Top Needs of the Off-Season

Dantés

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The season has sadly come to a close, but it was a huge success. The Packers proved to have what everyone in the sport covets: a HC/QB partnership that can serve as a foundation for the team's success.

So where do they go from here and how do they take the next step? These, in my opinion, are the five biggest needs and thus the five biggest opportunities to take the next step and become true contenders again in 2024.

1) Defensive Backs: Here is the list of defensive backs who played 40% or more of the snaps on defense this season and are back next season: Carrington Valentine and Jaire Alexander. They have about 3700 snaps to replace in the defensive backfield. They're going to have to throw a lot of bodies at the corner and safety positions. I would guess that this is where we see the team spend the most resources.

2) Defensive Coordinator: After LaFleur got more involved in the defense late in the season, there was an improvement. However, Barry's track record tells us who he is (and a head coach needing to do that is a red flag). He isn't a totally incompetent moron as some would argue, but he doesn't add value to the defense. At best, he gets you out what you put into the unit. If GB is serious about contending, they need to do better.

3) Running Backs: The offense was on a different level when Aaron Jones was healthy. He will likely be back, and should be, but it will probably be a contract year and his health is not reliable at this point in his career. Beyond Jones, the Packers do not have a back who is really worthy of an NFL roster. If they can re-stock the position with viable talent, it will enable them to control football games with sustained offensive drives.

4) An H-Back: This offense wants to use an H-Back. Deguara saw the field post-injury despite being terrible. They really need to find someone who can actually execute the role.

5) Offensive Line: Bakhtiari needs to retire, but the starters should be set with Walker and Tom. Depth at tackle is a question that depends on how they like the development of Jones and Tenuta. Jenkins is holding one guard spot down and Rhyan is a question mark at the other. Runyan also improved a lot down the stretch and has voiced a heartfelt desire to come back. Myers ought to be replaced, but he won't be. On the whole, I think most (maybe even all) of the starters are in-house already, but depth is needed across the board and a new interior starter could be helpful.
 

tynimiller

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Completely agree with the list on what five but I’d have OL and RB my like 3a and 3b with H back last but solely from a perspective of that ought to be the easiest of the list to find.
 

PikeBadger

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The season has sadly come to a close, but it was a huge success. The Packers proved to have what everyone in the sport covets: a HC/QB partnership that can serve as a foundation for the team's success.

So where do they go from here and how do they take the next step? These, in my opinion, are the five biggest needs and thus the five biggest opportunities to take the next step and become true contenders again in 2024.

1) Defensive Backs: Here is the list of defensive backs who played 40% or more of the snaps on defense this season and are back next season: Carrington Valentine and Jaire Alexander. They have about 3700 snaps to replace in the defensive backfield. They're going to have to throw a lot of bodies at the corner and safety positions. I would guess that this is where we see the team spend the most resources.

2) Defensive Coordinator: After LaFleur got more involved in the defense late in the season, there was an improvement. However, Barry's track record tells us who he is (and a head coach needing to do that is a red flag). He isn't a totally incompetent moron as some would argue, but he doesn't add value to the defense. At best, he gets you out what you put into the unit. If GB is serious about contending, they need to do better.

3) Running Backs: The offense was on a different level when Aaron Jones was healthy. He will likely be back, and should be, but it will probably be a contract year and his health is not reliable at this point in his career. Beyond Jones, the Packers do not have a back who is really worthy of an NFL roster. If they can re-stock the position with viable talent, it will enable them to control football games with sustained offensive drives.

4) An H-Back: This offense wants to use an H-Back. Deguara saw the field post-injury despite being terrible. They really need to find someone who can actually execute the role.

5) Offensive Line: Bakhtiari needs to retire, but the starters should be set with Walker and Tom. Depth at tackle is a question that depends on how they like the development of Jones and Tenuta. Jenkins is holding one guard spot down and Rhyan is a question mark at the other. Runyan also improved a lot down the stretch and has voiced a heartfelt desire to come back. Myers ought to be replaced, but he won't be. On the whole, I think most (maybe even all) of the starters are in-house already, but depth is needed across the board and a new interior starter could be helpful.
Good analysis.
 

McKnowledge

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The more I think about the game this past Saturday, the more upset I get.

Yes, the Packers were playing with house money...they exceeded my expectations and then some...

