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Green Bay Packers March Scouting Report
First I have to thank Mike Nazarek for taking my few notes I sent him and making them into a February report. In the last report I said "As for QB Aaron Rodgers, I do think he is gone. He will either be traded or retire, but he won't be cut or in GB" next year. I came to this conclusion at the end of the season. So let me explain myself. First, the sentiment among both the fans and the Packer decision makers has changed regarding Rodgers. A lot of fans I communicate with are tired of the ‘I’ll show up if I want to’ attitude they (and I) think he has. Before this past season both QB Tom Brady and QB Patrick Mahomes conducted workouts for their new receivers on their own. Mahomes ends up winning the super bowl. Those two showed urgency. Rodgers was the exact opposite. And no one had more new receivers than he had and yet, no workouts with them on his own, and he chose to sit out all the voluntary workouts. And yet he leads the league in pay received last year for a quarterback. As for the Packer GM, last year he said QB Jordan Love is making progress. This year he said Love is ready. And let’s not forget the players that have spoken out in support of Love. That is just one of the few issues both the Packer management and the fans have with Rodgers. Second, Rodgers can no longer stay healthy – this year the thumb and ribs. Rodgers at one point led the league in pass plays of less than 10 yards. Third, Rodgers has frustrated his coaches with how he runs the offense. Fourth, and more importantly, QB Jordan Love has showed he knows the offense and can run it. Assuming Love is the quarterback, HC Matt LaFleur will get to totally run his offense this coming season. Fifth, Rodgers cap number was not going to be tenable going forward. Cutting him makes it worse. Retiring makes his cap situation go away. Trading him allows for some flexibility with the receiving team for how to work out dead money/compensation equation to be worked out. It will result in dead money this year and then it will be done. Add it all up and Rodgers is gone. And as of today I read that Rodgers has been given permission by the Packers to talk with the NY Jets. Other than words by the Packer GM, and my summation of the situation, that is the first concrete and public action that shows what is about to happen.
Before looking at the current roster situation, six Packers have reportedly restructured their contracts to allow the Packers to go from about 15 million over the cap to about 16 million under the cap. You can see why the Packers have a problem with Rodgers contract if they want to sign any free agents – their own or otherwise. I will never know why the Packers allowed that Rodgers contract – and they were not honest about publically. It is hurting the Packers now. Green Bay will also have 10 draft picks – 6 of their own, 2 via trades, and 2 compensation picks.
Here is a quick look at the roster:
Quarterback – Let’s assume QB Aaron Rodgers is gone. That makes QB Jordan Love the new starter. For now, QB Danny Etling is the backup. There will be another one or two.
Wide Receiver – The only receivers from last years’ team include; WR Christian Watson, WR Romeo Doubs, WR Samori Toure, WR Bo Melton, and WR Jeff Cotton. Free agents include; WR Allen Lazard and WR Randall Cobb. WR Sammy Watkins couldn’t learn the playbook and was dismissed during last season. Obviously more receivers are coming. Lazard wants to explore the free agent market, and Cobb can’t stay healthy anymore. Watson, Doubs, and Toure are this first Packer trio of rookies to each catch at least one touchdown pass in the regular season since 1954. And in spite of everything, they made a lot more progress as a group than most people think.
Running Back – RB Aaron Jones and RB AJ Dillion are the 1-2 punch. The offense ‘ran’ thru them when it was successful last year and will again next year. Jones stats were better than Dillion’s last year. RB Patrick Taylor and RB Tyler Goodson will both return. I don’t know if any more will be added this year. Taylor could easily backup Dillion and Goodson could back up Jones.
Tight End – On the roster, the Packers have TE Josiah Deguara, and added TE Nick Guggemos and TE Austin Allen. Free agents include TE Robert Tonyan, TE Mercedes Lewis, and TE Tyler Davis. That is it. GB will be looking for others.
Offensive Line – I know this is fantasy football and there are no points for having or not having a good group. That said, how an offensive line plays could affect fantasy value – in case you were wondering that is why I bring it up. The Packers roster includes; OT David Bakhtari, OL Elgton Jenkins, OG Jon Runyan, OC Josh Meyers, OG Royce Newman, OL Zach Tom, OT Rasheed Walker, OT Caleb Jones, OT Luke Tenuta, OT Jean Delance, and OT Sean Rhyan. I suspect they will let free agents OT Yosh Nijam and OC Jake Hanson walk. Look for a draft pick. Between all the mixing and matching last year along the line, they played well enough to be Pro FF 3rd ranked NFL OL (as a group) last year. Walker and Jones are potential starters.
Defensive Line – The roster now consists of DL Kenny Clark, DL TJ Slaton, DL Devonte Wyatt, DL Jonathan Ford, and DL Chris Slayton. The free agents include; DL Jarran Reed and DL Dean Lowry.
Inside Linebacker – the roster includes; and ILB De’Vondre Campbell, ILB Quay Walker, and ILB Isaiah McDuffie. Free agents include; ILB Kyrs Barnes and ILB Eric Wilson. Both should be sign-able.
Outside Linebacker – OLB Preston Smith, OLB Rashan Gary, OLB Kingsley Enagbare, OLB Jonathan Garvin, OLB La’Darius Hamilton, are all on the roster. Enagbare played well in Gary’s absence. If Gary can’t return from his ACL right away, look for a higher draft pick.
Cornerback – On the roster is CB Jaira Alexander, CB Eric Stokes, CB Rasul Douglas, CB Shemar Jean-Charles, CB Kiondre Thomas, CB Tyrell Ford, and CB Benjie Franklin. Free agents include; CB Keisean Nixon and CB Corey Ballentine. I think they need to re-sign Nixon.
Safety – On the roster includes; S Darnell Savage, S Innis Gaines, S Tarq Carpenter, and S James Wiggins. Free agents include; S Adrian Amos, S Dailin Leavitt, and S Rudy Ford.
Special Teams – The roster currently includes; K Parker White, LS Jack Coco, and P Pat O’Donnell. PK Mason Crosby is a free agent. This will be interesting to watch.
Conclusion: If your fantasy draft were to happen soon, I would take RB Aaron Jones. WR Christian Watson, and maybe QB Jordan Love. The Packers have a lot of holes in the roster and as of now not a lot of cap resources to fix it. The roster will change over the course of free agency, the draft, and the undrafted free agent signing period. Step number one is to get Rodgers to accept going to the NY Jets. I will try to write articles thru the off season. I am working to get a new guy.
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