The soon-to-be month of March is a terrific time of the year for sports. You have March Madness, baseball season starts, NBA/NHL seasons upgraded and…the NFL free agency begins.
Already there are rumors swirling around to who should be in green and gold in 2019. The criteria will be one to two players in a position of “need” will be broken down to why this is a great fit or the dreaded two words, “buyers beware.”
The pros first. Bell is an incredible football player, he has spellbinding numbers that would make sense to bring into Green Bay.” In 62 games, Bell has built up 5,336 yards, 35 touchdowns on the ground and 2,660 receiving yards with seven touchdowns. After 2017, he was heading into his prime and things would be rosy for Bell. However, the soap opera antics and the strained relationship with the Pittsburgh Steelers is a problem right away. His contract dispute, his year-long “vacation” is way too risky. He is looking to eclipse Rams running back Todd Gurley’s four years, 60 million (with a 45 million guaranteed). Not only that, the Packers are going with Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams who showed a lot of promise in 2018. VERDICT: NO
Yes, Antonio Brown. One of the top wideouts of the last five years has unofficially said farewell to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Even though the franchise has not officially made the announcement but according to Brown, the real estate sign is up. First off, make no mistake on the field that Brown would be an explosive addition. From 2010-2018, he has 11,207 yards and 74 touchdowns with incredible speed and ability to break from defenders on any route you call on.
However, when the Steelers officially do make the announcement that Brown is available for trade. The price will be steep (draft picks and players will be involved) and the diva antics will carry. Yeah, I know about the alleged domestic violence against him but he was never arrested and that concludes that reason. It is him running his mouth on Twitter believing that he has full control to where he goes when in reality, there is nothing he can do except realize that his helicopters to practice, rolling up in a Rolls Royce (making sure the media gives attention), and throwing tantrums on a practice field. By the way, how many Super Bowls has Antonio Brown won? Zero. VERDICT: NO
Ohhhh, would that be interesting. Grabbing a guy like Tate who was the antagonizer of the legendary “Fail Mary” game. Tate has a great ability to extend plays and can stretch the field when it is needed. He’s a solid second receiver in need, the Eagles cannot afford to keep Tate. He was a rental that did not work in Philadelphia which dampen his value in free agency. It could be a “low risk, high reward” kind of signing that could work well in the slot and average a 700-800 yard season with 4-5 touchdowns a year. VERDICT: YES
Saffold has been one of the top guards in the NFL for the last few years. He was one of the big reasons to why the Los Angeles Rams went to the Super Bowl. The guard position was a huge problem for the Packers in 2018, the depth chart was being swallowed alive and Aaron Rodgers was down for the count 49 times. If the Rams do not re-sign Saffold which could be difficult because they only have 29 million under the cap. Saffold made nearly 6.3 million and could be a huge move by the Packers to add to this offensive line in need of good guard play. Move Lane Taylor to RG and put Saffold by left tackle David Bakhtiari. Crazy but possible. VERDICT: YES
I was a big fan of Preston Smith during his run with Washington. He played the last three seasons without issue, one of the team leaders on that linebacker corp. Smith had 134 tackles, 16.5 sacks and has natural athleticism that could make new outside linebackers coach Mike Smith smile. However, while he will not be a cap hit. The Packers need to make a splash move at the outside linebacker position with Clay Matthews at 33 and Nick Perry struggling with injuries…also a bloated contract that needs be off the books asap. VERDICT: NO
You knew this one was coming. Packers fans have wanted Clowney in green and gold for a long time. Clowney is set to be a big money free agent in this offseason, the Texans are unsure if they can pay him. The Packers need a guy like Clowney and I understand he will be expensive but his play on the field is worth every penny. He would be a great addition for a defense that is desperate for edge rushers. Clowney struggled in his first injury-plagued two years but in the last three, he’s been a Texas-style nightmare for offensive lines. His absurd speed off the snap, his hard-hitting style attributed to his 158 tackles and 24.5 sacks. If the Packers do make a blockbuster move…this would be a huge possibility. VERDICT: YES
I’ll keep this one short and sweet. The Packers tried to grab Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller on a offer sheet of 56 million, 18 million guaranteed but the Bears matched that in less than 72 hours. Chicago going into 2019 has only 7.5 million under the cap because of the Fuller and Khalil Mack signings. Adrian Amos has proven he has the makings of a shutdown safety for the deep ball. However, the Packers should send an offer sheet for the fun of it and see if the Bears match it. It would stretch the Bears dollar farther than ever. VERDICT: NO (well, maybe)
He’s 29…he wants to be a Dallas Cowboy. Yeah, yeah I get it. It feels like a pipe dream but the Seahawks and All-Pro safety Earl Thomas are on their way to a divorce. Cowboys have 46 million in the cap, while the Packers look to have 35 million (but will soon clear some cap room). How could you not want to bring in one of the best safeties of the last 5 years (339 tackles, 12 INT)? Thomas is a versatile weapon that hits like a brick house, stops plays on a dime and a terrific presence in the locker room. It won’t be cheap but would be something to look into because the safety position in Green Bay is not up to par.
Oh, one more thing. Give Muhammad Wilkerson one more chance.
Until next week, Packer fans!
Jake Turner is the host of the passionate Turning Points podcast on iTunes and co-host with Mark Eckel on the Pack a Day podcast. Follow him on twitter at @JakeTurnerSport Instagram: jaketurner61.