But what killed this team in Santa Clara was simply mental fortitude, and that is a direct reflection on Mike LaFleur and his coaching staff.

Whether Anders Carlson or Joe Barry, his patience for mediocrity is concerning.

Packers top needs this off-season is accumulating mental toughness via draft, free agency, and development.

Joe Barry is admirable in his coordination of the defense this postseason...but its too little too late.

It's time to let him go and upgrade to a better DC with strengths in strategic adjustments.

Anders Carlson has to go...along with the long snapper. They are a specialists and there is nothing special about the results they produced.

Daniel Whelan saved both Matt Orzech and Carlson on a one kick, which should not happen.

Packers need a veteran kicking specialist and long snapper. Competent consistency.
 

tynimiller

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How did Whelan save Carlson? The holder is Step 2 in a 3 step process. The holder can certainly hurt the kicker and save the snapper, but how does he save the kicker?

The holder can save the entire process if the snap is bad by placing a kickable ball - Carlson cannot kick a ball not placed...likewise he also cannot save his ability to even kick it on a bad snap, he is purely depending upon the holder. I've long held that a good holder is just a hair less important than the kicker themselves, but also are the one person in the exchange that must be on their game the most. Such a simple task, but just the placement of the stitches can be the difference...
 

Voyageur

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Barry isn't going anywhere. It's possible a lower assistant coach or two might leave, or be asked to leave, but that's about it. No doubt there will be auditions for long snapper and kicker. I said auditions. But, will things change? Doubtful. New ST coach? Probably not, but it is possible.

Lots of early draft picks. 5 in top 100. Could see a little bundling to move up, it all depends on who's out there, and when. Getting into the playoffs and winning a game did a lot of damage to how high we pick. To the victors, a penalty of sorts. How far did we fall? Something like 15 spots?

The battle this off season is to make the best of the cap room we have available to get Love under a long term contract, and see if we can hang on to our better core players. We can expect a lot of changes for next year, but the core players that have done a job need to be compensated accordingly.

One more season of cap hell, and then the huge dead cap numbers disappear. Thankfully!
 

tynimiller

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Barry isn't going anywhere. It's possible a lower assistant coach or two might leave, or be asked to leave, but that's about it. No doubt there will be auditions for long snapper and kicker. I said auditions. But, will things change? Doubtful. New ST coach? Probably not, but it is possible.

Lots of early draft picks. 5 in top 100. Could see a little bundling to move up, it all depends on who's out there, and when. Getting into the playoffs and winning a game did a lot of damage to how high we pick. To the victors, a penalty of sorts. How far did we fall? Something like 15 spots?

The battle this off season is to make the best of the cap room we have available to get Love under a long term contract, and see if we can hang on to our better core players. We can expect a lot of changes for next year, but the core players that have done a job need to be compensated accordingly.

One more season of cap hell, and then the huge dead cap numbers disappear. Thankfully!

To be fair, right this moment we have less than $10M dead cap according to Spotrac....but cut Bakh that will grow substantially...few other moves also might balloon it.

Now however, the way dead cap is reported it is different than void years hitting so those reading yes right now our "dead cap" is only around $5.6M...Rasul is over $5M of that.

But our void money hit for 2024 is around a total of $9.3 between Savage, Nixon and Yosh all have void numbers coming due in some capacity.

We are still quite free of any massive dead caps...this last year we had over $67M against our cap that was dead...image below of highest against us dead wise this past season:
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XPack

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Beyond Jones, the Packers do not have a back who is really worthy of an NFL roster.
Harsh. Lacy/Starks, Jones/Williams, Jones/Dillon....we've had a good one-two punch running back duo in past years.

We don't want another #1RB with Jones already in there and I'm mostly happy with Dillon as the second.

Would definitely be happy to get another pass catching RB to the roster, but not on top 3 picks.
 

BrokenArrow

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The holder can save the entire process if the snap is bad by placing a kickable ball - Carlson cannot kick a ball not placed...likewise he also cannot save his ability to even kick it on a bad snap, he is purely depending upon the holder. I've long held that a good holder is just a hair less important than the kicker themselves, but also are the one person in the exchange that must be on their game the most. Such a simple task, but just the placement of the stitches can be the difference...
Okay I guess from that angle, but to me what you just described is more saving the snapper's bacon. Regardless, the whole process has to be looked at.
 
