Best and Worst Moves the Green Bay Packers Made in Free Agency
The good news for the Packers is that there is still plenty of time to swing that pendulum towards the good side of things. The bad news, however, is that right now they're sitting with just as many good moves as bad moves.
Here are the best and worst moves the Packers have made in free agency so far.
Worst: Failing to Sign a Safety
This was supposed to be the year that the Green Bay Packers went out and spent loads of money in free agency. They certainly had the cap space, and they also had plenty of needs on their roster.
However, they missed out on all the big-name free agents. We're specifically talking about safeties like Jairus Byrd, Donte Whitner and T.J. Ward, but even guys like outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware and defensive end Lamarr Houston would have been great signings.
Even adding one of those players would have done so much for the Packers defense. Unfortunately, that simply didn't happen this year, and the ramifications of not landing a premier defensive player will ultimately be negative.
Best: Re-Signing B.J. Raji to a One-Year Deal
There's a stipulation for the re-signing of B.J. Raji being one of the best moves for the Green Bay Packers.
That stipulation is that the Packers put Raji back at nose tackle. As long as that happens, then the one-year deal for $4 million is a great move for Green Bay.
Raji struggled mightily last year as a 3-4 defensive end. However, when he played nose tackle a few years ago is when he was his most dominant self.
This could end up being one of the best moves in all of free agency if Raji can get back to playing at a Pro Bowl level.
Worst: Not Restructuring Any Contracts
The Green Bay Packers entered free agency with just around $35 million in cap space. Since they weren't going to spend big money on big-name free agents, it would have been nice to see them restructure some in-house contracts.
For example, wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are both unrestricted free agents in 2015. Having either of those players hit the open market would be terrible news for the Packers. Nelson and Cobb are two of the best receivers in the league, and free agency would simply hike up the price for Green Bay to bring them back.
The good news is that the Packers still have plenty of time to get these types of moves done. However, failing to do so early in free agency this year could be bad news further down the road.
Best: Bringing Back James Starks
Running back James Starks has struggled with injuries throughout his NFL career. However, he was healthy last year, and he put together an extremely productive season for the Green Bay Packers.
Now, Starks isn't going to get the bulk of carries in Green Bay because of Eddie Lacy, but he still brings quite a bit to the table. For starters, Starks is more of a home-run threat than Lacy is. He averaged 5.5 yards per carry last year on 89 carries.
With Starks back in the mix, the Packers now have a fantastic one-two punch at the running back position. While running backs have been a weakness in past seasons for Green Bay, it is now one of the strongest and deepest positions on the roster.
Worst: Letting Evan Dietrich-Smith Walk
This was easily the worst move the Green Bay Packers made in all of free agency. Failing to re-sign center Evan Dietrich-Smith is going to cause the Packers some major issues.
Now, quarterback Aaron Rodgers will be taking snaps from his third different center in as many years. Furthermore, the Packers really don't have a true center currently on their roster. What that means is that they'll either need to draft a center who is ready to start from day one or train one of their other offensive linemen to play center.
The whole situation simply isn't the prettiest. With center being such an important position on the offensive line, it would have been nice to see Green Bay re-sign the player who started all 16 games last year.
Best: Signing Julius Peppers
The best move the Green Bay Packers made so far in free agency was the signing of defensive end Julius Peppers. While it's unknown exactly where Peppers will play in the defense, this was still a great move by the Packers.
Let's get one thing straight before we move on: Peppers is no longer the player he was five years ago. However, there is still plenty of value that he'll bring to the Packers defense.
For starters, Peppers still understands how to get after the quarterback. He may not post double-digit sacks, but he doesn't need to in order to be the best pass-rusher for Green Bay. Outside linebacker Clay Matthews led the team in sacks last year with only 7.5.
Peppers is also going to be a veteran leader on the field, which is something the Packers were missing last year. Overall, the Packers made a fantastic move by signing a player like Peppers.