2009 NFL free agency options

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Just to get your wheels turning a bit here, I wanted to list some of the unrestricted free agents who should be available going into this off-season. (Caution: never heard of this source/website, but the free agent info is consistent with what I’ve seen elsewhere and it was presented in the easiest to read format).

  • Matt Birk (C) – very good still, would be an upgrade over Wells (Because he’s getting older, he’d probably come reasonably priced.) Could really help develop Rodgers too – one of the smarter players in the NFL.
  • Jordan Gross (T) – likely too expensive, but a significant upgrade over Clifton and possibly a smart long-term investment.
  • Other Offensive Linemen – I can’t pretend to know which of the free agent linemen are any good, but there HAVE to be at least a couple who could add needed depth or perhaps serve as starter updgrades.
  • Shane Lechler (P) – we should offer him $4-6 million a year…not kidding.
  • Owen Daniels (TE) – like a good # of these guys, he’ll likely get re-signed (if he hasn’t already), but then the Pack should trade for him or something. Donald Lee and Poppinga for Daniels. Just have Winston Moss call Houston and give them BS about how Poppinga played “very well” in 2008.
  • Julius Peppers (DE) – was weak in 2007, but great in 2008 and before 2007 – would certainly help our D-Line immediately.
  • Albert Haynesworth (DT) – appears to be quite close to re-signing with Tenn, so not a likely option.
  • Other Defensive Linemen – I am not too sure if players like Rocky Bernard or Jonathan Babineaux are still contributing at some level, but there may be some big bodies like these who could at least add some needed depth to our lines. I’m not sure I’d take a chance on a guy like Tank Johnson, but the fact is, at some point he did play at a high level and it’s at least possible that he may now be mature enough to stay out of trouble off the field.
  • Darren Sproles (RB) – this guy is unreal. He had a big game Saturday which has given him lots of attention – but he also had a huge game the week before when SD played Den. He is the quickest person…on earth. He would definitely give us a potentially unique and nasty 1-2 punch, but my guess is that he’ll command serious money on the open market and TT will not want to shell out for a RB.
  • Terrell Suggs (OLB/DE) – he’s one of those guys who may not get the attention he deserves – if we move to a 3-4, I would pursue him hard and even if we remain in a 4-3, a decent D coordinator should easily be able to find a role for someone with his talent.
  • Ray Lewis (ILB) – we all know re Ray Lewis. He could be a great veteran addition and though he’ll cost a lot and it would be financially risky to invest in him at this stage in his career, his leadership, fire and quality could transform the defense for the next few years – perhaps having a Reggie-like effect.
  • Mike Peterson (ILB) – despite having a bit of a conflict with his coach this year, Mike Peterson has been talked about as being a very underrated MLB who can cover the field very well.
  • Bart Scott (ILB) – another Balt LB who can play
  • Karlos Dansby (OLB) – a quality young guy for the Cards (if Nolan is hired, I’ll bet he lobbies for Dansby)
  • James Farrior (ILB) – very good player some think is seriously underrated
  • Brian Dawkins (FS) – getting older but still very good
  • OJ Atogwe (FS) – offer a big contract to this guy, with he and Collins back there, the Pack would be set for years at safety (though one of them would have to learn the Strong Safety position – same with Dawkins)
  • Dunta Robinson (CB) – though he was out for much of 2008 with knee issues, this guy can play.
  • Nnamdi Adomugha (CB) – Will cost a fortune but several national NFL writers have recently indicated that Asomugha has taken over the title as NFL’s best shut-down corner. Could we trade Al Harris?

There are certainly a number of other free agents available who could help our team, but these were the players who caught my eye. In particular, I am most interested in Peppers, Lechler, Suggs, Ray Lewis, Farrior and Atogwe (if moving he or Collins to SS wouldn’t be too hard). I don’t think it would be a stretch to sign at least a few of these guys given our cap space and if we did, our team would improve instantly. If I had the chance to interview TT, one question I would ask him is: how does he approach free agency? I would remind him of his stated draft philosophy of just selecting the best available player with little to no regard for position needs – does he have a similar approach in free agency? Why or why not?

Anyway, just thought I’d get us thinking about free agency now so that as the off-season heats up, we can collectively put so much pressure on the team to make some moves that they will finally give in and ultimately, do what’s best for the team.

