While the Green Bay Packers secured their NFL playoff spot, it didn’t come as easily as many would have expected after the franchise cruised to a 6-0 record after the opening six games of the regular season. Following their round seven bye, Mike McCarthy’s men all but crawled over the finish line after going 4-6 during the final 10 games of the campaign. General manager Ted Thompson will already be looking at strengthening his roster come the end of the season.
This isn’t the first time the Packers have started the postseason as betting outsiders, but Rodgers has proven beyond doubt he is one of this generation’s best quarterbacks to help Green Bay upset the odds time and again. While the Patriots and the Cardinals are the two teams many 32Red Canada punters expect to be battling it out for the Super Bowl title at the beginning of February, you’d be a brave soul to completely count out the Packers when considering they usually up their game when it comes to the business of playoffs.
Despite their below-par run of games to close out the season, there is still confidence that the future looks bright for this current group of players, and Green Bay fans won’t be expecting to see a particularly high turnover of personnel in the offseason. Still viewed as being relative outsiders in the race for the NFC title with a lot of 32Red and Betway punters, much of the upcoming business could depend on how the postseason goes and whether this team can bounce back from ending the regular season with back-to-back defeats.
Thompson, who hasn’t been a big fan of big spending when it comes to signing free agents, could well find himself forced to look at alternative options as he looks to provide Rodgers with some support. And if he’s ever going to start looking at the free agency as a source of options, this offseason could well be one of the most interesting in recent years. So let’s take a look at some potential free agency options for Green Bay this season.
Vernon Davis: The tight end was believed to have come close to making the move to Green Bay during the trade deadline only to pass on the two-time Pro Bowler and watch as he was traded to the Denver Broncos. While he may end up staying where he is, the Packers are still expected to be in the market for the 31-year-old come the end of the season. With Richard Rodgers and Andrew Quarless as the only two tight end options currently on this squad, this is an area that needs addressing and Davis is just the sort of player to fill it. The veteran has shown what he brings to a team during his 10-season professional career, and he has everything the Packers are looking for at this moment in time.
Terrance Knighton: While the signing of defensive tackle B.J. Raji on a one-year deal last summer will go down as a decent piece of business, the former first round draft pick has struggled with injuries over the past 12 months and many feel the 29-year-old isn’t the player he once was. With Terrance Knighton expected to hit the free agency when his one-year contract with the Redskins comes to an end in the offseason, the Packers may feel replacing Raji with the Washington man would freshen up their tackle options. After a quiet start to life in the NFL, Knighton has gone on to establish himself as one of the league’s most consistent tackles and the former third round draft pick would be an interesting option for Green Bay.
Matt Forte: Running back will almost certainly be a position the Packers are looking at during the offseason. Following a season in which Eddie Lacy has shown he is probably not the man that Green Bay need to run the big plays in the long term, a player like Forte could be the perfect option for the franchise. The Chicago Bears man is in line to hit the free agency for the first time in his career, coming off the back of a $9.2 million cap hit last season – a figure he’ll be looking to match in 2016. But while he won’t be a cheap option, his stats in 2015 show that he is one of the more consistent running backs in the game, despite suffering an injury midway through the year, and definitely an improvement on Lacy.