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 AllGreenBayPackers.comFollow Jason Perone: