Sunday, March 31, 2013

Tony Romo signs six-year extension with Cowboys

Yesterday, the world heard the news that Tony Romo had signed a six-year extension with the Cowboys. The deal is worth $180 million.

The deal will not go into effect until after the 2013 season. So, it appears the Cowboys have some time to wonder why they did this? This has got to be the stupidest deal I've ever seen. Romo's a solid QB, but he's not worth all that money. He can barely get them to the playoffs. What are they thinking?

The Joe Flacco signing earlier this offseason was only for $121 million. And that guy had just won a Super Bowl. What did Romo's team do this year? They went 8-8 and missed the playoffs. This signing is just stupid. I'll never understand this.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Packers kicker Crosby to have competition in training camp

According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal, longtime Packers kicker Mason Crosby will have to compete with the recently signed Giorgio Tavecchio for the 2013 starting job. The Packers signed Tavecchio Tuesday.

Last season, Tavecchio spent time in training camp with the 49ers before being cut near the end. In four seasons playing for the University of California, he made 48 of 64 attempts, good for 75%.

I would like to have this guy start instead of Crosby because Crosby's inconsistency has become intolerable. He does not deserve the job anymore. Unless he really heats up in the preseason, I think they should cut him.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Will Aaron Rodgers Receive A New Contract Because The Packers Miss Out On Free Agents?

ESPN reported that the Green Bay Packers are on the verge of paying QB Aaron Rodgers an obscene amount of money. Unfortunately that's not a big surprise, I've been expecting it all offseason. So I didn't have anything to say about it until I read this article from Rob Demovsky:
Without having anyone confirm it on record, his speculation is that the Packers probably met with Rodgers's agent, David Dunn, who was at the NFL annual meetings at the same time as the rest of the Packers' front office, and they probably made some progress on negotiations. That's a lot of speculation, but it certainly sounds possible.

What his article got me thinking about was whether the Packers lack of success in re-signing WR Greg Jennings has opened the door to more salary cap room for Rodgers in 2013. If the Packers had re-signed Jennings, and even TE Tom Crabtree, I think they could have pitched the idea to Rodgers that they've spent so much on free agents that now don't have enough room over the next couple years to extend him. Since free agency was a bust, they started talking to David Dunn about an extension for Rodgers last week.

There was some talk a couple weeks ago about making Rodgers play out the remainder of his contract, which is something other teams with elite quarterbacks have been willing to do (Drew Brees and the Saints, Peyton Manning and the Colts). But usually the Packers have re-worked contracts when players were underpaid based on their performance, such as when they extended Charles Woodson and increased his base salary after he was named defensive player of the year in 2009.

It seems like the Packers put themselves in a good position. If they had made some moves in free agency, then Rodgers would have probably been content with a lesser salary over the next couple years. But when it didn't work out, they can now take care of their best player by giving him a new contract.

Packers beginning contract talks with Rodgers

Finally, a few weeks after deciding that they wanted to sign Rodgers to a new contract before the 2013 season, the Packers have started negotiating with Rodgers' agent. The star QB is set to make $19.75 million next season.

If a new contract does get done, Aaron's expected to make more than that each year for what will likely be many. I don't care how much they have to pay him as long as he signs. If they don't get him signed this offseason, I will see it as a failure and other teams will begin looking at him since he's gonna be a free agent after 2014. If you don't believe that there's a chance that he could leave Green Bay in a few years, you should look at the Wes Welker drama. He and the Pats were talking for years about a new deal that never got done. Now, he's a Bronco.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Former Packers QB Flynn drawing interest from multiple teams

According to, former Packers QB Matt Flynn is drawing interest from multiple teams. Among them, the Jaguars, Bills, and Raiders. As of now, the Jaguars appear to be the front runner.

Flynn played for the Packers from 2008-2011, his first three seasons. In his last game, Flynn broke a then-Packers record with 6 touchdowns and 480 yards in a 45-41 win over the Lions. The win improved the Packers record that year to 15-1. Last offseason, Flynn signed a three-year, $19.5 million dollar deal with the Seahawks. But he ended up rarely playing after rookie Russell Wilson was named the starter.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Free Agent Safety Michael Huff To Visit The Packers

UPDATE: Huff ended up signing with the Ravens for three years and $6 million. That's not a lot, but it might be more than the Packers were even willing to offer. At the bottom of this post, I guessed that the Packers might offer three years and $5 million. With Huff out of the picture, is it possible the Packers might pursue another veteran safety?

Now that the first crazy days of free agency are over, the Green Bay Packers have become free agent buyers as players' demands become more reasonable.
There's absolutely no way that Huff will earn close to the $8 million he was scheduled to receive next season from the Raiders. Tom Silverstein wrote that "The Packers are probably looking to get Huff on the cheap knowing that he doesn't have a lot of options." That was my first thought too, after seeing that Huff's only other visits have been with the Cowboys (zero cap room) and the Ravens (who have been letting more free agents leave then they've signed).

There's a couple problems with this thought. First, the Packers don't usually sign veterans to provide depth. They look for rookies or young veterans like M.D. Jennings to provide depth and play on special teams. Second, Huff is probably better than Jennings. While he's not a great player, and he was overpaid by the Raiders, Huff can play a passable corner and he started at safety and cornerback last season. He could replace Jennings as the every down safety while S Jerron McMillian plays in the nickel like he did last season.

The Packers do have salary cap space available, and they currently aren't overpaying at the safety position; every safety on the roster is playing on their cheap rookie contract. If the Packers are offering a starting job and a contract similar to the one the Patriots just gave to S Adrian Wilson (three-years, $5 million), that might be enough to get the job done.

Packers roster ranked sixth strongest in league by

Yesterday, presented their strongest 2013 rosters, with the Packers finishing in sixth. I'm kinda surprised that they missed the top five, since the 5 team was the New England Patriots. In my opinion, if those two teams had played each other in the regular season, whether it was in Green Bay or New England, the Packers would've won. I don't know if it would've been a blow out, but it still would've been a win.

