The Packers are currently sitting at 11-3 and just clinched a playoff berth. So it may seem odd to already be looking ahead to the offseason, but even at 11-3, the Packers still have some big holes. Not only do they have some of their own free agents that should be brought back, they also need to continue to utilize the open market to improve the team like they did last year. Here are several realistic players the Packers should target in free agency.
1. Emmanuel Sanders
The only Packers wide receiver that will be a free agent after this season is Geronimo Allison, who in my opinion, has done absolutely nothing to earn a new contract with Green Bay. After Davante Adams, the Packers’ receiving core has been terrible at best, aside from Allen Lazard and Jake Kumerow, who have shown flashes. Sanders would give Green Bay a clear #2 target to take some of the defensive focus off of Adams and really open up the offense.
2. DeMarcus Robinson
Likely a cheaper, as well as younger option than Sanders, Robinson hits the open market after four seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs. His numbers on the surface are nothing spectacular, but he has been on a team that almost exclusively throws the ball to Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Robinson has shown very promising flashes in his limited playing time. His catch percentage is lower than the average receiver, but Robinson, like all members of the Chiefs, takes a heavy dose of deep targets which are far more difficult to haul in.
3. Risky (and potentially expensive) wide receiver options
Both A.J. Green and Josh Gordon are free agents after this season. Obviously with Green’s injury history and Gordon’s tumultuous history with drugs, both of these guys would be very risky. The price would have to be low for Green Bay, but if either of them were brought in and were able to play consistently, they would both be huge for the passing game.
1. Re-sign Bryan Bulaga
This should be a no-brainer. Yes, Bulaga has had a lot of injuries, but this season he has played in every game so far, and has been one of the best right tackles in the league. He is the only starter on the offensive line that is a free agent this year, and all five guys are good. No need for Green Bay to spend big on the line
2. Re-sign Lucas Patrick
Patrick is not an essential player to the Packers of course, but he has value. In the preseason and training camp he has shown that he can play all over the line, including at center. That kind of versatility is great to have as backup for the offensive line. Patrick and Lane Taylor (currently on IR) can provide great depth at the position in case of injuries.
1. Cut ties with Jimmy Graham
I am actually a big Jimmy Graham fan. I believe that he hasn’t been used as well as he should be, and that his struggles aren’t all on him. Still, he is not worth an $11.6M cap hit. The Packers should release Graham before the last year of his contract, take the lesser penalty, and move on.
2. Ricky Seals-Jones
Both Austin Hooper and Hunter Henry are free agents after this season, but they will each come with high price tags. Seals-Jones would be much cheaper and is much younger. At just 24 years old, he has a long career ahead of him. He is also a great route runner, and is essentially a huge wide receiver. We don’t know how good Jace Sternberger can be, so signing a guy like Seals-Jones for a short contract to let Sternberger have more time to develop isn’t a bad idea.
3. Re-sign Marcedes Lewis
Big Dog Marcedes Lewis has been an unsung contributor for Green Bay this season. He has a catch percentage of 76.5%, which is only behind Jamaal Williams on the team, but he is also a phenomenal blocker on the line. Lewis should and probably will be brought back.
1. Give Kenny Clark his extension
Kenny Clark must be paid. It’s as simple as that. The man has become a monster. He has 5+ sacks in consecutive seasons and absolutely stuff running backs taking it up the middle. The Packers top priority should be to extend him. Clark is not a free agent this offseason, but he will be in 2021.
1. Re-sign Blake Martinez
Blake is going to get a lot of interest from other teams and will likely be very pricey to bring back, but the Packers need to do what they can to bring him back. He has his flaws, especially in pass coverage, but he is a tackling machine, and considering the complete lack of depth at the position, there is nobody better than him available.
2. Cory Littleton
Littleton is not a superstar, and shouldn’t command that much money. He, like Martinez, is a phenomenal tackler. He is always around the ball and knows how to make plays. He is also better in pass coverage than Martinez, and even has six interceptions over the past three seasons. Littleton and Martinez would be a great duo at inside linebacker, and would allow the Packers to stop using so many defensive backs in the box and let them play at their position, specifically Adrian Amos.
1. Re-Sign Tramon Williams and Chandon Sullivan
Tramon has been incredible in the slot this season. He has two interceptions and six passes defended, and has allowed completions on just 59.5% of targets, better than Kevin King, Adrian Amos, and Darnell Savage. Tramon has shown that Father Time has not caught up to him yet and that he still has a lot to offer. Chandon Sullivan has been a surprise impact player and should definitely be brought back on at least a one year deal.
2. Kendall Fuller
Kendall is not as good as his brother Kyle in Chicago, but he would be a good, young depth piece at the position. After Jaire Alexander, King, and Williams, the cornerbacks are a question mark. Sullivan has been good but on a small sample size. Josh Jackson has not been able to get on the field on defense. Tony Brown is hurt a lot and we still don’t really know how good he is, and Ka’Dar Hollman has barely seen the field. With King’s injury history, depth is important.