Assessing the Roster

mradtke66

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I think they could find a much younger, cheaper option who could more legitimately be viewed as a center.

Perhaps, but a backup that could cover 3-4 positions, which Taylor could, would be more valuable vs. a dedicated center.

With 7 being active on game day, you realistically need your backups to either be Left/Right or Interior/Tackle.

Right now, we don't have a RT under contract for 2020. Bulaga and Veldheer are both free agents. Assuming we could sign one of them, Taylor could be the 6th man and backup all 5 positions.

If we re-sign both Bulaga and Veldheer (that seems like a pipe dream to me, but I'm hopeful) Veldheer is either the swing tackle and Taylor the interior guy. In a desperate situation where we lose Bhak and Bulaga in the same game, we could survive with Taylor and Veldheer at both tackles.

Again, they could still draft a center of the future, but maybe he's the 8th or 9th best lineman and he's the center of the future. I wouldn't want to waste a game day active on such a guy.
 

Dantés

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Perhaps, but a backup that could cover 3-4 positions, which Taylor could, would be more valuable vs. a dedicated center.

With 7 being active on game day, you realistically need your backups to either be Left/Right or Interior/Tackle.

Right now, we don't have a RT under contract for 2020. Bulaga and Veldheer are both free agents. Assuming we could sign one of them, Taylor could be the 6th man and backup all 5 positions.

If we re-sign both Bulaga and Veldheer (that seems like a pipe dream to me, but I'm hopeful) Veldheer is either the swing tackle and Taylor the interior guy. In a desperate situation where we lose Bhak and Bulaga in the same game, we could survive with Taylor and Veldheer at both tackles.

Again, they could still draft a center of the future, but maybe he's the 8th or 9th best lineman and he's the center of the future. I wouldn't want to waste a game day active on such a guy.

I don't think that Taylor is an ideal backup anywhere but guard. He shouldn't be viewed as anything more than an emergency option at tackle and center.
 

mradtke66

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I don't think that Taylor is an ideal backup anywhere but guard. He shouldn't be viewed as anything more than an emergency option at tackle and center.

He managed to play LT against the Vikings (I think?) with our all-guard + Linsley line. It wasn't pretty, but it wasn't terrible.

I still find him valuable. I wouldn't be upset if we move on, but he doesn't strike me as the slam dunk savings that moving on from Linsley is/does. Linsley is more expensive and it really only a center.

Of course they could mess with both of us, cut both AND not draft another center. :)
 

hasamikun

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Did I miss something or why is everyone cutting Linsley in their scenarios? I know the cap savings will be high with a cut, but I dont see how cutting one of the best Centers in the league helps the OL. Rodgers is in his last few years so weakening his protection should not be done.
Cutting Lane Taylor frees up 4 Mio while not weakening the OL by much. he has been average this and last season and Lucas Patrick seems like a better swing player for the interior Line. I know its not 8 Mio like cutting Linsley but I rather have the perfect communication between center and QB than 4 Mio in cap
 

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I think Linsley is a little overrated myself. He's ok, but I don't think he's irreplaceable by any means.
 

tynimiller

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Did I miss something or why is everyone cutting Linsley in their scenarios? I know the cap savings will be high with a cut, but I dont see how cutting one of the best Centers in the league helps the OL. Rodgers is in his last few years so weakening his protection should not be done.
Cutting Lane Taylor frees up 4 Mio while not weakening the OL by much. he has been average this and last season and Lucas Patrick seems like a better swing player for the interior Line. I know its not 8 Mio like cutting Linsley but I rather have the perfect communication between center and QB than 4 Mio in cap


Because outside of Graham, Linsley is the most obvious and "absorbable" cut in order to make up some serious coin (at or nearly 8Million if memory serves). Not too mention Linsley isn't, while I'm a big fan, one of the best centers in the league IMO. Solid starter all day for most teams...but also plays a position we can absorb replacing the most along the OL. Not only do we have Patrick who could play there but Centers can and are found in the draft on Day 2 and 3 often....starting replacement Tackles (if we cannot afford to resign Bulaga) are not.

