Thursday, February 28, 2013

Will They Play For The Packers in 2013? Johnny Jolly and Jermichael Finley

It's been a long road to reinstatement for former Green Bay Packers DE Johnny Jolly. He was on the verge of making it back before the 2011 season but another arrest for codeine possession cost him two more years. It's now been reported that Roger Goodell has finally reinstated Jolly from his suspension and he can resume his NFL career.

The odd thing is that the Packers have to address the situation right away because Jolly was tendered a $2.521 million contract for the 2010 season, and that amount will be applied against their salary cap beginning March 12th. They own his rights, but probably not for long, because I would expect they'll release him instead of taking that cap hit.

The more interesting question is whether Jolly has a future in football. As Tom Silverstein points out, "Ted Thompson has been willing to give players a second chance." Aaron Rodgers has been supportive of Jolly in the past so Jolly hasn't seemed to have burned all his bridges. The first step is believing in Jolly and so far, at least Roger Goodell has bought into Jolly's rehabilitation. If he does find a team willing to invite him to camp on a veteran's minimum contract, no one will really know if he can play again after three years away from football until he steps onto the field.

And for what it's worth, Jolly was a better starter in 2009 than any other lineman who started in the Packers' base 3-4 defense last season, except for B.J. Raji. If Jolly can play just as well, and get himself back into football shape before the start of the regular season, he'd be a bargain at the veteran's minimum. Of course, those are some big assumptions.

And on one final note:
Not even TE Jermichael Finley knows his future with the Packers. He said he wouldn't take a pay cut, but who knows if that's talk or just his first offer. Otherwise, nothing's really changed except the Packers are keeping a tight lid on the roster decisions they discuss internally.

Packers might be interested in 49ers DT Ricky Jean Francois

According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Packers might be interested in 49ers DT Ricky Jean Francois. Francois is an impending free-agent who served primarily as a backup last season.

The Packers are likely looking at him as a possible replacement for injured DT Jerel Worthy, who is expected to miss most of the 2013 season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Worthy had a solid 2012 season and his presence will be really missed if a replacement is not found soon.

The Packers are also rumored to be showing interest in former New York Giants DT Chris Canty. Despite this, Francois is still expected to be their top choice.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Grading the Defensive Lineman At The 2013 NFL Combine

While it's not as bad as last year, the Green Bay Packers defensive line could still use some help.

NT B.J. Raji remains the best of the group, but he wasn't as good in 2012 as he was in 2010. DL Jerel Worthy might be looking at a lost 2013 season as he recovers from a serious knee injury. DL Mike Daniels showed some hustle as a rookie with 2 sacks but he didn't play much against the run last season. DE Mike Neal can't play every down either and his late season productivity (2.5 sacks over the last 3 regular season games) might have been a mirage. DE Ryan Pickett and DE C.J. Wilson can play against the run, but they can't rush the QB. The Packers still need a lineman like Raji who can play the run and lineup alongside Raji as a pass rusher when the Packers go with only two lineman.

Yes, the Eagles just released DE Cullen Jenkins, but the Packers aren't known for signing veterans in their 30s. And they showed little interest in re-signing him after the 2010 season. However, his 2012 season was his typical 4 sacks and 20+ tackles, and Pro Football Focus gave him a positive grade. The same risks he had in 2011 (age, injury concerns) are still there although he played in every game over the past two seasons. He could help, if the Packers had any interest in re-signing him, but he'd be a one or two year solution, at best.

In general, the players who worked out at the combine as defensive ends aren't going to play on the Packers' defensive line. There might be a candidate who could move to outside linebacker, but it seems unlikely they'd go that route again with a high draft choice after selecting LB Nick Perry in 2012. So I'm looking at the defensive tackles, who can play anywhere on the line for the Packers. With one exception.
Here are all the combine results for the defensive lineman, courtesy of SB Nation. I'm a little reluctant to endorse SMU DE Margus Hunt, he seems more like a workout warrior than an every down player, and at 6-8, 277 lbs., he's small for the Packers' line. But completing 38 reps on the bench press is notable. However, with all the great defensive tackle prospects available, the Packers should be able to find someone with more size.

All the top defensive line prospects appeared to helped themselves at the combine, with the notable exception of Utah's DT Star Lotulelei who might have been flagged only because of dehydration. Not all of them are natural pass rushers but the Packers may find someone they feel they can develop. You can teach pass rushing tips but you can't teach a 6-5, 300 pounder to run like a tight end.

Maybe Purdue's DT Kawann Short would be a good candidate, and he's projected to go in the late first round. The good news is that NFL Draft Scout compared him to Bengals DT Domata Peko, which would be great. He's under 300 lbs. and might be similar in size to Daniels, but having a rotation of Short and Daniels on the defensive line next season might work well.

Steven Jackson to opt out of contract, become a free agent

According to Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Rams RB Steven Jackson will opt out of the last year of his contract and become a free agent for the first time in his nine-year career.

Jackson currently holds the Rams franchise record for rushing yards. He has played in the playoffs just once when the Rams made it to the divisional round in his rookie year of 2004.

This move doesn't surprise me. For his entire career, Jackson has played good for a bad team. He deserves to win a Super Bowl before he retires. I wouldn't be extremely surprised if the Packers went after him, as they could use another running back. But I wouldn't count on it. The Packers don't look like they're preparing to buy a title this offseason.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Grading The Linebackers At The Combine

Not only do the Green Bay Packers need to upgrade their talent at linebacker, but there are some high priced players who might be released because they're overpaid.

I've grown to accept what LB A.J. Hawk can do for the defense (an average linebacker against the run and pass) but he's wildly overpaid at $7.05 million in 2013. He might agree to a pay-cut, but he might want to test the market instead. The agent for LB Desmond Bishop is optimistic about his recovery, but we won't know until training camp opens, and he had a down year in 2011. So watching the NFL combine to see how the linebackers performed was one of the big events leading up to the draft.
I'm not a hater, but I'm not a fan either. The problem is that he reminds me of Hawk; a big-time college player who's likely to disappoint as a pro. None of the Notre Dame mystique or side-show antics of a fake girlfriend really bother me. But really there is no comparison because Hawk ran a fast 4.59 40 time at the combine in 2006 which cemented his spot at the top of the draft. Meanwhile, Te'o fell out of the first round (and who knows how far) with his 4.82 40 time. There's still a chance Te'o will become a great pro, but it seems a lot less likely.

Meanwhile, Rob Rang took a look at the three linebackers who helped themselves at the combine.

Iowa State ILB A.J. Klein. Replace one A.J. with another? Maybe. He was previously projected as a 5th round pick, but now he's combined his college production with a solid 4.66 40 time. At 6-1, 250, he's can play inside in a 3-4 scheme and he's shown his instincts in pass coverage by returning 4 INTs for touchdowns in college (an NCAA record). If you want the Packers to select another inside linebacker with a mid-round pick, here's the guy for you. Give him a year to get used to the speed of the NFL and he might be a straight-up replacement for Hawk at a fraction of the price.

Connecticut LB Sio Moore. He was already highly regarded and a likely 2nd round pick, but now he's proven his speed (4.65 40 time). He's got the size (6-1, 241) to play linebacker in the 3-4 and he's known as a playmaker in college (43 tackles for a loss over the last three years). He might be a great prospect to play inside and provide an inside blitz against the run and pass.

Missouri LB Zaviar Gooden. While the Packers don't avoid athletes, they do seem to avoid great athletes who don't have a position to play. He might find a NFL team that can harness his ability, but I doubt it'll be the Packers.

Will the Jets trade Tim Tebow?

As you all know, the Jets want to part ways with overrated QB Tim Tebow, but might not be able to. According to's Ian Rapoport(the same guy who reported yesterday's Greg Jennings story), nobody seems to have interest in the left-hander.

Tebow is not expected to even consider switching positions, which pretty much makes him worth next to nothing. The main reason why the Jets rarely used him last year was because he was horrible during practice. He couldn't throw and couldn't make up for that by running. In my opinion, the Jets might as well just release him. Unless a team is looking to unload guys who actually have talent(so basically trying to lose), there is no way that Tebow's going anywhere.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Are The Packers Choosing Between Jennings and Finley?

This is pretty big news for the Green Bay Packers, so I'm going to add my own post to what Jack wrote earlier. While I haven't been expecting the Packers to use the franchise tag on WR Greg Jennings, or keep TE Jermichael Finley, this new report makes it clear that the Packers are considering both options:
The initial report came from Ian Rapoport, who's a great NFL writer but not someone I consider a go-to guy for Packers information, but the link to an article by beat writer Bob McGinn confirms it. Plus, McGinn goes into a lot more detail about how the Packers are trying to choose between Jennings and Finley.

The reason they should want to keep either or both of them is that it would take what was a strength, depth at receiver, and turn it into a problem. While they're fine with Nelson, Cobb, and Jones as their top three receivers, there's no proven players (or high ceiling players) behind them on the depth chart. The Packers could change that by adding a receiver in the draft, but it would still present a problem for 2013.

The reason they want to part ways with both players is that they are too expensive. Bob McGinn points out that Finley's cap salary is $8.75 million in 2013, which is behind only QB Aaron Rodgers, and the salary cap charge for the franchise tag on Jennings should be close to $10 million.

There was some mention about using the franchise tag to trade Jennings, Bob McGinn recalled the time they traded DE Corey Williams after he received it, but I think they would only tag Jennings if they wanted to keep him. As I discussed above, without Jennings and Finley, their receiver depth is thin, especially considering all the injuries they've had at receiver over the past couple seasons. There's some sense in keeping Jennings for one more year, even at an overpriced 2013 salary, because a one-year deal avoids the risks inherent in a long-term contract.

In the end, this is interesting, but their offseason doesn't hinge on this decision. The most important things they need to do this offseason are extend Rodgers and LB Clay Matthews, and upgrade their defensive front seven. Keeping a deep group of receivers together is not as important. They could consider using a second or third round pick on a receiver, there are nine receivers with a 2nd or 3rd round grade according to NFL Draft Scout, and one of them must interest the Packers.

Packers might still franchise Jennings

For mostly this entire offseason, the Packers have reluctant to franchise former WR Greg Jennings. But according to's Ian Rapoport, a source aware of the team's plans said that the Pack are considering changing their mind.

Many different websites have said that Jennings is the #1 wide receiver on the free-agent market. Him being franchised would be a huge blow to those predictors. I'm sure that there are a lot of fans out there who want to see Jennings sign with their team, and I still think that they should hold out for hope. I think that, in the end, Jennings will not be franchised. He just isn't worth it.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

NFL considering moving back offseason schedule in 2014

It was reported today that the NFL may move back it's offseason schedule for the 2014 offseason. Some examples of the possible change would be having the scouting combine in March, the start of free agency in April, and the draft in May.

“Whatever the league thinks is best, count me in,” New York Giants GM Jerry Reese told reporters at the scouting combine on Saturday.

Personally, I wouldn't mind having the dates moved back. I don't why anybody would care, it's a very small matter. The same things would happen but they would just be at different times. Whether the league does it or not doesn't really matter to me.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Packers turning to Texas A&M for advice on how to defend read-option

In last month's playoff loss to the 49ers, the Green Bay Packers gave up a total of 579 yards. Most of those yards came off the notorious read-option offense, an offense that the Packers can't seem to defend. In an interview with, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said that the number 579 still haunts him.

"That's a number that will stick in our focus as a defense throughout the offseason," McCarthy said Friday at the NFL Scouting Combine. "We're studying the read-option. ... Actually our defensive staff is going to take a trip to Texas A&M. (Coach) Kevin Sumlin is someone I have great respect for. With his ability to share, both the offensive side and the defensive side, his experience with the read-option.
"It's something from a preparation standpoint we will grow as a staff and be better prepared for in the future."

While running the read-option in that playoff game, 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick threw for 263 yards, ran for 181, and scored a total of four touchdowns in the second half alone. Just seeing those numbers is all the explanation I need to understand why the Pack are asking advice from a college team.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Jets coach Ryan says Mark Sanchez will have to earn starting job

In the past two seasons, Jets QB Mark Sanchez has greatly underachieved. Now, it appears that even his own head coach his noticing, saying that the former phenom will have to earn the starting job in 2013 despite his large paycheck.

While being asked by about who his starter is, Ryan said this:

"No. 1, you heard about what John talked about, the competition. Bringing in competition at every position, not just the quarterback position. ... That is what we want to do. So to say Mark Sanchez or this quarterback or that quarterback, I think there's clearly going to be competition."

So, it appears that Ryan has lost some of his confidence in the guy. Despite him being bad, he'll probably end up starting so that the Jets will get at least some of their money's worth.

The NFL Combine Is This Weekend: Who Are The Packers Watching?