The website stated that the Pack need to fix their offensive line. I couldn't agree more. Rodgers gets sacked way too often and needs much more protection.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Jermichael Finley to remain with Packers

According to, Packers TE Jermichael Finley's deadline day has arrived which means that he will stay with Green Bay for the 2013 season. Finely tweeted earlier that he is "ecstatic to be back" with the team that will pay him $8.25 million next season.

I'm not sure if I'm happy or not about this news. Finley drops a ton of balls and really isn't as good as people say he is. But I can't find anyone who's better than him currently available. Might as well deal with what you have. All they need to work on with him is helping him catch passes. If he can do that, he'll easily be the best tight end in the league.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Jermichael Finley Is Staying With The Packers

It's been a source of speculation for months, ever since Bob McGinn wrote last December that the Green Bay Packers were planning to release TE Jermichael Finley, but it did not come to pass.
Tuesday, March 26th, is the day Finley's due a $3 million roster bonus, so it's guaranteed he'll be a Packer next season if the team decides to pay him tomorrow. Apparently he's been paid, and it happened for a few reasons.

He played better late in the season. Bob McGinn wrote his article on December 15th with three regular season games to go. After a string of 2 or 3 catch performances, Finley finished the season on a mini-tear with 18 receptions over the final three games.

Mike McCarthy was impressed with Finley's 2012 season. It was "clearly his best year" he said. There's plenty of room to disagree, Finley's not much of a blocker and was missing in action as a big-play threat, but McCarthy was impressed with his route running on "two-yard drag routes." McCarthy said this in late February, after he had re-watched the video for the entire season, so it was fresh in his mind.

Greg Jennings signed with the Vikings. We will never know if the Packers would have released Finley if they could have re-signed Jennings, but that's what might have happened. It was reported that they were choosing between the two players. As I wrote at the time, allowing Jennings and Finley to depart would have left them thin at receiver, so keeping Finley now makes a lot of sense.

I recently read a quote from baseball GM Andy McPhail that there's no such thing as a bad one year contract. Even if Finley doesn't work out next season, the Packers will suffer no salary cap penalty by allowing him to sign elsewhere in free agency. However, the most likely scenario is that Finley does help make them better, especially if they stand him up more as a wide receiver, and there's still reason to believe that the soon to be 26 year old (his birthday is tomorrow) can improve. It's a good move, even if his 2013 salary makes him look more valuable than he actually is on the field.

Ravens to open season on road

Well, MLB and the NFL couldn't get a deal done. If you don't know what I'm talking about, the Ravens wanted to start the season at home in a Thursday night game. But the Orioles, who play across the street, are already scheduled to play that night. The leagues talked about moving the game to earlier in the afternoon, but ultimately decided that a road game for the Ravens would be best.

I like both these sports, so I'm pretty happy that baseball stood it's ground. In an age when football seems to be taking over as the pastime, baseball finally stood up for itself. Finally, they didn't suck up to the NFL. Thank you Bud Selig.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Bears officially replace Urlacher; sign D.J. Williams

According to the Chicago Tribune, the Bears, after deciding not to re-sign longtime linebacker Brian Urlacher just a few days ago, have signed former Broncos LB D.J. Williams. The deal is for one year and worth $900,000 dollars plus incentives.

Speaking from a Bears point of view, this move is a very smart one. The deal that Urlacher rejected was for a year and $2 million. Instead of signing a guy who wouldn't produce, they sign a better player for $300,000 dollars less. Williams was pretty good last year in Denver and all he will do in Chicago is make the team better. This deal doesn't involve any risk and makes their defense look much more threatening.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Should the Packers go after Brian Urlacher?

I know that there's gotta be somebody out there who wants former Bears LB Brian Urlacher to sign with the Packers. But I'm here to tell you that that move would be nothing but a stupid waste of money. Let's be honest, Bear or Packer, Urlacher isn't what he used to be. He has gone from the best LB in football to an always-injured non-productive veteran who only plays because of his history. Right now, the Packers are fine with their linebacker situation. Clay Matthews is an absolute beast while Urlacher is the exact opposite. Although Urlacher would probably sign for a small amount of cash, he still wouldn't be worth it. If they do sign him, it would be nothing more than a publicity stunt.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Surprisingly, The Packers Re-Sign Brad Jones For A Lot Of Money

Because of season ending injuries to ILB Desmond Bishop and ILB D.J. Smith, the Green Bay Packers were forced to go to their third option, and they gave fourth year LB Brad Jones ten starts (plus two playoff games) at inside linebacker. He was rarely on the highlight reel, but he did a solid job and I expected some linebacker needy team would overpay him to start next season. I wasn't expecting that team would be the Packers.
The deal also included a $3 million signing bonus, which is more than I would have ever expected him to receive. While I've started out kicking the Packers for overspending on a former backup, this kind of reminds me of two years ago when the Packers surprisingly re-signed WR James Jones. He too was given a chance to test the market and he didn't find any better offers. His contract, and production, over the past couple seasons has worked out very well for everyone involved. A $3 million signing bonus is a lot, but it's less than the $8 million bonus LB A.J. Hawk received two years ago.

Jones's stats weren't too impressive in 2012 (77 tackles, 2 sacks, 4 pass defenses, 1 forced fumble), but the guys over at Pro Football Focus have been saying good things about him all year. When they ranked the free agent linebackers before the start of free agency, he was ranked as their third best linebacker available. The only linebacker with a higher grade last season was Philip Wheeler, who received a surprising 5 year, $26 million contract from the Dolphins. Pro Football Focus gave Jones high marks against the run and in coverage, and an inside linebacker who can do both well is a valuable player.

Still, there are a lot of concerns here. Jones began the 2012 season behind three other players at inside linebacker, and he wasn't even being considered at outside linebacker anymore. Last season might have been his ceiling, a career best in a contract year, and it might have been better to find an impact player in the draft. Also, GM Ted Thompson has a bad habit of giving long-term contracts to linebackers who haven't been worth it (Brady Poppinga, Brandon Chillar, A.J. Hawk).

