Nov 3, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen (97) celebrates his sack against Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) in the second quarter Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen (97) at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Today's Green Bay Packers Big 3: Our Sunday best - free agent style

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is sacked by Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen at the Metrodome. Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

 

Over the past few weeks, we here at Lombardiave have presented an ongoing series: Our Big 3, which generally applies to three different mock drafts that select three differing prospects being selected as the Green Bay Packers first round pick.

Today we are taking it a bit further – we are looking at three different free agents. Given the fact that there have been some who have said Ted Thompson is planning to take some of that $35 million in salary cap money he’s sitting on and spread it around to some guys with experience – some guys who could come into camp and really make a difference on this 2014 Packers team.

Well, we decided to have a little fun with this and present you with some free agents who might fit that bill. And to do so we’ve taken at look at the top 50 free agents as presented this past week in the column Open Field by Greg Bedard over at si.com. What he did was a countdown of the top 50, describing their attributes and for which team they would be the best fit.

Because the Packers have needs on the defensive side of the ball, we’ll be taking a look today only at defensive players. Mind you, this is a wish list. We’re certainly not saying this is going to come to fruition. We’re saying how sweet it would be if Ted Thompson could pull the trigger … maybe even on one of these guys. After all, we’ve seen how teams like the New England Patriots have succeeded by bringing in players who make an immediate impact.

Heck, we can even look back at what Ron Wolf did when he was in Green Bay. Granted, those were different days, but in my mind there has got to be a counterbalance to the draft and develop methodology … one that provides experience, not only on the field, but in the locker room. Developing guys is great, but it takes time and by the time they are developed they head off into the sunset of free agency themselves.

So, here we go. Don’t hesitate to leave a comment with your own Big 3. We would love to hear from you.

 

Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

EVERSON GRIFFEN

DL, Minnesota

Bedard: [At just 26, Griffen] had to sit behind Jared Allen and Brian Robison with the Vikings, but the 6-3, 273-pound Griffen is no secret. He can play anywhere up front, including as a standup OLB. Best fit: Vikings. With Jared Allen likely gone, Vikings need to retain Griffen.

Lombardiave: This guy is a playmaker; he seems to be around the ball and disrupting things in the offense on a regular basis – just the type of player who would fit well with Dom Capers’ defense. And isn’t it time the Packers stole a Viking for once?


 

 

 RANDY STARKS

Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Randy Starks (94)
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Interior DL, Miami

Bedard: Starks, 30, has been one of my favorite players to watch on film. He doesn’t look flashy, but he consistently gets the job done in all facets of the game. Best fit: Falcons. He would instantly add some teeth to the middle of the line and make others better.

Lombardiave: If there is one team across the league that needs some “teeth” in the middle of its defensive line, it’s the Packers. With B.J. Raji all but gone and the “maybe he’ll come back at the veteran minimum” mantra surrounding both Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly, the Packers really need to look at re-beefing up its defensive line. If they are able to do it through free agency, then they can concentrate more on restocking the linebacker and safety positions through the draft.

 

 

 

 

Indianapolis Colts strong safety Antoine Bethea (41)
Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

ANTOINE BETHEA

SS, Indianapolis

Bedard: Bethea, 30, is another film favorite who fills the run with the best of them. Extremely durable (hasn’t missed a game since ’07) but you have to wonder how long that continues at his age. Best fit: Colts. He’s the stud strong safety they need; still will have to find a true free safety.

Lombardiave: I would love to include guys like Jairus Byrd, Brian Orakpo, or Linval Joseph in this spot, but we all know they will be out of reach for the Packers. Bethea could come with an affordable price tag and bring the type of physical play and locker room experience the team needs. Bethea would give the Packers the thumper they need in the defensive backfield and a presence that would help them in the long run.

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