The answer is everyone. The Green Bay Packers are sure to focus their scouting in some areas, but they'll be watching every player. You never know who they might select. Two years ago, wide receiver was a low priority until they selected Randall Cobb in the second round. And last year, cornerback wasn't considered a need but they drafted CB Casey Hayward at the end of the second round. This year, they need to focus on the defensive front seven (I expect they'll address the center position later in the draft) so the big day is next Monday, when the defensive lineman and linebackers work out.
This is as good an article as any because Georgia (and the SEC) is loaded with top talent on the defensive line and at linebacker. DT John Jenkins is a run stuffing defensive lineman who won't provide a pass rush, but any help on the defensive line would be appreciated and he's projected to be available late in the first round.

At linebacker, OLB Jarvis Jones should be long gone (a likely top 10 pick) by the time the Packers are on the clock. LB Alec Ogletree may move inside in the NFL and could be of interest to the Packers, but he might be better suited as an outside linebacker in a 4-3 scheme and he had a little arrest recently.

So Monday is the day to watch and see how the mock draft rankings re-shuffle after all these top prospects record some official times, and we can re-look at who the Packers might select in April.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

James Jones says that he's against helmet-to-helmet hit rules

As you all know, the NFL has become obsessed with protecting it's players from head injuries. One of these new rules is that you can be given a 15-yard penalty for a helmet-to-helmet hit on another player, a rule that Packers WR James Jones disagrees with.

“I think the helmet-to-helmet rule, where defenders have to hit at a certain target, I think they need to eliminate that,” Jones said. “I’d rather get hit in the hlemet and shoulder than have a defender take my knees out.”

Before I saw this, I agreed with the league. Now, I think Jones has made a good point. A concussion is nowhere near as bad as a torn ACL, yet the long-term effects will always be there. A torn ACL takes about a year to recover from, head trauma lasts forever.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Will The Packers Have Three 1,000 Yard Receivers?

I don't think it's important to the Green Bay Packers' offense that their top three receivers each have 1,000 yards receiving in a single season, but it's fun to discuss. From, here's what WR James Jones said recently about the subject:

"I think a 100-catch receiver is gone out of our offense just because Aaron (Rodgers) spreads the ball around so much," he said. "If anybody had a shot to get 100 catches, I'd probably say Randall because he's in the slot and he'll probably get a lot more targets.
"I can see me, Jordy and Randall getting about 80 catches a piece. I can see us all having over 1,000 yards."

In his defense, he did clearly point out that QB Aaron Rodgers targets many different receivers. Which would seem to make it difficult for three specific receivers to hog so many targets. And the Packers have had only had one 1,000 receiver in the past two seasons (WR Jordy Nelson in 2011).

But his point is still valid. Especially if TE Jermichael Finley doesn't return next season, because he's been targeted on average 90 times per season over the past two years. While Jones himself only had 784 yards on 98 targets last season, WR Randall Cobb came close with 954 yards on 104 targets. Nelson had 1,263 yards on 96 targets in 2011 and WR Greg Jennings just missed the century mark with 949 yards on 101 targets in 2011.

The key is health. If Jones, Cobb, and Nelson each played all 16 games next season and they each had 110 targets next season (about 7 per game) then they'll be right around 1,000 yard goal. Arguably the only thing that prevented Nelson and Jennings from 1,000 yards in each of the last two seasons was that they both missed games due to injury.

The other big problem is the opposing defense. Last season, Rodgers' yards per attempt was only 7.8, down from 9.2 in 2011. Defenses couldn't stop him, but they could hope to contain him. Nelson and Jones each saw a drop of 3 to 4 yards per reception as defenses took away the deep sideline routes. Their opponents were willing to open up the middle of the field for slants to Cobb and short passes to Finley (88 targets in 2012) in exchange for taking away the big play. And the Packers are probably going to have to take what the defense gives them again next season.

At first I thought Jones was just talking big, but his theory is possible. Still, it doesn't seem likely due to health and defenses' strategies.

Packers increase ticket prices

The Packers, despite selling out every game, will begin raising ticket prices this season.

Price increases range from an average of $2 to $5 dollars depending on it's location in Lambeau. End-zone seats will be increase from $2 to $74 dollars. Tickets from the 20-yard line to the end-zone increase from $5 to $85. Seats between the twenty-yard lines will go up from $5 to $97.

I don't understand this at all. They're a team with a waiting list lasting 30 years yet that's not enough. On the bright side for fans, the Packers may be spending the money on big free-agents.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Who Will The Packers Sign Among Their Restricted Free Agents?

Because the Green Bay Packers' collection of restricted free agents consist entirely of players who were undrafted, the team has some tough choices to make.
The first question is how much does it cost to tender a contract to a restricted free agent? The levels don't appear to be publicly known, but last season they ranged from $2.742 million to $1.26 million. A tender at the lowest level is tied to the player's original draft selection, but since the Packers didn't draft these five players, the lowest tender will be essentially worthless. The Packers will have to offer the higher amounts to give themselves draft pick compensation protection and that might not work with their salary cap.

The good news is that teams seem to have no interest in signing restricted free agents, especially ones that would require them surrendering their first or second round pick.

C Evan Dietrich-Smith. Would any team offer him a contract to become their starting center? I don't think so, but the Packers probably know better than me. His salary was $619,650 in 2012, so a first (approx. $3 miliion) or second-round tender (approx. $2 million) would be a huge increase. I don't think the Packers want to pay $2 to $3 million for a backup lineman. Mike Vandermause thinks the Packers will offer a first or second-round tender because there's no other candidate on the roster who could start at center. If he does receive a higher tender, it would likely mean he'll be the starter next season and the Packers will look for their center of the future in the later rounds.

CB Sam Shields. It's a no-brainer that he'll receive a first or second-round tender since he's their starting cornerback. Either way, he'll receive a significant raise from $547,540 in 2012 to $2 to $3 million next season. But should it be a first-round or a second-round offer? A second-round tender should be enough to scare off every team. The only downside is that Shields might feel slighted by receiving a second-round tender (and approx. $1 million less).

TE Tom Crabtree. Yes, he's a fan-favorite, but I can't see any reason why he should be tendered a contract. He's obviously liked by the coaches because he's played ahead of TE D.J. Williams and TE Ryan Taylor for the past two seasons, but he probably doesn't want to leave Green Bay and would be happy with a reasonable multi-year deal. Another team or two might show some interest, but I can't see anyone giving him big money.

