Reality Check Time for the Packers: This Is What Free Agency Will Offer

plopContributor IFebruary 7, 2009

I've been reading comments from fans of my beloved Packers and have to say...are you guys nut's?!?!  All this talk of Peppers and Haynesworth is absurd. They are high priced, high risk, free agents, and them being signed by Ted Thompson, of all people, is ridiculous. 

I don't think we should, or will, be quiet in FA, but thinking that we will get the cream of the overpaid crop isn't going to happen, and shouldn't. I think TT believes this as well.

Say what you will about him, an idiot he is not. He realizes that he has dropped the ball on the D-line and sees we have immediate needs on the offensive line.

Some of this will be handled by the draft. With our offense is close to greatness, and any internal growth on the defense, we are just a player or two away from the playoffs.

So below is my list of FA's I think we will focus on, in order of the likelihood that we can sign them. This does not take into account these FA's signing back with their team before FA begins, or the franchise tag.


Shane Lechlar: Punter

We need a punter, probably our most glaring need on the team. Frost was horrible. Kapinos did a better job, but we should just go out and get a good one and be done with it for the next few years.


Chris Canty: Defensive End

He has done a pretty good job in the Dallas version of the 3-4 as a DE.  He would give our D a person whose been there and done that in the sense of the 3-4.  He's still young, going into his fifth season and would solidify the line. We can't count on Harrell or Jolly, because of health and legal problems respectively.


Rocky Bernard: Defensive Tackle/Defensive End

He's played DT for Seattle the last few years. In his seventh season, the 29-year old had 4 sacks, 55 tackles, and a forced fumble. At 308 lbs. he would be a good prospect to move to DE, a major position of need.  If we don't get Canty, Rocky is my guy.

Jordan Gross: Offensive Tackle

He is a premier left tackle in this league. He is the only big name on my list, and as you can see, he's not on the top, so this is a bit of a pipe dream.  If we could get a hold of him, it would be pricey. But a good LT is not free. 

We could cut Clifton, who's knees are done, or possibly move him to RT and allow him to maul, which he can still do. It's the speed rushers off the end that kills him. Gross can do it all, but he will likely be franchised again by Carolina.

Karlos Dansby: Linebacker

Karlos is good. If you watched the playoffs this year, you saw it. Doubt he will leave AZ to the frigid north, but money can change a person's mind. He could have the greatest impact of any FA on our team and solidify the LB core.

I think that Barnett's days as a premier LB may be over. The 3-4 would put him at a disadvantage. In the 3-4 you must have two ILB's that can both play the Mike (chase down the ball) and the Will (take on blockers and blow up holes to free the Mike). 

I don't see Barnett playing the Will effectively, which gives the offense an advantage if it knows who's who before the snap. Hawk should be able to handle both jobs. Dansby's disadvantage, though, is that he may not be a fit for the 3-4, but I suspect his talent would work perfectly for ILB.


Bart Scott: Inside Linebacker

A lower profile Baltimore LB, but still very good in his own right, he may be better than Dansby, and chances are he'll be cheaper.  He's experienced in this system and brings a high football IQ to the table along with a lot of versatility and toughness. 

IMO we need either Dansby or Bart Scott, but with Denver moving to the 3-4 and many other 3-4 teams in this league, Scott will be highly sought after.

Matt Birk: Center

This may just be the Vikings hater in me talking, but an experienced center is a good thing to have in this league, and stealing him from MN would be great.

Wells was a disappointment to me this year.  He was hurt, and I saw him many times this year double the DT and not break off when a delayed MLB blitz came flying up the middle unblocked. In the zone, that is his responsibility, and he blew it. Spitz may be our center next year if we don't pick one up.

Now, I, of course, don't think that we will get anywhere close to all these guys, but if TT has a list of FA's he wants, I have a feeling many of these guys are on it.  I personally think we will pick up 2-3 of these guys, with a punter and DE being our main targets. 

Offensive linemen would be smart, but I just don't see TT putting too much more money on that side of the ball, since he will probably/hopefully be trying to resign Greg Jennings this off-season. Would like to know what you guys think.