If we keep Linsley (which isn't out of the question for sure) folks MUST be willing to admit at MOST we are maybe getting one sure starter in FA...when one could argue we need at minimum 4 (RT #1, ILB #1, TE #1, and WR #2) and I would say 5 as a kicker will need signed or drafted as well (could be a resigning of Crosby).
 

hasamikun

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Because outside of Graham, Linsley is the most obvious and "absorbable" cut in order to make up some serious coin (at or nearly 8Million if memory serves). Not too mention Linsley isn't, while I'm a big fan, one of the best centers in the league IMO. Solid starter all day for most teams...but also plays a position we can absorb replacing the most along the OL. Not only do we have Patrick who could play there but Centers can and are found in the draft on Day 2 and 3 often....starting replacement Tackles (if we cannot afford to resign Bulaga) are not.

If we keep Linsley (which isn't out of the question for sure) folks MUST be willing to admit at MOST we are maybe getting one sure starter in FA...when one could argue we need at minimum 4 (RT #1, ILB #1, TE #1, and WR #2) and I would say 5 as a kicker will need signed or drafted as well (could be a resigning of Crosby).

Kinda makes sense but I am not into taking unnecessary risks with the OL. I can get behind cutting Taylor because he isnt worth teh contract he has but Linsley just has the perfect synergy and communication with Rodgers and I would hate to break this especially in his late career years. FA doesnt have any usable C and I dont know how the incoming draft class is but looks like a risk not really worth taking to me
 

Dantés

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He managed to play LT against the Vikings (I think?) with our all-guard + Linsley line. It wasn't pretty, but it wasn't terrible.

I still find him valuable. I wouldn't be upset if we move on, but he doesn't strike me as the slam dunk savings that moving on from Linsley is/does. Linsley is more expensive and it really only a center.

Of course they could mess with both of us, cut both AND not draft another center. :)

I recall that game. It was an admirable effort. I still wouldn't plan on him being a backup anywhere but guard.

I'd happily save the 4+M and move on, but not everyone needs to feel that way.
 

captainWIMM

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The Packers signed Reggie White in 1993 - 27 years ago. Damn, time flies. Including the 4 starters you also mentioned last year, that's 5 FA in 27 years. I would be interested in knowing where that ranks with the rest of the league.

That weren't the only free agents signed by the Packers over the last 27 years. The team most likely ranks at the bottom of veterans being brought in because of Thompson's reluctancy to use it though.

Another dumb question coming, is that okay? Was there such a thing as a FA in 70's and 80's?

There was no free agency until the 1993 offseason. That year the Packers were able to sign the most coveted free agent in Reggie White.

My concern with relying on the draft to improve the receiving corps is that it's still pretty difficult for a rookie WR to make a major impact on an offense in their first year.

There were four rookie receivers eclipsing 800 yards this season. With the draft class considered to be extremely deep there should be a way to add a difference maker that way this year.

Interior dline - With the 3-4 alignment the Packers should really be looking to find DEs since Clark is the tackle in that alignment (and while Clark is amazing rushing the QB, he's not all that great stopping the run). There aren't many 3-4 DEs in the free agent market right now that look like they could be an upgrade at an affordable price. Arik Armstead would be terrrific, obviously, but he's gonne be EXPENSIVE.

Clark excels stopping the run as well. I wouldn't feel comfortable about spending a ton of money on Armstead as he might be a product of being surrounded by amazing talent in San Francisco.

Kinda makes sense but I am not into taking unnecessary risks with the OL. I can get behind cutting Taylor because he isnt worth teh contract he has but Linsley just has the perfect synergy and communication with Rodgers and I would hate to break this especially in his late career years.

Linsley hasn't been perfect by any means, messing up way too many snaps to not think about releasing him considering the cap space the team could save.
 

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I would add Robby Anderson to the list at WR; young and a tremendous downfield threat that has been held back by awful QBs. He'd be more expensive than the three you mentioned (though not as expensive as the more notable free agent WRs) but would help create a very dangerous WR duo with Adams. My concern with relying on the draft to improve the receiving corps is that it's still pretty difficult for a rookie WR to make a major impact on an offense in their first year.

TEs - I'm really hoping they go after Henry. I think he could be one of the best receiving TEs in the NFL with a good QB and, with it looking like Rivers might be leaving San Diego he might be available.