LB Frank Zombo and LB Robert Francois. I can't see either of them receiving a tender offer. Zombo's struggled too much with injuries and Francois is buried too deep on the bench. Plus, the Packers do have to open up some roster spots for the 2013 draft class.

Packers release Jeff Saturday

The Packers have a tough offseason ahead of them. It will be an offseason filled with tough choices. But yesterday, they made their first easy one.

The team announced yesterday that they are cutting C Jeff Saturday. Saturday played just one season with the team and wasn't as amazing as expected. But due to ignorant fans, he found himself in the Pro Bowl.

While at the Pro Bowl, Saturday announced that would retire, so what Green Bay is likely doing is allowing him to retire an Colt. Saturday played in Indianapolis from 1999-2011.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Where Will Charles Woodson Play In 2013?

Now that the Green Bay Packers have released Charles Woodson, the rumors can start about where he might play next season.
Veterans who have been released can start looking for a new employer immediately and don't have to wait for the official start of free agency next month. With the salary cap unlikely to climb next season, teams might be willing to talk but reluctant to sign expensive veterans who have just been released.

Now that he's been released, some of the concerns about Woodson's declining play have started to be written. He's expensive (which has always been obvious) but concerns about his run defense (thinking back on their poor games against RB Adrian Peterson and QB Colin Kaepernick) seem a bit off. He wasn't part of the solution but the problems began with the defensive front seven. Now his freelancing ways are a bad influence on his teammates (they aren't supposed to react to the changing play?) when years earlier he was a great influence on helping players like S Nick Collins and CB Tramon Williams emerge?

I think a bigger problem was that he only had 1 INT and 5 pass defenses last season. His role in 2012 didn't put him in a position to make plays. S Jerron McMillian (who effectively replaced Woodson when he was injured) had the same stat line (1 INT, 5 pass defenses). Woodson and McMillian have a role to play in the middle of the field, but it's not a glamour position and not worth $10 million per season. When rookie CB Casey Hayward took over against slot receivers last season, he went onto have a Woodson-like season (6 INTs, 21 pass defenses). The multiple collarbone injuries are a serious concern going forward but I'm not sure I've seen the decline in Woodson's play yet because his role changed last season.

Former Packer beat writer (current Patriots reporter) Greg Bedard probably has the definitive analysis on whether Woodson would make sense for the Patriots. Because the Patriots never shied away from veterans, definitely have Super Bowl aspirations and a need at safety, he thinks it makes a lot of sense if Woodson can play safety.

I do find all the comments about Woodson's declining speed make him a poor fit at cornerback because I read the same articles about him before the Packers signed him in 2006. If he doesn't have the speed to play at cornerback, his lack of speed won't be an asset at safety. He can still play, even if he doesn't have the elite physical ability he had years ago, and hopefully some team finds a role in which he can excel at next season.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Report: Patriots won't franchise Welker

It appears that the chances of Wes Welker leaving the New England Patriots just went up.

A source close to the Patriots said the team "is simply not willing to place an $11.4 million franchise tag" on the 31-year old veteran.

This doesn't really surprise me as Welker hasn't really had a spectacular season recently. Yeah, he's been decent. But that only gets you so much money. If he's not going to be the Adrian Peterson equivalent of a wide receiver, then it's not worth emptying out your wallet on him. I'm not saying that Welker has no chance of returning, but I am saying that I wouldn't be surprised if he receives a pay cut.

Greg Jennings listed as top Free Agent WR on market

Former Packers WR Greg Jennings has been listed as the top receiver on this year's free agent market. Jennings is expected to make a lot of money after spending his first seven seasons in Green Bay.

This was reported first at, who had Jennings listed as #1. Here is the rest of their top ten:

1. Greg Jennings
2. Wes Welker
3. Dwayne Bowe
4. Mike Wallace
5. Danny Amendola
6. Brian Hartline
7. Brandon Gibson
8. Domenik Hixon
9. Randy Moss
10. Johnny Knox

In his career, Jennings has made two Pro Bowls(2010,2011), the All Rookie Team(2006), won Super Bowl XLV, and ranked the 56th best player in the league as of 2012. With those accomplishments, it's not too surprising that he is receiving this high praise.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Eagles won't trade QB Foles

According to CSNPhilly, the Eagles will not trade quarterback Nick Foles unless they are "blown away" by an offer.

Foles is gaining a lot of interest, the most coming from the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs are now coached by former-Eagles coach Andy Reid, who drafted Foles in the third-round last year. Foles played in seven games last year under Reid, making six starts late in the season.

The Chiefs' biggest need is easily a quarterback. Right now, they are stuck with Brady Quinn and Matt Cassel, who went 2-14 last year as they shared the starting job. As much as they want Foles, it won't happen if the other team wants to keep him. Looks like it will be a another depressing season for the fans in the heartland.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Packers Have Released Charles Woodson

While I expected him to be asked to take a pay cut and I thought he'd be willing to re-structure his contract under the right terms, the Green Bay Packers have decided instead it was time to part ways with CB Charles Woodson.
The Packers had not discussed with him whether he'd be willing to take a pay cut, so they must have decided on their own that they could not have re-negotiated on favorable terms. Or maybe they think that their younger players like S Jerron McMillian and S M.D. Jennings had moved ahead of him on the depth chart.

Maybe they're concerned about his pair of recent collarbone injuries. He broke his during the Super Bowl in 2011 and then he broke it again in 2012. However, I don't think that's the entire story. The combination of age (he'll turn 37 next season), expense (he was scheduled to make $9 million next season), and young players currently on the roster (S Morgan Burnett, McMillian, Jennings) have all played a part in this decision.

The Packers are not an organization that hangs onto high priced veterans for backup roles. It's apparent they don't think he's worth $9 million next season, but would they have kept him for half the price if they still felt he was a full-time starter? Do they think he's not even good enough to start?

I don't have all the answers to these questions, but the fact that they didn't discuss a pay cut and made the release official late Friday, the week before a holiday next Monday, is a sign that they're trying to hide the news that they've released a popular player who should be expected to play elsewhere next season.

GM Ted Thompson had nothing but praise for Woodson in the official statement announcing his release. He's had a remarkable seven year career with the Packers, which includes four Pro Bowl appearance, he's twice been named First-Team, All-Pro, and won the 2009 Defensive Player of the Year award. That sounds like a Hall of Fame career, and it doesn't even include his four Pro Bowl appearances and his All-Pro selection in 1999 as a member of the Raiders. And his career is not over.