Jones's play on the field last year earned him the chance to start, but I rather it have been another team. Still, you can't guarantee they'll find an immediate starter in the draft, and I wasn't really eager to see Bishop return as the starter next season, his performance dropped off in 2011 even before his injury, so they probably made the right decision by choosing Jones over Bishop. Hawk's recently restructured deal probably keeps him secure and I don't expect the Packers will pay both Jones and Bishop like starters. It's a lateral move for a defense that needed to get better, but since Jones wasn't directly part of the problem on defense, maybe he can become part of something better next season.

Greg Jennings thanks Packers fans with ad in JS

Earlier this week, former Packers WR Greg Jennings thanked Green Bay fans with a one-page ad in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal. I don't know why athletes do this, because it's kinda stupid. His departure didn't change my opinion of him at all because the truth is, he wasn't that good. The reason why it was such a big deal when Favre left was because Favre was the Packers. Jennings just isn't that. Jennings was a solid receiver, but they can live without him. I wish him only the best in Minnesota. The only time that I will route against him will obviously be when they play Green Bay.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Report: Packers hoping to sign Rodgers to new contract before season starts

According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal, signing star QB Aaron Rodgers to a new contract before the 2013 season begins "is a priority" for the Packers. Rodgers is entering the sixth year of his current seven-year contract.

All I can say about this is that it's no surprise. This is not drama. By the end of his current contract, Rodgers will definitely have a new one waiting. If the Packers want him, which they obviously do, they will re-sign him eventually. It might be in a few weeks, it might be a few years. All I can say is, it will happen.

Will Mason Crosby Remain With The Packers in 2013?

K Mason Crosby had an epic meltdown last season and only a late-season surge back to barely competent kept him from being a major lighting rod this offseason. Mike McCarthy was asked about him on Wednesday and admitted that "competition's good." The following tweet pretty much sums up my response:
2012 was an absolute disaster for Crosby. I've been writing every spring about how the Packers need to sign someone to compete against him. They don't need to use a draft pick, nearly every kicker in the NFL was either undrafted or released by some other team, but spend a few thousand bucks on a signing bonus for a rookie to see if they can do better.

The coaches have had this love of Crosby that I can't explain. Since his rookie season, when he beat out Dave Rayner in training camp, I can't recall whether the Packers have ever had a player in camp to challenge Crosby. When he was a free agent before the 2011 season, there was no doubt the Packers would re-sign him. McCarthy's comment above was the first negative comment I can recall seeing, and it took an epic collapse (among other bad games) to bring it about.

And this isn't about piling on Crosby for one bad season. Kickers are inconsistent, and bad stretches happen even to great kickers, but Crosby's been mediocre for a while. Part of his struggles result from kicking in bad, outdoor weather, and McCarthy's willingness to give him some long-range attempts that other coaches would avoid. But the past few seasons haven't been an impressive run.

2011 was his high water mark with an 86% success rate (10th best). Going back further, he was 78% in 2010 (22nd best), 75% in 2009 (25th best), 79% in 2008 (26th best), and 79% in 2007 as a rookie (24th best). Being accurate isn't everything for a kicker. Sebastian Janikowski frequently has one of the worst success rates and remains the highest paid kicker in the NFL. However, Crosby's bad 2012 season put a lot of strain on the team and his missed field goals have lost them some games in the past.

Crosby might still win the starting job next season, but here's to bringing in some competition for him this summer.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

There Could Be Some Big Changes On The Offensive Line

With the glamorous part of free agency over, the rest of the signings should come occasionally between now and before the draft, most of the interesting talk will be about who the Green Bay Packers should select in the first round.

There are several areas the Packers need to improve in, but change at some positions is probably going to come from internal options. While they need better play at safety and outside linebacker, S Jerron McMillian and LB Nick Perry are going to be given the first opportunity to make those positions better.

But one position that could use some help in the draft is the offensive line. And today, Mike McCarthy was discussing the o-line with reporters:
By mentioning three positions (LT, LG, and C), he left open a world of possibilities.

Center is the position I've been thinking about for their late first round pick. There's no center with a first round grade, but there are a couple of good players I wouldn't mind seeing them reach for. At the top of the list is Alabama's C Barrett Jones, who's won the top awards in college at RG (first team All-SEC), LT (Outland trophy) and C (Rimington Award) as the best at three different positions in three consecutive seasons. I'm a little puzzled why he only has a second round grade, but recent foot surgery and playing the less important center position are probably the culprits.

Before last season, I thought they had the left guard position solidified with T.J. Lang. But a poor 2012 season, which the above quote from Mike McCarthy confirms, now opens the door. Are they expecting better from Lang? Could they draft a left guard and move him into a backup role (maybe release)? While I think they'll stick with Lang, the possibility should be considered.

LT Marshall Newhouse did improve in 2012, but he might have hit his ceiling. However, he seems like the least likely to go because he could still get better next season. They'll probably give Derek Sherrod a chance to return from injury and prove himself before they use another first round pick on a tackle. If Sherrod can bounce back and become the future left tackle they thought he was in 2011, Newhouse might be a good candidate to push Lang at the left guard position in 2014.

We should know the status of the offensive line pretty soon. The draft is happening next month and they'll probably open OTAs the summer with what I would expect to be the starting offensive line.

Report: Colts sign Matt Hasselbeck

I don't why, but something about this signing really intrigued me. According to USA Today, the Colts have signed free-agent QB Matt Hasselbeck. Hasselbeck's attempt to succeed in Tennessee last season was a complete failure and, after being released by the Titans, he just wants to start over.

Obviously, Hasselbeck has no chance of starting for Indianapolis, but he still seems to have a solid shot at his first Super Bowl ring. Hasselbeck came close a few times while with the Seahawks, but never went all the way. Maybe he'll get it. Maybe he won't. I, personally, don't expect him to and even if he does it would be tainted by the fact that he never played.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Packers rumored to be showing interest in Ahmad Bradshaw

According to Adam Schefter, the Packers, along with the Steelers, have expressed interest in former Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw. Bradshaw was released by the Giants in early February after rushing for 1,015 yards and 6 touchdowns in 2012.

