Top Free Agent Fits for Packers

Michael Vick

The Green Bay Packers have just under $22 million in cap space left this season.  They’ll need somewhere between $2-$3 million to sign their draft class.  General manager Ted Thompson and vice president of football administration/player finance Russ Ball also like to roll some cap space over to the following season so we can assume that not all of those dollars will be spent this season.

The Packers re-signed veterans Randall Cobb and Bryan Bulaga to decent-sized contracts and have a few more who are coming due soon:  Mike Daniels and Casey Hayward to name a few.  So they’ll need some funds to bring those guys back.  If the team sticks with its usual approach, neither will get a new deal before the start of this upcoming season and both may still be without new deals after the season as well.

Regardless, the Packers do have some room to add another player or two this season, should they explore the option.  Here’s a look at a few top free agents still available that could help Green Bay in one form or another.

WR Michael Crabtree – Crabtree is only 27 years old but has had some injury issues over the past few seasons.  That he’s still not signed means teams may know something we don’t about his health and are not willing to overpay for his services.  If he is  healthy, Crabtree will be on a roster next season.  The San Francisco 49ers may still bring him back if his price drops enough.  And if the price does drop, why not kick the tires, Ted?  Sure, you have Davante Adams ready to step in as an every-down receiver and to take snaps away from him would stunt his growth a bit.  But the Packers also have to realize that they have a roster that can do some serious damage and contend for a Super Bowl now.  If a player like Crabtree is there for the taking and comes at the right price, he would be a nice addition to the Green Bay offense.  With the loss of Jarrett Boykin and question marks about Jared Abbrederis and Jeff Janis, this idea is starting to sound less and less far-fetched.

LB Brandon Spikes – Spikes is another 27-year-old who has plenty of football left in him.  He had a decent season in his one year in Buffalo after his former team, the New England Patriots, didn’t bring him back.  With the Bills trading linebacker Kiko Alonso away, it would seem like they should want to explore keeping Spikes, but they haven’t yet.  With every passing day, Spikes sees his value drop.  The Packers sent two starting inside linebackers packing this offseason and will certainly want to address that need in the upcoming draft.  But picking late in every round is no guarantee that they’ll find the impact player they need.  Spikes could prove to be quite a value and offer a few years worth of above-average play if the Packers need more time to find and develop their young linebackers to fill this role.

QB Michael Vick – You knew this was coming unless you don’t tend to notice the featured picture on an article.  The Packers aren’t likely to bring Matt Flynn back.  They do have Scott Tolzien signed to back up Aaron Rodgers and will reportedly look at add a quarterback in the draft.  Vick is aging and can’t seem to stay healthy, so why entertain this?   If Vick understands that he’s not a starter anymore and will be relegated to a part-time role, he can still offer a spark to an offense.  Back in 2009, there were some faint and unverified rumors that the Packers were doing some looking at Vick when he was on the free agent market after his release from prison.  It’s hard to imagine why you’d take Rodgers out of the game for anyone else, let alone a 15-year veteran who hasn’t been in a SportsCenter highlight in years, but he’s still Michael Vick.  In a situation where the Packers need short yardage, pair Vick with Eddie Lacy, Cobb, Jordy Nelson and Adams and at the very least, you have defenses guessing which of the five options is getting the ball.

WR Reggie Wayne – I sat in the stands in Indianapolis in 2012 when Wayne went into “Madden mode” and single-handedly beat the Packers, who had a 21-3 lead at one point.  I vowed to dislike Wayne from that moment forth but I just can’t.  Who can?  He’s not anywhere near as fast and able as he once was, but he’s got savvy and should have at least one good year left in him.  He wouldn’t be a starter nor see 50+ receptions in Green Bay, but he can certainly find a way to make himself useful to a quarterback like Rodgers.  Wayne has the type of high character that the Packers organization gravitates itself towards and he would be a huge asset to the young receivers in the room.

