Will Packers Benefit From Other Teams' Mistakes in 2017?

We have reached that part of the year in the NFL where teams are starting to release veteran players in order to conserve salary.  Such is life in the NFL and the way player contracts are structured.  In other sports, when a signing and financial terms are announced, that is the actual amount the player will make over the life of the deal.  In the NFL, there is "contract money" and "guaranteed money" with the guaranteed portion really being what most teams, players and everyone else are concerned with.

The Green Bay Packers, led by general manager Ted Thompson, have mostly made their contract signing news by bringing back their own players to new deals.  On the few occasions that the Packers have brought in outside talent, it has paid off in some way.  Charles Woodson, Ryan Pickett, Jared Cook and Julius Peppers being the biggest examples.  Throw in lesser-known names like Letroy Guion and Koren Robinson and you can see a "quality over quantity" mentality by Thompson and the team.  Some will scoff at that and simply say Thompson is cheap.  But to do so would be negligent of the most common theme that Thompson has talked about (the rare times when he does speak to the media) which is value.  He is always looking for top value in a signing.

With teams often front loading guaranteed money and back loading the rest, we often see players getting cut in the last year of their deal and when it won't cost their current teams much dead money. Dead money is the amount of the released player's contract that still counts against that year's salary cap.  If a team has been diligent with their research on a player and in spreading out the money, they should rarely be stuck in "salary cap hell" and left with the decision to have to keep or release a player who isn't worth his contract any more.  Injuries also factor heavily into this equation and change things in an instant.  Other factors might be a new head coach or general manager who want to begin infusing their own talent onto a roster.  But the reality is, many teams are going to have to make up for past mistakes with contracts and some good players will hit the market and be available to any potential suitor.

Regardless of what situation all 32 teams are in, one thing is a certainty: some big name veteran players are going to get cut this summer.  Whether it's just the NFL circle of life for that player or the team deciding to bite the bullet and move on, more names will be added to the list of those available in this year's free agency.  And as soon as those players are cut, they don't count against another team's compensatory pick formula for the following year.  That would be an example of elevated value.  There's that term again.  Will the Packers be on the receiving end of one of those mistakes made by other teams?

For those hoping Thompson brings in some veteran help in 2017, your best bet hinges on who gets cut loose.  It's fun to peruse the unrestricted free agent list and wonder how a Stephon Gilmore or A.J. Bouye would look in green and gold but that's just not what Thompson does.  Let's look at some possible candidates at this early stage.

Darrelle Revis

No.  The pending charges against him for his arrest earlier this week make him a total scratch here but otherwise he would have led off this list.  Hear me out.  Revis fell off badly in 2016 and is set to cost the New York Jets $15 million this season.  There has also been speculation that the time has come for Revis to move back to safety, the unofficial end of most corners' careers.  But reports were that Thompson liked him in 2007.  We'll never know if Ted would have gone there as a possible way to boost the corner group after his young crop failed to thrive last season.

Mario Williams

Williams has already been cut by the Miami Dolphins.  He failed to provide the boost to Miami's pass rush that they hoped they were getting.  The former first-overall pick is entering his 12th season and has never been dominant during his career.  There's less tread on the tires now to boot, but at this point, Thompson can probably name his price if he wants to try and add Williams to boost the rotation on the defensive front.  Seems like a low risk scenario, but I'm not sure exactly what he would add to Green Bay's defense at this point.

Jason Pierre-Paul

JPP is 28 years old and despite the hand injury a few years ago, looks to still have some good years left in the tank.  That, of course, depends how he recovers from the core injury suffered late last season.  Effective pass rushers are going to command a good amount of attention on the open market so I would expect Pierre-Paul to be priced out of Green Bay.  But the core injury might scare away some suitors and he could be one who, if landed, might make the most legitimate impact right away for the Packers.

Calais Campbell

Campbell has been a staple in the Arizona Cardinals defense his entire career.  Arizona typically keeps those types of players around if they can still play.  Campbell just turned 30 at the end of last season and surely has a few more good years to offer.  He's another who will likely get quite a few calls if he enters the market so price tag would seem to be an issue.

Vontae Davis

Ah, a cornerback!  And Davis is only 28.  With a new general manager in the fold and with so many needs the Indianapolis Colts could be looking to make sweeping changes.  Davis could be exactly the type of player the Packers need and hopefully are looking for to bolster the corner position for a few seasons.  Davis would only cost the Colts $1.25 million if he were released.

