Free agency is just around the corner in the NFL and the Green Bay Packers have some areas they will be looking to address once the market opens later this month.
Because the salary cap is lower this year after a reduction in revenue due to the pandemic, the Packers still need to make a few moves to get under the salary cap by the start of the new league year.
Despite the cap crunch, GM Brian Gutekunst said the Packers may find room to add a player or two in free agency if they can find them at the right price. Since most NFL teams will be hit hard by the reduced cap, there could be several bargains out there as a glut of players hit the market after being released by teams trying to sign other players and get under the cap limit.
The star players will still get big bucks, but there will be a lot of former starting players out there signing for a lot less money because of the cap situation around the league. If Gutekunst is shrewd, he can find some potential bargains out there this year.
Here is a look at areas the Packers are most likely to address in free agency this year. These position groups can also be addressed in the draft or in trades during the offseason.
- Wide Receiver
The Packers did not address this area in last year’s draft and may still be looking for an upgrade here in the form of an experienced veteran.
Green Bay has lacked a true slot receiver since Randall Cobb’s heyday and the team could use someone with that specific skill set.
There have been rumors the Packers would be interested in Will Fuller who head coach Matt LaFleur has often praised in the past and who Gutekunst was in negotiations to acquire at the trade deadline before talks broke down.
The Packers are unlikely to break the bank but will likely look to add a veteran wide receiver who can improve their depth and talent at this position.
- Offensive Tackle
The Packers have an issue at this position after the release of swing tackle Rick Wagner. Wagner could possibly be brought back at a lower price but Green Bay will need to find a veteran swing tackle for next season.
Free agent Jared Veldheer is another candidate to return if he’s willing to do so at or near the veteran minimum.
The Packers need at tackle is higher because the team is not certain if starting left tackle David Bakhtiari will be healthy enough to start the season on time after suffering a season-ending knee injury in December.
The Pack is likely to draft a tackle on the first two days of the draft but will look to add a veteran to the mix as well.
- Running Back
A lot here depends on what happens with the Packers two unsigned players at this position, Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. If neither of them is back, the Pack will certainly look for a veteran to fortify the depth chart at this position with A.J. Dillon likely to assume the starting role.
The entire league does not place a high value on running backs so the Packers will not look to break the bank here.
They will likely look for a complimentary back with a different skill set than Dillon who is a big, physical inside runner. James White, formerly of New England would be a possibility as a third down receiving back.
If either Jones or Williams is retained, this need goes way down and the Packers may just rely on the draft to add some depth here. If not, this will be a big area of need in free agency.
The Packers have an elite starter in Pro Bowler in Jaire Alexander but there are a lot of question behind him. Last year’s CB2, Kevin King, is an unrestricted free agent and won’t be back unless he sees little demand on the market and is willing to come back at a lower price than he expects to get as a free agent.
The slot corner last season was Chandon Sullivan who had an up and down year after playing very well as the dime back in 2019. Sullivan is a restricted free agent and the Packers need to decide whether to make him a tender offer or risk losing him in free agency. Sullivan also may not get many better offers elsewhere if there is a glut of corners on the market.
Expect the Packers to address this area early in the draft but a veteran free agent like Richard Sherman or Xavier Rhodes may be stop gap additions until the rookie is ready for a bigger role.
More depth and talent are needed at this position and the Packers will likely add several new players this offseason.
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