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this one. This doesn't feel like the right move, Woodson still has some football left in him, but GM Ted Thompson usually makes the right call on these major roster moves. If nothing else, it's been an incredible career for Woodson, who ends his time in Green Bay as one of the greatest Packers I have ever had the chance to watch play.

Vikings enhance logo

Yesterday, the Minnesota Vikings showed their new slightly-different logo to the media. The team called the logo more "sharper" and "defined" than their old one.

Some differences with the logo are the horns being a different shape, thicker lines on the mustache, a brighter gold, and a shorter braid. It was tough to find these and, honestly, I think that this new idea is stupid. It's barely noticeable and I don't see what they're gaining from this. But, I guess they get attention.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Packers Free Agency: Who Might Return In 2013?

When the Green Bay Packers have let a player become an unrestricted free agent in recent years, it's a pretty good sign that they don't intend to bring him back. One recent exception was LB Erik Walden, who re-signed last year for near the veteran's minimum, but he might have hurt more than he helped last season.
RB Cedric Benson, RB Ryan Grant, WR Greg Jennings, ILB Brad Jones, and OLB Erik Walden are all unrestricted free agents.

TE Tom Crabtree, C Evan Dietrich-Smith, ILB Rob Francois, CB Sam Shields, and OLB Frank Zombo are all restricted free agents. Since the restricted free agent market is for all practical purposes extinct, those players aren't going anywhere. They will sign modest one-year contracts to return, unless the Packers decide they don't want them back at any price. I'd expect them all to return for the start of training camp.

Do you see the Packers re-signing any of their unrestricted free agents?

They might wait until April, but they could re-sign Cedric Benson. They were pretty happy with his style of running before his season ending foot injury, and if he can pass a physical, he might return as the veteran alternative to RB DuJuan Harris or any back they add in the draft.

Jennings will probably be too expensive, despite what these former GMs think, because there are some teams with money to spend. All it takes is one serious suitor for Jennings to become too expensive.

Both Grant and Walden were allowed to leave last year and only played roles with the team because of injuries. I don't think the Packers will bring them back to do the same thing in 2013.

The Packers would probably like Brad Jones to return, but after a year of starting at inside linebacker, he might look for a starting job elsewhere. He might even find some team willing to let him start and pay him a couple million per year over the next few years. That's not a lot of money, but the Packers would only use him as a special teams player and backup linebacker, so a couple million is too much to pay him.

In the end, the Packers probably won't re-sign any unrestricted free agents before March, but they could return later in the month.

Cedric Benson pays fines for 3 citations

Packer RB Cedric Benson has paid fines for three citations in eastern Wisconsin.

The Manitowoc County clerk said that Benson paid a $200 animal charge after after neighbors complained that Benson's dogs were running loose.

Benson paid another $650 for an in incident in January, where he drove 41 MPH over the speed limit.

It has also been reported that Benson may face another animal charge. In December, his dogs escaped onto a local farm and attacked several calves. The calves had several deep leg wounds. Benson claims that the dogs escaped despite the fact that he put up a fence to contain them, which sounds believable enough. The case is scheduled for Wednesday.

Only one thing is for sure, it has been a horrible offseason for Cedric Benson.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

2013 Free Agency: The Should Packers Just Avoid It

I'm not predicting, and I haven't read that anyone is predicting, the Green Bay Packers to be players in the 2013 free agent market. That's probably a very good thing because there are teams with a lot of salary cap room and at least some of them seem willing to spend:
I'm not entirely confident in the accuracy of this list of the top 2013 free agents, but I wouldn't be want to make any of them one of the highest paid players at their respective positions. Except I think there might be a team or two willing to do it.

As usual, it's probably for the best if GM Ted Thompson stays away from the free agent market. Even the late signings, like re-signing LB Erik Walden last April for $725,000, might have hurt more than it helped because Walden graded out by Pro Football Focus as one of the worst pass rushers in the league. While signing C Jeff Saturday wasn't a success, they made the right decision by deciding C Scott Wells wasn't worth the risk. He was their biggest free agent loss last year but he just underwent another surgery after an injury filled 2012 season.

The brilliant signing of CB Charles Woodson back in 2006 is the free agent exception to the rule. Once every several years, a player like Woodson is available, but in general, if an unrestricted free agent's current team decides he isn't worth the cost, then he probably isn't worth it to the Packers either.

Panthers to renovate stadium after 2013 season

Carolina Panthers President Danny Morrison said that the team plans to begin renovating their stadium after the 2013 season and that the project would likely take two years to complete. The plan will cost about $297 million.

Morrison said that the team's goal is to better the experience of all 74k thousand fans.

"He gave us directions that the majority of plans need to be for 74,000 fans, not just premium seating," Morrison said. "That list we've came up with affects all 74,000 fans. We also wanted to retain our classic designed stadium in a park but also bring it to the forefront with modern technology."

The Panthers are the second team to announce that they will renovate their stadium this offseason. The Raiders were the first.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

NFL already making plans for bad weather at 2014 Super Bowl

This week, as you already know, the Northeast was hit by massive snowstorm. This brings up the question of, 'what will the the league do of this happens next year, the week of Super Bowl XLVIII.'

Early February is a time filled with winter weather, so it wouldn't be a surprise if NYC is hit again like this. The league is prepping by possibly delaying the game many days or, if bad weather is in the forecast, just playing it on Saturday.

"You know it will be a lot cooler, but there will be a lot of people and transportation issues regardless," said Jeff Miller, NFL vice president of security. "When you have a lot of moving parts and large crowds, you are moving on transportation systems already overloaded with daily commuters, so you've got some issues to deal with."

I have a good feeling that this experiment will go wrong. Even if the game ends up being exciting, it will be too cold. The league will go back to warmer places in the south. So, to all the Packer fans who want it at Lambeau, it probably will never happen.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Vick staying put in Philly

Eagles coach Chip Kelly has made the strange decision to keep Michael Vick.

According to Fox Sports and the NFL Network, the Eagles are working out a restructured contract with the veteran quarterback. The report was also confirmed by the Eagles website.

Although Vick is coming back, it doesn't mean that he will start. Nick Foles started for most of last year, and the Eagles will likely sign another QB before the season starts. If he ends up playing terrible, they can always cut or trade him. Vick will be a free agent in 2014.

Will 2013 Be The Year Rodgers Gets Paid?