WR Greg Jennings – Despite a report from a fake Adam Schefter that Jennings was headed to the Carolina Panthers, Jennings remains at large.  Jennings does appear to be on the verge of signing with a team and by the time this goes live, he may already be in another uniform, but for now, let’s assume he’s an option.  It’s obvious that he’s not getting a big contract and no team was chomping at the bit when the Minnesota Vikings let him go a few weeks ago.  This situation is another that’s all about value.  If the value and price are right, the Packers then likely have to consider if Jennings can return and co-exist with some of his old teammates that he said some not-so-nice things about.  Not to say that Rodgers runs the show and would have the final say on personnel matters.   We know Ted isn’t afraid to do his own thing regardless of what the face of the franchise wants or think (see Favre, Brett), but I doubt that there would be much pushback from #12.  Jennings knows the offense and clearly knows he was hasty in leaving Green Bay for “greener pastures”.  It’s hard to find that elsewhere when you’re leaving a team with “green” in the name, Greg!  Jennings is likely going to hold out for a bigger role and knows he’s the fourth option at best on this current Packers team.  But if he finds himself without a suitor this summer, there could be a rekindling.



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

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34 thoughts on “Top Free Agent Fits for Packers

  1. I can see why the Packers would kick the tires on Spikes, and maybe Crabtree, but beyond that…?

  2. Vick scans the field and sees Jennings, Wayne and Crabtree as options. Not the TT we all know. jennings as a 4th option at WR would suit me but I think he still has more value than that and will sign elsewhere as a #2.

  3. Crabtree – No. Don’t need him. Would rather see what Janis and Abby have for cheaper. Also, continued development of Adams. Plus, he’s a diva.

    Spikes – Somewhat intriguing, but overall, Meh. We’ve already got 1 run stuffing ILB in Barrington. With Raji back in the fold, I don’t see the need. We need a cover ILB. Not a thumper.

    Vick’s Corpse – LOL

    Wayne’s Corpse – LOL

    Craig Crennings’ Corpse – Um. double LOL.

    What about Rob Housler? Fast ‘move’ TE. We don’t have that on the roster and there’s not much there in the draft.

    Also, wish TT would have kicked the tires on McClain. Sigh…

    1. Housler was underutilized in AZ. If he can stay healthy, he could be an interesting post-draft pickup.

      1. He wont last that long. Baltimore has already been kicking the tires on him. TT waits too long on 2nd level FA – it’s always been his failing and it will continue to be.

    2. Agree with everything, but Spikes would add value. If Barrington goes down, then what? With Lattimore, Hawk and Jones gone, the Packers must spend 2 picks on ILBs in the upcoming draft, whether they sign Spikes or not. The position has been completely gutted.

        1. I have to kindly disagree. It’s a much better ILB class this year. CJ Mosley (#17 overall) was the only consensus 1st round grade ILB prospect in 2014.

          No other ILBs were taken until 60 picks later with Chris Borland at #77. Some of 2014’s supposed “top ILBs” wound up not even being drafted: Shayne Skov, Brock Coyle were examples.

          This year I think Eric Kendricks, Denzel Perryman, Paul Dawson, Benadrick McKinny and Stephon Anthony all have potential to be impact players, or at least solid starters.

          Everyone blew off Borland because of his height (5’11”) and he had 108 tackles, 4 passes defensed, 2 interceptions and 1 sack.

          Carl Bradford, taken one round later, was lucky to even make the Packers’ roster. He’s 6’1″ though, so I guess that makes it all OK. I have to be sarcastic because there is way too much attention put on height.

          1. Basically agree. Mosley though had the scouts salivating. Shazier shot up the boards based on his combine, and the jury is still out on him. After those two, though, there was little left. I discounted Borland not on his height but on his speed, but I had him going in the 3rd because he had good instincts, and generally one can’t teach instincts and football IQ.

            This year has decent depth, but no ILBer makes scouts salivate. With us picking at #30 each round, that’s better than having a stud who will be long gone before we pick.

            I loved the Bradford pick as an ILB; too bad GB insisted on trying him at OLB. Good hips, and agility. Not big enough for OLB. Bradford needed reps to prepare for ILB. I think he will play, and yes, I’ll be around to eat crow if Bradford is a bust.

      1. I’ve been on board for Spikes for quite a while. Last year he signed with the Bills for $3.25 million and was like the 6th ranked ILB against the run. He’s still unsigned so I can’t see him getting a contract for anymore than that. Spikes would be a smart signing for the Packers, the Dallas and Seahawks game shows us that. At the end of the day you made a very valid point, if Barrington went down the what? The Packers tried to scrape by at Safety a few years ago and we all know what happened. This really isn’t that much different.

        1. Have to wait until May 12, when TT can sign Spikes w/o it counting against the compensatory pick formula. He’s not worth forfeiting a 4th rd. comp pick next year. I’d have to gulp some tho if TT paid Spikes more than $2.5 million.