Bradshaw is the second running back that the Pack have shown interest in this offseason, with the first being Steven Jackson. Although they don't technically need a RB right now, I wouldn't mind them signing this guy. Like with most free agents, he would do nothing but improve this Green Bay team. If they can get him to accept no more than $3-$4 million, I'd take him.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Packers Received An Extra 5th Round Pick

Over the past few seasons, the Green Bay Packers have been earning compensatory picks when they keep losing players to free agency while signing few in return. Last year was no exception, though the signing of C Jeff Saturday was a major change from the past, and they'll get a compensatory pick for their loss:
Actually, it's not that bad. The pick is the 9th highest compensatory pick awarded, though the Ravens were awarded four picks in total, so they padded their organizational lead over the Packers for first place, all-time, in compensatory picks awarded (37 to 31).

The super-secret NFL formula is hard to predict, but it's known to be based on the quality of free agents lost and whether the team signed any free agents in return. Losing C Scott Wells, a Pro Bowl player in 2011, no doubt earned them some major points in the formula, but signing a Pro Bowl center (Saturday) would have taken that value away. This pick might be solely compensation for the loss of QB Matt Flynn.

Compensatory picks aren't a huge perk because they can't be traded, but sometimes one of the selections turns into a Pro Bowl guard (Josh Sitton). With a couple of recent free agent departures (Jennings and Crabtree), the Packers could use depth at both positions and might find a player to their liking in the 5th round.

GM Ted Thompson Is Looking Cheap But Will It Come Back To Haunt Him?

The final contract numbers are out for WR Greg Jennings and TE Tom Crabtree. The Green Bay Packers wanted both players back, but they didn't quite offer enough. From Bob McGinn of the Journal Sentinel:

Sources familiar with negotiations said Jennings had an offer averaging about $8 million from the Packers before he took a five-year contract from the Minnesota Vikings that averaged about $9 million. He received a $10 million signing bonus and guarantees worth $18 million.
At roughly the same time, Crabtree accepted a two-year, $1.6 million deal from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when the Packers wouldn't budge off their one-year offer worth about $700,000.

So if the Packers had agreed to pay $9 instead of $8 million to Jennings, and $800,000 instead of $700,000 to Crabtree, they could have had both players back?

The offers to both players were probably not arbitrary. The Packers certainly know where they want to be in regards to the salary cap, and they're probably thinking about extensions that will come up over the next couple years. So good for them; they've maintained discipline in the face of two budget busting extensions.

Or did they just not realize the market for their players? Why not come up in price for two guys you wanted back and underbid for? Here's a GM Ted Thompson quote via Kevin Seifert:
"Free agency is a difficult thing to predict. It didn't work out."
I think the team will be just fine next season without both players. Jennings is aging and the Vikings are taking some risk by giving him a big contract at this point in his career. Crabtree is great to the fans, but he's just another guy. TE Ryan Taylor is probably as good as Crabtree and he's already on the roster.

But it's troubling that GM Ted Thompson has seemed to have blown it in free agency. He wanted Jennings and Crabtree back and he put competitive offers on the table, but misjudged the market and lost them both.

When the Packers let players like DE Aaron Kampman, DE Cullen Jenkins, and LG Daryn Colledge, that seemed to be an internal decision. Kampman was coming off a major injury. Jenkins and Colledge were going to be overpaid, as far as they were concerned. They didn't make a big effort to re-sign them. Since then, they've tried to re-sign C Scott Wells last year and underbid. Now they've done the same with Jennings and Crabtree. Maybe it's for the best; Wells's first year with the Rams was plagued with injuries. Maybe Plan B will work out fine, though C Jeff Saturday wasn't a success last season. They seem to know what to do, but can't get it done, and that's left me concerned going forward.

Surprising, Darrelle Revis is staying a Jet

The shocker of the league this weekend was definitely the failure to trade Darrelle Revis by the New York Jets. The Jets seemed to be intending to deal him, but could not reach the Saturday deadline. Because of that, the Jets are forced to pay Revis a $1 million dollar roster bonus.

Obviously, the Jets management is pretty upset about this. They could've gotten a lot of draft picks for this guy, but that's all just a dream now. For the fans, it's another story. The fans are probably thrilled about this after they were cussing out the management last week.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Vikings stay busy; sign QB Matt Cassel

Well, the Minnesota Vikings just continue to add piece after piece this offseason. Now, it appears that they've signed former Chiefs QB Matt Cassel. Cassel will be used in a backup role, but still has a solid arm if they need one.

On the other hand, the Packers aren't doing anything. They showed minimal interest in Steven Jackson and Cullen Jenkins, lost Greg Jennings, and still haven't made a single notable signing this year. They may still be the best team in the North, but they can't just continue to sit back and watch all their rivals build themselves up into title contenders.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Falcons sign Tony Gonzalez to two-year deal

For the second consecutive day, the Atlanta Falcons signed a big name free agent. Yesterday, it was star TE Tony Gonzalez. Gonzalez was originally expected to retire this offseason before announcing earlier this week that he was returning. He has spent the last three seasons in Atlanta.

I'm not very surprised that he's retuning, but I am surprised that he's returning for multiple years. This kinda stuff seems to happen a lot in sports. A guy can't decide whether or not to retire, then ends up coming back for what seems like 5 years. This is also somewhat relieving as now we don't have to deal with this drama next year.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Greg Jennings Signs With The Vikings

I'm a little stunned that WR Greg Jennings is no longer a Green Bay Packer. I don't really think it will be that weird to see him wearing a Vikings uniform because he's always wearing a big smile, and he'll be on good terms with his former teammates the first time he plays against them next season.

This is a business decision for him. The money is good (five-years, $47.5 million, with $18 million in guaranteed money, and he'll make $27 million over the first three years). Maybe the Packers did offer him more once upon a time, but they weren't making that offer now or he'd have stayed.
The Packers will survive his departure because of the great depth they've assembled at wide receiver, but now finding a promising young receiver in the draft they can develop for the future becomes an issue. He can still play and he could have helped them next season, but they do have to consider the long-term picture. A big contract for Jennings now might have caused a problem later when they try to extend WR Jordy Nelson or WR Randall Cobb.

