Green Bay Packers Free Agency Tracker: Updated Signings, Rumors and Grades

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistMarch 10, 2014

GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 06:  Sam Shields #37 of the Green Bay Packers reacts as he is called for a penalty during the game against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field on October 6, 2013 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers are heading into the 2014 free-agency period in great position to make a significant splash, boasting over $35 million in salary-cap space, according to   

Green Bay went 8-7-1 last year, and despite missing star quarterback Aaron Rodgers for much of the second half of the season, the team still managed to sneak into the playoffs.

While the Packers have a strong core of players on both offense and defense, such as Rodgers and outside linebacker Clay Matthews, the franchise must address several areas of need through free agency if they want to contend in 2014.

Bleacher Report's NFC North Lead Writer Zach Kruse talks about where the team's focus should be:

The franchise has 19 players from last season due to hit free agency in 2014, including cornerback Sam Shields, wide receiver James Jones and fullback John Kuhn, and locking up its own stars will be as important as signing players from other teams.

Check back here for all the latest signings, trade rumors and grades for each move.


Green Bay Packers 2014 Free-Agent Class
Player Pos Status Where He Signed
Sam ShieldsSUFAGreen Bay: 4 years, $39 million
James Jones WR UFA
John KuhnFB UFA
Marshall Newhouse RTUFA
Kahlil Bell RB UFA
Evan Dietrich-Smith C UFA Buccaneers: 4 years, $14.25 million
Jermichael Finley TE UFA
Matt Flynn QB UFA
Rob Francois ILBUFA
M.D. Jennings S RFA Chicago: One-year deal
Johnny Jolly DE UFA
Jamari Lattimore ILBRFA
Michael Neal DE UFA Green Bay: Two-year deal
Ryan Pickett DT UFA
Andrew Quarless TE UFA Green Bay: Two Years, $3 Million
B.J. Raji DE UFA Green Bay: One Year, $4 Million
James Starks RB RFA
Seneca Wallace QB UFA
C.J. Wilson DE UFA



SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 12:  Cornerback Sam Shields #37 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates after scoring a touchdown off of an interception against quarterback Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers in the first quarter during the NFC Divisio
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Sam Shields Re-Signs for Four Years

The Packers made one the first blockbuster moves of the free-agency period by re-signing cornerback Sam Shields to a four-year, $39 million deal, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Shields, 26, emerged as one of the better coverage cornerbacks in the league last season, and he was the bright spot in an otherwise lackluster defensive secondary. The franchise needs to add depth and talent to the unit via free agency and the draft, so re-signing Shields was a great start.

Green Bay gets an A grade for not only keeping one of the best defenders from last year on the team, but also locking up a talented player for the next four seasons.

This was a smart, fundamental business decision that will benefit the team's defense overall.

Grade: A


B.J. Raji Returns to Packers

The Packers further bolstered their defense by ensuring that hulking defensive tackle B.J. Raji returned to Green Bay. Ian Rapoport broke down the big man's new deal:


Packers Sign RB Michael Hill

After being signed off the Green Bay Packers practice squad by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season, running back will enter his second season of his NFL career back on Green Bay’s roster, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Tampa Bay cut Hill after an arrest in January—he only amassed nine carries for 23 yards in his rookie season—but will fight for a spot on the Packers special teams unit and the right to be the fourth running back on the depth chart.

Grade: C


Packers Re-Sign Mike Neal

Mike Neal has played for the Packers for the first four seasons of his career, and now it looks like he should be back for two more.

The former Purdue Boilermaker made the announcement about his two-year deal over Twitter, although he may be a bit sarcastic about enjoying the winters in Green Bay.

Neal had some very good games in 2013, but he also had some very bad ones, as he was moved to outside linebacker and struggled at times with the position. Call it a transition period for him, as he should improve in 2014 when he has to play.

Grade: C+


Julius Peppers Joins Packers 

This is definitely the biggest deal of the offseason thus far for Green Bay. According to ESPN's Josina Anderson, they landed supreme sack master Julius Peppers on a three-year, $30 million deal. Given this team's dearth of pass rush options, this was a brilliant signing, even if Peppers is 34. 

Grade: A+


Packers Re-Sign Andrew Quarless

With Jermichael Finley's future with Green Bay in doubt, the team wisely re-signed tight Andrew Quarless to a two-year, $3-million deal, according to Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.

Quarless finished 2013 with 32 receptions for 312 yards and two touchdowns, though he was the backup tight end before Finley was lost for the season due to injury. Just 25 years old, Quarless has a chance to grow in this offense and could end up being a starting tight end on the cheap for the Packers.

Grade: B+



DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 28: Ryan Pickett #79 of the Green Bay Packers watches the final second on the clock run down during the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on November 28, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Packers 40-10. (P
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Packers Interested in Re-Signing Ryan Pickett?

Green Bay has major questions to answer at the defensive tackle position, and the franchise is reportedly interested in bringing back Ryan Pickett, according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky:

Pickett is coming off a disappointing season where he only amassed 19 combined tackles in 16 games, but the Packers are hoping that the player that notched 51 combined tackles the year before will be back in form.

After such a mediocre season, the asking price for Pickett will be much lower and the demand will be limited. Green Bay has a good chance of re-signing him at a discounted price.


Green Bay’s Biggest Needs

Morry Gash/Associated Press

Tight End: With veterans Jermichael Finley and Andrew Quarless on their way to hitting free agency, the Packers have to make the decision whether they will address the need now or in May during the draft. Keeping Quarless would be the best in-house option, but he lacks the elite pass-catching talent needed to thrive with Rodgers under center. Washington’s Fred Davis would also be an affordable option who has major upside in the pass-happy offense, but his continued off-the-field issues could be a deterrent.


GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 05:  B.J. Raji #90 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates a incomplete pass by the San Francisco 49ers in the first quarter during their NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Lambeau Field on January 5, 2014 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo b
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Defensive Tackle: Green Bay is watching several top stars hit free agency this offseason and two of those men—Ryan Pickett and B.J. Raji—were starting defensive tackles last season. Trying to re-sign Pickett or Raji should alleviate some of the pressure to draft two instant starters, but the Packers would be forced to use a first- or second-round pick to bolster the position. Free agent Terrence Cody could also be an option if the team is desperate, but Green Bay must try to re-sign its own free agents first.


Outside Linebacker: There is no doubt that Matthews is one of the best pass-rushing outside linebackers in the NFL, but his recent injury issues and the lack of help from his fellow defenders has limited his productivity. If the Packers do not feel that Mike Neal has the potential to be the long-term answer as Matthews' complement, looking to the draft for assistance is an option. Kicking the tires on a talented free agent like Shaun Phillips would have more of an instant impact.