Thursday, March 13, 2014

2014 Free Agency: Packers Re-Sign Mike Neal

I wasn't in favor of having the Green Bay Packers re-sign DE/LB Mike Neal because I thought he might get a big offer from another team since he's young and recorded 9.5 sacks over the last two seasons. Some other team might get stars in their eyes and think he can be even better in their system with more playing time. He really isn't an outside linebacker and I'd rather they try and find a real outside linebacker in free agency.

But Neal didn't find much of a market in free agency. Maybe other teams didn't know what to think of him either, and he re-signed with the Packers at a modest price with $2.5 million guaranteed.
Neal's best role is probably as a backup who can line-up anywhere when DC Dom Capers wants to bring an extra pass rusher. That seems to be what the Packers have in mind, based on what Jason Wilde wrote. He shouldn't start on the defensive line because that seemed to aggravate his knees, and he shouldn't start at outside linebacker because he was terrible at holding the edge against the run. I don't want to see him dropping back into pass coverage on a regular basis either. But as a situational pass rusher who they can line up at various positions, he's worth $8 million.

While GM Ted Thompson hasn't been known for paying $4 million annually for a backup player, they have so much salary cap room in 2014 (and it'll be hard for a two-year deal to cause future salary cap problems) that this contract is a good one.

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