While there are certainly people out there who think talking about what-ifs are a waste of time, it’s generally a useful activity to take a look at what the Green Bay Packers might do this offseason (plus, there’s several weeks to fill until the Combine). I’m going to be running several simulations of renegotiations, cuts, re-signing, free agency, and the draft. For the first go-around I’m going to be making all the decisions. If there are moves you disagree with, post a comment and I’ll take them into consideration for future sims.
And away we go:
- Estimated salary cap – $178,000,000
- Player Salaries – $152,486,983
- Dead Money – $4,718,533
- Estimated Carryover – $12,000,000
- Draft Pick Reserve – $5,000,000
- Remaining Cap Space – $27,794,484
David Bakhtiari – I don’t think the Packers would mind pushing some of Bakhtiari’s money further down the road because he looks like he’ll be one of the best LTs in the league for awhile. A simple restructure could move his cap number from $11,200,000 to $6,700,000, while also giving him an overall contract more fitting of his status in the league (aka more guaranteed money).
I’d love to renegotiate with Cobb and Nelson, but there isn’t a ton of incentive for them to do that at this point.
Remaining Cap Space – $32,294,484
Randall Cobb – Cobb is an easy cut to me. He’ll result in $3,250,000 in dead money, but an overall cap savings of $9,500,000. I love Cobb, but an aging slot receiver isn’t worth that kind of money. My hope would be to resign him.
I would keep Jordy despite his high cap number. I think his relationship with Rodgers is something that will allow him to continue to be productive further into his 30s. He also has the frame to transition from a speed receiver into a possession receiver.
I don’t see how the Packers could cut Bulaga and replace him for the $5,150,000 in savings. Even though I think Clay Matthews has been declining, he still makes some impact plays and I think Mike Pettine will want to keep him around for this year.
There’s also some temptation to cut HaHa Clinton-Dix. He would save Green Bay $5,957,000. If you are judging him just on his abysmal 2017 campaign, it would be a no-brainer to cut him. However, I think Pettine has an ability to get the most out of his players, and there is enough hope that he returns to form to keep him on the team.
Remaining Cap Space – $41,794,484
TE Richard Rodgers – 3 year, $3 million/year. I think Richard Rodgers has developed into a solid number two TE, and the Packers need to keep him in case they don’t get a good one in the draft.
S Morgan Burnett – 3 year, $8 million/year. I think Burnett is going to be one of the key pieces to Pettine’s defense. This seems like a high price tag, but when healthy Burnett is at or near Pro Bowl level. Plus the secondary needs a leader.
Remaining Cap Space – $33,544,484
G Jack Mewhort – 2 year, $4 million/year. Mewhort has missed 17 games the last two seasons, so this is a calculated risk. However, before his injury streak he was emerging as one of the best young Guards in the league. I think he’s worth the price.
LB Jelani Jenkins – 3 year, $2 million/year. Jenkins is a great athlete, but hasn’t really put it together on the field as a pro. He’ll be a core special teams guy, who could be a more athletic version of Joe Thomas as the Dime LB.
CB Aaron Colvin – 4 year, $5 million/year. Colvin was the nickel CB in Jacksonville this year, but is ready to get a starting opportunity somewhere. I think Green Bay could get a true number one CB at a bargain price in Colvin.
CB Tramon Williams – 1 year, $3 million. Williams was quietly one of the best CBs in the league last year for the Cardinals. He’s certainly not a long term fix, but having depth at CB is crucial for playoff success (especially in Pettine’s system).
OLB Trent Murphy – 1 year, $4 million. Murphy was an emerging pass rush threat before he tore his knee up last year. I think he’ll look for a “prove it” deal somewhere, and Green Bay could certainly use great pass rushers.
WR Randall Cobb – 2 year, $3 million/year. I’d let Cobb hit the market and wait to match offers. There are several good, young WRs that will hit free agency, and I think Green Bay could get Cobb back for a team friendly deal.
WR Jeff Janis – 2 year, $2 million/year. Janis will never be Jordy Nelson, but he is one of the best Special Teams Gunners in all of football. I think they would prefer to have him back, but if some team views him as a WR, the Packers probably won’t match.
Remaining Cap Space – $16,944,484
1st – 14: CB Josh Jackson, Iowa. Jackson and Colvin pair up to form a really strong starting CB duo with Tramon, Kevin King, Damarious Randall as depth. That sounds like a CB group that Mike Pettine would love to work with.
Alternatives: Trade down, LB Rashaan Evans, WR Calvin Ridley
2nd – 13: TE Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State. Goedert is a physical freak, even drawing some comparisons to Gronk. I think his draft stock will shoot up after the Combine, but in this mock he fell into my lap in Round 2. The Packers have to find a playmaking TE in the draft or free agency.
3rd – 12: WR DJ Chark, LSU. Chark gives the Packers much needed speed and explosiveness at WR.
3rd – 37: OLB Ogbonnia Okorunkwo, Oklahoma. People are going to have to learn how to say his name, but he will be thrown in the pass rush rotation immediately.
4th – 14: C Mason Cole, Michigan. The backup for Linsley and someone who can compete for the starting RG job.
5th – 13: RB Kalen Ballage – Arizona St. I’m thinking Ballage will shoot up draft boards after the combine. He’s a freak of size, speed, and elusiveness, but he was not used a lot at Arizona State.
5th – 34: LB Shaquem Griffin – UCF. People will concentrate on him missing one hand. The fact is he is an outstanding football player who has great position versatility. Offensive Linemen are going to hate blocking him off the edge and he can make plays in coverage.
5th – 36: DL Poona Ford – Texas. The Packers have had success with shorter d-linemen (Mike Daniels), and Ford fits the bill at 5’11. He’s an absolute load in the trenches and will help keep o-lines off of the Linebackers in the run game. And if you need a guy to get low in the Red Zone, Poona is your guy.
5th – 38: LB Fred Wariner – BYU. Wariner is an undersized LB who can run and cover. He’d be a nice addition as a Nickel and Dime LB.
6th – 12: OLB Andrew Brown – Virginia. Brown has a ton of talent, but never produced the way he was expected to in college. I like his length and athleticism as a pass rusher and run stopper who can be developed behind a suddenly deep pass rush.
7th – 14: CB Darius Phillips – Western Michigan. I don’t know that Phillips will ever be an NFL CB because of his size, but I’d love to take a gamble on an elite Kick and Punt Returner in the 7th round.
7th – 21: C Brian Allen – Michigan State. I like Centers who played in pro systems in college (see Mason Cole above), and I think Allen would have a shot to make the roster and be a backup at all three interior positions of the o-line.
Remaining Cap Space – $11,944,484 (estimating $5 million for rookie contracts)
Post a comment to let me know what you think, and I’ll take them into consideration for future sims.Andrew Mertig is a a lifelong Packers fan and draft enthusiast. He has covered the NFL draft for radio and television stations in Green Bay. He is currently a host of the Pack-A-Day podcast and a writer for PackersTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter @andrewmertig