Packers And Free Agency: What’s Next?

Tramon Williams

The NFL’s first official day of free agency brought about a few signings and also a few big trades.  We rarely see any trades in the NFL, let alone blockbusters and there have been three in the past week.  Last week, the Buffalo Bills sent linebacker Kiko Alonso to the Philadelphia Eagles for running back LeSean McCoy.  Yesterday, the New Orleans Saints sent star tight end Jimmy Graham to the Seattle Seahawks for center Max Unger and draft picks.  The Detroit Lions made a big move to replace departed defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh by acquiring former Baltimore Ravens D-lineman Haloti Ngata.  The Green Bay Packers got into the action as well, reportedly locking up offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga on a multi-year deal to keep him in Green Bay.  Bulaga and receiver Randall Cobb were widely thought to be Green Bay’s top two priorities to keep in free agency and with both set to return, the Packers now face other questions.

The Packers now focus on the cornerback position, which up until now had been one of the team’s deepest.  Free agent Davon House has agreed to a deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tramon Williams is reportedly visiting the Saints later this week.  The Packers offered Williams a two-year contract worth $8 million and that was rejected.  It’s still possible that Williams returns to Green Bay, but he appears to want to get a better idea of what his market value is.  If Williams departs, the Packers are left with Sam Shields, Casey Hayward, Micah Hyde and Demetri Goodson at the corner position.  While Hayward and Hyde have flashed ability at times, neither is a true outside corner.  They’re both smaller players as well.

Possibly preparing for the loss of both Williams and House, the Packers were said to be among the teams that were in contact with Darrelle Revis, who signed with the New York Jets yesterday.  That was a long shot to begin with, based on the type of money that Revis reportedly received (five years, $70 million with $39 guaranteed).  While most signings tend to set a bar and fair market value at that player’s position, Revis is on an island (see what I did there?) when it comes to cornerbacks.  He’s still elite and at the top of the curve.  Williams may see more than the $4 million the Packers initially offered, but he won’t be breaking anyone’s bank.  Aside from the Saints, the Seahawks are reportedly interested in Williams as well.

Another name that has been floated around that the Packers could look at is Brandon Browner.  Browner spent last season with the New England Patriots after spending several seasons with the Seahawks.  Browner missed some games in 2012 and wasn’t able to play in Super Bowl XLVIII due to a suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.  While Browner is a bigger corner, he’s entering his 11th season in football (both the NFL and CFL) and he’s not a long-term solution to the position.  The Packers would likely only entertain this option if they’re not able to re-sign Williams nor get a quality corner in the upcoming draft.  I’d rather see the Packers bring Williams back and it will most likely have to be at least a two-year deal.  The 32-year old cornerback has kept himself in good playing shape and likely has at least two more good years in him.  He knows the Packers’ defense and would help maintain the veteran presence on the team.

Defensive line is another position that needs to be addressed by the Packers.  Both defensive tackles from last season, B.J. Raji and Letroy Guion, are free agents with question marks.  Raji missed all of last season with a torn bicep and it’s unknown if the injury will have any long-term effect on his play.  Guion was arrested in his hometown last month and has the legalities of that situation ahead of him.  The Packers are rumored to be interested in bringing both players back, at the right price and barring any potential suspension.  If Raji is able to return to the form he showed in training camp last year before he was hurt, the Packers could get by on another one-year “prove it again” deal.  They had signed him to just such a deal last year at one year and $4 million.  Guion stepped in and played well after a slow start.  Given his recent off-field issues and assuming he’s cleared to return next season, Guion can probably be had for a short-term deal and very reasonable salary.

