I usually agree with most moves Ted Thompson makes, and even if I disagree, I think he’s earned enough of the benefit of the doubt to let a controversial roster move play out before passing judgment.
Since free agency opened three weeks ago, there have been more than a few moves that Packers fans have argued back and forth over, however, most of them make sense when viewed in the context of the entire offseason plan.
And remember, there’s still the NFL Draft next month. Maybe the Packers surprise everyone and take a guard in the first round, and he turns out to be a quick fix. Nobody really KNOWS these things.
But that’s no fun. Let’s prematurely grade these moves.
Jared Cook – I’d be willing to bet about 90% of Packers fans would have been upset over not bringing back Jared Cook if Martellus Bennett wasn’t brought in. What would have been a huge loss for the offense turned into an upgrade in talent and depth with the further addition of Lance Kendricks. B+
Micah Hyde – Hyde got WAY more money than I thought he would. Seen mostly as a utility defensive back in Green Bay, Hyde is clearly a major piece in Buffalo’s long-term plan after getting a 5-year $30.5 million contract ($14 million guaranteed). Thompson’s hands were tied, as he couldn’t match the price. The Packers’ secondary woes were on the outside, where Hyde isn’t as helpful, making his departure less problematic. B-
Datone Jones – Jones has underperformed and I was on the fence about whether he deserved a second contract. There were rumors of a “prove it” deal similar to what Nick Perry got, but Perry has always shown more signs of production than Jones. It’s hard to admit when you’ve missed on a first-round draft pick, but Thompson had to do just that. I won’t miss him. B
TJ Lang – A fan favorite who was a vocal leader in the locker room and a Pro-Bowl guard. Not re-signing him was strictly a money issue, and after seeing how much money Lang received from his hometown Lions ($9.5 million Average Annual Value), I’m not surprised Thompson decided to move on from the 30-year old. The Packers had a clear replacement plan for releasing Josh Sitton last season, but Lang’s replacement is now the biggest offensive question mark going into the 2017 season. C-
Eddie Lacy – I was on the record saying I wanted Lacy back. A two-headed rushing attack of Ty Montgomery and Eddie Lacy makes my mouth water. Let Montgomery’s agility and bowling-ball body tire out a defense that ALSO has to chase around elite receiving weapons before bringing in Lacy’s fresh and MUCH bigger bowling-ball body to pound them into the dirt. New England has done this with LeGarrette Blount to great success in recent years. It really sucks that he signed with Seattle and will probably run for 160 yards against the Packers in the Divisional Round next season. Now the Packers will likely need to draft a running back. HE WASN’T THAT EXPENSIVE, TED. D-
Julius Peppers – This was the right move. Peppers likely won’t be worth the $3.5 million dollars he’s could make this year ($1.65 million guaranteed), but it’s worth it to the Panthers to bring him home and let him finish his career where he started it. Not getting Peppers a Super Bowl is a regret Packers fans will feel for awhile. A
JC Tretter – Tretter, like seemingly every offensive lineman, got a lot more than initially expected. The center proved at the beginning of the season that he is starter-quality, but further proved he is injury-prone. The Packers have another player on the roster who also somewhat falls into those categories in Corey Linsley, but he’s still on his rookie contract. Tretter will make good money on a great offensive line in Cleveland. It would have been nice to keep Tretter and let Linsley and him battle for the starting center spot, shifting the other one to right guard to replace Lang. But, alas, the guard spot remains open. C+
There are a lot of quality players moving on from the organization this offseason – definitely more than usual. But, the Packers will likely take an EDGE rusher and a running back early in the draft, they already replaced the tight end, and Davon House will likely play a role similar Micah Hyde’s last season. The right guard spot is the only major question that evolved out of who the Packers didn’t bring back this season.