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Dantés

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Harsh. Lacy/Starks, Jones/Williams, Jones/Dillon....we've had a good one-two punch running back duo in past years.

We don't want another #1RB with Jones already in there and I'm mostly happy with Dillon as the second.

Would definitely be happy to get another pass catching RB to the roster, but not on top 3 picks.

Dillon isn't on the roster for next season. He's a free agent. I'm not saying he isn't worthy of an NFL roster, but he also is not a good #2 back and they shouldn't commit money to him to keep him around. The other guys that are on the roster, or could be via an ERFA tag (Taylor and Wilson) aren't 53 roster guys. They shouldn't be counted on for anything beyond training camp.

A RB2 in the NFL 1) has to play a lot because it's a rotational position and 2) has a high likelihood for being the #1 for stints because RB's are oft-injured. When Jones was hurt this season, they could not build a viable running game around Dillon or anyone else. He averaged 3.4 YPC, a full 1.2 worse than Jones. I realize that backups can't be as good as starters on an NFL roster, but a drop-off that steep isn't acceptable.

Jones most certainly is a RB1, but he's fading. He only managed 32% of the offensive snaps due to injury and load management. That's to be expected-- he will turn 30 during the 2024 season and he has about 1600 career touches on his body. He's also entering a contract season. So the Packers not only need to shore up the depth behind him for when he's injured or being managed, but they also need to look to the future.
 

tynimiller

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I'll go on record saying if it is announced before the draft that we are resigning Dillon expect a swing at a top 100 pick RB....if NOT, I assume we will be spending money on.
 
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Dantés

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Here are the notable free agent running backs. Not the position where teams traditionally want to invest resources, but the Packers have given indications that they'd be willing for the right player (recall the Jonathan Taylor stuff) and at a certain point the depressed RB market could make the right guys + values:

Saquon Barkley, NYG: 27 yo, 1219 career carries, 3.9 YPC in 2023, 4.3 career YPC

Tony Pollard, DAL: 27 yo, 802 career carries, 4.0 YPC in 2023, 4.8 career YPC

Josh Jacobs, LV: 26 yo, 1318 career carries, 3.5 YPC in 2023, 4.2 career YPC

D'Andre Swift, PHI: 25 yo, 627 career carries, 4.6 YPC in 2023, 4.6 career YPC

Zack Moss, IND: 26 yo, 492 career carries, 4.3 YPC in 2023, 4.3 career YPC

Devin Singletary, HOU: 26 yo, 981 career carries, 4.0 YPC in 2023, 4.2 career YPC

Austin Ekeler, LAC: 29 yo, 1014 career carries, 3.5 YPC in 2023, 4.4 career YPC

Derrick Henry, TEN: 30 yo, 2186 career carries, 4.2 YPC in 2023, 4.7 career YPC

Ezekiel Elliott, DAL: 29 yo, 2168 career carries, 3.5 YPC in 2023, 4.3 career YPC

If they by-pass the RB market altogether, I think that's fine. There's a risk associated with paying the position. However, I hope they monitor the market for two guys: D'Andre Swift and Tony Pollard. Neither are perfect players by any means, but they both have the explosive athleticism that this offense sorely misses when Jones isn't healthy or in the game. In rotational roles, I think both could be highly effective.

I they do intend to spend at the position, I hope they stay away from Barkley and Jacobs. They've both seen a lot of work; my guess is that their best days are behind them.
 

Voyageur

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To be fair, right this moment we have less than $10M dead cap according to Spotrac....but cut Bakh that will grow substantially...few other moves also might balloon it.

Now however, the way dead cap is reported it is different than void years hitting so those reading yes right now our "dead cap" is only around $5.6M...Rasul is over $5M of that.

But our void money hit for 2024 is around a total of $9.3 between Savage, Nixon and Yosh all have void numbers coming due in some capacity.

We are still quite free of any massive dead caps...this last year we had over $67M against our cap that was dead...image below of highest against us dead wise this past season:
You must be logged in to see this image or video!
I believe you have to look at the 2024 cap to see what's really dead cap for this coming season, if we move on without certain players. In some cases, even though you might want to move on from them, they might need to stay because of money, and use them in a back up capacity. As an example, Bakhtiari, Campbell, and Walker.