His rookie season of 2006 got off to a good start as he earned the starting job out of training camp, but a mid-season hamstring injury wrecked it for the most part. He bounced back in 2007 with a 12 touchdown season and he looked like a great No. 2 receiver behind WR Donald Driver. But over the next couple seasons, 2008 through 2010, he became their No. 1 receiver and the focal point of the offense. During that time, the offense seemed to slow down if they kept the ball away from him for any length of time.

He was still playing great in 2011 until he suffered a late season knee injury, but he had started to lose importance in the offense as Nelson emerged as a big play threat and Cobb developed into a promising rookie. A groin injury wrecked his final season in Green Bay and he didn't look like his old self until late in the 2012 season.

He ends his Packer career with 425 receptions, No. 7 overall. He also finishes with 6537 career receiving yards and 86 touchdown receptions. Ironically, his career stats are almost identical to WR Antonio Freeman (who took 20 more games to reach the same level). That leaves him as one of the best receivers ever to play for the Packers, and that should be remembered as he heads to play the next few seasons for a division rival.

Steven Jackson To The Falcons And That's OK

As we watch RB Steven Jackson sign with the Falcons for $4 million per season, Green Bay Packers LB Desmond Bishop has something to say:
I'm not as big a fan of either RB James Starks or RB DuJuan Harris as Bishop, but he's got a point. Bill Barnwell wrote about this in regards to S Dashon Goldson; he's the best safety on the free agent market but why give Goldson $8 million per season when you get can a player like S Kerry Rhodes (who's almost as good) for $2 million per season? The odds are decent that Rhodes might even be better than Goldson next season, depending on whether Rhodes can find a starting job.

Football Outsiders (subscription required) liked the Jackson signing, but the Falcons got so little from RB Michael Turner last season that it's hard not to see how they improved. Yes, Jackson is better than either Starks or Harris, but it's possible they'll be just as good next season as Jackson would have been. And combined they'll cost about $1 million in 2013. Avoiding Jackson now is just good business because nearly every contract signed over the first few days of free agency has been a "risky big-money contract."

The salary cap isn't getting any higher in 2013 so there are going to be some bargain contracts signed over the next few weeks, but the free agent market for veteran running backs is pretty unimpressive. I don't completely agree with Desmond Bishop, the Packers have to add a running back at some point this offseason to compete with the current bunch. But while Jackson would have been a good fit, he's probably only going to be a good player for two more seasons before he becomes a salary cap liability.

Packers target Steven Jackson signs three-year deal with Falcons

Yesterday, the Packers suffered what was perhaps their biggest blow of the offseason when it was announced that free-agent RB Steven Jackson had signed a three-year deal with the Falcons worth $12 million. All offseason, the Packers have shown interest in this guy and it really is a punch in the stomach to watch him go elsewhere.

As much as this originally sounded shocking, the Packers were never actually close to getting him. Jackson and the Pack met a few times, but the negotiations never got close. So now we must wait a little longer for Green Bay to sign someone.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

$8 Million Guaranteed For Erik Walden?

When the Packers re-signed LB Erik Walden last year, he re-signed near the veteran's minimum and only counted for $537,265 against the salary cap.
And I didn't want him back at any price. That doesn't mean he's completely useless, but he's proven over the past two seasons that he's not good enough to start. LB Dezman Moses should be given the first chance to start if something happens to LB Nick Perry next season. At best, he should be a third-stringer and it would be better to try and find the next Dezman Moses for that roster spot, instead of re-signing Walden.

Still, it's not the worst signing of free agency. There's no reason to guarantee $3 million for QB Drew Stanton in the first place, but the real stinker was telling him that he'll be competing for a starting job.

Greg Jennings Visits The Vikings and Steven Jackson Rumors

Since the Green Bay Packers aren't into free agency, I hadn't been looking at the free agent class all that closely, but there have been some good signings mixed in with the awful LB Erik Walden type ones.

The Colts are still going a little crazy for injury prone players like S LaRon Landry and RT Gosder Cherlius, but the Seahawks signing of DE Cliff Avril, the Lions signing of RB Reggie Bush, the Bears signing of LT Jermod Bushrod, and the Broncos signing of DT Terrance Knighton were all good, if not earth shattering moves. Even WR Wes Welker to the Broncos for $6 million per season looks like a slight discount.

While most of the remaining high profile free agents are either getting older or injury prone, there are still a couple of really good ones available, like Buccaneers DE Michael Bennett. I don't know what Bennett's asking for but I'm sure it's too rich for GM Ted Thompson and he's probably not a good fit for the Packers' 3-4 scheme. WR Greg Jennings, who is coming off two injury shortened seasons himself, is looking like one of the top remaining free agents available.
It would suck to see Jennings wearing purple, but the Vikings have a major need at wide receiver and might be willing to overpay, though that seems a little less likely after they decided not to pay up for WR Percy Harvin.

If there is a silver lining here, it's that buried at the end of this article by the Journal-Sentinel. The Packers appear to be actively working in free agency, but they "are waiting on free agents" and don't want to overpay. It was reported, before being deleted, that the Packers had agreed to terms with RB Steven Jackson. I don't expect them to find a free agent who will be a long-term solution at any position, but they might surprise with a player or two that could play a valuable role (like Jackson) for a couple seasons.

Broncos sign WR Wes Welker

Yesterday, on a day full of news, the Denver Broncos signed free-agent WR Wes Welker to a two-year deal worth $12 million. Welker has spent the last five seasons with the Patriots, emerging as one of the best receivers in the league during that tenure.

