Ranking the Green Bay Packers' Best Remaining Free-Agent Options
Greg Jennings is a Minnesota Viking, Tom Crabtree is a Tampa Bay Buccaneer, Charles Woodson was released and all the Packers have done so far is re-sign linebacker Robert Francois.
They lost out on running back Steven Jackson to the Falcons and couldn't sign Chris Canty after he failed to pass the tests of the Packers' medical team. Fans are up in arms, imploring general manager Ted Thompson to do something...ANYTHING.
Those fans are likely to be disappointed, but here are five remaining options the Packers still have in free agency, ranked from least likely to most likely, though only the final one (maybe two) has a greater than 50 percent chance of succeeding.
Sign Elvis Dumervil
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Might as well list this under "not going to happen," but since some fans are delusional enough to think this should happen, we may as well address it.
Elvis Dumervil was released by the Denver Broncos last week after a snafu between his agent and a fax machine (that was a strange sentence to type, even a week later). However, Dumervil very likely could still end up back in Denver, and even if he doesn't, his salary demands are likely too high for the Packers to consider.
It's just not going to happen.
Sign Dwight Freeney
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The Packers whiffed last year when they signed an aging Jeff Saturday away from the Indianapolis Colts. Could Green Bay get it right by adding Dwight Freeney to its struggling defense?
Perhaps, but it's unlikely.
Everyone who has followed Thompson's moves since becoming the Packers' general manager knows he prefers to make his team stronger and younger at the same time. Freeney recently turned 33 and has been plagued by injuries as of late.
He could be a stopgap solution for the Packers defensively, but with the depth of the upcoming draft, Freeney in Green Bay probably won't happen.
Sign Peyton Hillis
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The Packers are likely in need of a running back and very well could be without the services of fullback John Kuhn, who is due to make $2.5 million in 2013.
Could they kill two birds with one stone in Peyton Hillis?
The former Kansas City Chief has already visited Green Bay and left without a contract, but that does not mean the Packers can't/won't sign him. Hillis is not exactly an every-down back, but if the Packers want to roll with DuJuan Harris in 2013 and let the fan favorite Kuhn go, bringing Hillis on board could make sense.
Green Bay will still maintain a pass-first offense, but they need consistency at the running back position. Hillis only had two strong seasons, one in Denver and one in Cleveland, but he could be an upgrade over Kuhn and present a much more dangerous weapon in the screen game.
Of course, the Packers will want Hillis on the cheap. As someone who wallowed in Cleveland and Kansas City the past few years, Hillis would be wise to come to Green Bay and play with a quarterback of the caliber of Aaron Rodgers.
Sign Ahmad Bradshaw
If there is any free agent left whom the Packers have a decent chance of signing, it's Ahmad Bradshaw.
It was reported earlier in the week by Adam Schefter of ESPN that Bradshaw had met with both Green Bay and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Packers, of course, are looking for a running back, as are the Steelers, who recently lost Rashard Mendenhall.
Bradshaw turned 27 today (happy birthday, Ahmad!), so he would be able to give the Packers at least two or three years of service. The problem is Bradshaw has only played one full 16-game season since entering the league and has missed a combined six games between the past two seasons.
That history will give Green Bay pause, but if the Packers are going to make any semblance of a big splash in free agency this year, it will be on Bradshaw.
Extend Aaron Rodgers
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Rodgers isn't scheduled to become a free agent until after the 2014 season, but the Packers will want to get Rodgers' new contract on the books as early as this offseason.
This is the most likely move the Packers are to make before the NFL draft in April, and it's one they should make as well. Until Rodgers' new deal is signed, it will hang like a financial albatross over any personnel moves Green Bay actually makes or is even weighing as a possibility.
Thanks to the deal Joe Flacco signed with the Baltimore Ravens, expectations are that Rodgers' new contract will beat those numbers, but a team friendly deal like the one the New England Patriots recently signed with Tom Brady shouldn't be ruled out either.
Rodgers doesn't want to see the prime of his career wasted, and neither do the Packers, so a deal that allows the team some flexibility to keep its nucleus intact as well as add another player or two would be wise for both player and team.
Fans also would breath easier knowing the face of the franchise is locked up for the long term, especially after the exodus of this past offseason.