The pessimistic world of salary cap obsession has taken over Packers fandom. Daily tweets and articles detailing all that needs to be done “kicking the can down the road” just to get under the cap has led fans to believe that an aggressive Packers free agency period is a pipe dream.
It’s true that the team is way over the cap. It’s true that they need to do a lot of restructuring, extensions, and outright releases to get under the cap by the team the league year starts. But I keep coming back to two tweets: one that said the media cares far more about the cap than the teams do; and one where it was reported that the Packers are willing to make Saints level moves to go all in again for Aaron Rodgers.
So which potential free agents could the Packers target?
Have to start with a spicy one. Godwin is the longest of longshots. PFF predicts an average annual contract value of $16.25mm per year. Even if the team went all out on salary cap manipulation, it would be hard to get his first-year cap hit below $10mm. That means you’d probably have to release multiple current veterans for him.
That said, if miracles happens and the Packers were able to lure Godwin to the team with the help of Aaron Rodgers recruiting, he would be the perfect Packers wide receiver. He’s a prototypical Matt LaFleur blocking wide receiver, but he can also get open.
Ok, back to reality. The way the Packers play defense, and the way most of the NFL is starting to play, increase the value of interior run stuffing defensive linemen. If you want to have two safeties back on every play, you need guys who can play gap-and-a-half technique to let the linebackers run free.
Joseph won’t be enough by himself to fix the Packers run defense – last season his Chargers team had possibly the worst run defense of all time – but he would be a great veteran stop gap to take a step in the right direction. A one-year $5mm deal with several void years tacked on could be perfect for the Packers.
If the Packers can’t pull of re-signing Rasul Douglas, they’ll need a slot corner. This isn’t a position the team, or really, the NFL, has prioritized, but the Packers could use an upgrade.
Your defensive backfield is only as good as its worst link. You can have two all-pro corners and premier safeties, but if you aren’t going to rush the passer well, the QB will just target your worst corner. Upgrading from Chandon Sullivan to someone like Callahan, or even K’Waun Williams or Chriss Harris Jr., would improve the Packers pass defense without a doubt.
Godwin is the pipe dream option; Fuller is more likely. If a team like the Chiefs overpays MVS, Fuller could be the Packers’ plan B for a speedy downfield threat. When MVS was hurt last year, the Packers were far less dynamic. Fuller would potentially be an upgrade over MVS – the problem is that he is healthy even less often. Sign Fuller to a prove it deal with void years and use another 4th round pick on another super speedy WR.
Rudolph, who was just released by the Giants, isn’t going to be a world beater at tight end for any team but he’s a big body in the run game who, at the very least, could potentially develop some third down chemistry with Rodgers. This signing would be more about potentially replacing Marcedes Lewis with another cheap veteran than trying to hit a home run.
Mike Price is a lifelong Packers fan currently living in Utah. You can follow him on twitter at @themikeprice.