Packers get mixed free-agency grades
With the initial wave of NFL free agency pretty much over, we thought we’d take a look around the web and see what kind of grades Ted Thompson and the Green Bay Packers are receiving for their handling of the first week of the new league year.
Obviously, any move made or not made in the first week of free agency can't truly be judged for at least a year and maybe even more in certain cases. But it’s always fun to see what the instant takes are, if only to be able to revisit them at some point to see how right (or wrong) they were.
To start us off, ESPN isn’t exactly kind giving the Packers a C-, which tied them with the Bengals and Browns for the lowest in the league.
Here’s the biggest issue: The two major holes on this team — running back and cornerback — remain largely unchanged. (Davon) House was a decent pickup, but it should only be a start for a defense that ranked 31st in the NFL in passing yards allowed last season. One of the biggest mistakes a team can make is overvaluing its own talent, so the Packers had better make sure they cover for Damarious Randall , Quinten Rollins and LaDarius Gunter if the trio of young cornerbacks can't make significant strides this season.
Thompson and the Packers earned a B- from Pete Prisco over at CBS Sports.
The Skinny: General manager Ted Thompson usually isn’t active in free agency, and this year was no different. He did re-sign edge rusher Nick Perry, which was the smart thing to do on a team that has had pass-rush issues. Then the Packers signed Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett, which will be an upgrade from Jared Cook, who is leaving in free agency. They also added Rams tight end Lance Kendricks, giving them a nice 1-2 combination. They lost center/guard JC Tretter to the Browns and guard T.J. Lang to the Lions.
Grade: B -. Thompson always sits idle for most of free agency, but he did just enough this year to help his football team.
Bleacher Report handed the Packers an A for bringing Nick Perry back into the fold on the first day of free agency.
The money makes sense for an emerging player at a premium position, especially considering the contract year Perry put together and the lack of pass rushers available. Green Bay had no choice here, but the Packers are usually so smart with their money that this has little chance of backfiring.
Fansided handed the Packers a C+ for their work during the initial free-agency period.
Talk about your upset? We are less than two weeks into free agency and Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson has already dipped into the open market twice. We’re not kidding. For now, tight end Jared Cook remains unsigned but the Pack has added both Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks. The latter was left unsigned by the New England Patriots this month after he helped the team win a Super Bowl. Kendricks was cut loose by the Los Angeles Rams this offseason after six years with the club.
Now the bad news. The club’s losses are somewhat substantial, especially when it comes to the offensive line. Center JC Tretter (Cleveland Browns) and guard T.J. Lang (Detroit Lions) have signed elsewhere, as has playmaking defensive back and punt return threat Micah Hyde (Buffalo Bills).
And to make matters even more interesting, running back Eddie Lacy (who missed 11 games in ’16) is off to the Pacific Northwest. He’s inked a one-year deal with the defending NFC West champion Seahawks. Meanwhile, Ty Montgomery has been moved to running back on a full-time basis and James Starks was cut loose. Hence, you get the feeling Thompson isn’t quite finished with free agency this year.
Chris Burke of Sports Illustrated has been grading every major move in free agency, and he gives Thompson and the Packers an A for the Martellus Bennett deal.
No matter the financials, this is the type of move that could help Green Bay get over the top in the NFC. The ’16 Packers received off-and-on contributions from Cook and fellow TE Richard Rodgers, but Bennett should be a consistent and dangerous threat for them next year.