I'm glad to see that the Green Bay Packers' contract negotiations with QB Aaron Rodgers aren't being aired out in the media. If he has any complaints, he's keeping them private:
Rodgers is scheduled to be paid $9.75 million in 2013, which is about half the annual contract value paid to Drew Brees and Peyton Manning. I'm a little surprised the Packers didn't address this last year, but Brees signed his new contract so late (last July) that it was probably was too hard to wait for him to sign and fit a similar deal under the 2012 salary cap for Rodgers.

This situation seems to be playing out similar to Tom Brady's contract in 2010. He played until 2010 under a six-year contract he signed in 2004. Rodgers is currently signed to a six year contract through the 2014 season. The good news is that it all ended well in New England; Brady signed an extension in 2010 that made him the highest paid player (at that time). I'd expect the same for Rodgers and the Packers.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Packers have 6th toughest schedule in 2013

The 2013 NFL schedule were released recently, and the Packers weren't forgotten about. The Packers, who's nationally televised games often draw high ratings, have been given the sixth hardest schedule in the league.

When you combine the records of the Packers' opponents, it is 136-119-1, a .533 winning percentage. Here are the only other five teams with tougher schedules:

1. Panthers (.543 opponents' winning percentage)

2. Lions .539

3. Saints .539

4. Rams .539

5. Ravens .535

And the remaining strength of schedule rankings:

7. Cardinals .520

8. Dolphins .520

9. 49ers .520

10. Vikings .516

11. Seahawks 516

12. Bengals .508

13. Jaguars .508

14. Patriots .508

15. Falcons .504

16. Bears .502

17. Bucs .500

18. Redskins .498

19. Jets .496

20 Eagles .496

21. Browns .492

22. Steelers .496

23. Titans .488

24. Giants .480

25. Cowboys .480

26. Bills .473

27. Texans .473

28. Chiefs .473

29. Raiders .469

30. Colts .461

31. Chargers .457

32. Broncos .430

Somehow the 13-3 Broncos got the easiest one. Who else thinks that's stupid?

Friday, February 08, 2013

Eagles DE Trent Cole has hand surgery

Philadelphia Eagles' DE Trent Cole reportedly had surgery this week to fix a problem with his hand, according to USA Today.

The Eagles haven't yet announced this, but it's not that big of a deal. Worst-case scenario has Cole missing part of Spring. So if you're an Eagles fan, there isn't anything to worry about.

This year Cole will be payed $5.1 million, making him very valuable to an Eagles team that went just 4-12 this past season. Cole had just 3 sacks all year.

Packer Fans Want Jermichael Finley To Return In 2013

After an unimpressive 2012 season, I've been thinking that either TE Jermichael Finley is going to be asked to take a big pay cut or he won't return to the Green Bay Packers.

A couple years ago, it looked like Finley was on the verge of becoming that one player who would draw the defense's attention because the Packers would use him as a receiver or a tight end and he was a match-up problem for both cornerbacks and linebackers. But last season he didn't look like a special player. Instead he was a decent blocker who contributed a little as a receiver; he was the No. 13 ranked TE according to Football Outsiders. He's a nice player to have around but not when he'll earn $8.25 million in 2013.

I didn't think a lot of Packer fans would be concerned about losing him this offseason, but it looks like I was wrong.
Neither TE D.J. Williams or TE Ryan Taylor did much in 2012 but I would expect their combined production in 2013 would be similar to Finley in 2012 if they replaced him next season. Or should the Packers keep Finley for 2013, no matter the financial cost?

Harbaugh: 'A penalty is a penalty no matter when it occurs'

The most controversial play of this year's Super Bowl was definitely the kind of pass interference on the Ravens' Jimmy Smith that wasn't called. The play was on a fourth and goal, so if you're a 49ers fan I understand your point.

But on the other end, we all know that Jim Harbaugh has a temper. He's probably just looking for an excuse as to why his team lost. Bottom line, I can't believe him because he is crazy. Today, Harbaugh releases these statements:

"I would say it exactly like Bill Polian: A penalty is a penalty no matter when it occurs in a game," he told KBWF-FM radio via

"It could occur in the first play of the game. It could occur on the last play of the game, or any play in between. That's the rules of football. You let 'em play or let 'em get away with something. Which would you rather have? Let's play the rules of the game. ... If there's a penalty then it's a penalty -- doesn't matter what kind of game. ... It's the rules of football. If it's a penalty, you call it. If you see it, you call it. That's how I feel about it."

Make sure to remember, that no matter what he says, the Ravens are still the Super Bowl Champs.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Donald Driver Has A Final Farewell At Lambeau

I didn't watch the ceremony and instead browsed through the pictures available online. It wasn't a gigantic crowd but over 1,000 people filled the atrium at Lambeau Field for WR Donald Driver's official retirement announcement.
He's had a great career but it's time. Actually I'm really impressed on how well he's timed it. Though he was only a bit player in 2011, he still had a good season and his career didn't seem over. Obviously the Packers thought the same because they brought him back for 2012. But Driver himself knew it couldn't last forever, telling reporters in May 2012 that he would only play for one or two more seasons.

And he vanished by the end of the 2012 season. The fact that he couldn't play ahead of WR Jarrett Boykin and WR Jeremy Ross was an obvious sign of decline. Part of him might think he can still play and start in the NFL, but the odds are that he can't. Instead, he's leaving on a high note, having won a Super Bowl ring in 2011 and play for two more full seasons. If he hadn't retired, he would have gone through the process of trying to stay when the Packers most likely did want him to return.

A Lambeau Field hosted retirement announcement, with all the Packers' past and present team leaders (plus the Governor) was an appropriate send-off for one of their best all-time players.

Raiders will drop stadium capacity

Since moving back to Oakland in 1995, the Raiders have struggled to sell tickets and get fans in the stands. Now, in an effort to avoid blackouts, they will drop stadium capacity at the Oakland Coliseum.

In what the organization is calling a "capacity adjustment," the Raiders are planning to block off 28 sections of the upper deck at Coliseum, according to Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. This will include sections 335 through 355, derisively known by locals as Mount Davis.

The Capacity for Raider games will drop from 64,200 to 53,200. It now has the fewest seats of any stadium in the NFL.

"Our hope, our desire, is a new stadium at that site," Raiders CEO Amy Trask said. "This is the tool we're using this year to create that vibrant community of season-ticket holders."

