Does Vince Young Deal Signal a Packers Change of Heart?


Could the signing of Vince Young signal more free agents coming to Green Bay? Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports photograph

So what does the Green Bay Packers’ signing of oft-waived former prospect Vince Young really mean?

Many are speculating it is a clear signal that the Packers’ brass and coaching staff have given up hope that Graham Harrell and/or B.J. Coleman can ever fill the role Matt Flynn once filled – as a capable backup, someone who can give the team a chance to win in the event Aaron Rodgers misses significant time.

That’s probably at least mostly true.

Will fourth-round draft pick David Bakhtiari be the Packers’ starting left tackle this season? Or will Ted Thompson, following a surprising Vince Young signing, look for another veteran free-agent? Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

But could it also be that Ted Thompson is loosening his policy toward signing free agents just a bit? The Young signing reportedly had been considered before camp started, but it seems almost knee-jerk following Coleman’s poor showing at Family Night on Friday (based on stats alone, Harrell seemed to do OK).

To most Packers fans and others tuned into Thompson’s philosophies, the thought of the Packers signing a free agent quarterback could nearly be considered a sign of the Apocalypse. What’s next? Walking corpses shambling through the stands at Lambeau Field? Or even more horrifying – the Packers potentially signing an ex-Viking?

My first thought is that if a poor scrimmage on the part of Coleman can scare Thompson into signing a guy like Young, what will Bryan Bulaga’s season-ending ACL injury prompt him to do? Bring Chad Clifton out of retirement perhaps?

We already have word that the team plans to give rookie fourth-round pick David Bakhtiari a chance to win the job, but will Thompson go a step further and sign a veteran to challenge for the job, or at least provide experienced depth?

Why not? Especially if he could sign one for close to the veteran’s minimum? The Packers have plenty of cap space for such a low-risk, high-reward signing. And if a potential signee doesn’t prove to offer more than Bakhtiari, there’s no harm, no foul, right?

Yeah, I don’t see it happening either. But for the sake of due diligence, here is a peek at what’s available out there (hint: it isn’t pretty).

Jammal Brown. Recently a Redskin, Brown had his best success protecting Drew Brees’s backside during a 2009 Super Bowl run. In

Jammal Brown

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports photograph

fact, he was a two-time Pro Bowl selection as a Saint. He missed all of last season with a hip injury, however, which is worrisome. If the ’Skins didn’t think he was healthy, we probably shouldn’t either.

Jared Gaither. At just 27 years old, one would think the former Charger would have plenty left, but he carries a reputation for laziness and has been prone to injury, playing only four games last year after signing a $24.6 million contract. Still, there’s talent to be tapped if Thompson decides to take a chance.

Barry Richardson. The former Ram was a casualty of the Jake Long signing in St. Louis. No one ever accused Sam Bradford of being well protected in 2012 when Richardson and Roger Saffold were his tackles; still, Richardson has more experience than what the Packers currently have in house at the position and could add some depth.

Sean Locklear. Coming off a torn ACL in 2012, his old team, the Giants, haven’t picked up the phone to call. It could mean they don’t believe his knees are healthy (see: Brown, Jammal).

Demetress Bell. Bell was on the Packers’ radar last year before signing a five-year deal with the Eagles which went nowhere fast. If Thompson pulls the trigger here, we’ll know the Apocalypse is upon us.

Do you think the Packers should take a shot at a veteran free-agent, or go with the young linemen currently on the roster?