Packers stick to quiet offseason plan, earn B- grade from PFF
It’s been another solid, if unexciting, offseason for the Green Bay Packers under general manager Ted Thompson. The signing of a middle-level tight end like Jared Cook is about as active as Green Bay will ever be in free agency, yet it’s a move that could provide a serious impact in 2016.
Below is a compilation of the Packers’ 2016 offseason transactions, including free-agency moves and draft picks:
Offseason grade: B-
Free agency and trades
New arrivals: Lerentee McCray; Jared Cook
Re-signings: Nick Perry; Letroy Guion; Lane Taylor; Mason Crosby; James Starks; Don Barclay
Departures: Casey Hayward; Andy Mulumba; Scott Tolzien; B.J. Raji; Nate Palmer; James Jones; John Kuhn; Brett Goode; Andrew Quarless; Sean Richardson; Mike Neal
Outside of Casey Hayward and Jared Cook, most of the Packers’ free agent news revolved around re-signing their own backups. Still, letting Hayward — arguably the top slot cornerback in the NFL and the Packers’ highest-graded cornerback last season — walk for such an affordable deal in free agency doesn’t quite fit in with the Packers draft-and-develop strategy. Quinten Rollins and Damarious Randall had promising rookie seasons, but with how much the Packers play nickel/dime they are one injury away from being in a tight spot at the position. It’s obviously not a devastating loss for the Packers, though.
The Cook signing is intriguing given how gifted he is athletically compared to the current options on the Packers roster. He’s had only three positively-graded seasons as a receiver in his seven year career, but the best quarterback in that time he saw significant snaps with was Sam Bradford. Cook’s 10 drops on 49 catchable passes last year — easily the worst rate among tight ends — are obviously concerning though, especially considering Aaron Rodgers had 9.6 percent of his catchable passes dropped last year — the eighth-highest rate of any quarterback.
2016 NFL draft
1-27 Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA
2-48 Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana
3-88 Kyler Fackrell, OLB, Utah State
4-131 Blake Martinez, ILB, Stanford
4-137 Dean Lowry, DT, Northwestern
5-163 Trevor Davis, WR, California
6-200 Kyle Murphy, OT, Stanford
There’s not much we can complain about in Green Bay’s draft besides the fact that they didn’t select anyone who finished higher than 46th on our draft board (Jason Spriggs). Still the Packers managed five players in the top-100 of our draft board (Spriggs, Clark, Fackrell, Lowry, Murphy) and never went reaching for a need. The multiple offensive line picks are certainly a long term investment considering T.J. Lang, Josh Sitton, David Bakhtiari, and J.C. Tretter are all set to hit free agency next offseason.
If you’re looking for the Packers to “win” the offseason, it won’t happen anytime soon. They’ll be relying on development from young players and return from injury to push them over the hump from the divisional round to the Super Bowl this year. If Jordy Nelson is fully healthy and one of Jared Cook, Davante Adams, Jared Abbrederris, Ty Montgomery, or Jeff Janis can take a legitimate step forward next season, the offense should return to it’s 2014 form. Then the question becomes: are the four defensive backs in the secondary on their rookie contracts that will see significant snaps in the secondary ready to transform Green Bay into a Super Bowl-caliber defense?