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17 Responses to “2009 NFL free agency options”

  1. Ron La Canne Says:

    Birk – definete go for! Wells undergoing back surgery this off season (? his return). Likely that Spitz moves to center next year if they don’t pickup someone like Birk (Another sign of line instability)

    Haynesworth – aggressively go for! Like the old adage – “It ain’t over til the fat lady sings.” Til his name is on a contract he is available. Peppers if Haynesworth falls through.

    Dansby – go for! GB needs another guy who can play outside regardless of 3-4, 4-3 defense

    Gross – A must go for! GB needs a tackle next year. Physically Clifton and Tauscher (if resigned) can’t hold up for the year (TT, I’ve never forgiven you for letting Marco and Wahle go the same year. That is a mark of stupidity that you have still not corrected.). We need someone here now. Moving people from position to position last year didn ‘t do anything to improve O-Line performance.

    Then, if this plan falls short, look at all available LB’s and O & D linemen and pick some that are improvements over current players. That shouldn’t be hard to do.

  2. Jim S. Says:

    Would you have a problem rooting for the Pack if they got Ray Lewis? I think I would.

  3. dreampipe Says:

    all we need is peppers, let’s not go crazy. we have tons of talent. coaching is what causes a team to lose 7 games by 4 or fewer points.

    some of these losses were the cause of penalties, both deserved (Falcons game: offsides/pass interference) and unwarranted (Vikings game two: intentional grounding in the endzone-safety, the biggest BS call of the season, bigger than Hochuli’s blunder in wk 2 even, cost us the game b/c we lose by one point!)

    either way… we need coaching changes, not very many personnel changes. I’d like to see a freshfaced, hardnosed RB who won’t go down as soon as he’s touched a la Grant, and Julius Peppers to give us some real nasty on D. Remember, we’ll get Bigby back to help in run D too. We could be fierce.

  4. dreampipe Says:

    oh yeah, ray lewis may not look good in green and gold, but the man was exonerated! found Not Guilty, i mean WTF!!! he’s a christian (so he claims), he’s got the brain, the attitude, and above all the contageous work ethic to make his entire team infected with Ronnie Lott-esque football-rage-power. That’s the stuff Reggie gave us in the 90’s, that’s what we need!!!

    BTW, if you decide to stop rooting for your TEAM because they acquire a guy you don’t like, what kind of fan are you? Summer soldier? Bandwagon jumper? SissyMaryCryBaby? JK, JK

    But, seriously, what kind of fan is it that doesn’t want a guy on your team who will make other players on your team that YOU DO like A LOT better? Are you afraid of your kid having a role model who was found not guity on murder conspiracy and accessory to murder charges? Football players should be the least of your concerns. Ahem, 1.3 million Iraqis are dead and war was never declared!

  5. awhayes Says:

    Ron – I think we’d be better if we got one of the guys you pointed out, here’s to hoping.

    Jim – for some reason I didn’t touch much on Lewis’ character issue. I think that is important and staff would need to carefully interview him and make sure he’s no longer going to present with any off field issues. Good point.

    Dreampipe – Peppers would be a great addition. But I think you overestimate our present talent. D-Line, LB, secondary, O-Line in particular could use some help (at the very least adding depth).

  6. 56Coop Says:

    Being from North Carolina Peppers might be a real possiblity to get on FA. Panthers will have to make him thie highest paid defensive player in football and (espcially after last night) there is a lot of thinkiing that the money could be spent better elsewhere (i. e. a new QB–man Delhomme is taking some heat today). If Panthers decide not to franchise tag him he could be up for grabs.

  7. Jim S. Says:

    So I suppose Dreampipe would take Michael Vick in a heartbeat as well.

    Look, the team I root for doesn’t need to be a bunch of choirboys but OJ was found innocent the first time too. It doesn’t mean that Lewis was.

    Supposedly Lewis has stayed out of trouble unlike Pacman and others. I said I think I would have trouble rooting for them. Everyone likes a redemption story but I’d need to see it. I remember when Forrest Gregg was coach and the character of some of the Packers was quite questionable, that didn’t help the Pack or their fans at all.

    I remember a lot of people not wanting Favre on the Pack because he was/is a prima donna. There is a lot lower standard than murder out there for players that could help your team and not wanting them on the team.

    But of the options you gave me, Dreampipe, I probably fall under the SissyMaryCryBaby one (it appears to be the one that you gave the most thought too).

    Thanks for answering Andy. I was wondering what your take was and your response fits the bill.