For those who want to dream a bit and look outside of Green Bay for help in the middle of the defense, consider Terrance Knighton, (aka Pot Roast) and Vince Wilfork.  The Packers reportedly have had some preliminary discussions with Knighton’s agent, but no progress has been made on any type of deal.  Knighton has already eliminated the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos, who reportedly didn’t come close to offering him anywhere near what he is seeking.  Based on that alone, the Packers’ chances of landing Knighton are slim unless his market flatlines and his price comes down considerably.  Green Bay doesn’t have a long history of paying top dollar for free agents outside of Green Bay (consider that Julius Peppers is an inside guy now after spending a year with the team and he may still be asked to restructure his deal before the season starts).  As far as Wilfork goes, the Houston Texans are reportedly trying to get a deal done to bring him in.  Wilfork is 33 years old, but has played in a 3-4 scheme and could be well-suited to what the Packers need.  My thought is that Green Bay’s looking in that direction would likely be if he were still available and if they decided against Raji, Guion or both.

Lastly and to squash the talk about former Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson possibly joining the Packers, it’s not happening.  Johnson is reportedly close to a deal with the Indianapolis Colts and is going to want to go to a team where he’s at least the second option in the passing game.  A report emerged that Johnson’s brother supposedly put out a list of teams that Andre would consider playing for and the Packers were one of those listed.  With the return of Cobb, any interest in Johnson is surely gone.  Bringing him in would stifle the growth of and take snaps away from Davante Adams.  It just doesn’t make sense.

We’ll continue to bring you any updated news related to the Packers, but it’s safe to say that Day One of this year’s free agency period did not disappoint.



Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on

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35 thoughts on “Packers And Free Agency: What’s Next?

  1. Excellent article. The Packers signed two of the top free agents in Cobb and Bulaga. I just don’t see them doing much else because frankly, they have as we speak the most talented team in the NFL. They were the best team last year and I only see them being better this season. How can they not be? They got rid of Shawn Slocum!!

    Sure they have a need for middle linebacker but even that is ok if they decide to stick with Clay and Barrington in the middle. The Packers absolutely dominated Seattle for most of that game. They will have virtually the same team this season minus Williams, House, Hawk, Jones, Bostick.. The only one worth bringing back would have been House based on potential.

    They are tops in the NFL at managing the salary cap and that has been crucial to our success year after year once Mike Sherman left. For as many “holes” as some here think we have most teams have more. For as many times as we say it it’s true…In Ted We Trust.. Whatever “needs” he feels we have he will address it in the draft and more times than not he usually comes up with quite a few gems like a Cory Linsley. We’re fine. Everything after Bulaga and Cobb is gravy.


    1. Tampa just signed Bruce Carter to a 4 year $20.5 million dollar deal. He’s the ILB I wish Ted would have tried and signed, he could play 3 downs. The money we payed for Hawk and he’s not close to what Carter is. Well I can’t co plain too much, he’s signed Cobb and Bulaga and still has over $20 million in Cap Space left. Pretty impressive Ted!!!

      1. Damn right Nick. Nobody should be complaining. We signed our own and two of the best out there. Count our blessings one or both didn’t get away.
        Trust me when I say trust in Ted. Ted has a plan. Every area of weakness they solve the following year and turn it into a surplus. OLB a few years ago, running back two years ago and safety last year.

        In 1968 in Vietnam they called it “the tet offensive”. In 2015 it will be called “the Ted offensive”. Ted has his sleeves already rolled up and will not be denied a super bowl this season mark my words.


      2. I feel no compunction about complaining. Nick, I thought Carter would be a good pick up. If TT thinks highly of 4 or 5 ILBs in the draft, then he probably figures he will get at least one and maybe two of them in the draft w/o reaching, and not signing a FA ILB makes decent sense.

        That said, I do want TT to sign a FA for the front 7 (ILB or DL), CB, or TE to take the pressure off the draft. I want TT picking to the strength of this draft and not reaching for a CB, TE, etc.

        1. I agree there, I’d rather see Ted sign a CB or ILB that’s played in the NFL a few years than try and stock the roster with just the draft. Mason Foster is a name I keep hearing but I have no idea if he interests Ted. My guess is TT waits another week to let things settle down and then he’ll look at what’s left.

          One more thing, Ted always seems to find those UDFA Gems at CB. Shields, Williams, and last year Jumal Rolle. He tried to stash Rolle on the PS and he was scooped up by the Texans. Maybe Goodson is better, much better than he showed last year.