Interior dline - With the 3-4 alignment the Packers should really be looking to find DEs since Clark is the tackle in that alignment (and while Clark is amazing rushing the QB, he's not all that great stopping the run). There aren't many 3-4 DEs in the free agent market right now that look like they could be an upgrade at an affordable price. Arik Armstead would be terrrific, obviously, but he's gonne be EXPENSIVE.

Linebacker - This one is interesting because Littleton would be great for covering TEs but he's terrible against the run. If the Packers find a way to upgrade the dline then he'd be a great signing. If the Packers can't do that though, they would still have major issues against the run with Littleton at ILB. I'm still all for the Packers signing him (while he's not good against the run he's still better than Goodson or Martinez) but the Packers would need to find a way to improve the dline.

Overall, I think I'd rather the Packers use the draft to improve at dline and linebacker while using free agency to improve the passing game options.

If everything I've read/heard about Anderson over the years is true, then I would avoid giving him a significant contract.
 
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If everything I've read/heard about Anderson over the years, then I would avoid giving him a significant contract.
I would certainly not offer #1 money and I wouldn't be interested unless they first acquire an legitimate inside threat.
 

Dantés

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The more I sort through the projected free agents, the more Cory Littleton appeals to me as a guy that the Packers should pursue.

Littleton is essentially what the Packers hoped Oren Burks could be when they drafted him-- a long, light, athletic linebacker with coverage ability.

By all accounts, he's fully capable of handling backs and tight ends in coverage. He's also been an effective blitzer and one of the most secure tacklers in the league.

His deficiency relates to run defense. Most agree that he isn't an especially effective plugger. Which is to be expected at 6'3" 228 lbs.

However, his struggles as a run defender also derive from what L.A. asked him to do. In 2019, he led the Rams in snaps, coming in just under 94% of the total. The next most heavily used true off-ball linebacker on the team was Troy Reeder, who played a mere 27% of the time.

So the Rams were using Littleton as the sole true linebacker most of the time, supplementing him with safeties and Clay Matthews (sounds familiar). If placed next to a true linebacker, a la Fred Warner next to Dre Greenlaw or Mark Barron next to Devin Bush, his run defense responsibilities would not be so strenuous.

This has been my main issue with Martinez-- he doesn't have a defined strength, so you don't know what to put next to him. If he plays next to a coverage player, your run D is compromised. If he plays next to a plugger, your coverage ability is compromised. Littleton has a defined role. You can play him next to a guy who is more suited to play the run and the two will complement each other.

He's young, he's durable, he's played excellent football, and he fits one of the biggest needs on the roster. The Packers can't afford to make several big splashes on the market this year, but they should have the wherewithal for one or two, and I hope that Littleton is one of them. Given the recent market for linebackers with coverage ability, I'd expect him to be in the neighborhood of 12-14M/season.

The Rams would certainly like to keep him, but probably won't be able to. They are entering the offseason with only 20M in space and without many options to create more. Their only real logical cut candidate, Clay Matthews, nets them a mere 3.75M. Others could yield modest additions to the cap, but aren't guys they'd want to lose (e.g. Woods, Robey-Coleman, Troy Hill). And more importantly, they are going to have to make Jalen Ramsey the highest paid corner in the league. Furthermore, they have starters at EDGE (Fowler), LT (Whitworth), iDL (Brockers), K (Zuerlein), and OL (Blythe) all hitting the market, and are without a pick in the 1st round until 2022.

As a quick aside-- I have heard a lot of analysts fawning all over the way that the Rams have done business since McVay got there, but they are now royally screwed. They have very little capital of any kind and a lot of major issues on their roster.
 
H

HardRightEdge

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The more I sort through the projected free agents, the more Cory Littleton appeals to me as a guy that the Packers should pursue.

Littleton is essentially what the Packers hoped Oren Burks could be when they drafted him-- a long, light, athletic linebacker with coverage ability.

By all accounts, he's fully capable of handling backs and tight ends in coverage. He's also been an effective blitzer and one of the most secure tacklers in the league.

His deficiency relates to run defense. Most agree that he isn't an especially effective plugger. Which is to be expected at 6'3" 228 lbs.