So, if you were like me and had a hope that Welker would end up in green and gold, then you're probably a little down right now. The Broncos signing him was a shock to the league, and I expected the Packers to do the same thing. It just didn't happen. But don't be too upset, Brandon wrote earlier that the Packers may bring back Jennings.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Packers Want Jennings Back and The Colts Go Crazy

Depth at the wide receiver position has always been important GM Ted Thompson, and the surprise draft selections of WR Jordy Nelson and WR Randall Cobb in recent years is proof of it. So I'm not surprised that the Packers want to keep WR Greg Jennings, though his return might create a salary cap problem, but I'm a little surprised they didn't decide to use the franchise tag instead. They must be better masters of the cap then I gave them credit for and they probably view current cap room as more important than future space.
But in a surprise move, the Colts, who have a ton of salary cap room, went a little crazy:
It was reported that Walden received a four-year, $16 million contract. There's only two explanations for this move. First, Walden's best game of the season came against the Colts. Second, this is $16 million in pretend cap money, non-guaranteed dollars at the back end of the contract which Walden will never see. It wasn't reported how much of it was guaranteed and how much Walden should expect to earn in 2013. However, even it turns out he'll only make $1 or $2 million in 2013, they still paid too much. I was hoping the Packers wouldn't bring Walden back at any price.

Eagles release Nnamdi Asomugha

Yesterday, on the first day of NFL free-agency, the Philadelphia Eagles released former top free-agent cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. Two years ago everyone wanted this guy, but now he's just another guy looking for an invite to training camp. He has easily been one of the most disappointing free-agent signings of the past decade, considering that he has been being payed $15 million a year for the past two seasons.

The Eagles made the right decision here. Asomugha wasn't even an ok cornerback, he was just flat-out bad. He didn't belong on a "dream team" and deserves an average NFL contract. Not a big one.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Packers Tender Shields and Dietrich-Smith

It's not clear if contracts will be offered to TE Tom Crabtree, LB Robert Francois, or LB Frank Zombo, but it is known that the Green Bay Packers tendered a contract to CB Sam Shields and C Evan Dietrich-Smith.
The only bad news here is for Shields, who will be paid around $2 million in 2013 instead of around $3 million if he had received a first-round tender. The fact that the Packers gave him a lower tender, and would only receive a second-round pick as compensation instead of a first, if Shields signs elsewhere, is irrelevant. The restricted free agent market is dead; no team has surrendered a draft pick as compensation for a restricted free agent in years. The second-round tender is as good as a franchise tag.

Dietrich-Smith ended the season as the starting center, but I don't think the Packers view him as their starting center. I think they view him as a backup, and I wasn't expecting them to pay him $2.023 million (the cost of a second-round tender) for a backup lineman. I'm a little surprised they tendered him at all because he'll now receive at least $1.323 million for 2013, and the Packers don't pay players to be backups. Everyone on the bench is usually paid the minimum or is a young player who could become a starter in the near future. But Dietrich-Smith will never develop into what the Packers expect from a full-time starter.

The risk for the Packers is that another team will offer Dietrich-Smith a multi-year contract because the Packers probably wouldn't match it and they'll receive nothing in return. Then they'll have to find at least two interior offensive lineman in free agency or the draft. The Packers seem to like Dietrich-Smith, but they don't seem concerned about trying to replace him. If their scouting department does their usually solid work, there are probably a couple of players they already have in mind.

Jenkins, Giants agree to three-year deal

Yesterday, I reported that free-agent DT Cullen Jenkins would return to Green Bay if it was his best opportunity. But now it appears that that hope is lost. According to the NFL Network, Jenkins has agreed to a three-year deal with the New York Giants worth $8 million, with $3 million guaranteed.

I feel like the Packers didn't really want this guy as much as we all thought. I think that if they really wanted him, they would've gotten him. Obviously, New York just wanted him more. I feel some sense of disappointment today, but there's still plenty of other guys on the market.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Vikings Traded Percy Harvin To The Seahawks

Since the Vikings were able to overtake a couple teams for the final playoff spot last season while WR Percy Harvin was injured, it makes some sense to trade the oft-injured receiver now, when they can obtain three draft picks (including a 2013 1st rounder) and avoid paying him the $10+ million per season he'll demand in any extension.
Even if this makes the Vikings less of a threat next season, the draft picks will be more valuable down the road. On the other hand...

Wasn't Harvin worthy of MVP consideration before he was injured on November 4th? He's the type of player, in the prime of his playing career, that teams should do anything to acquire, not trade away.

Who's the second-best player on the Vikings' offense now? Obviously RB Adrian Peterson is playing as well as any running back who's ever played the game, but his teammates are a weak collection of sidekicks. They had problems at receiver before they traded away Harvin, and now the cupboard is bare.

Other than the selection of Harvin, the Vikings have been lousy at finding quality receivers in free agency or the draft. The last time the Vikings traded a star receiver away for a draft pick (WR Randy Moss) they used the seventh overall selection on WR Troy Williamson.

Every recent free agent receiver they've signed recently (WR Michael Jenkins, WR Jerome Simpson, WR Devin Aromashodu) has either already been released or isn't part of the solution. Maybe they've got someone promising in WR Jarius Wright, but there's no reason to believe the Vikings will certainly find someone has good as Harvin.

This trade isn't a seismic shift in the NFC North, but I don't see how it makes the Vikings better (unless Harvin's always going to be injury prone). The Vikings received good value in return and now it's up to them to make their team better with the additional draft picks and cap room they received.

Report: Jenkins would return to Packers

According to, the agent of former Packers DT Cullen Jenkins is open to having his client return to Green Bay.

“He wants to go where he’s going to get an opportunity to play and be a part of a team that has a chance to compete for the Super Bowl,” said Brian Levy, Jenkins’ agent. “I think Green Bay provides him with both those opportunities. Plus he’s been there – I don’t think he wanted to leave in the first place.”

Having Jenkins back would only help the defense. I would have no problem with him being signed.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Report: No guarantee that Urlacher will return to Bears

According to, there is no guarantee that longtime Bears LB Brian Urlacher will return to the Windy City. Urlacher is an impending free agent and also could retire in the upcoming months.

Obviously, the Packers have no chance of getting this guy because they don't want him and they don't need him. But him being out of Chicago will definitely give the Packers an advantage in the NFC North. The absence of his energy will effect their defense greatly. Urlacher has been representing them for a long time and it will take a while for me to get used to him not wearing blue and orange.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Should The Packers Sign Defensive End Chris Canty?

Something new this offseason is that the NFL has opened the window for players' agents to begin talking to teams a couple days before players can conduct official visits. So right now, agents and teams are talking, but nothing official will happen until next Tuesday.

