Compared to last week, free agency has come to a screeching halt. Most of the big names are settling in with their new teams while others are still holding out for the best offer. The Packers expressed interest in a number of corners but after not landing a single target it remains their biggest need. Richard Sherman, Trumaine Johnson, and Rashaan Melvin are just a few names that Green Bay reportedly had contact with. After the first week, all of these players have been signed and the Packers interest in the remaining talent has grown silent. At least on the surface.
There are only a few players left on the market that could bolster the Packers trim group of corners, but no official visits are scheduled. Brian Gutekunst may be waiting for more veterans to become cap casualties but there is no certainty that any of them will meet his expectations. Bringing in a veteran should be his next move prior to April’s draft, whether by trade or free agency. If nothing more, they would serve as an insurance policy just in case the prospect they want is no longer available by the 14th pick. The Packers can afford to add almost anyone they want with around $10 million left on the cap to play with.
Gaines may not be viewed as a ‘savvy’ veteran at 26 years of age, but he’s the most talented corner available. Buffalo’s defense was a different kind of beast in 2017 with Gaines on the field. He played outside and in the slot for the Bills’ 3-4 defense that favored zone coverage and ranked sixth in opponent passer rating. His injury history is somewhat of a concern and could be the reason he remains unsigned. Gaines sat out the entire 2015 season with a foot fracture and missed a total of 10 games over the last two years battling leg injuries. When healthy, Gaines has proven to be reliable in coverage. His market value is around $9 million a year so he is not priced out of coming to Green Bay. Gaines has already visited the Arizona Cardinals who are in search of a starter opposite of Patrick Peterson.
The Cowboys released a veteran defender on Saturday when they parted ways with Orlando Scandrick. Scandrick has been with Dallas since he was a fifth-round selection in 2008. He started out as a stop-gap corner/special teamer before he became a full-time starter in 2013. After Scandrick battled back injuries in 2017 and missed all of 2015 with a knee injury, the team appears to be comfortable moving on with rookies Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis as their regular starters. In nine years in the NFL the 31-year old corner has eight career interceptions. The days of being an every down starter are likely over for Scandrick, however, a number of teams will be interested in adding a veteran presence. He visited the Washington Redskins on Sunday and plans on making a few more stops. Gutekunst may want to consider signing Scandrick so his players can lean on the experience of a proven corner. The oldest player in the Packers secondary is Demetri Goodson at 28.
Breeland reached a three-year deal worth roughly $24 million with Carolina last week but it was revoked after Breeland failed his physical. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported it may be “a few months” before the former Redskin will be able to pass. Breeland cut his foot during a non-football related incident and has now developed an infection. Nor he or his agent has released a statement regarding his prognosis. The Packers were interested in Breeland before he became a Panther so there’s a chance this may rekindle that same intent. If Breeland will be available by training camp, and potentially at a lower price, he is worth another look. After four years spent in Washington, Breeland totaled 215 tackles and eight interceptions. His durability should not be in question seeing that he has played in 60 out of 64 games.
Gutekunst could very well have a plan in place for adding more talent to the Packers current group of corners. Almost two weeks ago he traded away Damarious Randall making that an avenue of player acquisition he may explore again. As it looks right now he has a slim selection. It is still very early in the offseason which could have Gutekunst under the impression that bringing someone in as soon as possible is not essential. However, the opportunities are out there. For now.
___________________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.