However, his struggles as a run defender also derive from what L.A. asked him to do. In 2019, he led the Rams in snaps, coming in just under 94% of the total. The next most heavily used true off-ball linebacker on the team was Troy Reeder, who played a mere 27% of the time.

So the Rams were using Littleton as the sole true linebacker most of the time, supplementing him with safeties and Clay Matthews (sounds familiar). If placed next to a true linebacker, a la Fred Warner next to Dre Greenlaw or Mark Barron next to Devin Bush, his run defense responsibilities would not be so strenuous.

This has been my main issue with Martinez-- he doesn't have a defined strength, so you don't know what to put next to him. If he plays next to a coverage player, your run D is compromised. If he plays next to a plugger, your coverage ability is compromised. Littleton has a defined role. You can play him next to a guy who is more suited to play the run and the two will complement each other.

He's young, he's durable, he's played excellent football, and he fits one of the biggest needs on the roster. The Packers can't afford to make several big splashes on the market this year, but they should have the wherewithal for one or two, and I hope that Littleton is one of them. Given the recent market for linebackers with coverage ability, I'd expect him to be in the neighborhood of 12-14M/season.

The Rams would certainly like to keep him, but probably won't be able to. They are entering the offseason with only 20M in space and without many options to create more. Their only real logical cut candidate, Clay Matthews, nets them a mere 3.75M. Others could yield modest additions to the cap, but aren't guys they'd want to lose (e.g. Woods, Robey-Coleman, Troy Hill). And more importantly, they are going to have to make Jalen Ramsey the highest paid corner in the league. Furthermore, they have starters at EDGE (Fowler), LT (Whitworth), iDL (Brockers), K (Zuerlein), and OL (Blythe) all hitting the market, and are without a pick in the 1st round until 2022.

As a quick aside-- I have heard a lot of analysts fawning all over the way that the Rams have done business since McVay got there, but they are now royally screwed. They have very little capital of any kind and a lot of major issues on their roster.
Littleton should be on the list of possibilities.

Martinez can play both run and pass, just not in the same game. He can be slotted into one or the other mindset as the game plan requires, but his read and react comes up short, I'd say mostly in the read department. Stanford does not necessarily translate to football smarts and instincts. His game has too much guessing wrong in it, and when that happens we see him flatfooted and taken out or chasing.

As for how the Rams have done business, I'd like somebody to explain to me why they traded Marcus Peters to Baltimore for Kenny Young and a 5th. round pick, then turned right around and gave up two 1st. rounders and a 4th. rounder for Jalen Ramsey. It didn't make sense to me then when I first posed the question and it makes less sense to me now.

But hey, if having to pay Ramsey a boatload, which they almost have to do after giving up those picks to keep somebody from getting fired, contributes to Littleton being an option on the Packer pick list, good for us.

The Rams can look on the bright side. Their rookie class cost will be low for the next two drafts. :whistling:
 
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gopkrs

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I think Linsley is a little overrated myself. He's ok, but I don't think he's irreplaceable by any means.
What I would like to see is to get another L guard that can really run block and then try Jenkins at center.
 

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Gute's honest and doesn't coat over hard issues with fake statements. Refreshing!

Some highlights and quotes from his interview:

+ Unsuccessfully went after DeVante Parker. Acknowledges we need a WR. So expect this to be priority in offseason.
+ Retaining Kenny Clary is a priority.

On AR12

“I thought Aaron had a really, really good year, especially adapting to a completely new system,” Gutekunst said. “There were times he had to carry us, and I thought he did that. I think this was one of the years we had a team that didn’t always have to rely on that quite as much. I think he’s still playing at an elite level. “Obviously, he’s still playing at an elite level, but for me, I was raised by Ron Wolf and Ted Thompson, if there’s a quarterback we think can play, that’s a starter in the National Football League, we’ll never pass that up,”

Can MLF make AR do what he did with Matt Ryan in Year 2?

“But I’m really glad 12 is back there. Really excited to see what he can do in Year 2. I know Matt talks a lot about Matt Ryan and what he did in Year 2, the comparatives there. Obviously, Aaron has played at an elite level a long time. Seeing what (Rodgers) did in Year 1 with Matt, I’m just really excited where the offense and him can go.””

On Bulaga. 50/50 is how I see this.

