Much goings on for Wisconsin sports fans as of March 26th, 2019. The Packers had quite the activity in free agency, the Bucks continue their dominance of the NBA, and the Brewers are ramping up to take the next step and win the World Series. Let’s break this down in a 3-day look, shall we?
Today let’s take a look at the Green Bay Packers. Coming off an awful season (record-wise, but the changes came as a result, so look at it as an investment), the Packers have essentially rebuilt the entire organization, top to bottom, except for the QB position. They invested more years and money into Aaron Rodgers, meaning:
- Gutekunst and the Packers brass were either too scared to send him off and complete the full on rebuild OR…
- Gutekunst and the rest believe they can rebuild around #12 to get back to the playoffs (which I believe is their ultimate goal, back to consistent playoff appearances) which gives them a “chance” at winning it all.
Either way, it’s better than changing nothing, so it’s a major step in the right direction.
Many fans are sad to see Clay Matthews and Randall Cobb leave, along with having an opportunity to resign Jordy Nelson since Oakland cut him…I get the fondness of fans wanting to bring back and/or keep fan-favorite players, however those 3 were not contributing to the improvement of the team, but more so kept Green Bay at a level to not fall below the line to where they’ve recently gone, missing the playoffs. Either way, each guy seemed great, weren’t a distraction, however cost quite a bit of money and has since been replaced with younger, and likely improving players at their positions. Again, it’s a change in the proper direction.
Free Agency—well for those who wanted to build through free agency, here you go. I like Free Agency, in the NFL, for filling some holes and adding depth vs. filling needs where you need key players. Main reason is free agency rarely works out for those big contracts. The Packers invested in 4 free agents last year, two returning to their initial teams (House and Tramon), and none made an impact. Actually all could be considered a waste, so 0-for-4. *ProFootballFocus ratings, rankings*
- Davon House, 28.8 (unranked, injured)
- Tramon Williams, 68.0 (67th Safety)
- Muhammad Wilkerson, 76.5 (unranked, injured)
- Jimmy Graham, 59.4 (48th TE)
As you can see, not that ProFootballFocus is the end all be all, but it does at least show a consistent grade to quantify the value of players in addition to looking at their stats. Regardless, if you watched Packer games closely, or even more than once, you would know these players didn’t contribute much to the season, especially to their contracts.
Brian Gutekunst is doubling down, in a sense, on free agency, in hopes these “proven” players add value and aren’t finished improving. It’s a dangerous game, then again without taking risks, there’s no real expectation to win. Let’s take a look at the incoming FAs:
- Za’Darius Smith, 71.7 (33rd Edge-rusher)
- Preston Smith, 76.9 (19th Edge-rusher)
- Adrian Amos, 82.7 (8th Safety)
- Billy Turner, 62.8 (33rd Guard)
Just from an incoming standpoint coming off their 2018 campaigns, each of these players should increase production at areas of need, which (on paper) allows the Packers to attack the draft, properly; drafting best player available.
Since we have a month until the Draft, I’ll cover potential targets closer to the date (Thu, April 25th). In the meantime, keep in mind the Packers essentially went through a rebuild at almost every area, and replaced older players with youth and improving talent, aside from the QB position, which they’re obviously married to, based on their actions.