Jimmy Graham

Graham would be a very attractive commodity on the open market and have many suitors.  The Packers would not likely be in the mix and content to ride with a re-signed Cook and Richard Rodgers behind him at tight end.  As silly as that sounds, we all know it comes down to money and Graham would require the Packers to part with a lot of it.

Adrian Peterson

This was widely discussed last week after ESPN's Rob Demovsky put out a piece asking how likely a scenario where Peterson is released by the Minnesota Vikings and ends up in Green Bay.  Listen, I have to mention all of the obvious names that are going to be out there.  But I agree with most of you who are spitting at your screens right now, that this is an awful idea.  Thompson and the Packers shy away from guys who are bad PR.  It doesn't get much worse than Peterson's situation in 2014.  Add to the fact that Peterson is over 30 and was a big fat zero for the Vikings last year and this suddenly sounds worse than when I started writing his name.  Ty Montgomery is the only running back under contract for the Packers so they surely need to add some depth, but a veteran over 30 would seem to go against every grain.

Darren Sproles

How about the other guy in the feature image?  Sproles is only set to cost the Philadelphia Eagles $4 million this season but he leaves no dead money if he is cut.  He's 33 years old but might be a better option if the Packers did want to add a veteran in the backfield.  As much as Green Bay calls on their backs to pass protect, I'm not sure Sproles helps in that area but he would seemingly give them a true third down option that they have not had for years.

 

 

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Jason is a freelance writer on staff since 2012 and also co-hosts Cheesehead TV Live, Pulse of the Pack and Pack A Day podcasts.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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Comments (20)

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The TKstinator's picture

February 20, 2017 at 06:22 am

I think name recognition counts for a lot when it comes to fans, but counts for less than a warm bucket of hamster vomit with TT.

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Lphill's picture

February 20, 2017 at 06:50 am

A rumor floating around is Eagles Conner Barwin does not fit their defense as an end and is better as an OLB . Packers are interested .

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Handsback's picture

February 20, 2017 at 08:16 am

Jason makes valid points about Mario and Vontae and I could see TT grab one or both. I just think Davis is still a solid CB and would not come cheap. Mario makes more sense. He does best in 3-4 defenses and might be added depth for a year. I don't see him as a pass rusher, but a guy who can chew up blockers.

Last year when I was in Philly, the talk was that that Barwin would be traded because he was a 3-4 OLB and didn't really fit the Eagles 4-3 lineup. So now the Eagles have a cap issue and Barwin did OK but not as well when he played the 3-4. Can TT pull that off? We will see.

I don't see JPP or even Calais being a target. Both will be targets for their own clubs and if not signed lots of money will be thrown at them.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

February 20, 2017 at 08:59 am

I haven't missed a whole Packers game in almost 20 years but if the Packers sign "Adrian Peterson" I'm not going to watch them until he is gone.

I saw the pictures of what he did to a small child and I am not willing to tolerate it.

That said I think Calais Campbell, Vontae Davis might be fits.

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NickPerry's picture

February 20, 2017 at 02:44 pm

Considering he doesn't much like signing his own players once they hit 30 years old I doubt he'd go near Peterson. But in the event he did, then I wouldn't watch another Packers game untils TED'S gone!

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dobber's picture

February 20, 2017 at 09:07 am

I think the bottom line is: what positions can be addressed in the draft with players that can contribute quickly and what positions really need a veteran player for a marked improvement in overall performance?

The only player on this list that really intrigues me is Vontae Davis. He brings good athleticism and size for the position and a likelihood that he could play out a 3-4 year deal and not be a liability (athletically) at that point. If there's a position that could improve immediately just by adding a steadying veteran presence, it's CB. Still, there have been those who have questioned Davis's work ethic and maturity, but he's a good player and makes the CB position better immediately. Davis would make a day 1 pick at CB a luxury rather than a necessity.

There will be cuts yet that we aren't talking about that could do a lot to raise the general talent level on defense--and on offense for that matter. Some will come back at this point and say, "TT doesn't sign FAs, so don't get your hopes up." But this is the pool he does dabble in, and if you go back over the last several years, he has kicked the tires on quite a few players from that group by bringing them in for visits. There will be help in that group if he's willing to play that game, and every player he brings in is one less roster hole he has to try to fill through limited draft resources.