  8. Ron La Canne Says:

    Jim, Lewis is 34 years old and plays a very specific role for the Ravens. His support (i.e. the other 3 LB’s and the 3 attack oriented D-Linemen) allow him the luxury of being a specialist, so to speak. GB needs a player with in-tact talents because GB will still likely be deficient in key positions. We obviously won’t get all our problems solved in the FA marke, but they still need to try. Hence, those FA’s signed must be high level contributors.

    Dreampipe – “we have tons of talent”. Sorry to disagree, but we do not have tons of talent in the O & D Line, and LB positon. The first line players in the D-Line are good to adequate in ability. None made the All-Pro teams at any level. Only Kampman played at a good level all year. Jenkins was playing at a very high level when he went down. Pickett and Jolly were good most of the time, but had lapses. The 2nd and 3rd level D-linemen were bad and most probably would not be considered NFL quality with few exceptions.

    The starting LB’s were playing below average all year (even Barnett before his injury). Chillar was ok and showed some skill, though inconsistent. Bishop, real flashy or real bad. He could be blamned for at least two of the losses. Can you even named the othe backup LB’s (Havner and Lansanah)?

    The O-Line could not field 5 good linemen at one time all year. The 2nd and 3rd levels here are pathetic.

    The talent you speak of is limited to the WR’s, one of the best groups in the NFL. Next the DB’s Outstanding starters with some good potential behind them. Then the RB’s with Grant a solid, steady, but not flashy runner, Jackson with potential that has yet to fully develop, Wynn can get outside and turn on the burners along with good power inside and finally Lumpkin who, if he can stay healthy, could be a game breaker type runner. QB is well manned with Rodgers at a very level, but has two unknown, undeveloped backups. They may have potential but you’d have to take that on faith.

    Being the youngest team in the league doesn’t mean you’re one of the most talented.

  9. dreampipe Says:

    OJ was found innocent? the first time? first time for what? Was he convicted of double murder recently for something else? OJ, never caused the team he played for any problems. And, neither has Super Bowl MVP Ray Lewis. When was the last time the Ravens had mediocreto bad D? maybe 10 years ago? i can’t remember, but it’s been quite a long time.

    We have courts of law for a reason. If Lewis, OJ, or whoever is found NOT GUILTY then they are not guilty and cannot be subject to double jeopardy. Also, a technicality I know, but, Lewis was never charged with being the shooter himself, and was not charged with illegal guns, premeditated violence, etc. At worst he’s guilty of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or of having the wrong friends. The Lewis trial was almost 10 years ago too… has the guy been a repeat offender? has he been involved in any other bad news since then?

    I can understand your not wanting the likes of TO, Pacman, or even Randy Moss (still takes plays off) on our team, because each of them have demonstrated REPEATEDLY that they cannot put the team before their own interests despite their sporadic great play. Ray Lewis is a GREAT player EVERY play, AND has been a model citizen for years now.

    AND WHY ON EARTH WOULD ANY SANE PACKER FAN WANT VICK?!?!?
    Vick NEVER threw for more than 3,000yds, never threw more than 20TDs, and In one season A-Rodg (4000+yds, 28TDs) showed why he’s so much better than Vick, and 27 other QB’s this year.

    I evaluate players based on talent, track record, and heart. on all these Ray Lewis is Grade A, Vick on the other hand is not in the league at the moment so I don’t care about him. If Goodell reinstates him then we can have the discussion about Vick. On a side-note, while I find dog-fighting to be cruel and unusual, I do not think it says anything about Vick’s play on the football field, but I digress.

    I want good players, who are good leaders, and make the players around them better. Name someone else in the league who does all this at a level as high as Ray Lewis.

    BTW, sissymarycrybaby rolled of my tongue/finger tips, I didn’t think twice about it;-) OH! and i think Ray Lewis is too old and too expensive for us. I’m campaigning for Julius Peppers… cheers

  10. Jim S. Says:

    Thanks Ron even though I don’t post here often your comments are always worth reading.

    You are right about Lewis and anyway until TT changes his stripes I don’t foresee much Packer action in the FA market this time unless TT changes his m.o.. If TT felt his job were in jeopardy we might see more activity.

    If next year is a repeat of this one I could see McCarthy leave and TT be put on the hotseat.

  11. dreampipe Says:

    Ron- our bad coaches made our injury depleted D-line suck really bad, which exposed the LB’s who are not stellar but are quite competent, and dare I say good with solid line play in front of them. The Secondary is one of the best in the league, the O-line is young (remember how bad the Giants O-line was early in 2007? they were young too, the Giants kept them together, they gelled, and now look at their last 25 games played!). We should have beat the Titans, Falcons, Panthers, and Vikings (2nd game). These are all playoff teams, and we lost all these games by a combined 11pts!!!! COACHING!