    2. Sounds like the above post was written by the Packers’ PR department. The Packers played timid and not to lose that Seattle game thanks to McCarthy, who will not be calling the plays anymore. ILB needs upgrading as does DT. The NT position also needs an upgrade. They probably won’t make a FA splash like Peppers this year, but the team needs help at DT, TE and ILB.

        1. I trust in Ted, but you did sound a bit like a PR person. Ted solved FS, but it took 2 yrs. Solved RB, but it took 3 yrs. Solved OLB, but it took 4 yrs (and he is going to need to solve it again after this yr. when Peppers retires). Never really solved DL but stopped the bleeding with Daniels and 2 JAGs. ILB has been a concern for years, though it was not always the black hole it was last yr. It would be wrong to try to fix a problem the next yr. each time if the draft is thin in that area, so I don’t blame TT for some of the above, and I think TT is a top 5 GM, but I will nitpick.

          1. lol.. Reynoldo, you too? I swear I don’t secretly work for the Packers or am related to our living legend GM Teddy Tee.

            As a young kid all I remember is the 70’s and 80’s. I appreciate a good GM and management when I see one. This is the best of the best since the Lombardi era but I was too young to remember Lombardi. All I remember is 1973 and forward and it sucked up to 1993.

            When you get fed shit for 20 years you finally appreciate good food. Right now the eatin’s good in Packerland. In the overall big picture, we have it pretty effin good here so I have a hard time complaining about TT’s moves or lack thereof.

            I have nothing but praise for the guy and will continue too until they name a highway (not street) after him. He deserves all the praise he gets in my professional opinion.


            1. Yeah, me too. I’m old enough to vaguely remember Lombardy, and vividly recall the ’70s and 80’s. I think highly of TT.

    1. Yes, he’s still available. He will be 31 and had a $2 million salary, which isn’t too bad. Not sure if the Packers are willing to pay that much for a great special teams player….I would. He’s the best special teams player we’ve got on a bad unit led by Ron Zook.

      1. I think the Packers will hold off on players like Bush and Kuhn until after the draft. If they are still available and if the Packers want them back in their specific roles they will offer them relatively low 1 year contracts. If they want to play they’ll be back. They are over 30 now and it’s a game for young players. Thanks, Since ’61

        1. Bush had $433K in guaranteed money last yr. Kuhn got $100K signing bonus and $50K more in workout which essentially was guaranteed (workout period begin 4/20/15). I’m thinking TT won’t want to give Kuhn much if any guaranteed money, especially if he drafts a FB like Fowler. I don’t really see any reason to wait on Bush unless TT is just willing to match some other team and is waiting it out to pay the minimum, that is, ay less than the $2 million Bush got last year.

  2. We will definitely need a better CB to play outside then what’s on the roster now or the D will be getting burnt

  3. Hyde is 6′, 197. That is not small for a CB by any means. Hayward is 5’11, 192. That’s average size for a CB. And they like Hyde more than House. Better and more durable player.

    1. It is not the height. Hayward is made to be a nickel CB. His 4.57 forty speed doesn’t wow at outside CB, but his 6.76 3 cone and 3.9 short shuttle times are excellent. He excels in zone and has good hands, decent hips, and excellent instincts. Hyde is similar: 4.56 forty speed, excellent run support (at least prior to last season where he missed a few) but has questionable hips and has man coverage limitations. Capers puts his CBs out on an island since Burnett plays at the LOS to help with the run support, so GB has a single high safety a lot. I’d bet on Hayward as the outside CB if no one else is brought in.

  4. TE Scott Chandler is a street free agent I’d love to see us sign. Costs us no comp picks and he can stretchhhhh the field. Come on TT these are the free agents you love just like Julius and Leroy.

