The 2010 Super Bowl Champions don't have any glaring needs on their football team heading into the 2011 season. They are well stocked with young talented players at ever position as they will get a astonishing 16 players back in 2011 that ended the 2010 season on injured reserve.
Today Green Bay released linebacker A.J. Hawk, Tight End Donald Lee, and Safety Derrick Martin, shaving over 13 million from their projected 2011 salary cap number, assuming there will be one when a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is reached.
Reports are Hawk and the Packers have reached an agreement on a new five year contract that he will sign before midnight eastern time today.
Only Defensive End Cullen Jenkins and Linebacker Matt Wilhelm are set to be unrestricted free agents. And, while I'm sure the Packers would love to have Jenkins back I doubt it will be finicially possiable. Wilhelm surely won't be back as he was signed mid season because of injuries and contributed mainly on special teams.
The Packers have 11 players set to become restricted free agents under the current CBA rules. Those players are fullback John Kuhn (five years of service), receiver James Jones (four years), kicker Mason Crosby (four years), halfback Brandon Jackson (four years), guard Daryn Colledge (five years), center Jason Spitz (five years), safety Charlie Peprah (five years), safety Atari Bigby (five years), fullback Korey Hall (four years), cornerback Josh Bell (three years) and safety Anthony Smith (five years).
I expect Kuhn, Jones, Crosby, Jackson, Colledge, Spitz, Peprah, and Hall to recieve tender offers by the 3 pm eastern deadline to do so.
In 2010 the low tender for players with four years of service was 1.176 million and 1.226 million for players with five years. The low tender gives the team the option to match any offer the player should recieve from another team. The high tender which allows the team to match any offer or recive firts and thrid round picks was 3.168 million for players with four years of service and 3.268 for players with five years. In between those two numbers are the numbers for the other two tender levels. The second lowest assuring the team the right to match or a pick in the round the player was selected or the second highest tender which gurantees a second round pick should the team choose not to match an offer. Jackson and Colledge were 2nd rounders, Jones and Spitz 3rd, Hall and Peprah 5th, and Crosby 6th. Making it very reasonable for the Packers to retain most or all of their restricted free agents.
Green Bay also has two players designated as exclusive rights free agents tight end Spencer Havner and wide reciever Brett Swain neither of which is likely to be back in 2011. Although Havner has a better shot considering the Packers could once again keep 4 Tight Ends on the roster.
Heading into the draft Green Bay could use a kick returner, a tackle or guard, a wide reciver, and a running back on offense.
While on defense they could use a cornerback, a linebacker, and a defensive end.
If Thompson can find a gem or two at one or more of these positions the Packers should have as good a shot as anyone to repeat. One more Greg Jennings, JerMichael Finley, Clay Matthews III, Nick Collins type player would really push the Packers over the top to where they could be expected to dominate opponents.
Making a repeat Championship highly attainablein 2011 .