Five Biggest Free Agency Moves: Green Bay Packers
With free agency now into its fourth week as April’s Draft draws closer, it’s time to start reviewing which teams filled some needs and who got weaker. Here are the five biggest free agency moves for each team so far.
After beating the top seeded Cowboys in a Divisional round thriller, Green Bay were manhandled by Atlanta in the NFC Championship game. Aaron Rodgers commented that the Packers should “reload, not rebuild”, although the latter might be needed on defense. General manager Ted Thompson rarely acts in free agency, but made some moves this off-season. Here are Green Bay’s five biggest free agency moves:
1 — Signing Martellus Bennett
After Jared Cook turned down Green Bay’s offer, the Packers shopped it to Martellus Bennett, who accepted. Bennett signs a three year, $21 million deal and goes from catching passes from Tom Brady to Aaron Rodgers. Meanwhile, Rodgers gains an imposing red zone target who had 55 catches 701 yards and seven touchdowns despite playing on a chipped ankle for most of the season. Bennett can also block in the running or passing game and is arguably Green Bay’s best tight end since Jermichael Finley.
2 — Re-signing Nick Perry
Under veteran coordinator Dom Capers, Green Bay’s defense hasn’t seemed to improve for years. The unit doesn’t boast many playmakers, so it was crucial for the Packers to re-sign Nick Perry, who had a breakout year with 11 sacks in 2016; 8th best in the league. Perry returns on a five year, $60 million, crucial for a team in need of pass rushers with several of last year’s front seven now playing elsewhere. Datone Jones joins divisional rivals Minnesota while Julius Peppers returns home to Carolina.
3 — Signing Ricky Jean Francois
With Datone Jones leaving for Minnesota and Letroy Guion set to serve a four game suspension to open the season, the Packers need more defensive line depth. So they signed former Redskin Ricky Jean Francois to a one year, $3 million deal after he was released by Washington for cap relief. He had 1.5 sacks from the interior last season and should help against the run.
4 — Re-signing Christine Michael
With Eddie Lacy suffering injuries as well as being hampered by weight issues in recent years, Green Bay’s running game has been stagnant. Lacy was not retained and signed with Seattle. It’s likely that Ted Thompson will find Green Bay’s future back in a Draft that is loaded with running backs, but the Packers brought Christine Michael back for depth. Michael signed with the Packers after being released by Seattle last November, and had 31 carries for 114 yards and a touchdown in six games for Green Bay. Michael returns on a one year, $800,000 deal.
5 — Signing Davon House
Davon House returns to Green Bay after two seasons in Jacksonville, rejoining a Packers secondary that saw the injury-prone Micah Hyde depart for Buffalo and Sam Shields released. House is 27 and will likely tutor some new defensive backs in Green Bay. House saw limited action last season, but had 23 pass breakups in 2015 along with four interceptions. House returns on a one year, $3.5 million deal.