Green Bay Packers' Bargain Guide to the 2014 Offseason
The Green Bay Packers have never really been known as a team that goes out and spends loads of money in the offseason. However, they may not have an option this year.
There are so many holes on the Packers roster heading into the 2014 season that they will definitely need to add some free agents. The key for them will be to find players who can be had at a bargain in order to improve their roster the most while spending the least amount of money.
Luckily for Green Bay, we've put together a little list for them. Here's a look at the Packers' bargain guide to the 2014 offseason.
Rusty Smith, Quarterback
One thing that is certain heading into the 2014 season is that the Green Bay Packers won't have just two quarterbacks on their roster at the start of the regular season. That ended in absolute disaster this past year.
That leaves the Packers a few options to add to quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Scott Tolzien. They could re-sign Matt Flynn, draft a quarterback to develop or look for a bargain free agent to act as the No. 3 signal-caller.
The most popular decision for Green Bay amongst its fanbase would be to bring back Flynn. However, Flynn could demand a higher salary due to his late-season play or another team may be willing to pay more than the Packers.
That's what makes Rusty Smith, formerly of the Tennessee Titans, a great option for Green Bay. He's definitely going to be a cheap option at quarterback, but he's got plenty of experience as a backup in this league. He's also flashed just enough talent for the Packers to feel good if they're unfortunately forced to play their third-string quarterback.
Overpaying for Flynn simply isn't an option for the Packers, so a bargain buy like Smith could make sense.
Josh Cribbs, Wide Receiver/Kick Returner
One area where the Green Bay Packers really struggled last year was with their return game. The Packers tried a handful of players in an attempt to get some type of production, but no one really stepped up.
Few players in the history of the NFL have been as proficient at returning kicks as Josh Cribbs. His eight kickoff returns for a touchdown is tied for the most in NFL history.
While Cribbs is coming off a rough 2013 season, he's still only 30 years old. If the Packers were to use him as a return specialist only, that could help keep him fresh and potentially get him back to being an extremely productive return man.
Cribbs should be plenty cheap this offseason and could really add a boost to the Packers special teams unit.
Dustin Keller, Tight End
There is plenty of risk should the Green Bay Packers decide to sign Dustin Keller.
For starters, Keller missed the majority of last season due to tearing his ACL, MCL and PCL. He also dislocated his knee on the same injury. That's an extremely severe injury to return from, especially in less than a year.
Keller has also never really been an extremely productive tight end. His best statistical season came in 2011 where he recorded 65 receptions, 815 yards and five touchdowns.
However, Keller is still an extremely talented receiver who could become a weapon in the Packers offense. The fact that Keller is returning from such a gruesome injury will likely make him one of the cheaper free agents the Packers could sign.
With both Andrew Quarless and Jermichael Finley being free agents this offseason, the Packers could potentially be in the market for a talented but discounted tight end like Keller.
Fred Davis, Tight End
Let's stick with tight ends for a moment and look at Fred Davis. While there are plenty of negatives surrounding Davis, it's hard to argue with the potential talent that he could bring to the field.
Davis is an absolute freak of an athlete who has the ability to make big plays on offense. Unfortunately, he's also got a number of off-field issues that he's dealing with.
It's possible that Davis could miss the first six games of the 2014 season due to suspension, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. That'd be a big loss for the Green Bay Packers should they choose to sign him.
If Davis checks out mentally and is committed to the game of football, he could end up being one of the biggest steals in free agency this offseason.
Brad Meester, Center
The last time the Green Bay Packers had a talented center that was hitting free agency they weren't able to re-sign him. That was Scott Wells, who went on to sign with the St. Louis Rams.
This year the Packers have another talented free-agent center in Evan Dietrich-Smith that they could potentially end up not re-signing. If that happens, the player who could make quite a bit of sense is Brad Meester.
Yes, Meester will be 37 years old for the 2014 season, but there's still plenty that Meester could offer the Packers. He's an extremely experienced center who could step in from day one and be a productive member of the offensive line.
The most likely scenario for the Packers this offseason is to re-sign Dietrich-Smith. However, if that doesn't happen, then signing a player like Meester while developing a rookie would make quite a big of sense.
Jeremy Mincey, Defensive End
The 2013 season was an interesting one for defensive end Jeremy Mincey. First, Mincey fell out of favor with the Jacksonville Jaguars before eventually getting released. He was eventually picked up by the Denver Broncos and was able to be a part of the Super Bowl.
Now, Mincey is a free agent and his up-and-down campaign likely cost him some money this offseason, which isn't a bad thing at all for the Green Bay Packers. In only 13 games played this past season, Mincey was able to record an impressive 24 quarterback hurries.
With so many difficulties with the defensive line last year, the Packers could certainly use a consistent player like Mincey at defensive end.
Clinton McDonald, Defensive Tackle
Coming off a Super Bowl victory could certainly help the pockets of defensive tackle Clinton McDonald. However, McDonald is still somewhat unknown to most of the league, so teams might be a little unwilling to spend the big bucks to sign him.
That certainly works out as a positive for the Green Bay Packers, who desperately need an influx of talent at defensive tackle. While McDonald comes from a 4-3 front in Seattle, his talents definitely translate to a 3-4 defense.
His biggest talent is producing pressure on opposing quarterbacks. He recorded 17 quarterback hurries, 11 quarterback hits and six sacks last year, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
As long as teams don't catch on to McDonald's talents, he could be the ultimate bargain for the Packers in free agency this year.
Michael Huff, Safety
Few players had as difficult of a season as Michael Huff. It started with getting cut by the Oakland Raiders last March. Then Huff was signed to a three-year deal with the Baltimore Ravens, where he was eventually released after Week 4.
Huff finally landed with the Denver Broncos, but it wasn't until mid-November. Overall, Huff only played a total of 170 snaps in eight games for the Ravens and Broncos.
With all these difficulties, there is little doubt that Huff will be able to get signed for extremely cheap. That's good news for the Green Bay Packers, who desperately need to add talent at the safety position.
The other good news is that Huff is more of a natural free safety, which would allow Morgan Burnett to move back to his natural position of strong safety.
Now, the Packers are almost certainly going to add a safety during the NFL draft, but it wouldn't hurt to have an experienced veteran like Huff available should anything happen with their draft pick.