Who would have thought that the Green Bay Packers would be one of the first teams to jump into the free agency fray this weekend when they quickly re-signed cornerback Sam Shields and then came into Crazy Monday with defensive linemen Lamarr Houston and Arthur Jones on the radar?
The Packers name has been associated with free agents more often than not this offseason, something that has not been the case in years past. Packers GM Ted Thompson has avoided free agency like the plague. His focus in building his team has been through the NFL Draft.
In fact, it always has and always will be.
However, with nearly $35 million of cash available and many holes, especially on the defense, to fill, Thompson seems poised to utilize all facets of player acquisition – something fans have been wishing for years. That wish appears to be coming true. With the interest in Houston and Jones, the Packers have dedicated their efforts on the defense so far. Green Bay also made a one-year “prove it” contract offer to B.J. Raji that is being ignored – at least for now. Raji wants to test the market to see if he can do better in dollars and longevity.
But just because the Packers are going after another D-lineman doesn’t mean they still don’t have interest in Raji. They could still sign him, though it seems time is running out.
Other news about Packers free agents has been somewhat predictable. The interest in tight end Jermichael Finley has been tepid, while the interest in teammate
And for the Packers, they are still in the running for some important players of their own like James Starks and John Kuhn, Mike Neal and Evan Dietrich-Smith … Thompson will most likely do his best to ink at least a couple of those players, as well as considering LB Jamari Lattimore.
We don’t have to wonder about Marshall Newhouse and Seneca Wallace, but there are some players about which we feel there are questions – does Thompson have the inclination to re-sign the likes of Ryan Pickett, C.J. Wilson, Johnny Jolly, and Robert Francois? And what about B.J. Raji?
As we head into the start of free agency on Tuesday afternoon we are headlong into the answers to those questions we ask. My guess is that the Packers will make at least one deal at the start of the signing period tomorrow afternoon, but will most likely slow it a bit until the feeding frenzy subsides. Thompson is all about value and he’s already re-signed Shields and is looking toward adding a quality defensive lineman. That’s spending wisely.
The next couple of weeks should be interesting as the coming days will not only include the adding of impact players to the roster, but they will help define the direction the team needs to take as they head into the NFL Draft.