Green Bay Packers: How to replace Letroy Guion
The roughly month-long break between the conclusion of minicamps and the start of training camps is often the start of stupid season in which young NFL athletes with lots of free time earn some unfortunate mentions on the arrest blotter with a potpourri of regrettable offenses.
The latest to see his name featured in countless tweets and news blurbs is Letroy Guion, who is no stranger to legal issues and other infractions that go back to his collegiate career as a member of the Florida State Seminoles.
According to reports, the 9th-year pro was pulled over and arrested for allegedly operating a vehicle under the influence of an unidentified intoxicant.
Not only was Guion was already facing a four-game suspension at the time of the incident, but the 30-year-old was previously served with a multi-game suspension in 2015 for possessing marijuana and a firearm while operating a vehicle.
What’s shocking isn’t that the troubled defender can’t seem to keep himself out of legal trouble, it’s that the Packers have exerted so much patience with him by allowing Guion to occupy a valuable roster spot.
His 2016 performance was abysmal both in terms of stopping the run and rushing the passer with one single pressure all season.
Perhaps the only factor that could justify Guion still being employed by the organization is the fact that he is a solid locker-room presence. He is reportedly well-liked by his teammates and that carries a lot weight with Mike McCarthy.
But at this point, it would seem that it’s only a matter of time before the team moves on from the long-time NFL pro that can’t seem to keep his priorities in order.
So, where do the Packers go from here?
Overall, Ted Thompson has actively reinforced the defensive line by acquiring Ricky-Jean Francois in the offseason along with drafting Montravius Adams in the third round.
In addition, the coaching staff is expecting major improvements out of second-year players, such as Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry and the seldom-mentioned Brian Price.
One player the Packers can acquire to replace Guion is a veteran performer with a proven track record and can help develop the youngsters at the position in a lead-by-example kind of way.
Dan Williams is a current free agent that would certainly fit that bill.
The 30-year-old space-eater was viewed as one of the premiere two-down run pluggers as recently as the 2015 season when the one-time first-round pick was Pro Football Focus’ 8th-ranked interior lineman.
In 2014, Williams was PFF’s No. 2 3-4 nose tackle following a successful campaign in which he played close to 500 snaps.
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His high-level of play earned him a 4-year, $25-million contract from the Oakland Raiders in 2015.
But after producing a one season worthy of that salary, Williams was never up to the task in 2016, as he showed up out of shape at last year’s training camp and was promptly demoted to second-string status.
This wasn’t the 330-pound defender’s first bout with keeping his weight in check and the Raiders didn’t want to be on the hook for a man who demonstrated little regard for his offseason conditioning.
But as a free agent this late in the game, Williams will only command the veteran minimum ($900K) to sign with a new squad.
Despite being on the other side of 30, the grizzled widebody has been quite durable by playing 16 games in each of his previous three seasons.
And while he has exhibited clear signs of immaturity by turning a blind eye to his personal fitness, Williams has never experienced any off-field issues.
At his best, the University of Tennessee product is a classic one-technique (lining up in the gap between the center and guard) that can stack the point and force ball carriers to re-route.
Furthermore, Williams is an instinctive sort that can quickly locate the ball and sniff out screens.
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The younger players could only benefit from watching him in practice and picking his brain in the film room. There’s minimal risk and considerable reward in making this type of move.
There’s no reason why Ted Thompson shouldn’t be dialing up his agent’s number…if he hasn’t already.