With the lockout coming to an end, about 5 months of the NFL offseason is about to be crammed into 1 or 2 weeks. Outside of the draft at the end of April, rosters saw no change from what we saw when your team walked off the field for their final game in 2010 because of the lockout.
The beginning of March usually marks the beginning of free agency. And veterans slowly signed throughout the summer until training camps kicked off. Now teams have under a week to double the size of their current roster as they can carry up to 90 players during camp.
Free agency can make or break your football team even though there are general managers like the Packers’ Ted Thompson who usually sit still while other teams hand out blockbuster contracts. Thompson though will still have some tough decisions as there’s around 10 of his players who are now wearing Super Bowl rings that are not under contract. Lets look at the soon-to-be Packers free agents and I’ll give my thoughts on what will happen.
PLAYERS I THINK THE PACKERS SHOULD RE-SIGN
-Offensive Guard Daryn Colledge: Is he the best player on their offensive line? No. You could actually make the argument he was the least valuable of the 5 starters from last season. However starting guards don’t grow on trees and I just feel a lot better with Colledge starting on September 8th vs. the New Orleans Saints compared to TJ Lang, Marshall Newhouse, or Nick McDonald - that is assuming Colledge doesn’t command a huge contract.
-Fullback John Kuhn: Once again, a player I don’t think should cost a whole lot to bring back. Kuhn proved to be extremely valuable for parts of the 2010 season because of his flexibility to carry the ball in a semi-featured role.
-Kicker Mason Crosby: Rookie kickers scare me. Who wants a fresh leg out of college or some veteran playing on his 5th team over the past 3 years kicking a field goal with a spot in the playoffs on the line? A career 78% kicker, however I am slightly worried some team may push up the bidding for his services.
PLAYERS WHO I THINK WON’T BE BACK WITH THE PACKERS
-Defensive End Cullen Jenkins: Great player, great guy to talk with in the locker room. But this one is simple economics - his price tag is going to be way too much. Add onto that his injury history and this one’s a no-brainer. Last year 2nd round draft pick Mike Neal will hopefully be ready to take over this spot.
-Wide Receiver James Jones: His drops during Super Bowl XLV still haunt me, how big of a goat would he have been if the Steelers won that game? Packers have depth at this position with Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, and Jordy Nelson as well as drafting Randall Cobb in the 2nd round back in April. Did flash brilliance in some games, but seemed to always drop a big pass the next game.
-Running Back Brandon Jackson: Had a few chances of being the featured back for the Packers during his time in Green Bay but could never run with an opportunity (no pun intended). With the emergence of James Starks as well as Ryan Grant coming back from injury and drafting Alex Green this year shows the writing is on the wall for Jackson.
-Safety Atari Bigby: His breakout season of 2007 seems a long time ago. His 3 seasons since, he’s started only 17 games. Green Bay is set at safety by re-signing Charlie Peprah prior to the lockout as well as Morgan Burnett coming back from injury during his rookie year.