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Packers Notes: Sam Shields, Jermichael Finley, B.J. Raji, James Jones

Tyler Dunne and Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel break down the Packers long list of questions they will be faced with this offseason.

Sam Shields

At the top of the Packers offseason plans sits CB Sam Shields who is coming off of another solid season for Green Bay and figures to be in line for a big contract.

As Dunne and Silverstein note, should the Packers lock Shields up to a long-term deal they will most likely have close to $25 million invested in just three defensive players. Losing Shields, however, would essentially force them to rebuild their secondary as they do not see Davon House as an adequate replacement.

Tramon Williams is in the final year of his contract next season, so there is chance that a new contract Shields could replace Williams’ in 2015.

We have Shields currently listed as the No. 25 player in our Top 50 Free Agents list.

Jermichael Finley & Andrew Quarless

Dunne and Silverstein believe the loss of TE Jermichael Finley was one of the big reasons why the Packers struggled in the red-zone this season.

Finley is coming off of a very serious neck injury and there is no guarantee that the Packers medical staff will be comfortable with Finley playing again following a neck fusion procedure.

Both Finley and Andrew Quarless will be unrestricted free agents, but there is no question that Finley’s skill set far exceeds that of Quarless.

Dunne and Silverstein mention that Quarless could re-sign at a decent price, but believe the Packers will ultimately address the position during the draft.

We have Finley tentatively listed as the No. 57 player in our Top 100 Free Agents list.

B.J. Raji

Packers DL B.J. Raji reportedly turned down a contract offer from the Packers that averaged $8 million annually some months ago and is no prepared to hit the open market.

Dunne and Silverstein believe there is a chance that the Packers could completed start over with regards to their defensive line as Ryan Pickett, Johnny Jolly and C.J. Wilson are also set to become free agents.

Raji has seen his snap count decrease in recent years and hasn’t produced a single sack in the past two years. While he may think he’s worth more than $8 million annually, it would be surprising to see him secure that kind of money, even on the open market, based on his recent production.

James Jones

Packers WR James Jones mentioned that he is hoping to back with the Packers next season, and it sounds as if he expects his asking price to be fairly reasonable.

“I’m not one of those guys who goes home and says I’m worth 30, 40 million,” Jones said. “We’ll see what happens when the market comes and guys start making offers. If they start making offers, we don’t even know. We’re sitting here talking about free agency and I could be going to Canada. You never know.”

Jones, 29, played through a knee injury this season and has proven to be a steal of signing for the Packers over the past few years.

We have Jones listed as the No. 51 player in our Top 100 Free Agents list.

Other Packers’ notes:

  • C Evan Dietrich-Smith sounds like he’s prepared to test the open market.
  • Dunne and Silverstein believe need to address the quarterback position in the draft.
  • OLB Mike Neal could be the player the Packers are forced to part with in order to address other free agents.
  • According to Dunne and Silverstein, RB James Starks is likely to be playing elsewhere.
  • Saul Goodman

    I like Jones, but if he is looking for more than #3/4 WR money, they
    need to say thank you and good luck. They are loaded at WR and Boykin
    can easily handle the #3 WR spot. I don’t think Finley will be cleared
    to return. Raji should be on the express out of here with Wilson.
    Pickett gave us some solid play, but he will be 35 this season. Jolly
    played great and is the only d-lineman that deserves to be here. Shields
    is a priority. Same with Evan D-S, & Matt Flynn. Hopefully they
    don’t handle D-S the way they did Scott Wells a few years ago. With
    Rodgers under contract for 6 more years, drafting a QB is a waste of a
    pick when they have Flynn there for little money. (Nobody wants him
    after these past two years.) Quarless should also come cheap and he’s
    experienced. Starks, & Kuhn have both proven to be valuable, big
    play guys and should be resigned. Add a couple solid d-lineman through
    FA and a playmaking LB and/or DB and let’s go with our draft and returning guys from IR!

    • NFL Trade Rumors

      Sounds like you’ve put a lot of thought into the Packers situation.

      I agree with almost everything here. Quarless and Starks are two underrated talents in my opinion that could be great values for someone. I know Flynn helped them get into the playoffs, but they should really aim higher at the backup QB position. I really think TE is in play for them in Round 1, but we’ll see how things round out in the coming weeks.

      • Saul Goodman

        Thanks for the feedback. I would like to know why you don’t like Flynn. He may not have been the guy in Seattle, Oakland, or Buffalo, or put up McCown stats, but he knows this system well and has done well here. Yes, he struggled at first, but he re-adjusted and just seems to be epitome of a Packer with all they, and he, have been through. If they kept 3 QB’s, Tolzien would be a good #3. If not, Flynn is the proven vet. The time and money spent on another QB just seems better spent in areas we need. We don’t need anymore backup QB experiments. Who’s better than Flynn for the next few seasons?

