Packers free agency: Signings that could help restructure defense

NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 26: Jimmy Graham
NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 26: Jimmy Graham /

Free agents the Green Bay Packers could consider to help restructure the defense.

It’s finally happening. Maybe.

Uncle Gute is taking us to the candy store. Here is a strategy to leave the free agency market with more than just a bellyache and empty pockets.

Gutekunst may decide to make a splash with names like Malcolm Butler, Kyle Fuller and Trumaine Johnson topping FA wish-lists or add a much needed pass rusher like Ezekiel Ansah.

However I would encourage the front office to take a more Bellichekian approach. Find inexpensive vets who are system fits. However that is an unknown variable with a new defensive coordinator in town. One approach would be to look at free agents who played under Pettine in his previous coaching incarnations.

Four names who played under Pettine

  1. Tramon Williams, CB
  2. Jairus Byrd, CB
  3. Karlos Dansby, LB
  4. Barkevious Mingo, LB

An interesting list.

At 36 years old, Dansby continues to defy age, would likely be inexpensive and might be worth a look if my favorite free agent gets passed over.

At  5-foot-10 Byrd may be too short if Gutekunst shares the Wolf tree aversion to smaller DBs.

Mingo is a rotational player and likely to want more than the Packers would be willing to offer for such a player. Which leaves us with Tramon Williams.

At 34 Williams had a good year in 2017 with two interceptions and 12 pass defenses for Arizona, who wants him back. Maybe Green Bay could interest him in a reunion with not only the Packers but also with Pettine, who he played under in Cleveland.

Williams was enthusiastic about the Pettine hire and could be a good “get” for the team. With his familiarity of Pettine, at worst you get solid depth and a veteran presence that has been lacking in the CB room.

NEW ORLEANS, LA – OCTOBER 26: Jimmy Graha /

Davon House should be retained on a team friendly deal (maybe two years,  $3.5-4 million). He shouldn’t have too many suitors given his up and down year including injury. House was elated to return to Green Bay and keeping him around on hometown discount contract would give us a nice high-end backup.

If safety Morgan Burnett walks, even if the Packers move Damarious Randall back to his collegiate position as I advocated, the addition of Eric Reid would be smart.

A young (26), big (6-foot-2) safety who is stout against the run and improving against the pass. Plays in the box, much like Burnett and would likely be affordable. Would go a long way in adding depth at the position.

A tackling machine

My favorite potential free agent is inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman. While 29 years old, he is coming off a season where he registered 117 tackles and has the football smarts to learn a new system.

He would be a slobber-knocking, tone-setter for Pettine.

He could serve as a mentor to Blake Martinez (physicality) and Josh Jones (directing his aggression) thus improving the entire unit. Even without moving Clay back inside, Martinez-J.Jones-Bowman-Ryan is not a bad ILB room.

The one trait Ted Thompson always held to was fiscal responsibility, to the team’s detriment at times but remaining a draft-and-develop team is the path to stability.

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Now Gutekunst must use all means available to him, including trades and free agency, to enhance the roster. These moves would help bring veteran leadership and depth to a young and talented roster that has yet to live up to it’s potential.