Day One Recap: Initial Thoughts on Free Agency

Are the Packers off to a good start this offseason?

By: Jim Boyce

Perry Returns

The morning started off with a real bang. Nick Perry is staying put in Green Bay on what was later revealed to be a 60 million dollar deal over 5 years with 18 million guaranteed. I am definitely glad to have Perry back. While it is a hefty price to pay for a player who only had one big season the Packers would have been in a tough spot without him. Had Perry left the edge rushers would have become as big a hole as Cornerback.

Some may be concerned about the contract becoming a burden if Perry fails to play up to the standards he set in 2016, but the base salary rises considerably over the life of the contract. This would allow Green Bay to cut Perry after two seasons and only about 20 million spent.  That being said I think Perry will prove to be a productive player as long as he stays healthy. With Clay Matthews injury woes last season Perry was often one of the best players on the defense along with Mike Daniels and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

Just because the Packers signed Perry though does not mean they should not continue to add pass rushers. Connor Barwin was released by Philadelphia and I think he would be a nice addition. He was miscast in the Eagles 4-3 system last season and would welcome a return to a 3-4 scheme. Also he would not count against future compensation picks the Packers would receive. Barwin is the exact type of free agent Ted might consider.

Tretter and Hyde Depart

Shortly after the Perry deal it was announced that JC Tretter was headed to Cleveland to become the Browns starting Center. He received 16 million over 3 years with 10 million guaranteed. This is a reasonable price for a player with Tretter’s abilities and injury history. If Ted Thompson does not re-sign T.J Lang then I would have to question his decision not to pursue Tretter. Though Tretter may not be as effective a Guard as he is a Center.

Micah Hyde’s departure was not a huge surprise. While a useful role player, Thompson was never going to give Hyde the big deal he received from Buffalo. The Bills gave Hyde starter’s money, and it will be up to him to prove he is worth 30 million over 5 seasons. Hyde was a nice piece to have in the secondary but I think he is replaceable.

Questions Remain

Many Packers fans, myself included, are feeling nervous about the Packers who remain unsigned. T.J Lang, Jared Cook, and Eddie Lacy specifically. All three have meetings with other teams which include all of the Packers division rivals as well as annual nemesis Seattle. I would like to see all three back in Green Bay, but I think Lacy would be the most easily replaced as it is a strong draft for Running Backs. If Lang departs it would leave a hole at Guard which Ted would need to address. Don Barclay is back on a one year deal but he is not an NFL starter. Look for the Packers to draft a lineman in the early rounds if the team is unable to bring Lang back. At his age and with his recent injury troubles, the Packers may not want to get into a bidding war.

I think Jared Cook should be brought back. The offense was a different beast when Cook was on the field and we saw how effective he can be with a QB like Aaron Rodgers. It is a good draft for Tight Ends, but Rodgers needs weapons now and rookies rarely are difference makers in their first season.

The next couple days will continue to be hectic and I expect we will have a much clearer idea of the Packers draft needs by the end of the weekend. I do not expect Ted Thompson to make any waves during the first portion of free agency asides from signing his own. The Perry signing was a big move, especially as other teams reportedly pursued him. Time will tell if the Packers are “all in” on 2017.