2017 Free Agency Preview: Green Bay Packers

Top free agent targets for the Green Bay Packers, players that must be re-signed, team cap space, and more to get you ready for 2017 free agency.

| 3 months ago
(Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

(Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

2017 Free Agency Preview: Green Bay Packers

[Editor’s note: This preview was originally published on March 1, 2017, and updated on March 6 to reflect changes in the market do to franchise tags, re-signings, cuts, etc.]

What you need to know

After 2016 and the release of Sam Shields, the Packers have a clear need at cornerback. They also are getting hit hard with multiple free agents at both the interior of their offensive line as well at outside linebacker. With how much cap space they have, this might be a year where they make a big move.

Salary cap room

$40,077,981 (13th in NFL; as of 3/6/2017)

Biggest needs

  • Cornerback
  • Linebacker
  • Guard
  • Tight end

Notable free agents

  • T.J. Lang, G, 87.0 overall grade in 2016
  • J.C. Tretter, C, 84.1
  • Nick Perry, LB, 82.2
  • Julius Peppers, LB, 79.8
  • Eddie Lacy, HB, 77.3
  • Micah Hyde, CB, 74.7
  • Jared Cook, TE, 72.9
  • Datone Jones, LB, 69.2

Must re-sign

Nick Perry, LB, 82.2 overall grade in 2016

The Packers had three outside linebackers with 500 or more snaps in 2016, and all three are free agents. Of them, Perry played the best. He had the best run-stop percentage (12.4 oercent) among 3-4 outside linebackers, and the only outside linebacker of the group worthy of a long-term deal.

Dream splash

Stephon Gilmore, CB, Buffalo Bills, 73.2

While the Packers could make a riskier move at cornerback, Gilmore has been the most consistent of the free agent class. They could use him in the same role they had for Sam Shields; sometimes going up against a top wide receiver, and other times staying at right cornerback.

Top 2017 free agency prospects

Jabaal Sheard, Edge, New England Patriots, 79.6

When the Packers are in their dime defense, they prefer to have three or four edge rushers on the field at the same time. With Perry, Peppers and Jones hitting free agency, they will need to restock the position if they don’t re-sign their own. He has experience at outside linebacker, some experience rushing from the inside, and has 26 combined sacks and hits over the last two seasons.

John Simon, Edge, Houston Texans, 78.3

Simon is another puzzle piece that the Packers could insert into their front-seven. Like Nick Perry, one of Simon’s strengths is playing the run. Like Peppers and Jones, he has experience lining up both outside and inside when rushing the passer.

2017 Free Agency Rankings
Top 50 free agents
Every 2017 free agent ranked by 2016 overall grade
10 free agents who can make an immediate impact
10 veteran free agents worth a one-year contract
10 sleeper free agents who could bring surprise upside
10 splash free-agent signings we’d like to see
Quarterback rankings
Running back rankings
Wide receiver rankings
Tight end rankings
Offensive linemen rankings
Edge defender rankings
Interior defender rankings
Cornerback rankings
Safety rankings
Linebacker rankings

2017 NFL Team Free Agency Previews

NFC EastDallas Cowboys
NFC EastNew York Giants
NFC EastPhiladelphia Eagles
NFC EastWashington Redskins
AFC EastBuffalo Bills
AFC EastMiami Dolphins
AFC EastNew England Patriots
AFC EastNew York Jets
NFC WestArizona Cardinals
NFC WestLos Angeles Rams
NFC WestSan Francisco 49ers
NFC WestSeattle Seahawks
AFC WestDenver Broncos
AFC WestKansas City Chiefs
AFC WestLos Angeles Chargers
AFC WestOakland Raiders
NFC NorthChicago Bears
NFC NorthDetroit Lions
NFC NorthGreen Bay Packers
NFC NorthMinnesota Vikings
AFC NorthBaltimore Ravens
AFC NorthCincinnati Bengals
AFC NorthCleveland Browns
AFC NorthPittsburgh Steelers
NFC SouthAtlanta Falcons
NFC SouthCarolina Panthers
NFC SouthNew Orleans Saints
NFC SouthTampa Bay Buccaneers
AFC SouthHouston Texans
AFC SouthIndianapolis Colts
AFC SouthJacksonville Jaguars
AFC SouthTennessee Titans

| Director of Analytics

Nathan has been with Pro Football Focus since 2010. He is the Director of Analytics, an NFL analyst, and a fantasy writer.

  • GBPFan12

    We have to Re-sign most of these guys, keep some cap room for Ha Ha, Corey and Adams next year, so I doubt we go after any FAs, address some stuff in the draft.

    Pack made it to their 2nd Conference title game appearance in the last 3 years w/a roster wiped out with injuries… we get a little healthier this year, who knows.

    • Brian Dugan

      You get the hell out of here with that rational take! I agree completely, although I wouldn’t mind a couple 2nd tier FA signings on defense like John Simon at Edge or Davon House/Jonathan Joseph (if he gets cut) at CB.

  • Joe Doe

    Wouldn’t be surprised if they sign Tretter and switch him to guard and let Lang walk. Wouldn’t be surprise is Lacy is in another uniform in the fall. I’m curious how much Datone would have to pay the Packers for them to give him a jersey. I could go either way on Peppers. So my list of resigns would be Tretter, Perry, Hyde and Cook. Curious to see if Perry gets expensive.

    • Tim Edell

      Perry is going to turn into a bidding war between teams.. he’s gonna strike it big in FA

  • Steve

    Just making it to the final and being embarrassed by the birds, isn’t enough, year after year we are amongst the top injury riddled teams, something in the water ? something with the strength and conditioning coaches ? I think big changes need to happen, restructure contracts so that we HAVE money to hire some help in the secondary, and pass rush. To be honest, a dominant WR to stretch the field would be nice too, Jordy has lost a step.

  • AJ

    This is the year Ted Thompson needs to use free agency to help his team. He’s wasting Aaron Rodgers by neglecting a crucial avenue for acquiring players. They don’t need to be big money signings, but just some complementary pieces to shore up that secondary, add some more pass rush, and get some quality depth in other areas.

    Corners like Prince Amukamara or Captain Munnerlyn could be low cost, but enough to add some stability to that cornerback group. They are a stable secondary away (depending on Nick Perry and Julius Peppers) from being a Super Bowl favorite.

    Bringing back Lacy on the cheap could also be a good thing, having him play a kind of LeGarrette Blount role for them.

  • steve

    YES AJ !!!! I keep saying that, You have AROD for 4 more years of elite play. PAY up to put a team around him, because without #12 we’d be lumped in with the 6 win teams in the league. Having a player like this is a blessing, it’s like winning the lottery and dying without having spent a dime to enjoy it.

  • SlowPulse

    You’d think recent Super Bowl winners like the Seahawks and the Broncos would give Teddy T an idea of just how valuable it can be to complement your draft picks with a few well-placed free agents, especially if you can lure them with the possibility of a Super Bowl run. But nooooo.