Grading the Packers Free Agency

Surprisingly, Ted Thompson and the Green Bay Packers have been relatively active during this years free agency. Thompson who is known for his stinginess has been both aggressive and mechanical when evaluating current and outside talent. Even though he failed to retain pro bowl guard TJ Lang, he brought in one of the best tight ends in the league in Martellus Bennett. Not much is left to be had out there, however the Packers have $27 million in cap space. There are multiple veteran running backs that could be decent replacements for Eddie Lacy. Adrian Peterson, Jamal Charles, and Darren McFadden are some notable names.

Here is an analysis of the Packers free agency thus far:

Players not resigned:

Center JC Tretter: C+

Tretter was a great utility lineman the Packers could plug in at center and guard. It is tough to see him go, but the Packers were never going to pay him nearly $17 million over three years. Thompson and the Packers front office have an excellent track record of finding gems for the offensive line in late rounds of the draft.

Safety Micah Hyde: D+

Hyde was a tremendous asset to the Packers secondary. His development into a playmaker through his first four years made him one of the most reliable players on the team. That fact that he missed one game during his time in Green Bay should tell you everything you need to know. The Packers lost one of their most versatile players in Hyde.

Outside Linebacker Julius Peppers: B

This may be an unpopular opinion, but not bringing Peppers back was a smart move by the Packers. Peppers lined up for only 587 snaps in 2016. In 2015 he played 700. How many could we expect in 2017? At 37 years old he is a shell of his old self.

Tight End Jared Cook: B

Martellus Bennett is a solid replacement to say the least. Cooks heroics vs Dallas in the divisional round of playoffs will not be forgotten. He is a good route runner and pass catcher that can fit in with any offense. He simply wanted too much money to remain a Packer.

Guard TJ Lang: D

When the Packers released Josh Sitton, Lang instantly became the Packers best lineman. Lang earned his first pro bowl in 2016 despite battling multiple injuries. When Lang decided to sign a three-year $28.5 million dollar deal with the Lions it became obvious the Packers did not offer him enough. Even though he has the hips of a man twice his age, Lang was a true Packer who will be sorely missed.

Running Back Eddie Lacy: A

Lacy was the most exciting running back the Packers had in quite some time. His heavy build carrying the ball was a compelling site to see. When his weight became an issue his future with the Packers became uncertain. His ankle injury last season was a setback for the offense, but Ty Montgomery was a quick answer. If the Seahawks want to role the dice with a 267 pound running back then more power to them. However, he does not fit with the direction of the Packers hurry up offense.

Players signed:

Tackle Don Barclay: F

Barclay is perhaps the most dreaded player to see enter the game on the Packers roster. His only playing time comes at desperation or special teams. His lack of lateral movement makes him a liability as a pass blocker. Even one year seems like a long commitment.

Outside Linebacker Nick Perry: B+

Even though he is a tad overpaid at $60 million, locking Perry in for the next five years was arguably the Packers best move this free agency. Perry outright became the Packers most consistent pass rusher last season with a team leading 11 sacks in 14 games.

Tight End Martellus Bennett: A

Bennett is one of the deadliest tight ends in the NFL as both a blocker and receiver. He is a smash mouth football player the Packers desperately need on the offensive side of the ball. He caught 55 passes for 701 yards from Tom Brady last season, as well as a career high seven touchdowns. Certainly, Aaron Rodgers will enjoy his new toy.

Tight End Lance Kendricks: C+

The signing of Kendricks was somewhat of a head scratcher following the addition of Bennett. The best part is the Packers got him for next to nothing (two-years four million). Kendricks is a good run blocker who will have to standout at as pass catcher in a crowded tight end group. There may not be enough ball to go around with Bennett and Richard Rodgers in the mix.

Corner Davon House: B

The Packers finally addressed their most pressing need with the signing of House. House grew up in Capers’ 3-4 scheme so it should be a seamless transition. House likely becomes the number two corner on the outside until he can prove otherwise.

Overall Grade: B-

Bringing in Bennett and keeping Perry are the two moves really carrying this grade. Letting Lang, Hyde, and Tretter walk may come back to haunt the Packers. If the Packers bring in a savvy veteran at running back or another guy for the secondary the 2017 free agency could be the Packers most productive one in a while.

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Brandon Carwile was a cheese head at birth. His dad grew up attending games at Lambeau and passed on the legacy. Brandon graduated from Longwood University in 2016 with a degree in mass media. He has covered the Packers for over a year and currently works with packerstalk.com. Find him on twitter at @BShmee.

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  • GuyWithSunburn

    So let me get this right… not retaining a RB that was averaging 5.1 ypc before being forced to play injured cause they had no backups which resulted in him hitting the IR is his fault? That injury was caused by Ted having no competent RB’s.

    House’s grade should be a question mark considering he got benched early last year and barely saw the field for a terrible team.

    Bennett and Cook are a wash. Peppers signed a 3.5 million dollar deal and was 2nd on our team last year in sacks. Matthews gets paid 15mil and hasnt had that many sacks in a season since 2014.

    Drink the Kool Aid

    • Brandon Carwile

      Bennett and Cook are far from a wash. Cook is an awful run blocker while Bennett is a third tackle. Lacy does not fit with the Packers scheme. He can’t catch or run the ball the length of the field. The Packers should not have to wait until training camp to see if their starting RUNNING back is under 250. Lacy is not a good fit.

      • GuyWithSunburn

        So, Bennett graded out 50.5 as a run blocker and Cook graded out 70.1… So maybe your version is different.

        Eddie is getting so much flak because he went to the Hawks. If he would have resigned with GB people wouldnt be so cruel.

        What type of back do you think we should go after?

        • Brandon Carwile

          I’ll put it this way. I would not get a back until the 3rd or 4th round. McCaffrey is not durable in my eyes. He would be a huge gamble in the first.

          • GuyWithSunburn

            Fair enough. I wouldn’t gamble on any free agents right now.

    • dennis

      Agree with you. Clay had been a consistent slide south. Trade him now or you’re stuck with a now underachieving player. Loved him at first, but his desire is gone!! Doesn’t get there on outside rush, and gets caught inside constantly. Teams really don’t fear him anymore.

  • fred

    Grade; C. TT, The Mad Hatter. What a joke running this team. A- Rod Should walk away from this shithole that TT and Dumb Capers have created.

    • dennis

      Very well said!! I wouldn’t blame Rogers one bit. No defensive support for years.

  • fred

    and no injuries. What then Funny hat?

  • James C. Drumheller III

    Let’s face it. TT must know more then we do and we have to trust he knows what he’s doing. This draft has two players I believe the Packers will target. McCaffrey and Watt. Here’s two players you know won’t take plays off and can both also play special teams. I’d love to be a fly on the wall in our war room.

    • GuyWithSunburn

      So who would you rather have McCaffrey or Watt?

      • James C. Drumheller III

        Watt.This draft has running backs who will be available on day two like Kamara or D’onta Foreman. Watt will not be available to us in day two unless we move up.

  • Bill Wood

    Bennett believes it’s his job to make political statements! He supported Kapernick and his brother in their political opinions. He will be a distraction and a cancer! I can’t see any improvement over last years team! Typical for the front office! When will McCarthy and Thompson start paying for their poor decisions?

  • Bill Wood

    You think Bennett is an A? Just remember that when he starts with his political crap! He has already supported the protests of the National Anthem. He will be a cancer along with that thug d-lineman who can’t stop with the pot and guns and trouble with the law.

    • Brandon Carwile

      This team needs edge. Especially on offense. I am not sure how being passionate about personal beliefs can be a cancer.