Green Bay Packers February Scouting Report
This year things will be different as a result of this off season. For starters Matt LaFleur decided to revamp his coaching staff and replace two of his three coordinators. The first is DC Mike Pettine decided to not return and after a search, the Packers hired DC Joe Barry. Pettine did not sign the contract he worked under this year. So there may have been some under the surface issues we will never know about. The second is ST Coordinator Shawn Mennenga was fired and was replaced by his assistant Maurice Drayton. There have been plenty of special team issues the past two years in Green Bay so the handwriting was on the wall before the season ended. The Packers are excited to have the opportunity to promote Drayton. The OC Nathaniel Hackett, who presided over the highest scoring offense (just not always in a fantasy friendly way) in the 2020 NFL season, will still be there next year. As for the players, the Packers have 13 unrestricted free agents (UFA), 6 restricted free agent (RFA), and 5 exclusive rights free agents (ERFA). The more notable ones will be mentioned. To date there is no mention of using either the transition or franchise tags. Also, one other thing affecting this year's free agency is an anticipated reduction in the salary cap. That means each team will have fewer dollars to play with. The amount of the reduction isn't announced just yet but could be in the range of $25 million. This will affect every team. Reports say the Packers are about $27 million over the cap - just which cap number I am not certain.
On Offense, the Packers are set at quarterback, as usual. NFL MVP QB Aaron Rodgers will be back, but QB Tim Boyle is a RFA this year. If the Packers choose to not re-sign him, QB Jordan Love will be Rodger's backup next year. RB Aaron Jones, RB Jamaal Williams, and RB Tyler Ervin are UFAs. It is difficult to believe that the Packers could sign both Jones and Williams so I will keep you updated in future reports. Meanwhile, RB AJ Dillion looks poised to take over in a significant way. And there could be some consideration in the draft for this position as well. At tight end, TE Mercedes Lewis is a UFA - again. And he has said he wants to play another season for the Packers - so we will see. TE Robert Tonyan is a UFA and he had a good year, but he will want a significant pay raise. If the Packers won't give it to him there may be a team that will. TE Josiah Deguara played well in the first game of the season but was injured and would find himself on injured reserve for the rest of the season. Late in the year TE Dominique Dafney started to come on. It will be interesting to see how that unfolds next year. TE Jace Sternberger made no impact his second year. At wide receiver the Packers have one UFA - WR Tavon Austin who was a late season addition, but the Packers may not want back. They also have two ERFA - WR Allen Lazard and WR Malik Taylor - so they will be back if the Packers want them. Everything else is the same. The Packers have bodies at the position but very little is known about what they think of them. Next year will be a different situation entirely, I will defer until then to discuss it. However, in preparation for next year there could be a wide out draft pick this year. The offensive line has two UFAs... OG Lane Taylor and OC Corey Linsley. Taylor won't we back because of health reasons. And Linsley won't likely be back because of salary cap reasons. Also the Packers have one ERFA, OT Yosh Nujam. The Packers had injuries to deal with throughout the season, so I anticipate things will be different on the offensive line come next season. The details are "to be determined".
On Defense, there are 5 UFAs; DL Damon Harrison, DL Montravius Adams, DL Billy Winn, ILB James Burgass, and CB Kevin King. There are also 5 RFAs; DL Tyler Lancaster, CB Chandon Sullivan, CB Parry Nickerson, S Raven Greene, and S Will Redmond. And finally, there are 2 ERFAs; OLB Randy Ramsey and CB Kabion Ento. On the defensive line my guess is that Adams is gone. They will probably re-sign two of the other three - your guess is as good as mine. Then I see a draft pick at this position. At linebacker, I think ILB Oren Burks is gone. ILB Kyrs Barnes and ILB Kamal Martin are good additions if they can stay healthy. ILB Christian Kirksey could be a cap casualty and I also see a draft pick at this position as well. 2021 will be year three of the Smith brothers and OLB Rashan Gary 4 year contracts. ILB Ty Summers will still be with the team if the Packers want him. Free agent CB Kevin King has probably played his way off the team. GB probably won't pursue him. And I think CB Josh Jackson is gone as well. You can give a guy only so much time to develop. It is time to see what CB Stanford Samuels, CB Kadar Hollman, and CB Kablon Ento can do on the field. The Packers have also added CB KeiVarae Russell and RFA CB Parry Nickerson should come cheap if the Packers want him. Depending on what they think of these five guys there could be more draft picks here as well. At safety the Packers have S Raven Greene and S Will Redmond as RFAs. The rest will be back. Greene has had injury issues but plays well when on the field. I don't know how the Packers view Redmond. On special teams there are no free agents of any kind. But some think LS Hunter Bradley and P PJ Scott should be replaced. We will see what happens. The next NFL event, the combine will be a private event in which no NFL teams (or fans) will be invited to this year. Video and testing results will be sent to all teams after the fact. There is a lot to sort out before we get to a late April draft - much less training camp. Keep track of where the good players end up and start to plan for your fantasy draft. Hopefully the Packer picture sharpens some before next month's article. Whatever happens I will be back to report on it.
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