If Green Bay doesn’t want to look to the bigger names – and the likely bigger contracts that would be required to acquire those players – there are some other options out there worth consideration that should come cheaper. Whitehead is one of those guys.
Whitehead was an underrated part of how the team turned around a 1-7 start to end the year on a 6-2 run. He graded out as the #14 non-edge-rushing LB in the league (78.1 overall PFF rating).
The weakness in his game is mostly relegated to his pass-rushing abilities (45.0 PFF grade), but his usage in that area would likely be minimal – especially considering that players like Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews are going to be manning the majority of those responsibilities.
The biggest parts of the equation with Whitehead would be his proficiency against the run (85.3 run defense PFF rating) and his decent play in coverage (73.6). Add that with his age (just 25) and the Packers could have themselves somebody who can elevate their weak point without breaking the bank.
Secondary Option: Zach Brown
Brown wouldn’t be the same kind of strong option against the run (43.3 PFF rating), but his work in coverage would make up for that (81.9).
He is still relatively young (26) and would likely be an even cheaper option while still being an upgrade over what the Packers have seen from their ILBs in recent years.
Plus, this would be the kind of move that fits the Packers’ MO: Underrated pickup that nobody foresees.
It wouldn’t be on the level of what a Charles Woodson or Julius Peppers pickup were, but it would look like what Green Bay has done before in getting guys like Ryan Pickett and Letroy Guion; good player and decent piece to garner snaps.
Next: Good fits at linebacker