5 Critical Moves Green Bay Packers Must Make This Offseason
The Green Bay Packers are once again favorites going into the 2012 NFL season, but the team needs to make certain moves to truly compete for another Super Bowl title. With a solid core, the Packers are a few puzzle pieces away from getting back to the NFL's greatest showcase.
With a record setting offense, the Packers are pretty set going into the future if they can bring back their own guys, and build on the success of the previous year. Defensively, where there were some glaring holes, the Packers have more to do, and add, in order to improve.
If the Packers can make these critical moves this offseason, there is no telling what the future holds for this young team.
Improve OLB Situation
It is no secret that one of the Packers' biggest downfalls in the 2011 season was the lack of a playmaker opposite Clay Matthews. At the right outside linebacker position, Erik Walden, Frank Zombo, Brad Jones and Vic So'oto all saw time at the spot, but none stuck as a viable option.
The Packers were able to disguise the issue at times with big plays, but the issue must be addressed in 2012 if the Packers are to get back to the top. If not in the draft, the Packers must bring an OLB in through a rare free agent signing.
Most mock drafts at this time have the Packers taking an OLB, with many names being mentioned, including Nick Perry and Mercilus Whitney. Either would be a viable option for the Packers in 2012.
Keep Jermichael Finley
One of the biggest debates over the next few weeks will be what the Packers should be with Jermichael Finley. The options include using the team's franchise tag, re-signing Finley to a long-term deal or letting Finley walk via free agency.
While Finley has definitely failed to live up to the standards he and others have created for him, there is too much potential in that huge frame to let Finley walk. Finley deserves another chance to put it all together, and if he does, the rest of the league better watch out.
In order to do so at a fair rate for both Finley and the Packers, the team should use the franchise tag on Finley and continue to work on a long-term deal later in the season, based on how the year progresses.
Improve DE Situation
Just like the OLB situation, the Packers desperately need some reinforcement on their defensive line. The unit struggled all season long, and was a big factor in the team's downfall. In the playoff loss, the line got little pressure on Eli Manning, who used all the time to pick apart the Packers secondary.
With the Packers unlikely to make a big free agent signing, they will likely have to use a high draft pick to snag a defensive lineman. General Manager Ted Thompson has not had a ton of success picking the position over the past couple seasons, so he will need to do better this offseason.
Bring Back Scott Wells
One of the most underrated players on the team, Scott Wells has been a big factor in the Packers' success over the last couple seasons. Wells was rewarded for his strong play with his first Pro Bowl appearance in 2012.
As a free agent, the Packers need to do whatever they have to in order to bring back Wells. The Packers and Wells failed to get a contract extension done during the season, and now may risk Wells hitting the open market.
Expect the Packers to bring back Wells, and also add a center in the upcoming draft. With Wells back, the Packers offensive line will be in good shape heading into the 2012 season.
Add Depth at Safety
The Packers suffered mightily from the absence of Nick Collins after the Pro Bowl caliber safety suffered a serious, career threatening neck injury. Collins will see the doctors again in March to determine whether or not the 28-year old will be back on the field again.
With Collins' situation as fragile as it is, the Packers need to bring in some depth at the safety position. Charlie Peprah was abused time after time and failed to wrap up opponents, as he missed countless tackles.
With an emerging star in Morgan Burnett, the Packers could be quite strong at the safety positions if Collins can return to the field and be his old self. If not, the Packers need to at least bring in some depth and competition to push Peprah.