        • NFL Trade Rumors

          It sounds like the Packers actually view Tolzien as a better long-term prospect than Flynn. There’s no question that Flynn was a better option for them this season based on his knowledge of the scheme, but Tolzien wasn’t exactly given a fair shot at the job, considering that he was only a part of their roster for a few weeks before playing.

          I’m not against Flynn as a backup option, but I really do think that it’s important to aim high and try to find someone who is capable of doing more. Flynn’s lack of arm strength was a apparent so unless that changes, he’s only going to be so good.

          • Saul Goodman

            I agree with you and the Packers, Tolzien is a better prospect, but only if they carry 3 QB’s. He still needs to develop and wouldn’t be a viable backup, and he probably would get picked off their practice squad,.Do you think they will go 3 deep now after what happened this year? Also, I have to be persistent here, please tell me who else is available as a potential backup? Only one guy comes to mind for me besides Flynn and that’s McCown. He has said he is retiring though to be with his kids. Thanks for your time and feedback.

          • NFL Trade Rumors

            I honestly think the Packers will let Flynn go and keep Tolzien as the backup. I bet they also draft another QB at some point.

            There are actually a few decent backup options like McCown. I would add Josh Freeman and Shaun Hill to the list of backups. Oh and Chad Henne.

            McCown has said that he intends to continue his career and would like to re-sign with Chicago.

          • Dustin P

            Little late to the party, but I’d have to agree. I think they will let Flynn go and someone will pay him again after his comeback efforts this year, it just probably won’t be the Packers. I think the Packers actually may draft Kyle Van Noy in the first round if available and no DL prospects (or Clinton-Dix) drop to them. His personality fits the Packers organization to a tee, and I don’t even watch BYU. However, I’m fairly confident that can play either weak ILB or OLB in Dom Capers’ 3-4 Defense. Although, in his season ending statement he came out and said that he will run whatever scheme fits the players. Any speculations on our first couple rounds in this years draft? Lot’s of need but we usually always take best available.

          • NFL Trade Rumors

            Great point. I really think Clinton-Dix would be the better addition to their defense personally, but I can see why Van Noy makes sense too. Position versatility is a plus.

            The Packers actually used nickel in something like 60+ % of their plays last season. Their base 3-4 isn’t exactly their main defense. Nickel is basically four-man front with OLB playing DE, but standing up. A lot of people key in on the 3-4 as being the main issue, but I really think that the lack of veteran players impacts the units execution. Another poor year from Capers’ defense will basically force GBs hand.

          • Dustin P

            Really? That much of the Nickel? I didn’t even realize honestly. I think a big factor in that was probably how thin we were at LB position as a whole; due to injuries, forcing Mike Neal to play more snaps at OLB, than any other on the team. Even more than Clay Mathews.. Then you have them dropping Datone Jones into OLB in a playoff game because we had only one healthy at the time. Others came back in but for a short time we didn’t even have enough to play. I would love to draft Clinton-Dix but I don’t see him dropping to us. His value is only going to rise prior to the draft (in my opinion anyway).

          • NFL Trade Rumors

            Another great point about Clinton-Dix’s value likely rising. GB at No. 21 isn’t in a great spot there. I would also consider TE Eric Ebron just based value if he was available to them.

            With regards to the amount of nickel they played, I think you’re right about the impact of their LB situation. I would adds that it’s matchup related and offers more in terms of interior pass rush because it allows them to play Mike Daniels and help out their poor safeties.

          • Dustin P

            Sounds spot on. I’d have to say, Dom Capers made do with some poor match ups. After more consideration, I’m probably in the minority that would praise him for overcoming an immense amount of adversity this year. With most of our players healthy (weeks 3-7/8) we had a defense that was starting to gain a lot of respect. There are a lot of question marks on this roster, though. And he may need a couple more years to rebuild it. If that’s the case, I don’t know if Packer Nation will give him that much time. Thanks for your input!

          • Dustin P

            In regards to Eric Ebron, he would be a great addition and weapon for A-Rod. That would be exciting to watch develop! He’s another player that, I think, may be just out of reach for the Packers. Ted Thompson does have an unpredictable side when it comes to the draft. It usually always pays off. I hope we resign James Jones, he’s a great locker room guy that always is a positive person. Sam Shields is a guy that has worked through many setbacks in his time here, he was a poor tackler but was working on his return game before we had Randall Cobb, then he had some coverage issues the year after that. But towards the end of last year and all of this year, he has been our shut down corner. He deserves his pay day. I remember a story done a couple of years ago by the packers writers telling all about his story and the adversity he overcame. He was a talent picked out by the cornerback coach and spent a lot of one one one time with him working on one part of his game at a time. He is a true competitor.

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