Pack should consider these three free agents who are still available

  1. Jim Leonhard – Former Jets safety and Wisconsin Alum Jim Leonhard is still available. He did get injured last year in Game 13 and I can’t say I’m sure about his present status. But assuming he is on track to recover and be ready for the 2012 season, I really think he’d be worth pursuing. He won’t be very expensive (he would have been picked up by now if he were) and he is a guy who just gets the job done. The jets fell apart down the stretch in good part because Leonhard got hurt. He is a really good player, very solid, very instinctive. He’s incredibly athletic. And despite closing out the last 2 seasons with injuries, he managed to play in the majority of games in those two seasons before getting injured. The Jets, because they are now in full-shameless-marketing-hype mode, signed Laron Landry instead of re-signing Leonhard. Landry is definitely the higher profile, more exciting seeming guy – but I highly doubt he’ll be as effective as Leonhard was in that defense. The guy is gritty and has made a career of being the underdog who can flat out play. I think we should go pick him up regardless of what the Nick Collins’ prognosis ends up being.
  2. Dallas Clark  –  I know he’s been injured a lot too. And he’s slow. And he’d be in a new offensive system. Etc etc. But he’s a smart player. He’s also instinctive and considering he’s still floating around in the free agency pool at this point, he simply can’t command a huge salary. But I like him in good part because I think Finley could use a mentor. Finley has developed nicely on his own but he has not had the luxury of learning beside a veteran TE really. I think a guy like Clark could really help Finley hone his craft. And Clark would be the kind of guy who would probably love an opportunity to play in the league’s best offense next to one of the league’s best young TEs. But Clark in his own right could really contribute to this offense. If we had him and could run 2 TE sets, throw in our WRs and the defense would really struggle to cover. He’d likely draw slower LBs and #4 CBs – and even if he’s slowed down a bit, he’d have no trouble winning those match ups.
  3. London Fletcher – I know he’s 36, but so is Jeff Saturday. London Fletcher just plain gets the job done. Last year he led the Redskins in tackles with an incredible 166, and forced 5 turnovers while picking up 1.5 sacks. He’s disciplined, he’s played in both 4-3 Ds and 3-4 Ds, and he’s been one of the surest tacklers in the NFL forever. He now has 10 straight seasons with at least 128 tackles – that’s crazy – and there are a number of people who think last season was his best yet. He is totally underappreciated and again because he’s still available, I don’t think he’d cost too much to sign. I envision slotting him into the middle and either benching Hawk – or perhaps moving Bishop to the ROLB so he could wreak havoc opposite Mathews.

So of all the guys to write about, why did I pick these three? Because TT and MM like to talk about bringing in “football guys” for this team. Guys who have instinct and just plain get the job done. Well, here are 3 guys who define “football guys”. We’d be a better team with any one of them in the fold.



5 Responses to “Pack should consider these three free agents who are still available”

  1. ebongreen Says:

    (3) Bishop isn’t an OLB, and he’s not suited for banging with left tackles. While I like Fletcher, signing him for anything more than a veteran’s minimum means delaying the development of someone like DJ Smith even further, because he maybe becomes #4 on the depth chart. Hawk either needs to play or be cut; there’s no sitting a player with his salary. Some other team will pay LF more than Ted will.

    (2) Signing Clark is the same as Fletcher, but worse since the Packers have so much depth at TE. What does Clark provide that the combination of Williams, Crabtree and Taylor doesn’t? He won’t play on special teams, and there are only so many roster spots around. AFA development, Finley played with Donald Lee for several years, and players are hired first to play – coaches are for development. If we need Dallas Clark to coach, let’s hire him for that and cut the coach who’s not pulling his weight.

    (1) Leonhard is 5’8″ and coming off two straight years of IR to his legs. Though he would play special teams, no way does he warrant the risk of a roster spot when you can find a younger healthier cheaper player to do the same thing.

    Though they are all football guys, there are reasons they’re all available. The most likely signing is Fletcher, IMO, but that won’t happen until after the draft when teams (including the Packers) figure out what they have for depth. Personally, I don’t see the Packer signing either Leonhard or Clark short of a disastrous run of injuries at either position.

  2. awhayes Says:

    i wouldn’t be keen on moving bishop necessarily either, but i do think he’d be far more disruptive than any of the other guys we’ve tried at OLB recently. And to think of having a middle LB tandem of Bishop and Fletcher…scary.

    what does Clark have that the others’ don’t? The experience of a being a top 3 TE over the last decade. you make a good point about his likely lack of special teams participation and this does affect roster moves I know. but i think you’re underestimating the value of having a savvy veteran like Clark in the fold to help with development (especially when our top TE struggles with the “being a professional” part of his job). Look at what Tony Gonzalez has done in Atlanta. I think just like Gonzalez, Clark could really find the holes and help Finley and the others do the same – the only difference would be that Clark wouldn’t be THE guy like Gonzalez is so he’d draw far more favorable matchups.

    In his last 4 seasons, Leonhard has played in over 80% of his team’s games. He’s a very solid return guy who would contribute on special teams, he wouldn’t cost much and I’d much rather have a proven player like Leonhard on the team than some of the other non-contributors we’ve had in the last couple years. He was THE QB of a high quality Jets defense last year. He would be a great locker room addition. If he doesn’t cost much, I actually don’t see much risk at all in bringing him in – if he’s anything like what he’s been in the past 3-4 years, he’d be a huge addition to our secondary. And of course, the guy would play his tail off for his beloved Packers.

  3. bubbaone Says:

    I think you’re grasping for straws. I echo ebongreens’ response and add the Jets were willing to sign the off injured LaRon Landry to play safety which doesn’t speak well (pun intended) for what they think of Leonard’s health.
    PFT reported that Fletcher’s resigning w/ Wash is on hold til they appeal the salary cap penalty.

    Thinking outside the box: Here’s a less probable but more intriguing scenario. TT signed Muir and may sign Hargrove, Tollefson, and Lawson to free up pick 28 to sign RFA Mike Wallace. Wallace is young, a known quantity, and a deep threat. Steelers are cap strapped. DD may not be back and Jennings will want a big payday after this season.
    Wallace has said he wants Larry Fitzgerald money and I don’t know his character so I doubt TT signs him but getting him is as plausible as the 3 players you offered.

  4. DaveK Says:

    I am not sure where Leonard fits on the roster especially if Collins comes back. Reading between the lines, it seems to me that all signs point to Collins returning. Collins and Burnett will be starters. Pephrah would be primary back-up at SS and Burnett would move over if Collins got hurt again. And, they seem to be of high opinion on Jennings. Bring him in for depth if the price is right or maybe pay a bit more if Collins injury opens a roster spot.

  5. 56Coop Says:

    I had the same surgery that Manning & Collins had and my neurosurgeon told me if it involved a helmet I would probably be better off to leave it alone (I USED to race motorcycles). My surgery was over 10 years ago & I still get a sore neck with too much straining. Granted these two guys are pro athelete’s and in much better shape than I am (especially since having the surgery–(permanent nerve damage)) but the fact that it appears both are returning amazes me. 4 months ago I would have bet my house against that happening.

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