Archive for the ‘2010 Free Agency’ Category

Will the Pack look at Shawne Merriman?

November 2, 2010

Merriman expected to be on the waiver wire as of this afternoon. Not sure TT is enamored with Merriman’s past behavior (Tila Tequila…etc) or if he’d be a Packer-type, but a few years ago anyway, Merriman was the best pass rushing LB in the NFL. I wonder if he might be worth a gamble to shore up the LB group – add depth if nothing else. Chances are, even if he’s a bit rusty, he wouldn’t embarrass himself out there and he might just get a few sacks.

There is one factor that should quickly deflate any excitement about Merriman joining the Packers: his contract. He would apparently be due the remainder of his $3.29 million contract – so probably $1.8 million for the last 8 games of this year. TT won’t go for that.

Sam Shields, Tramon Jr?

April 28, 2010

Read here from Bob McGinn this morning. Once again, TT has gone after the fastest player who was available in the draft – though Sam Shields signed as a free agent. Clocking in at 4.30 in the 40 – not bad but not quite the 4.06 I ran for my pro day (wearing full pads and moon boots). According to Shields he picked the Pack over 7 other teams because he felt he had a shot to make the team and because he liked the history. I find that when young players reference the history of the Packers, sure in some cases they may be coached to say it, but in most cases it’s usually a good sign of respect for authority and tradition.

Raw seems to be a good word to describe Shields. Tramon Williams was raw when he came into the league too. Both are super fast (will never forget Williams’ rundown of Aevion Cason against Detroit a few years back on Thanksgiving – stands to this day as perhaps the second fastest I’ve ever seen someone run…Usain Bolt). Anyway, there is one key difference between Tramon and Sam. I believe Tramon Williams has already gone through the normal progression of a kick/punt returner. They are often eager to return at first because it means playing time and an opportunity to showcase speed/skills. And because kick returners tend to be a bit more aggressive/reckless early on trying to prove themselves, they are often more productive. But then, after a few big hits, a few costly fumbles, the signing of a nice contract or after getting more playing time on defense or offense, things change – they become more cautious, more hesitant. It happened to Williams, happened to Will Blackmon somewhat, even happened to Desmond Howard after his dominant Super Bowl and other great returners like Dante Hall.

Right now, Sam Shields knows he’ll be fortunate to make an NFL roster. But his qualities of outrageous speed and aggressiveness on special teams could seriously work in his favor. My hope is that the Packers give Shields some kick return duties. He has the potential at least to be scary good. And from a risk reduction standpoint, I would much rather have a rookie who would be way at the bottom of the DB depth chart returning kicks than having our superstar most valuable player (Charles Woodson) do it.

Adalius Thomas anyone?

April 26, 2010

Reader Raymidge (and PFT) reporting that Adalius Thomas has just been released by the Pats. He came to NE a few years ago anointed the next big LB only to fall on his face. But from the reading I’ve done on the subject over time, a fair amount of this had to do with an injury and then a falling out with coach Bill Belichick. Physically, he’s impressive and would certainly fit the bill as an OLB for the Pack. I just don’t know what kind of salary he’d command and if he wants too much, I don’t think I’d bother. But he’s the kind of guy at least worth considering based on just how good he was when he was good. He wasn’t just good, he was unreal.

Faneca or no?

April 24, 2010

This seems to be a question lots of teams may be throwing about right now. Apparently he was cut because he refused to take a pay cut – his 2010 $ number is $7.5 million. That is a steep salary and my guess is some desperate team will come forward and gladly give him that – could end up a bidding war. The guy is still good, though some believe his level of play declined the last two years.

I see Faneca as someone definitely worth considering. Even if his play declined, I sure didn’t notice it as the Jets seemed to run at will. Maybe his pass blocking was suspect or something, but nothing stood out to me as being negative last year for him – and if fact, many accounts indicated he was a real leader on the team.

There are essentially two important questions we need to ask ourselves about Faneca before going after him: 1) would he be able to make the transition from a decade of mostly run-first football to an ostensibly pass-happy team? and 2) would he be worth shelling out at least $7.5 million?

I can say this with certainty: Faneca would be better at left guard than our present LG, Daryn Colledge. No doubt. Even in a new pass-happy system, he would definitely be an upgrade. If the coaches are even entertaining the thought of keeping Colledge as the starting left guard, I would say we should go after Faneca. If we had a line of Tausch, Sitton, Wells, Faneca and Clifton – with some quality, bright, young depth in Lang, Bulaga and Spitz, I would feel a lot better about our O-Line and Rodgers staying upright. OK, I’ve talked myself into it – go after Faneca TT.

Westbrook to Packers?

April 13, 2010

Read here from jsonline.com. Thanks to Travis and others for pointing this out. This is intriguing. I have always thought highly of Westbrook. He is a smart, instinctive player. In fact, one concern about drafting and then grooming some young RB is that the one element lots of young players lack in their first few years in the NFL seems to be instinct. Seems for RBs in particular, there is a lot of adjusting to playbooks and the speed of the NFL game. So adding a player who is already highly instinctive seems to me to be a good idea. Additionally, Westbrook has always been one of the best pass catching RBs in the NFL and his receiving ability could really help to diversify an already diverse offense – making defenses especially wary of assignments when he’s in the game. I agree with reader Travis who points out that if Grant remained the lead back and Westbrook had a secondary role, Westbrook would probably be extra useful because he’d be fresh.

The team should definitely explore this possibility. Obviously he has to check out medically. Even if he does check out, there is risk because if he sustains another concussion (why, by the way, are concussions always “sustained” – why can’t I just say if he “gets” another concussion?”), he might be done. We’d just need to draw up a contract that minimizes our risk. Also, I agree with those suggesting that any contract offer should be incentive laden with the only financial risk being that he ends up having a great year and we end up owing incentives.

In the end, my verdict is to go after Westbrook pretty aggressively. The main reason I would do this is because of his experience. He’s been part of lots of deep playoff runs, he’s flourished under pressure and he is a very well respected player. While some of our young guys are now not really “young guys” anymore, we could still use a respected veteran presence like Westbrook – especially on our young offense. I’ve watched the Patriots add veteran RBs who most people thought were washed up and they were able to help the team. Veterans can bring stuff young guys simply don’t yet have – even if they are somewhat physically limited. What’s especially appealing in this situation is that I’m not even convinced that Westbrook is washed up yet.


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