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Since'61's picture

February 20, 2017 at 09:11 am

The only player on this list that I would want TT to sign is Vontae Davis. He could help the defense immediately and probably another 2-3 seasons beyond. The others are either too old and/or carry too much baggage for the price they will likely command. Revis was once the type of player you could build an entire defense around but he is a shell of his former self plus now the additional baggage of his problems in Pittsburgh. His time has passed. Given the list of players in this article it's probably time for TT to play in the big boy FA market for once. Thanks, Since '61

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Marcos Martínez Sánchez's picture

February 20, 2017 at 09:17 am

Vontae Davis would be a great addition, but I think Indy will find a way to retain him. Also there is some talk about the pack interested in trading for Eagles OLB Connor Barwin, anyone knows about this?

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MITM's picture

February 20, 2017 at 10:37 am

I dont think that we would trade for him I think the interest is based off of him being released.

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RodFlash's picture

February 20, 2017 at 11:06 am

Exactly, the Barwin talk is simply sports writer speculation and there's been no word from GB sources about it, not even from GB sports writers. He's a guy they might want to look at but at this point just a rumor and I don't think Ted would trade anyway.

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dobber's picture

February 20, 2017 at 12:33 pm

It could be as much agent generated as anything else because a trade would likely help preserve his client's earning power more than his being cut (even though a trade would likely entail him reworking his deal). It could "wake up" suitors and drum up interest from teams who might not pursue him otherwise, too. If you're Philly, I'm sure you'd rather deal him and get something in return. If you're the Packers and you could get him for a late-round pick and cut his cap number down some in a renegotiation, that's a win. Imagine turning Larentee McCray (the 7th they got from Buffalo for him) into Conner Barwin.

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Packer_Fan's picture

February 20, 2017 at 10:34 am

The Vontae Davis pickup makes sense. Packers need to retool the cornerbacks. Davis could be a Sam Shields type cornerback to base the secondary around. Peterson, I don't think he fits the offense.

And question, why do the Pack need to sign Perry? With Perry and Peppers gone, why can't they sign an elite pass rusher in place of those two?

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porupack's picture

February 20, 2017 at 11:08 am

All good points PF, especially on both Perry and Peppers were not retained. Who would you consider the candidate elite pass rusher that might hit the market, and would be the right fit?

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RodFlash's picture

February 20, 2017 at 11:11 am

Because TED doesn't sign high dollar FA's outside of his own. Perry is his draft pick and it's been stated many times that Ted feels more comfortable resigning his own guys. An elite FA is gonna cost way more than Ted's willing to spend and let's face it, almost all of the elite FA signings of the 1st week of FAgency are way over paid. Plus the OLB group this years in FAgency is thin.

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Lphill's picture

February 20, 2017 at 11:34 am

I rather have Barwin than Perry. Probably both cost the same.

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Idiot Fan's picture

February 20, 2017 at 11:38 am

Coming out of Oakland, Woodson was seen as washed up and a malcontent. After nobody else wanted him, TT swooped in. [To be fair, I didn't love the move at the time. But oy, what a signing...] If Peterson has a very cold market, for all reasons listed in the article, it would not shock me at all for TT to take a run at him.

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RodFlash's picture

February 20, 2017 at 03:55 pm

Well there's a major misconception that TT swooped in for Woodson. Reports came out that Dorsey, Wolfe and Schneider lobbied TT very hard to sign Woodson and Pickett. I'd give credit to them, they pushed him hard to make an offer.

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dobber's picture

February 20, 2017 at 08:10 pm

Then, to be fair, if we want to hang TT on every failed pick or signing (when those moves are also advised by scouts and personnel execs) we need to give him some credit for making the call on these, also.

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egbertsouse's picture

February 20, 2017 at 02:30 pm

I don't think he does anything with any of these players. Why? Well, I've heard of all these guys. Ted usually picks up guys that I don't know.

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JacFrost's picture

February 22, 2017 at 04:42 pm

Ted will make mike happy by trying to resign as many guys as he can and passing on free agency. My take has always been, mikelikes simple he said so himself. Simple pass routes simple running plays simple. Translated he doesnt want to train in new people other than recruits.

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