However, a few deals are happening now because players who have been released can sign elsewhere immediately. So the Chiefs can sign CB Dunta Robinson because the Falcons released him last week. Another player who was released last month had a two-day visit with the Packers:
Giants DE Chris Canty was pursued by the Packers in 2009, back when they were first making the switch to a 3-4 defense and they needed a bigger lineman like Canty to play defensive end.

Now it's four years later, and the Packers are taking a second look because they still need help at defensive end. My first thought was that this was an attempt to find a bargain lineman, someone who is like DE Anthony Hargrove or DE Phillip Merling were last year, that wouldn't make it out of training camp. I might be right, depending on the severity of the knee injury he suffered last season, but when he was healthy last season, Canty still was a very good player.

Ed Valentine discussed the value of Canty last month from a Giants' point of view and he came out looking as one of their best lineman in 2012. The issue was his knee injury and his huge $8.2 million cap hit for 2013 if the Giants had kept him. His release, while still a productive player, made sense for the Giants. He's not a sack artist, but if you add up his sacks, QB hits, hurries, and defensive stops from last season, you see a productive player who puts some pressure on the QB.

Other teams have seemed to notice that Canty played well, when healthy, last season, and he's also drawn interest from the Titans, Chiefs, and Jaguars. He won't sign another six-year, $42 million deal like he received back in 2009, but he should receive a multi-year deal with some guaranteed money, assuming he can pass a physical, which could be a problem as he recovers from knee surgery. But injuries might not be a major concern with him because, with the exception of a few games missed in 2009 and 2012, he's played every game throughout his 8 year career.

As is usual with free agents, I expect the Packers to lose out in the bidding because they don't offer enough dollars. Usually that's been a good thing, and maybe avoiding Canty's bad knee as he enters his mid-30s is for the best. But it does look like Canty still has something to offer and he would be a good fit for the Packers as an every down defensive lineman in 2013.

Jeff Saturday re-signs with Colts; officially retires from league

On Thursday, former Packers center Jeff Saturday signed a one-day deal with the Colts so that he could retire with his former team. Saturday played his first 13 NFL seasons(1999-2011) in Indianapolis before leaving for Green Bay last season.

With the Packers, Saturday struggled most of the time and was ultimately benched late in the season. However, due to a large amount of fan votes, he was named to the Pro Bowl for the sixth time in his career. Shortly after the end of the season, the Packers released him so that he could do what this post is about.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Finley's Agent: We'll listen to the Packers

For most of the offseason, former Packers TE Jermichael Finley has been saying that he wouldn't take a pay cut from Green Bay if they approached him. Now, his agent his saying otherwise.

"I would never just turn my nose up at anything," Finley's agent said. "I will listen and hear anybody about anything and withhold judgment until I do. I can't say today whether I would, whether I wouldn't, whether it's in Jermichael's best interest, his worst interest.

"There'd have to be a reason why he would have to take a pay cut. Maybe he would. Maybe he wouldn't. It's all hypothetical until the numbers are there. Is it a one-year deal like it is now? Are we adding years? Are we adding dollars? Are we moving dollars?"

In my opinion, Finley deserves at least a small pay cut. He drops too many passes to deserve a ton of money.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Report: Patriots, Welker not near contract

According to, the Patriots and WR Wes Welker are still not near a new contract. For the past year Welker has been begging New England for more money, but they just don't wanna give him it.

Let's a take a short trip to fantasy land here and say that Welker ends up leaving the Patriots, then what happens? The Packers just let Greg Jennings walk, is there any possibility that they may want to replace him? If Welker does leave the Pats, he would probably be looking for a deal worth over $10 million a year. The Packers won't give him that and he probably won't leave New England anyway.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Packers ready to negotiate new contract with Rodgers

According to, the Packers are ready to talk about a new contract with star QB Aaron Rodgers. As you all know, the Ravens Joe Flacco just got really rich, so this timing makes sense.

A good point that made was that although Flacco may be the highest-payed quarterback, he is not the best quarterback. Although that makes sense, I still find the whole "get rich for throwing a ball" thing stupid. I guess in football terms, he does deserve more. But not in common sense terms. By the end of this drama, Rodgers will be sitting on piles of gold. That's inevitable.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Would The Packers Sign Free Agent Steven Jackson?

When I read the headline "Steven Jackson Visits Green Bay" I immediately thought that the Packers could have some interest in him. However, the actual story is not as interesting (he's in Green Bay for a speaking engagement) and it would technically be against NFL rules for the Packers to speak to him before March 12th. But as long as I've brought him up, here are some highlights:
In a lot of ways, he's a Mike McCarthy type of back with size (6-2, 240) and some speed. He can still run through defenders (and outrun them), so he could be like a better version of DJ World Peace without any of the danger to local livestock.

He was scheduled to make $7 million in 2013, but he opted out of his contract. While that could have been a sign he wants more money (who doesn't), the Rams let him opt out even though he didn't hit the triggers which gave him that right, so I'm wondering if the Rams would have released the soon to be 30 year old if he hadn't opted out. They do want him back, but they probably want him to take a pay cut.

Football Outsiders ranked him among the top 15 backs as a runner and a receiver, so he can still play. He would immediately step in as the Packers' starting running back and provide the strong runner inside the tackles that their coaches seem to prefer.

However, the Packers haven't shown much interest in paying for a veteran (RB Cedric Benson signed for the minimum last season). They have drafted Brandon Jackson (2nd round, 2007) and Alex Green (3rd round, 2011) in recent years, but overall, running back position hasn't been a big target area for GM Ted Thompson. I don't know what contract Jackson should expect to sign, but I would expect he'll sign for more somewhere else than the Packers would be willing to offer.