      2. Like Spikes as a run stuffer. If we came up against a very good run team Spikes and Barrington could work well together with Raji eating blocks (hopefully) up front. Clay is a really good ILB though.

  4. TT will only look at Spikes after the draft if he’s available. I’m okay with that. Right now FA prices are dropping with little motivation for teams to sign a guy close to the draft. If Spikes happens, color me an April fool.

  5. April Fool’s Day is about pulling one over on another(s)…..Jason,you have made yourself the Fool of an April Fool’s Day gag with this list even if not the intent. 🙁

  6. Can’t see a Vet FA WR, better to take a flyer on late rounder and develop. Can’t see Vick ready to be a 3rd string QB, nor would I like to see GBP tie up that much money.
    Seems a FA at this point should be ILB or TE so that GBP don’t have to draft to fill need, but have more flexibility. I’m all for Brandon Spikes.

  7. Crabtree is a greedy, selfish, diva but TT highly coveted him on draft day. Rodgers and Crabtree would outdo Kapernick & Crabtree by much if Crab is healthy. Crab came into league with a big time foot problem. May have worsened or may have other health problems now. Price is probably keeping teams away. I’m sure Crab overvalues himself.

  8. Would Packer fans welcome a dog killer? Back in the day a Packer fan killed a Packers’ coache’s dog because the team was underperforming, or so goes the legend.

    1. He served his time and has been a model citizen since. Would I want him? No, but only because he’s way over the hill.

    1. Why is he a traitor? He took more money to play for another team? Packer fans hold grudges too much. They guy was awesome in Green Bay for 5 years. Had some huge moments in huge movements for the Packers.

  9. Ridiculous list except for Spikes and that is only if the draft falls badly and we have an injury in that area. Signing any one of those guys is so non Ted Thompson.

  10. I’m guessing TT sits still until May 12, at which time FAs can be signed without losing a compensatory pick. Teams can only designate 2 players for a June 1 release, so there might be just a couple of cap casualties still to come, especially after teams know what they got in the draft. When you list FAs, it helps to know if signing one of them is likely going to cost us a 4th round compensatory pick next year. Looks like Wilfork and Knighton both would have figured into the compensatory draft pick formula after some research.

    Of these guys you listed, only Spikes makes sense, and he should only get back up money. Move TE Housler makes some sense.

  11. It all comes down to the ego factor… what will TT’s ego allow. I believe his ego has cost us 2 superbowl appearances.

  12. Get it, everybody? It’s actually the worst fits… April fools on you! WRs? A QB? A two-down thumper MLB just like the one we cut (Hawk)? He OBVIOUSLY picked out the worst fits and made an article of them… right Jason? Right? (crickets?)

    I do, now that it’s April 2nd and not the time for foolin’, really like the Rob Housler suggestion in the comments. No rush though. The team already looks pretty good as is aside from MLB and CB depth.

  13. Jennings would be a quality backup slot WR behind Cobb. He has quality speed still, runs perfect routes and knows the offense. He would also make a 4 WR set very potent. But, he is going to paid well more then the Packers can spend on a 4th WR. No way this happens unless Jennings wants a 1 yr prove it deal so he cash in next year again.

  14. I don’t think Spikes is exactly what they looking for at ILB next to Barrington when they play base. They need a sideline to sideline type guy who can chew up real estate in a hurry. Matthews was awesome at this last year. Spikes isn’t that type player. Maybe after they draft though if they don’t get a qualify ILB and Spikes can be signed cheap for injury insurance.

  15. I don’t get the Vick suggestion. They guy is terrible. He can’t read coverage quick enough. His decision making is awful. His accuracy is terrible. His speed, which made him great for a few years, isn’t good enough anymore to cover up his QB deficiencies. With all the other weapons the Packers have they are not going to take one of them off the field to get Vick in the game as a non-QB gimmick play. Find a young QB that they can develop. Stick him on the practice squad knowing that if he sees the field in 2015-16 the season is over anyways.

  16. Everyone here blames TT’s “ego” (and I must ask: WHERE do people get the idea he even has one???) for being the sole reason we have not won multiple super Bowls with Aaron Rodgers, yet all of you guys are quick to shut down any idea of bringing a somewhat valuable free agent because of your “hurt feelings” which just as easily would cost us the big game. I DON’T CARE IF SOMEONE ON THIS LIST PISSES YOU OFF! I WANT SOMEONE WHO WILL HELP US WIN DAMNIT!

    1. …and that is exactly what TT is looking for…if the guy was out there he’d have signed him already…

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