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.