Unlikely, but realistic, Packers free agent targets

ted thompson

There is no way to predict what, if anything, Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson will do in NFL free agency. But it sure is fun to talk about it.

Here are five free agents that Thompson probably won’t sign, but it wouldn’t be shocking if he did. All of these players would probably fall into the Packers’ price range and would address some type of need.

WR Andre Johnson
Last offseason the Packers signed a 34 year old defensive end who was cut by his former team and didn’t cost the Packers a compensatory draft pick. Might Thompson do the same this offseason with Johnson, a 34 year old wide receiver who was just cut by his former team? The Packers could make up for not having a down-the-seam tight end by bringing the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Johnson on board.

TE Jermaine Gresham
Or maybe Thompson will just go out and sign an actual down-the-seam tight end like Gresham. Gresham is like Jermichael Finley, minus the production. Put him with Aaron Rodgers, and perhaps he can post Finley-like numbers and live up to his first-round draft status.

LB Brandon Spikes
Spikes isn’t a three-down player, which will probably scare Thompson away. But he’d help fill a giant hole at inside linebacker and would immediately upgrade the run defense.

(**This is the section of the post where I have to stop and remind myself to calm down. Look at what I just wrote: “He’d immediately upgrade the run defense.” How do I know if Spikes would “immediately upgrade the run defense?” Thompson doesn’t either, that’s why he usually stays away from free agents even when people like me get a little excited talking about players outside the Packers.**)

DT Kenrick Ellis
Stuck behind three good players with the Jets, Ellis didn’t get to play much. When he did play, the 330-pound was a plus interior run defender.

LB Malcolm Smith
An athletic player who can play any linebacker spot. Reminds me a bit of Brandon Chillar. If the price tag is low enough, Smith’s age (26) and athleticism could be attractive to the Packers, but I see him more as a sub-package player, not an every-down solution at inside linebacker.


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 .


7 thoughts on “Unlikely, but realistic, Packers free agent targets

  1. If the Packers lose out on Bulaga, TWill and House, there will be far too many holes to fill through the draft and it would likely force TT to dabble in the FA market some. It could be that they believe enough in the combos of Barclay/Tretter, and Goodson/Hyde/Hayward to play next man up and draft as they choose without playing FA-roulette, but that seems a little dicey to me.

    I’ve always been a little suspicious of Gresham. Sure, the Bengals haven’t had great QB play, they’ve never made him a focal point of the offense…but they drafted a guy (Eifert) to play ahead of him. There are other guys out there of this sort: have potential, but not production and may have been cheated by non-TE friendly systems or poor QB play– Rob Housler, Lance Kendricks–who could be had for even less than Gresham.

    I think you can get a more athletic–and cheaper–Brandon Spikes through the draft. If there’s a position that I think you can draft and play and get production, it would be that run-down ILB. Taiwan Jones from MSU, for example. Smith is fast, but undersized, and likely won’t put on weight due to an eating disorder. He’s essentially a bulked up SS at this point, but is an upgrade over anything the Packers have. They’d have to be able to pair him with a really good plugger or improve the DL in front of him to keep the OL off of him.

    Really like the idea of Kenrick Ellis in GB.

  2. I agree these are remote, unless bulaga doesn’t sign…then starts to become slightly more likely. If GB loses Bulaga, I wouldn’t mind so much if that money went to: veteran TE and veteran ILB. Ahmad Brooks would be upgrade at GB.

  3. I like the idea of Smith or Ellis. Not worried about Smith being a sub guy only, that’s what they need. Ellis is interesting. Is he better that Boyd/Jones?

    1. I think the question on Ellis is: does he upgrade over Raji/Pennel/Guion? I think he’s destined to be a base NT in GB, and he’d be competing with those guys for snaps.

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