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.
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.
___________________Brandon Carwile was a Cheesehead 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 two years and currently works with packerstalk.com. Find him on twitter at @PackerScribe.