Kyle Fuller signed an offer sheet from the Packers on Friday. The terms of the sheet were four years $56M, with an $18M signing bonus. The Bears quickly matched the offer even though they have up to five days to do so. In effect, the Packers negotiated the contract for the Bears, which carried with it a modest signing bonus, though likely it caused the Bears to pay more than they otherwise would have, as he now is the fifth highest paid cornerback based on average salary. The Bears butchered the situation overall, as they could have exercised his fifth-year option on his rookie contract with a salary of $8.5 M to begin with. And they then declined to franchise him, which would have precluded any other teams from signing him. Also, it was surprising the Bears didn’t take long to match the offer, to leave the Packers in limbo. But they still have him. And the Packers still don’t have any proven cornerbacks. For anyone upset about this, this may cheer you up, at least for a couple of minutes.
Are you still down? Why don’t you check this out?
Yes, #23 is the Kyle Fuller who is now the fifth highest paid cornerback in the league. But in fairness, Davante Adams is good. And, yes, those were two legitimately great throws by Brett Hundley. Those throws and the drive to tie the game vs the Steelers were his finest moments. And this is what made his season all the more frustrating, since he really did flash some talent, at times. But I digress.
At Tuesday’s press conference, which was called to discuss the release of Jordy Nelson, Brian Gutekunkst stated that he will be looking “heavily,” at cornerbacks in free agency. After having it been reported the Packers interested in several cornerbacks, he backed that up with the Fuller offer. It was not just an offer. It was the type offer and money that is unfamiliar around these parts. A legitimate, big time offer, to an in-deman free agent. They swung. But they missed. They still don’t have any cornerbacks. What the hell is going on out here?
But if the Packers are willing to offer up such a contract, how is it possible that the Packers have not signed one at this point? The finally sign a free agent but it is a restricted free agent. Trumaine Johnson’s contract, while bigger in total dollars and signing bonus, was similar on an annual basis. If the Packers could have signed Fuller they surely could have Johnson as well. The Packers must have placed a higher grade on Fuller. Higher than that of Johnson and Malcolm Butler.
A week ago I wrote, that the Packers trading Damarious Randall, indicates a plan.. Gutekunst does seem like he is confident and is operating with a plan. It’s just hard to discern what that plan is at this point. It’s likely, they will look to value free agents, such a Tramon Williams (who played very well last year), and EJ Gaines from Buffalo, who is very good but doesn’t fit the Packers height standards. Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie is another option. And of course, there is always Davon House. And based on the Fuller offer, money is not an impediment provided they like the particular player.
One other interesting option is that of Bashaad Breeland, who signed a three year $24M deal with the Carolina Panthers, only to fail the physical and have the contract voided. The Packers were reported interested in him, and if they could get comfortable with his condition, which is a cut on his foot that requires a skin graft, the amount of money is modest, and it would also allow them to sign an additional corner if they so chose.
All is not lost. One or two modest signings can help to make the situation manageable heading into the draft. The defenses front seven is strong and the could have the best three-man line in the league with the recent signing of Muhammed Wilkerson. Couple that with Mike Pettine, the defense could be substantially improved provided it has at least a competent secondary. Let’s hope Gutekunst keeps swinging and hits a least a single.Originally from Glidden Wisconsin, Jason Straetz is a lifelong Packers\' fan, who has lived in Maine for over 30 years. He is a writer for packerstalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter: @jsnstz