“Bryan is a really good player,” “He obviously had a really good year. He was able to be out there pretty much the entire season, which was important. Of course, we’d love to have a guy like Bryan Bulaga back, but we’re still getting through all that and seeing how these things are going to work.”

Looks like Crosby's coming back...

“Mason had a fantastic year this year, one of his best. From my scout’s eye, his leg strength, his power, his accuracy, it’s all there. Mason is going to kick for quite a while longer if he wants to, and we’d certainly love to have him back. Obviously, he’s done it at a high level for a long time, but he’s also become a pretty big leader in our locker room, as well. He obviously had some personal challenges that he met this year, and his laser focus and ability to get through that and perform at a high level was pretty impressive.”

Doesn't bode well for Blake Martinez though...

“Obviously, Blake Martinez is up,” “I think we’re going to have to take a long look at the inside linebacker thing, make sure we’re squared away there.”
 
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By walking away from these 2 players. I’ve got Lane Taylor’s plus Jimmy Graham’s savings balancing out Crosby and Bulaga resigns in 2020. With some constructive application of two short term 2-3 year contracts we may even come away with a couple 2-3M to put towards our Cap pool.
That would take care of 2 of our internal resign priorities and cancel out their contracts without feeling it. Leaves us needing another TE and backup OL.

As far as Linsley, I like the guy, but he doesn’t play to 10.5M IMO. His departure seems like one of the final ways we can wisely restructure this years roster funds with a significant monetary advantage by saving over 8M towards the Cap/reallocating towards other resigning etc.. We have several players that have played Center, But we could also back that up by drafting his successor and that wouldn’t cost nearly as much with his successor being on a rookie contract for 4 years.
Apply that over roughly 10M savings towards locking down Kenny on a long term deal now. He’s a necessary piece for us and he’s been consistently good.
I realize we have other lower level players to sign plus reserve $, but GB should keep the throttle open and key on at least 2 positions of weakness in this years FA period.
LB, TE, WR or DT

Only other thing I’d prefer is that they hit LB and WR 2X each. Ideally some combination of veteran and 1st/2nd day draft pick in both departments. I’d take Those 2 areas into positions of strength next season.
 
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Dantés

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Littleton should be on the list of possibilities.

Martinez can play both run and pass, just not in the same game. He can be slotted into one or the other mindset as the game plan requires, but his read and react comes up short, I'd say mostly in the read department. Stanford does not necessarily translate to football smarts and instincts. His game has too much guessing wrong in it, and when that happens we see him flatfooted and taken out or chasing.

As for how the Rams have done business, I'd like somebody to explain to me why they traded Marcus Peters to Baltimore for Kenny Young and a 5th. round pick, then turned right around and gave up two 1st. rounders and a 4th. rounder for Jalen Ramsey. It didn't make sense to me then when I first posed the question and it makes less sense to me now.

But hey, if having to pay Ramsey a boatload, which they almost have to do after giving up those picks to keep somebody from getting fired, contributes to Littleton being an option on the Packer pick list, good for us.

The Rams can look on the bright side. Their rookie class cost will be low for the next two drafts. :whistling:

And never particularly well.

What's most damning about that Peters to Baltimore deal is how well Peters played once he got out of LA. So they flipped a 2nd and 4th for Peters, used him for 1.5 seasons, then dealt him for a 5th and a throw-in player, and flipped two 1st round picks and a 4th for Ramsey... their asset management is a mess. But they've gotten a ton of positive press over the last few years.
 

Dantés

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By walking away from these 2 players. I’ve got Lane Taylor’s plus Jimmy Graham’s savings balancing out Crosby and Bulaga resigns in 2020. With some constructive application of two short term 2-3 year contracts we may even come away with a couple 2-3M to put towards our Cap pool.
That would take care of 2 of our internal resign priorities and cancel out their contracts without feeling it. Leaves us needing another TE and backup OL.

As far as Linsley, I like the guy, but he doesn’t play to 10.5M IMO. His departure seems like one of the final ways we can wisely restructure this years roster funds with a significant monetary advantage by saving over 8M towards the Cap. We have several players that have played C. But we could also back that up by drafting his successor and that wouldn’t cost nearly as much with his successor being on a rookie contract for 4 years.
Apply that over roughly 10M savings towards locking down Kenny on a long term deal now. He’s a necessary piece for us and he’s been consistently good.

