Well, it started out with a bang. According to The Boston Globe, NFL teams spent a whopping $324 million in guaranteed money in the first two days of free agency in 2014. This is compared to only $107 million at the same point the previous year. Now that a few weeks have past and the dust has settled, we can start to reflect on the moves that the Packers have made so far.
It wasn’t very exciting to start out, same old Packers, same old Ted Thompson. There were no big names coming to the Packers, just familiar ones. Free agency isn’t a sprint though, it’s a marathon.
Ted Thompson started out with all the right moves by resigning his own players and restraining from the big name/big money players. I gave this strategy a thumbs up, and thanks to it, the Packers resigned key free agents such as Sam Shields, Mike Neal, Andrew Quarless, B.J. Raji, and James Starks. However, I was disappointed in watching key contributors in James Jones and Evan Dietrich-Smith leave for other teams. It makes sense that the Packers decided not to resign an aging Jones with plenty of young receivers coming up in the draft, but the loss of Dietrich-Smith hurts, especially since he was a player that Rodgers was vocal about keeping on the roster. With the loss of Dietrich-Smith, Rodgers will be on his fourth center in four seasons.
The Packers did manage to break their mold eventually, and just when Packer nation began to lose their patience, Ted Thompson made a bold move and signed former Bears DE Julius Peppers. This surprised me at first, because it is unclear how effective Peppers can be at age 34. However, the Packers do have a plan for him and it will be something that we haven’t seen before in what is called the “Elephant” position. Just the name sounds great and I couldn’t be more excited for what next season has to offer.
Lastly, the Packers did manage to add more depth on the D-Line with the signing of former Viking Letroy Guion. Although he hasn’t been very effective in his 6 years with Minnesota, he is only 26 years old and has a 6-foot-4 315 pound frame. I, and most likely the Packers, am hoping a change of system will compliment his physical assets and prove effective for the Packers next season.
The grade that I would give the Packers for free agency so far is a B+, but it can be moved up to an A if they are able to resign Matt Flynn and eventually restructure the deals of Randal Cobb and Jordy Nelson. What grade would you give the Packers? Do you think they missed out on any players this offseason? Leave a comment and let me know!