I won't even venture a guess as to how they intend working it. I do think one of the priorities will be to get a contract with Love that's about 5 years long. It's not going to be cheap.

 

El Guapo

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I'll go on record saying if it is announced before the draft that we are resigning Dillon expect a swing at a top 100 pick RB....if NOT, I assume we will be spending money on.
I'm not with this, as sad as the commentary is on the state of the RB market. There is no need to spend money on a free agent RB. They all want money (that they rightfully deserve) but there are too many young, fresh legs coming out of college willing to work for peanuts and they can figure out the NFL almost immediately. I hope that Gutekunst trades a 5th for two 6th or three 7th round picks and just grabs a bunch of RBs. One of them will be good and hungry.
 

Half Empty

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I believe you have to look at the 2024 cap to see what's really dead cap for this coming season, if we move on without certain players. In some cases, even though you might want to move on from them, they might need to stay because of money, and use them in a back up capacity. As an example, Bakhtiari, Campbell, and Walker.

I won't even venture a guess as to how they intend working it. I do think one of the priorities will be to get a contract with Love that's about 5 years long. It's not going to be cheap.

Don't know what kind of contract changes are even possible, much less acceptable (and there's injury considerations), but Bahk cannot be on the team with this contract. It costs 21 mil over the dead cap to keep him.

As somebody in the mix, who at one time did look like a winner, Campbell only costs about 3 mil to keep.

Quay stays - SAVE 5 mil keeping him.
 

PackerDNA

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Sure we can talk about safety, an impact linebacker, and running back. But for me, if you want to compete with teams like the 49ers in the playoffs, you need to get bigger stronger better and meaner up front. Get stronger on both lines and win the line of scrimmage.
We have a lot of legit reasons to the excited about this young team going forward, it'll be interesting to see who takes the next jump. You've got to figure in such considerations though, everybody in the league has a lot of film now and over the young guys that they didn't have at the beginning of the season. Improvement on this season is not a given.
 

tynimiller

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I believe you have to look at the 2024 cap to see what's really dead cap for this coming season, if we move on without certain players. In some cases, even though you might want to move on from them, they might need to stay because of money, and use them in a back up capacity. As an example, Bakhtiari, Campbell, and Walker.

I won't even venture a guess as to how they intend working it. I do think one of the priorities will be to get a contract with Love that's about 5 years long. It's not going to be cheap.


Correct, I inserted the 2023 as I stated merely to go along with my final sentences on the 2023 dead cap.

Truly right now our dead cap is under $10M in 2024 with more void if you want to include it, yet still altogether under $15M...now that will grow if we cut Bakh or move on from some others too..
 

Half Empty

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I just don't see how Bakh is back and the 19 mil dead kicks in, when the other option is to keep him at a 40 mil cap hit. What am I missing?
 

Voyageur

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Correct, I inserted the 2023 as I stated merely to go along with my final sentences on the 2023 dead cap.

Truly right now our dead cap is under $10M in 2024 with more void if you want to include it, yet still altogether under $15M...now that will grow if we cut Bakh or move on from some others too..
I think you move on from those who can't contribute, and would cost way too much if they stay on board. Bakh is a prime example. He has to go. It's nothing more than business, and he's getting paid a lot of money for someone who hasn't been able to help the team for a long time, and probably never will in the future, more than part time.

It's going to be interesting seeing what cap hits they're willing to take. I just hope they don't get into extending players who aren't going to be part of the future, just to avoid a cap hit now. We don't need to see this hell continue.
 

PackerDNA

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What if Bakh is 100% healthy, raring to go, and he and the Packers can work out something with this contract? Question for the board. Still want him gone?
 

tynimiller

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What if Bakh is 100% healthy, raring to go, and he and the Packers can work out something with this contract? Question for the board. Still want him gone?

He sits down and takes pay cut for sure if medically they think good to go you have to do it IMO.
 

Firethorn1001

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What if Bakh is 100% healthy, raring to go, and he and the Packers can work out something with this contract? Question for the board. Still want him gone?

Yes.

I don't see anyway where he would be 100% healthy. Been 3 years of round and round with the injury. I would not want anything done contractually where they might be carrying more dead cap space in the future just on the hopes that the last 3 years is behind him. Too much unknown risk.
 

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