  5. Great to see Cobb and Bulaga back, but CB is actually a higher priority need now. Depending on what happens with Raji and Guion, I have the Packers draft needs as follows now:
    1. ILB — don’t need to explain this
    2. DT — even if Raji comes back on 1 year deal, need young blood. Guion is a question mark too.
    3. RB — DuJuan Harris gone, Starks is FA in 2016. Lacy has 2 concussions and needs running mate once Starks is gone.
    4. CB — House gone, Williams likely too.
    5. OLB — Peppers is not long-term solution, Perry and Neal have disappointed.
    6. OG/OT — gotta keep fresh blood on the O-line when injuries strike.
    7. TE — find another gem to pair with Richard Rodgers

    1. Rossonero – I agree with your priorities except that I would move TE up to 3rd or 4th and OL up to 5th. OLB and RB would be my last 2 needs. So for me 1- ILB, 2 – DT/NT, 3- TE, 4 -DB, 5- OL, 6/7 OLB/RB. Also we can still address some of these positions via FAs. I moved TE to 3rd because the lack of a deep threat TE hurt our offense at times last season, especially against Buffalo and in Seattle. Against the good defenses you need to spread them out, create 1 – on -1s, and make them cover as much of the field as possible. Our current TEs don’t threaten a good defense or force them to cover the deep middle. With Cobb and Bulaga back we need to pick up a TE threat to complete this offense and utilize R. Rodgers as the red zone threat ala Bubba Franks. Thanks, Since ’61

      1. If the Packers do not bring Williams back, I would say that ILB and a Outside CB are the top priorities for 2015. I’m saying this based on Raji and Guion coming back for one year prove it deals.

        I think that CB is just as, or more, of a priority than ILB. Hyde took a step back last year and is more of a slot CB and safety type. Heyward is a slot CB. That leaves an average Shields. If Shields doesn’t have a quality running mate at the other outside CB position, The D would be in trouble. This pass happy league with its elite receivers will expose a D that can’t cover on the outside. At least with Barrington, and the ability to move CM3 inside (with the D still able to put pressure on the QB) I would make an argument that a outside CB may be the no# priority on this roster as it stands today. Don’t get me wrong, I do realize that ILB is a huge priority and moving Clay back to OLB is important, but, if the Packers had to field a team to play tomorrow, the would play their LB’s the way they did in the playoffs, with Clay inside mostly. But would be playing without House and Williams on the roster, which would be trouble.

        As it sits today, IMHO, the priorities are:

        1) Outside CB or ILB
        2) ILB or outside CB
        3) DL
        4) TE- red zone threat
        5) OL depth and future starters
        6) RB – to replace Harris (and Starks if he leaves next year)
        7) QB- draft a developmental QB in the mid round in case Tolzen doesn’t pan out as a quality back up.

    2. Your priorities seem about right, but only if a veteran FA TE was brought in (which they should). Then I would go for RB after CB and OLB. Otherwise go for TE as 4th priority. There is a deep class of RBs (so I hear) so should be able to pick RB in 4th round or so.

  6. Given the amount of cap space remaining I would like to see the Packers try to build up 2 areas of need. My first choices would be an ILB with some experience and a TE. Like Nick Perry I also had my eye on Bruce Carter but Tampa already grabbed him up. Other areas the Packers can address with their cap space are the DL, some OL depth and DB depth. Maybe TT is holding out to see what happens with T. Williams. If Williams doesn’t get any satisfactory bites from other teams maybe TT ups his offer to keep him in Green Bay. But even if we keep Williams at say $5 mil a year for 2 years we still have $15 mil of cap pace. TT will never spend it all and he needs to keep $2-3 mil for his draft picks but even with that we’re still sitting on about $12 million. Without Tramon we’re about $16-17 mil after signing our picks. He may spend $4-5 mil total to bring back Raji and Guion on show me contracts. Time will tell. Thanks, Since ’61

    1. Basically agree. Cobb ($5.35 mill cap) and Bulaga ($3.6m), Tolzien and RFAs contracts leave GB $21.3 million in cap space per Acme packing. Our rookie allocation is $4.41 (but there is some wiggle in the pool allocation vs. actual cap implications – should really be about $2.7 million), leaving roughly $17.4 million in cap space right now. Figure Tramon at $5, Guion and Raji both for about $4, Kuhn and Bush for $2.2 (if you want them all) would leave $6.2 million for new FAs and rollover. That’s a fairly low # for TT. At most he might sign a FA in the $3 mill cap hit range. Looking at cap savings #s, there are only a couple of players with significant cap savings who might be bubble players (Neal – $3 mill; Quarless $1.575 & Starks – $1.475), but I think they all will make the team.