The obvious solution that would help sell tickets would be if they just won. They haven't made the playoffs since '02 and were 4-12 last season.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

2013 Draft Needs: Which Position Should The Packers Target

Walter Football ran through it's list of the Green Bay Packers 2013 team needs and I pretty much agree with it, though it's somewhat of a surprise to see wide receiver listed ahead of outside linebacker. However, GM Ted Thompson has been known to draft wide receivers early, even when it didn't seem like an obvious need, which is important because QB Aaron Rodgers isn't nearly as good if he can't trust his receivers. While the Packers need to replace LB Erik Walden, the return of 1st round LB Nick Perry should be the answer to that problem. Adding depth might be important but that can be addressed later in the draft, and I'll be interested to see if LB Dezman Moses can improve next season because he has potential.

The one position not mentioned by Walter Football was the defensive line, which should not be overlooked. Their only current lineman with any star potential is B.J. Raji and he hasn't been his best over the past two seasons. Also, the other linemen (Ryan Pickett, C.J. Wilson, Mike Neal, Mike Daniels) are a collection of role players. There isn't an every down lineman on the roster except Raji. The possible loss of Jerel Worthy for the entire 2013 season isn't going to help either.

Another reason to target the defensive line is that it's the deepest group in the 2013 draft. There should be a lot of defensive lineman taken early. At the end of the 1st round, the Packers might still be able to find a great defensive lineman available, similar to their 2010 selection of Bryan Bulaga (he was the sixth offensive lineman taken in the top 23 picks).

This is also a good draft for offensive lineman and the Packers have a glaring need at center. However, GM Ted Thompson hasn't used a 2nd or 3rd round pick on an interior lineman since 2006 (Daryn Colledge, Jason Spitz), so it's a position I expect he'll fill later in the draft.

As Todd McShay wrote about 2013, "It's not a good TV draft" so it's not a year to draft a quarterback or running back early. Which is perfect for the Packers because they need help and depth at the two positions that are loaded in the draft; offensive and defensive line. The addition of a top tier running back would be a big help too, but it doesn't look like that caliber of player is available in the 2013 draft. However, the players they likely target next April on either the offensive or defensive line will probably provide an immediate boost and will probably represent a great value relative to the Packers' position near the end of each round.

Rodgers wants Favre to re-join Packers Family

After the awkward reunion while presenting the Comeback Player of the Year Award, Aaron Rodgers has said that Brett Favre and the Packers should bury the hatchet.

On Tuesday, Rodgers went on ESPN Radio and said this:

"As the face of the franchise now," Rodgers said, "(it's) a role that I take very seriously. I have the responsibility and enjoy having the opportunity to represent my team. I think it's important to realize that it is probably time to move forward."

Rodgers also said that he and Favre talked on the phone the night of the award ceremony.

"It didn't take a lot of coaxing for me to do it," Rodgers said. "I did want to sit and think about whether it was the right thing to do. I really feel very secure in my position with the team and feel good about the things that we've been able to accomplish in my five years as the starter, and feel good about the direction the organization is going in."

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

What Team Will Greg Jennings Play For In 2013

With all signs pointing to the eventual free agent departure of WR Greg Jennings from the Green Bay Packers, I was considering which team he might play for next season. I have no inside knowledge, of course, but there are a couple of teams who might seem like natural fits.

I started by looking at Walter Football's 2013 offseason pages for each team and identifying which teams have wide receiver listed as one of their top two needs. I've also excluded any team who's currently over the salary cap, which eliminates 10 possibilities. However, that leaves six teams with more cap room than the Packers currently have and a strong need at wide receiver.

Kansas City Chiefs. WR Dwayne Bowe is a free agent and no other Chiefs' receiver is among the Top 77 according to Football Outsiders. While that would seem to make Bowe a priority, the Chiefs were awful with or without him last season. Maybe the Chiefs won't do anything until they sort out their quarterback situation. Trading a younger No. 1 receiver in Bowe for an older No. 1 in Jennings might not make a lot sense either, however, new head coach Andy Reid is probably more familiar with Jennings and new Chiefs GM (and former Packers' VP) John Dorsey definitely is. They might think Jennings will be a better fit than Bowe in Reid's offense.

Miami Dolphins. Another wide receiver needy team with a lot of cap space ($35.8 million) and a former Packer (Dolphins' head coach Joe Philbin) in the house. This would seem like a natural fit, but so did QB Matt Flynn last year and he chose the Seahawks instead. GM Jeff Ireland doesn't seem to inspire confidence when free agents visit Miami either. I'd put Jennings to the Dolphins as the No. 1 possibility if it weren't for the odd behavior from the Dolphins' front office.

Seattle Seahawks. With WR Sidney Rice and WR Golden Tate on the roster, Jennings would seem like an extreme luxury. However, I could see them drafting a young wide receiver in the first round who could take over for Rice if his injury-prone past reappears. But I don't see them pursuing Jennings.

Minnesota Vikings. There might not be a team more in need at wide receiver than the Vikings. I'd be shocked if they didn't at least inquire about Jennings. However, they don't have a huge amount of cap room ($16.1 million) and they might want to address multiple needs instead of using most of their space on him.

Houston Texans. Despite another playoff appearance, their offense slumped last season, coming in at No. 16 according to Football Outsiders. If they're sticking with QB Matt Schaub, then they might want to get him some more help at receiver. They don't have a lot of cap room ($12.9 million) but they might view Jennings as the one player they need to advance for a team built to win now.

New England. Speaking of another playoff disappointment, the Patriots might be parting ways with WR Wes Welker and QB Tom Brady isn't getting any younger. Other than the Seahawks, this seems like his least likely destination, but they could afford him and they might need a receiver.

In the end, I don't see a clear favorite for Jennings this offseason. Someone's going to sign him to a big contract, but there are a lot of moving parts in this decision. And he might have to wait until WR Mike Wallace and/or WR Dwayne Bowe is signed for the market to be set. I'd like to see him with the Texans because it's his best chance to win another title, and I hope the Vikings pass on him.

Former Chargers LB Walt Sweeney dies at 71

Walt Sweeney, a San Diego Chargers legend and fan favorite, has died at 71.

Sweeney died of pancreatic cancer on Saturday.

Sweeney was drafted by the Chargers out of Syracuse in the 1963 AFL Draft, and stayed with the them when the AFL and NFL merged in 1970. He is currently in the Chargers Hall of Fame.

Sweeney made nine AFL All-Star Game/Pro Bowl appearances in his career. He also played in 181 consecutive games at one point.

