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.
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.
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.
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.
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.