Moves the Green Bay Packers Will Regret Not Making
Despite making more moves in free agency than in recent years, the Green Bay Packers will still have some regrets once this offseason is finally over.
For example, it's likely that the Packers will regret failing to re-sign center Evan Dietrich-Smith. There are many reasons that this was a bad move for Green Bay, but the biggest is the fact that quarterback Aaron Rodgers will now be taking snaps from his third different center in just as many years.
Let's take a look at this move and a handful of others that the Packers will surely wish they had made when the 2014 season rolls around.
Failing to Re-Sign Evan Dietrich-Smith
We touched on this briefly in our introduction, but let's dive a little deeper into why failing to re-sign Dietrich-Smith is a move the Packers will regret.
While Dietrich-Smith may not be considered an elite center, he's certainly quite a bit better than most people give him credit for. In fact, he finished last year as the No. 8 center in the league, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
Where the Packers are really going to miss Dietrich-Smith is in the passing game, where he was actually the fourth-best pass-blocking center, per PFF. Furthermore, Dietrich-Smith was only in his first full year as a starter, so he probably still had room to grow and develop as a player.
Finally, Green Bay now has major questions regarding its depth along the offensive line. No matter how you slice it, not re-signing Dietrich-Smith was a poor decision.
Missing out on Top Free Agents
The Packers certainly had the money and the need to sign one or more of the top free agents this offseason. However, they failed to do so at a number of positions, unless you consider an aging Julius Peppers a top free agent.
While you'd think missing out on a safety like Jairus Byrd or T.J. Ward would be the worst for Green Bay, it's actually not. No, that honor goes to failing to sign defensive end Lamarr Houston.
The reason for this is two-fold. For starters, Houston is an elite talent along the defensive line, one of the biggest holes on the Packers roster. Secondly, Houston signed with the Chicago Bears, a team the Packers will see at least two times the following season.
Missing out on all of the top free agents certainly hurts, but the Houston signing is one that will sting the most.
Signing a Safety
We all know that the weakest position for the Packers currently resides with the safeties. Outside of Morgan Burnett, the Packers simply don't have much experience or talent at the safety position.
What makes the fact that Green Bay didn't sign a safety such a regret is that there was so much talent out on the market this year. From Jairus Byrd to Donte Whitner and T.J. Ward, this was a stacked class of free-agent safeties.
Sure, they were all expensive options, but these players were also guys who could come in and make a huge impact instantaneously. Simply put, the Packers are likely going to be wishing they signed some type of safety in free agency this year.
Extending Randall Cobb's Contract
Wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb both become free agents, and both could have certainly used a contract extension this offseason. However, the Packers failing to extend Cobb's contract is a little more worrisome.
Sure, Cobb is only entering his fourth year in the league, but the strides he's made since he was a rookie are simply amazing. Cobb has shown the potential to eventually become one of the premier receivers in the league.
At only 23 years of age, Cobb is not even close to reaching his ridiculously high ceiling. The last thing the Packers need is for Cobb to become an unrestricted free agent following the 2015 season.
While there is still time for the Packers to extend Cobb, the fact that they haven't done it yet could come back to haunt them as the offseason action picks up in the next handful of weeks.
Letting James Jones Walk
There was never really much hope that the Packers would bring back wide receiver James Jones, but that doesn't mean it's not a move the team will regret in the upcoming season.
The Packers certainly still have depth at the receiver position with the likes of Nelson, Cobb and Jarrett Boykin, but Jones would have added even more depth. It's not like the Packers ever run sets with four receivers on the field while on offense.
In Week 17 against the Chicago Bears, Jones, Nelson, Boykin and Cobb combined for 20 receptions, 265 yards and two touchdowns. They all had at least two receptions, and Jones had six receptions on the game.
Losing Jones might not be felt right now, or in Week 5, but at some point during the 2014 season the Packers will certainly regret letting Jones walk.
Re-Signing Matt Flynn
The last move that the Packers will regret not making involves the most important position on the football field. We saw last year how being unprepared for the worst really hurt Green Bay once quarterback Aaron Rodgers went down with a fractured collarbone.
This year the Packers simply can't afford to have any uncertainty at the quarterback position when the 2014 regular season begins. That's why it's so surprising that there haven't even been talks about the Packers re-signing Flynn.
Flynn was serviceable as a backup last year, and while he would hopefully never have to see the field, he still adds insurance and peace of mind. There is certainly plenty of time for Green Bay to re-sign Flynn, but the fact that it's taking this long is quite surprising.