6 Big Splashes the Green Bay Packers Could Realistically Make in Free Agency
While the Green Bay Packers aren't loaded with money to spend this offseason, there are still a number of moves they could make in free agency that could make a big splash for the team's 2014 season
According to Spotrac.com, the Packers have just under $11 million in cap room to work with this offseason. Now that number is likely to change after Green Bay gets rid of "dead" contracts and restructures other contracts. However, signing a player like tight end Jimmy Graham simply isn't a realistic move.
Let's take a look at six big splashes that the Packers could realistically make in free agency this year.
Brandon Pettigrew, Tight End
With tight ends Andrew Quarless and Jermichael Finley both free agents this year, the Green Bay Packers definitely have a need at the tight end position. If they decide to not re-sign either Quarless or Finley, someone like Brandon Pettigrew of the Detroit Lions could be a realistic signing.
While Pettigrew has been a disappointment in Detroit over the past couple of seasons, there is no doubting his natural abilities and potential. According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, the Lions are not sure whether they'll bring back Pettigrew, so it's a definite possibility that the veteran TE will hit the open market.
Pettigrew would be a relatively inexpensive option for the Packers at tight end, and his upside would definitely be an intriguing option.
Brian De La Puente, Center
One of the biggest decisions the Green Bay Packers have to make this offseason is whether or not to re-sign center Evan Dietrich-Smith. Due to Dietrich-Smith's solid play in his first year as a starter, it's a possibility that the Packers re-sign him to a long-term contract.
However, if they don't, then they'll need to look elsewhere for a starting center. With the New Orleans Saints having cap issues, it's unlikely they'll be able to re-sign their starting center Brian De La Peunte.
De La Puente comes from a pass-first offense and an offensive line very capable at providing pass protection. He'd be a great addition to the offensive line in Green Bay.
While bringing back Dietrich-Smith is the most likely option at center for the Packers, but failing to do so then makes De La Puente a realistic option.
Tyson Jackson, Defensive End
Tyson Jackson's career with the Kansas City Chiefs has been a rather disappointing one. However, he's coming off a year when he was graded as the 14th-best 3-4 defensive end, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
The Green Bay Packers best-graded defensive end was No. 35 last year (Johnny Jolly). There's no doubt that the Packers need help along their defensive line, and Jackson may be the best player to do that.
Jackson was an absolute stud against the run last year. With the Packers being one of the worst teams in the league at slowing down opposing running backs, Jackson would provide a huge upgrade along the defensive line.
Due to his career struggles in Kansas City, Jackson is likely going to be able to be signed to a team-friendly contract. If the Packers want to boost the production of their defensive line, Jackson would be a terrific candidate.
Terrence Cody, Defensive Tackle
Despite the fact that Terrence Cody is coming off a difficult season for the Baltimore Ravens, he'd still be a good signing for the Green Bay Packers.
For starters, at 6'4" and 349 pounds, Cody would be a huge body to plug up the middle of their defensive line. Cody is also only 25 years old, so there is plenty of time for him to still reach his full potential as a player.
The other good news about Cody is that he'll likely be quite inexpensive due to his struggles this past season. If he can play more of the dominating kind of football that he flashed two years ago, Cody could end up being the biggest steal in free agency.
Brandon Spikes, Inside Linebacker
The Green Bay Packers have both starting inside linebackers returning next year. However, that shouldn't keep them from looking to upgrade this position.
While A.J. Hawk had a solid all-around year, Brad Jones didn't look overly impressive during his time on the field. Adding an elite run-defender like Brandon Spikes would be an instant upgrade over Jones.
Sure, Spikes is coming off a knee injury that prematurely ended his 2013 season with the New England Patriots, but that should actually bring his overall cost down as a free agent. If the Packers can get him relatively cheap, it'd simply be too hard to pass on him.
According to Mike Reiss of ESPN, it's unlikely the Patriots re-sign Spikes. He could be a perfect fit for Green Bay.
Chris Clemons, Free Safety
Because jairus Byrd and T.J. Ward are the biggest free-agent names at the safety position this offseason, both players are likely to demand high-paying contracts. While the Green Bay Packers could certainly figure out how to make that happen, it might not be in their best interest.
The reason for this is that they could still get a solid safety in former Miami Dolphin Chris Clemons at a cheaper rate than either Ward or Byrd. Clemons may not be as high profile as the other safeties, but he's certainly just as talented.
He was the ninth-best safety in the league last year while in coverage, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). He'd instantly be the best safety on the team and his presence would allow Morgan Burnett to move back to strong safety where he's a little more comfortable.
Adding Clemons would be huge for the Packers defense, and there's a possibility that Green Bay could sign him this offseason.