Green Bay Packers March Scouting Report
With the coaching staff updates done and introduced, the Packers have begun the process of getting under the cap. The 2021 NFL salary cap is $182.5 million. The Packers have restructured some contracts and released some players to get under the cap. It is not clear just what the status of the Packer salary cap us right now as there are many conflicting reports. Those who restructured include; OT David Bakhtari, OT Billy Turner, LB Za’Darius Smith, LB Preston Smith, and S Adrian Amos. Those released for cap reasons include; ILB Christian Kirksey, TE John Lovett, and OT Rick Wagner. DL Billy Winn and the Packers "mutually parted ways". In the off season only the top 51 salaries count against the cap. The Packers have 66 players currently signed to the roster. Not only do they need to get their current roster under the cap, they need to also accommodate approximately 10 draft picks (7 picks they now own plus 3 compensation picks) and any other free agents they might sign – including their own. With every team going through this process, there is going to be some very good players cut. The question is will they play for reduced pay to continue their career. The remaining Packer unrestricted free agents (UFA) are: RB Tyler Ervin, TE Mercedes Lewis, WR Tavon Austin, OG Lane Taylor, DL Damon Harrison, DL Montravius Adams, ILB James Burgass, and CB Kevin King. Unrestricted free agents who have signed: RB Aaron Jones stayed with the Packers, RB Jamaal Williams signed with the Lions, OC Corey Linsley signed the Chargers. The remaining Packer restricted free agents (RFA) are: , TE Robert Tonyan, OT Yosh Nujam, DL Tyler Lancaster, CB Chandon Sullivan, CB Parry Nickerson, S Raven Greene, and S Will Redmond. Restricted free agents who have signed: QB Tim Boyle was not tendered and signed with the Lions. All the Packer exclusive rights free agents (ERFA) have been tendered and will return. These include; WR Allen Lazard, WR Malik Taylor, OLB Randy Ramsey and OT Yosh Nijam.
Comments on offense, QB Aaron Rodgers is the Packer starter and has some room to restructure if the Packers need it. QB Jordan Love will be Rodger’s backup now that Boyle is gone. At running back I am surprised RB Aaron Jones and the Packers agreed to terms. But Williams is now gone opening up the way for RB AJ Dillion to get expanded playing time. And we will now find out how the Packers feel about RB Patrick Taylor, RB Dexter Williams, and RB Mike Weber. At tight end, TE Mercedes Lewis (UFA) has indicated he wants to play another season for the Packers – but for how much? TE Robert Tonyan (RFA) was tendered at the 2nd round level and that will determine his pay raise for this year. 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. The Packers have added TE Bronson Kaufusi and TE Isaac Nauta to the mix as well. Nauta could replace Lewis. At wide receiver, the gang is all back. Signed to the roster are; WR Davante Adams, WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling (MVS), WR Equanimeous St. Brown (EQ), WR Devin Funchess, WR Reggie Begelton, WR Juwann Wilfree, WR Chris Blair. WR Tavon Austin (UFA) who was a late season addition because of need probably won’t be back. WR Allen Lazard (ERFA) and WR Malik Taylor (ERFA) have been tendered and will be back. I said in the last report the Packers have bodies at the position but very little is known about what they think of them. Let me add some meat to that bone. Most of us know about Adams, MVS, and EQ. History says it takes 3 years before a wide out in Green Bay produces consistently. So this year should be really good for MVS. But EQ has played in only his 2nd NFL season. What do the Packers think of him? The same could be said of Funchess – who sat out last season as a COVID casualty. Dump him and pick up a little cap space? The coaches have also had the chance to watch Begelton, Wilfree, Blair, and WR Seth Roberts practice. No one is sharing what they think of them. Time will tell. On the offensive line I have said that OG Lane Taylor (UFA) won’t be back. I will walk that back a little because there is some evidence the Packers might be planning on him but he remains unsigned. However, there could be some new faces in the starting lineup this year. The Packers have 11 players signed to the roster, but some come with question marks. We will see ……
Comments on defense. On the defensive line we now know that DL Billy Winn (UFA) will not be there. Billy and the Packers parted ways and I get the idea he isn’t sure he wants to play anymore. That leaves DL Damon Harrison (UFA) and DL Montravius Adams (UFA) to sign. Harrison may want too much for the Packers to be able to sign him. I don’t know about Adams.
There is also DL Tyler Lancaster (RFA) who hasn’t been tendered. The Packers could get younger and cheaper if they keep DL Willington Previlon and DL Anthony Rush instead. At inside linebacker, the Packers still have ILB Oren Burks, ILB Kyrs Barnes and ILB Kamal Martin, ILB Ty Summers, ILB Ray Wilborn, and ILB De’Jon Harris. ILB James Burgass (UFA) has not been re-signed. At this point Barnes and Martin are the clear starters. At outside linebacker OLB Randy Ramsey (ERFA) will be back. So the gang is all back and the Smith brothers along with OLB Rashan Gary are the big three. At corner, CB Kevin King (UFA) is probably gone given the attention they are giving draft prospects at the position. And I think CB Josh Jackson is gone as well – he has had enough 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 activated him ahead of others last year. CB Parry Nickerson (RFA) and CB Chandon Sullivan (RFA) (who was RFR tendered) should be affordable. At safety S Raven Greene (RFA) and S Will Redmond (RFA) should also be affordable with no tender. The rest will be back. 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 Packers have added P Ryan Winslow and K JJ Molson – so they are looking. The NFL combine has been completed. The new league year and free agency has started. Teams will be able to have 90 roster spots to fill. 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 there are some good players free agents who need to sign a cheap contract. If will be back next month with a pre-draft report.
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