The Packers come into the 2012 offseason with a 15-1 record but also carrying the burden of a very ugly playoff loss at Lambeau Field. Despite the strong record, their defense was exposed throughout much of the season, giving Ted Thompson a reason to make some major upgrades.
While the Packers don't usually dip into free agency, they have plenty of holes that they need to fill, even for a team who had the best regular season in the NFL. Though it may be unlikely, they could certainly use a veteran free agent who could make an immediate impact, as long as he fit the system.
Here are five 2012 free agents who could be very valuable prospects for the Packers to consider as they enter the next season.
With Nick Collins' future uncertain after a potential career-ending neck injury, the Packers may be in need for a safety, and it might be a good idea to go the veteran route, rather than try to find someone in the early rounds in the draft.
It can be hard for a rookie safety to make an immediate impact to a team, as it is a complicated position that could prove to be difficult to learn quickly, especially if there isn't another veteran on the other side.
This was clear in 2011 when Morgan Burnett, a talented but young safety out of Georgia, tried to take over for Nick Collins, but struggled at times, despite making some big plays throughout the season.
I think that if the Packers lose Collins, it would be wise to bring in a veteran safety who could make a more immediate impact rather than a rookie who would need to be developed, and Landry is one of the top safeties in free agency this year.
Tracy Porter might be known for making a few big plays for the Saints late in the 2009 season, most notably in Super Bowl XLIV, where he intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown.
Porter is a young and promising ball-hawking corner, and is instinctive much like Tramon Williams or Charles Woodson. With Woodson getting older and perhaps making a move to safety—and the Packers cornerback depth being quite thin—the Packers would be wise to bring in a new cornerback, and if they decide to nab a free agent, Porter would be a good fit for the Packers.
It would be ironic to see John Abraham, the man who gave Rodgers the belt in the NFC divisional playoffs last year, to be in a Packers uniform in 2012.
This one is a long shot, as Ted Thompson doesn't usually go after free agents as old as Abraham, but Abraham is a veteran defensive lineman who could serve as a stop-gap for some of their younger, more promising defensive ends to develop into a starter.
Signing Abraham would be putting a Band-Aid on a much bigger issue, but it would be a start, and he could certainly be a difference-maker for this defensive line that couldn't rush the passer in 2011.
Grubbs isn't a big name, but he is a top offensive guard who could help add some depth to this offensive line that had some struggling backups in 2011.
While the tackles and the centers seem to be set for a while, the left guard position is still a position that is up in the air, with T.J. Lang being solid but the weakest starter on the line and Derek Sherrod not being suitable for the position.
Grubbs, or any other guard in free agency, could be brought in to solidify this offensive line that is improving, and with the addition of a couple more pieces, could turn into one of the best in the NFL.
With the future of Jermichael Finley in question, the Packers could decide to sign a tight end who would be a replacement to the playmaker.
Fred Davis might be one of the better choices, as he is still fairly young, and he is rising as a pass-catcher and a playmaker.
The Packers will likely keep Finley, and even if they don't, they will likely either look to their starters or somebody in the draft, but a top free agent pickup would be worth considering, especially someone like Fred Davis, who certainly is on the upside of his career.