Packers decide not to use franchise tag on Jennings

Well Packer Fans, the franchise tag deadline has come and gone and, as expected, the Packers decided not to use the franchise tag on Greg Jennings. All offseason Jennings has been saying that he doesn't want to be tagged and he got his wish this afternoon. The news was first reported by Alex Marvez of

I couldn't be happier about this. Although Jennings has been pretty good in Green Bay, he wasn't worth keeping. The Packers already have three dominate receivers in Cobb, Nelson, and Jones. They simply didn't need to spend money on another one that underperforms.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Today's The Day To Use The Franchise Tag On Greg Jennings

Monday is the last day the Green Bay Packers can use the franchise tag on WR Greg Jennings.
The current prediction is that Jennings won't receive it, which is what I've been expecting all along, until a report last week floated the possibility. The only reason that makes some sense is that they probably want to keep either Jennings or TE Jermichael Finley, and they can afford to keep at least one of them, so the cost of Jennings' franchise tag would be only a couple million more than Finley's huge 2013 salary number. Both players are available without a long-term commitment.

Based on how GM Ted Thompson's worked in the past, it would seem obviously they'd keep Finley over Jennings, who would be turning 30 next season while Finley will be 26 years old. The Packers have been choosing the younger player over the veteran for the past several seasons.

Both players are probably at their best when they attack the middle of the field, which might make Finley a better player for that role due to his size. Mike McCarthy recently praised Finley's 2012 performance:
"I think it was clearly his best year, particularly on the two-yard drag routes and things like that. I was very pleased with the way Jermichael played there in the second half and he improved a number of different areas of his game." 
He played a major role in the passing offense as he was third on the team with 88 targets last season. I was disappointed in him last season because he isn't really a tight end (poor blocking) and he wasn't a big play threat. But I'd be very surprised if the Packers decided to part ways with both Jennings and Finley.

There's a strong case to make for keeping Jennings over Finley because he's been more productive (when healthy) and he won't cost much more. But knowing how GM Ted Thompson works, I expect he'll go with the younger player who could be just as good over the next four years.

Report: Greg Jennings wants $12 million a year

According to, former Packers WR Greg Jennings wants to be payed an average of $12 million a year. If he does make that much, he would become the third-highest payed WR in the league.

To any team who is considering spending that kinda money on him, it's a mistake. As a Packers fan, I have seen this guy play a lot, and he isn't that amazing. The most I think he deserves to make is $5 million. Or, he could just become a franchise player and deserve more. But he won't be doing that anytime soon on a team that already has Aaron Rodgers.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Report: 49ers won't re-sign Randy Moss

According to a league source, the San Francisco 49ers will not re-sign WR Randy Moss for the 2013 season. Moss was reduced to a role player last season, playing in just about 1/3 of the team's snaps.

I couldn't be less surprised by this news. The fact that he's even on the team is pathetic. Ever since he left New England he has been a waste of space on rosters. He doesn't help the team at all and doesn't deserve any credit for last year's NFC title. In my opinion, this guy should be out of the league by now. I have no doubt in my mind that he won't draw any interest from anybody and will be forced out of the league sometime this offseason.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Falcons release RB Michael Turner

Last season, the Atlanta Falcons finally won a playoff game. But despite that success, they seem to be getting ready to start over for the 2013 season. That process started yesterday with the release of RB Michael Turner.

Despite the shock that Atlanta fans might be feeling right now, the Falcons have said that this was pre-planned. Next season, Turner was scheduled to make $6.9 million against the cap, so this release saves the Falcons a lot of money. On his Facebook page, Turner thanked his fans and wrote this about the release:

"This is a tough business but I understand it's nature and resp...ect the process."

Being released along with Turner was DE John Abraham and CB Dunta Robinson.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Could The Packers Draft Another Late Round QB In 2013?

Kevin Seifert's article for ESPN about the quarterback position in the NFC North didn't have much to say about the Green Bay Packers, obviously they're set with QB Aaron Rodgers, and he only wrote a brief comment about a possible battle between QB Graham Harrell and QB B.J. Coleman.

I'd like to see the Packers add another quarterback with a late round pick. They shouldn't keep the same two guys just because they don't expect Rodgers to get hurt. There's no need to use a high or even a mid-round draft choice here, but they should always draft/sign at least one rookie to see if they can find the next Matt Flynn.

Looking at the cast of characters who currently carry a 7th round grade according to NFL Draft Scout, there are a couple of players who might interest the Packers if they're looking for the next B.J. Coleman (an athlete with all the physical tools to become an NFL QB):

Southern Utah QB Brad Sorensen. A big, tall pocket passer who's drawn some Joe Flacco comparisons. His arm strength might be average and his mobility is questionable, but not every quarterback runs like Aaron Rodgers. Better NFL coaching could help turn his average arm strength and accuracy into above average skills.

Vanderbilt QB Jordan Rodgers. Yep, let's get the brothers Rodgers together! He was more of a running quarterback until his senior season and the big knock on him is his "lack of elite size" (i.e. he's kinda short). His arm strength is average but the "ball zips out of his hands" which might be a credit to some coaching he's received from his well known brother. But he's got a lot of the Matt Flynn/B.J. Coleman traits you look for in a late round QB (he transferred schools, he was overlooked until his last couple seasons) combined with excellent athleticism. Even if he weren't Aaron's brother, he'd be someone worth taking a look at.

No one else I looked at seemed a good fit. There were the major college starters who can't really throw (Penn State's Matt McGloin, Kansas State's Collin Klein, Washington State's Jeff Tuel). Arizona's Matt Scott is an interesting player, but he might be too slight to survive as a starter and some team looking for the next Russell Wilson might push him up into the mid-rounds.

Of course, B.J. Coleman was an unknown to me until the Packers drafted him last April, so there might be someone lurking among the likely undrafted players that has caught their eye. Whatever they do, I hope they take a chance on someone late in the draft (or an undrafted player) to push Harrell and Coleman.

Former Packer Jenkins to meet with Giants

According to the New York Daily News, former Packers defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins is set to meet with the New York Giants on Friday.

Jenkins has spent the last two years playing for the Philadelphia Eagles, who cut him this offseason. In those two seasons, Jenkins recorded 9.5 sacks while never missing a game.

The Packers are also rumored to have interest in re-signing the 32-year old veteran, who played in Green Bay from 2003-2010. He, along with Chris Canty and Ricky Jean Francois, are the Packers favorites this offseason. While having Jenkins back would be fun, I expect the Pack to end up signing Canty. He just seems like the best choice.