  12. Jim S. Says:

    First of all Dreampipe — Lewis was indicted for murder and aggravated assault that involved knives not guns. The charges were reduced to a misdemeanor for obstruction of justice (which Lewis plead guilty to) because the witnesses who saw the crimes and first claimed that Lewis admitted to the killing decided not to talk. He subsequently reached a settlement with the two victims families before the civil proceedings went to trial.

    As for OJ my point was that we all know he did it even if the jury says that he didn’t — I think that the same might apply to Mr. Lewis. BTW OJ was found culpable in the civil lawsuit so technically he was found guilty the second time.

    Sorry — back to football now.

    Cheers back at ya!

  13. dreampipe Says:

    we DON’T all know what OJ did or didn’t do. were you there? murder weapon? DNA? glove? OK…
    Sorry, i know this is a Packers blog, and a damn fine one at that, but this argument has bothered me for years. The man was found not guilty and no one but he and God know exactly what happened.

    And Lewis was in a limo at the time of the killing…

  14. Ron La Canne Says:

    Dreamer,

    Injury depleted D-Line? Errrr Jenkins was the only good D-lineman to go down for any significant time. How many of the playoff teams had starting D-lineman go down? Might I sight the Giants as an example. This is Pro football and injuries occur and should be anticipated with having personnel on the team that are at least adequate replacements. We have such luminaries as Cole, Montgomery, Harrell, Hunter, Malone, and oft injured rookie Jeremy Thompson backing up the starters. In short these are not NFL caliber players. Let’s wait and see how much Montgomery and Cole get in the FA market. I wouldn’t be surprised if they could be resigned by the Packers at league minimum upgrades.

    The O-Line? Which of these names will make the Pro Bowl next year? Giacomini, Sitton, Spitz, Colledge, Moll, or Barbre (Note: I left Clifton and Tauscher off the consideration)? I’ll give you that some may become adequate players. Will they become the impact players GB needs? Not that their playing skills to date would verify.

    If you’re blaming TT with MM’s acquiesence for stupid personnel descisions, I might agree?

    Also, my comment specified the areas where we have no talent. I did give the WR’s, Qb, DB’s and even the RB’s credit.

  15. dreampipe Says:

    Ron- unlike other positions in football, the proficiency of a team’s line-play can be greatly impacted by coaching and schemes, either positively or negatively, depending on the quality of the coach and his scheme.

    In short, I think many fans and many who frequest this blog are too quick to criticize the players, and few of these players are deserving of the derision spewed their way. I will not, however, critique critics of Packer personnel who cite the lack of hustle, hunger, and heart of a given player (maybe Poppinga, who’s nothing more than a good special teamer, is the exception that proves this rule), but saying our linemen lack talent is like saying the butcher’s meat lacks flavor (who cooked it? what was his recipe?).

    We ARE a talented team as constituted. We were way too close to success this season to be deemed otherwise. We lacked leadership and good coaching (most notably Defense and Special Teams), which is directly proportionate with late-game success. A veteran FA stud or two will take us from also-ran to powerhouse (Peppers, you hear me TT?!?), but the other areas of need you’ve pointed out should be dealt with in the draft and in the conference/film rooms.

  16. PackerBelle Says:

    According to the Pioneer Press the Packers are going to pursue Birk once free agency starts.

    http://www.twincities.com/dailydose/ci_11426121

  17. 56Coop Says:

    Just to throw my 2 cents in–OJ, at last, is finally in jail–where he belongs. Ray lewis is with the Ravens, where he belongs, (read Ron’s post about being 34 & play8ng a specific role, etc). I think Peppers would be a great additio for the Pack but I just can’t see TT letting that much money go aor a FA. As I stated earlier he may very well be available but he will be expensive.

    One thing I’ll have to say about the Pack though, and I realize that this could change with each different GM, Head Coach, etc., but I do not think they will put up with much off-field shenannigans. Remember Mark Chamura? In a hot tub with 16 year old’s–outta here. I don’t know if it’s the Board of Director’s or what but it just appears to me Green Bay does put some emphasis on a players off-field “character”. Can’t remember too many thugs in Green Bay. Leave them for Jerry Jones.

    Hope we get Birk.

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