Teams only get compensation for restricted frre agents based on the tender offer extended to the player. Since the Packers did not extend tender offers to Crabtree and Zombo, there is no compensation.
        The only players that count toward the Compensation Formula are Unrestricted Free Agents signed during the initial free agency period (i.e. from March through just before the Draft). This year the only such players are Jennings and Walden.

        Compensation for Jennings should be fairly good. It could have been good for Walden too, except that he is not playing anywhere near up to his contranct (I expecty that is not surprising to most Packer fans.) I’m guessing the Pack might get a 5th and a 7th, or maybe only one pick in the 4th if Jennings does really well and the league folds the compensation for Walden into what they give for Jennings.

        1. Interesting, I’m never quite sure about compensatory picks mostly because the formula for determining them is secret, either way Crabtree and Zombo might not have been calculated even if they were included.

          1. It actually doesn’t work like that. Supposedly every UFA is accounted for somehow.

            Now if you are saying they might not have been valued very highly even if they were UFAs, that would be a good observation based on the first four weeks, but there is a lot of football left this season.

            I used to participate in a couple of ‘capology’ discussion groups. I don’t anymore (and the groups are pretty quiet nowadays)

            Anyway, several contributors worked out a way to ‘guesstimate’ the UFA compensation system that IIRC was accurate about 85% of the time.

            If you are interested, shoot me an e-mail I can see if any of the groups are still active and send you a link.

        2. Compensatory picks are awarded only for unrestricted FA who leave their teams. The round the compensatory pick end up being is based on both the salary/contract they sign for and how well they perform for their new teams. For example, Scott Wells got a big contract for a Center, so the Packers should have gotten a mid round compensatory pick, but since he missed the whole year, I don’t think they ended up getting much out of him.

          Players that were released in training camp don’t count in determining compensatory picks at all. Only players whose contracts ended last season and signed w/ new teams as an unrestricted FA. Jennings fits the compensatory rules. Guys like DJ Smith, Manning, DJ Williams don’t count in compensatory rules.

    2. How does this question get a thumbs down?

      I think we could get a 7th for Walden/Crabtree/Zombo (mostly due to Walden’s contract size), and possibly a 5th for Jennings. But that’s a wild, mostly-uneducated guess. We didn’t really sign someone, a la Jeff Saturday, that would cancel out compensatory picks.

      By the way, to all the people who lament TT’s lack of free-agent signings: every failed FA signing (which seems way more common than successful FA signings) equals fewer compensatory picks. While I like the idea of signing a veteran o-lineman, I think we can all agree that the Saturday signing proved it’s not always best. Lost cap room to re-sign other guys, too.

      1. Great point on failed signings. I think the other piece of that is that people should really count contract extensions as part of the free agency process. In 2013 TT used secured the long term services of the best available QB and 3-4 OLB, no matter that they weren’t going to be able to get offers from other teams for another year or two.

        And yes, I know TT had cap room left over after signing Rodgers and Matthews. But it would have been foolish to overspend on inferior free agents when you have Raji, Finley, Pickett, Dietrich-Smith, James Jones, Neal, and other contributors coming into the market next year.

      2. I would argue that signing saturday really hindered the Packers from a cap room perspective; a 2 year $7.5 million contract is actually pretty conservative for the NFL. Also, the Saturday is only taking up $825,000 of dead space and it’s only for this year so that shouldn’t effect the Packers all that much

        1. The bigger effect was that signing him lost the Packers a compensatory pick, and his being voted to the Pro Bowl lost us one round on the compensatory pick we did get (5th instead of a 4th).

        2. Saturday costs NOTHING against the Packers ’13 salary cap! His contract contained only roster bonus money and per game bonus’s. There was no siging bonus in his contract and he doesn’t count a dime against the Packers ’13 cap. Wrong again Thomas!

  4. Didn’t Charles W. play for us last year…I suppose we count him as retired…playing for the Raiders and all.

    1. That’s a pretty egregious oversight on my part, though I wasn’t intending to list every player who has moved to a new team.

  5. “On the negative side, it’s a little distressing to see the Packers rely on so many players that aren’t even contributing on their new teams.”

    I don’t understand this statement. Bishop & Jennings contributed plenty in when they were with the Packers. what they are doing now is irrelevant to what they did while here. The rest were all backups (williams was decent in his role) and only 3 (walden, green, maybe moses) might qualify as players we “relied” on. none of those 3 would’ve been relied on without extensive injuries at their positions (benson & starks at rb, matthews & perry at olb), so it’s just another way of bemoaning our injuries.

    still works out to a small percentage of the team, and I’m sure you’d find similar if not worse situations on other teams. very few teams can say they don’t have a hole here or there and none can say that if backups are forced to fill in for injuries. In fact, it’s a tribute to the packers that other teams value their castoffs so much that they’ve almost all found other teams.

    1. I think you misunderstood my statement, Bishop and Jennings contributed plenty when they were with the Packers, and are not producing to that extent now. This is more apparent with other players like Moses, Walden and Green who all saw significant snaps as starters last year but aren’t seeing nearly as much this year. I would argue this does have a potential effect on the Packers, i.e. if they let someone go that they shouldn’t have (perhaps Charles Woodson, not that the Packers could have known about Burnett’s injury).

      Also I’d like to know what role you are thinking of Williams being decent in.

      1. Seeem like letting a guy go would only be a mistake for the Packers if he did outstandingkly well for his new team for relatively good market value. Last guys I remember like that are Bryce Paup and Craig Hentrich (Wolf eventually called both losses a mistake).

        I suppose you could make the argument for Sharper, but his contract with GB was a cap-destroying atrocity.

        1. I should add, the way your statement is phrased makes it seem liek you are saying the opposite — that these ex-Packers not doing well somehow is or was bad for the Packers. Not sure how you could say it better, though.

        2. Well, cap considerations aside, the Packers and Ted Thompson have been pretty good about not letting talent go, perhaps the only example I can think of would be fullback Vonta Leach, but as a fullback you can argue truly how significant that was.

          1. Problems was Vonta Leach wasn’t very good while he was in GB. He turned it around after he left GB. Maybe he had to face that he was expendable before he got his act together, IDK. But Leach wasn’t a very good FB for the Packers.

  6. Why even do this after 3 or 4 games? Even a full season of stats may not be a fair comparison from one team to another.

    Do you need subject material to blog about? Sorry, but, you’ve wasted your time with this nonsense.

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