      TT could use some rollover. He has Daniels (guess $7 mill increase) Hayward (figure couple of Mill increase, but if he is a starting outside CB and does well, add more $$$) Perry (figure $2 mill increase) Neal (figure no real increase) and starks as FAs in 2016. Shields and Nelson’s cap hit increase $7 mill, and Cobb’s cap increases by at least $3.5 mill and Bulaga’s by $2 mill. CM3 & Rodgers both increase by $1 mill. We save $8 mill if Peppers is gone after this season (but we need to replace his impact, so taking an edge rusher in this yr’s draft, which is deep in edge rushers, might be prudent). 2017 doesn’t look too bad. A link to our current cap space:

    2. I think Williams is going to be stubborn about money, but will find interest weak. The Saints and Seahawks (both reported to have interest in him) have cap problems of their own. I doubt either one will bow to his demands.

      Regarding TEs, I think the Packers can find a great TE in the 3rd or even 4th rd. Finley was drafted in the 3rd rd, as was Richard Rodgers. I think Jesse James (6’7″, 254, Penn State) and Nick O’Leary (6’3″ 247 lbs. Florida State) will be available in the 3rd round. Other options would be Ben Koyack (6’5″ 249 lbs. Notre Dame or Tyler Kroft (6’5″ 240 lbs, Rutgers). All are projected to be 3rd or 4th rd picks, except for Jesse James (3rd round projection).

      As for FA ILBs, Brandon Spikes (formerly of Buffalo) is still available. The 27-year-old Spikes started 10-of-16 games for Buffalo a season ago, notching 54 tackles. Per Pro Football Focus, 249 of his 519 snaps were on run plays, an area where he can thrive because of his physicality. The 6’2″ 255 lb. former 2nd rd pick will be 28 in September and has played 4 years with New England and 1 in Buffalo. Ted Thompson may prefer drafting ILBs, but I’d feel more comfortable with a guy like Spikes in the middle. I don’t think he’d cost too much either.

      1. Is this the main reason TT doesn’t sign other team’s FAs? When is the last time he hit on a low pick? There was the WR C Johnson who now stars for MN but TT didn’t recognize what he had. TT loves to bottom fish. I’m surprised he doesn’t trade all his draft picks for 6th and 7th rounders. I understand trading out of r1 and possibly small trade downs later on but giving up a 5th for two 7ths seems stupid to me.

  7. If we sign both Raji and Guion, NT will be taken care of. Raji, Guion, Pennel, Robinson and Thornton. Granted we don’t know what the younger guys really are yet but a standard rotation of Raji/Guion will be fine. I prefer CB to ILB in first round personally. GoPack!

    1. Agreed. No ILB is worthy of #30, so yes, CB before ILB, especially if Waynes or Collins is there. Darby or Johnson also might be worth it at #30. CB is pretty deep this year, so I hope TT goes BPA at #30, or trades down.

    1. Problem with a guy like Andre is he would tell you to take a hike if you asked him too. We should go after a guy like Brandon Bostick who I think converted from wr to te. The only negative is I heard he’s kind of a slow learner. The last thing we need is some moron on our team not knowing his assignment and costing us a chance at the playoffs or worse yet making a critical mental error that costs us a trip to the super bowl. I would love to see the Packers pick up Bostick if he’s assignment sure.

      1. Very amusing. Unfortunately Andre Johnson signed with Indy. I think he and AROD would have been fantastic together.

        1. I just saw that Browner signed with the Saints. Does that mean that they aren’t interested in Williams? I still hope he comes back to the Pack.

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