Of his 13 NFL seasons, 11 of them were in San Diego. The other two were with the Washington Redskins.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Lessons From The Ravens' Super Bowl Win Over The 49ers

As a Green Bay Packers' fan, I was hoping for a 49ers victory to justify the Packers' earlier loss to them. At least the Packers lost to the Super Bowl champs for the second year in a row! It would have been a small consolation, but it's as close as I could come to caring about this game.

While I didn't watch much of it, I did catch the entire 30 minute power outage (bad timing on my part) so I'm not going to break down match-ups that I wasn't watching closely. Thoughout the playoffs, it's seemed like it's been QB Joe Flacco showing up big at the right time. The Ravens won when he's played well. He recorded a QB rating of over 100 six times during the 2012 regular season and the Ravens were 5-1 in those games. During their 4-0 playoff run, he was above 100 in each of their wins.

I think the key lesson here is to make the playoffs and hope your team catches fire (in this case Joe Flacco) at the right time. Here's what Football Outsiders wrote before the Ravens' first playoff game:
The 2012 Baltimore Ravens just weren't really very good. They were essentially an average team on offense and defense that happened to have the league's best special teams. Special teams do matter, but they have a much higher variability than offense or defense. You can't trust special teams to get you a win on their own. While the Colts are the weakest team in the AFC field, the Ravens are the second-weakest if you take out special teams.
While most predictions expected the Ravens to beat the Colts, they were far from an overwhelming favorite. I didn't even look up their next two playoff wins at Denver and New England, but I'd expect they were generally expected to lose. In the Super Bowl, an average Ravens' defense did just enough, Jacoby Jones returned a kickoff for a touchdown on special teams, and Flacco's deep ball turned their offense into a very good one. You can't say you saw it coming based on the regular season, but the Ravens played their best at the right time and won the championship.

Maybe the Packers were just that close to winning a championship too. If their defense could have been average (instead of record setting awful) against the 49ers, and WR Jeremy Ross could have returned a kick for a score (instead of fumbling it away), it was a playoff game the Packers could have won. It's not that hard to imagine.

Power outage delays Super Bowl

Last night, during the biggest football game of the year, a power outage struck the New Orleans Super Dome and delayed the game for 34 minutes.

"All of our distribution and transmission feeds going into the Superdome were operating as expected," said Philip Allison, a spokesman for Entergy New Orleans said.

He went on to say that the blackout was likely caused by a failure in equipment maintained by stadium staff. Even the CBS broadcast booth went silent.

As you probably already know, the Ravens went on to withstand a 49ers rally and win, 34-31.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Favre, Rodgers present Comeback Player of the Year Award

Last night, current Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and former QB Brett Favre presented the Comeback Player of the Year Award. The two haven't spoken since 2008, when Favre attempted to return to Green Bay.

Here's how their night went:
Rodgers: We're here to present the award for best comeback player.

Favre: You know Aaron, everyone loves when a great player makes a comeback.

Rodgers: Yeah, not always. Sometimes … some people wish that great players would retire and just stay retired.

Favre: Good to see you, Aaron.

Rodgers: You too, man.

Afterwards, Rodgers called the situation "awkward."

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Packers missed Ray Lewis by one pick in 1996 Draft

In the spring of 1996, Ray Lewis was a middle linebacker at the University of Miami. Many teams considered him too small, the Packers not being one of them.

The Packers had the 27th pick that year, while the Ravens had the 26th. The Packers had already made their decision to draft Lewis, while the Ravens were undecided. The Ravens eventually chose Lewis, and you know the rest.

"That's what happened," Kansas City Chiefs general manager John Dorsey told Milwaukee Journal Sentinal reporter Bob McGinn. "You never know."

It's fun to think about this kind of stuff. Imagine if the Ravens didn't get him, we would've seen #52 play alongside Reggie White. And the monumental collapse that the Packers defense had in last year's playoffs wouldn't have happened if Lewis was there screaming.

Friday, February 01, 2013

2013 Packers Salary Cap: Jennings, Woodson, Hawk and Finley

As Kevin Seifert notes in his recent ESPN article, "Salary cap figures are fluid this time of the year for accounting reasons" so it might be impossible to know the complete picture. While the Packers aren't in a dire salary cap position, unlike some teams, they do have to make some choices within a limited budget.

The first player to feel it's effects may have been WR Greg Jennings, who's seen the writing on the wall and put his Green Bay area home up for sale. While he isn't as critical to the offense as he was a couple years ago, he can still play and he should be a big contributor over the next couple seasons, if he can remain healthy. But he's missed a lot of games over the past couple seasons and he'll turn 30 next season, so his next contract will carry some risks. I can understand why the team would decide to part ways with him but his loss is not insignificant.

The always excellent John Clayton says the Packers have $7.1 million in salary cap space, but that might not be enough to accommodate upcoming extensions for QB Aaron Rodgers and LB Clay Matthews. So Kevin Seifert sees a couple of salary cap moves that may need to be made:
Defensive back Charles Woodson, linebacker A.J. Hawk and tight end Jermichael Finley are scheduled to count a combined $25.8 million against the Packers' 2013 salary cap. Releasing them before June 1 would save $20.5 million, but none of those Big Decisions are simple. 
It's not simple because all three of them can still play, though they might be overpaid and they might not be interested in taking a pay cut. Unfortunately none of them were major contributors in 2012 and they aren't helping improve the offensive line or the defensive front seven. Hawk may arguably be an addition by subtraction since he was part of the unit that struggled badly against the 49ers.

Some of the moves they make this offseason may come back to bite them, but GM Ted Thompson has never avoided difficult choices such choosing Rodgers over Favre. While Jennings is very unlikely to return, I could still see Woodson, Hawk and/or Finley back under the right contract. However, there is a real possibility that none of them return next season.

Reed says Goodell 'needs more help at the fining process'

Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed said today that commissioner Roger Goodell "needs more help at the fining process." Reed's one of those guys who likes to make big hits, so this really isn't a huge surprise.

Here is the full statement:
"If you're just somebody who is upstairs just wearing a suit who is just fining people and stuff like that for the wrong things; we're policing the wrong things," Reed said. "I really don't know what to say about our commissioner, honestly. It's probably more him and his staff that came up with the things that we're being fined for. It's not just Mr. Goodell. I think he needs more help at the fining process and not just have do-boys that want to please you.

"That was my first impression of it so I decided I would stay as far away as possible, just stay away from the principal."

Reed then complained that he has been unfairly fined over the course of his career.

"The way they have fined me has been ridiculous honestly. .. I think I topped the charts."