The ~12M they pick up from cutting Graham and Taylor will be eaten up (and probably then some) by Bulaga alone if they decide to keep him. In the most optimistic outlook, you're talking about 16M combined for Bulaga and Crosby. Probably more realistically in the 18M ballpark.
 

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The more I think on this whole thing, I truly as I've shared elsewhere envision Gute being aggressive in this draft due to not nearly as much fiscal flexibility in FA. I think more and more that we will have 3 picks in the first two days OR two in the first.

Everyone saying we may keep Linsley I think doesn't understand the loss we'd experience by not cutting him. Arguably he is more of an obvious cut to me than Daniels EVER was. The one wildcard on this whole thing is Veldheer...the dude in his interview said this was the most fun group and time he's had. That is coming from a dude with 10 years of experience coming into a locker room with only 2 guys he'd ever shared a room with at all and even then very limited time. A "roll the dice" plan could be let Bulaga walk, sign Veldheer to a couple year plan and HOPE you draft the future. I personally prefer cut Linsley and resign Bulaga, but if we didn't this could be the route you see Gute head as fiscally it is so much better.

As for our TE situation, I'm calling it right now we don't sign either of the only clear upgrades in Hooper or Henry. Too much money. We will resign Lewis for sure IMO...and then either draft another OR hear me out re-structure Graham's contract. Now if coaches are confident in Tonyan and Jace progression and readiness you could cut Graham and ignore signing anyone, and merely draft or bring in a cheap 4th TE.
 

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On the other side of the ball, I would really love it if the Packers could get in on Hunter Henry.

The first thing to say here is what I've been saying-- there's a strong chance that he never makes it to the open market. The Chargers are not strapped for space. They can definitely pay him if they want to.

That said, there are two wrinkles in this situation. One-- injuries have really limited Henry. He's missed 1, 2, and 4 games in his three season, respectively, plus all of 2018 with a torn ACL. So that complicates things.

Working in the opposite direction-- the Chargers are a joke. They don't really play home games. They also suck. So it's possible that Henry won't be motivated to remain with them, forcing them to either tag him or let him go.

So if by chance he does make it to the market, I'd love to see him play in green and gold, despite the injuries. When healthy, Henry is behind only Kittle and Kelce in my opinion. He's a true Y who offers plus run blocking and can make a major impact in the passing game.

He is the perfect player for Petals' offense. I'd love the chance to roll the dice on him. The injuries are concerning, but the upside is an elite player at a critical position in the offense.
 
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The ~12M they pick up from cutting Graham and Taylor will be eaten up (and probably then some) by Bulaga alone if they decide to keep him. In the most optimistic outlook, you're talking about 16M combined for Bulaga and Crosby. Probably more realistically in the 18M ballpark.
While I understand the “tone setting” RT is better than LT deals coming out of Philly in “Depeche Mode” recently (18M) no way should GB get into overpaying for Bulaga. That’s coming from me, who has been a proponent of OL protection since Aaron was in a 20M annual salary and the majority swearing up and down we were set pat (only to be limping by years end)
GB needs to walk away from Bryan for anything over a 2yr/20M type deal.
Although I do agree with you that it’s all relative if you are that team, in need a player and you have 65M in cap space. GB isn’t in that position and shouldn’t even waste time with him for 12M-14M (my knee hurts worse than his 31 year old knee by just thinking about that) IMO unless it’s a 1 year deal and is heavily incentive laden and no other option (Veldheer retires etc..)
 
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gopkrs

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While I understand the tone setting deals coming out of Philly in “Depeche Mode” recently (18M) no way should GB get into overpaying for Bulaga. That’s coming from me, who has been a proponent of OL protection since Aaron was in a 20M annual salary and the majority swearing up and down we were set pat (only to be limping by years end)
GB needs to walk away from Bryan for anything over a 2yr/20M type deal.
Although I do agree with you that it’s all relative if you are that team, in need a player and you have 65M in cap space. GB isn’t in that position and shouldn’t even waste time with him for 12M-14M IMO unless it’s a 1 year deal and is heavily incentive laden.
imo there is no way Bulaga would sign an incentive laden contract...and for good reason.
 
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