Feb. 23, 2015 By Zuhayr Tahir
Well it’s basically that time of year again. The time where Packer faithful get their hopes up that general manager Ted Thompson finally puts his hand on the trigger and scores a high-priced free agent.
Well, keep dreaming. The only high priced free agent Thompson will ever sign is someone who is already a Packer.
Speaking of Packer free agents, wide receiver Randall Cobb and right tackle Bryan Bulaga should be at the top of their priority list.
Cobb is looking for around $9 million a year, and at this point, what Bulaga is looking for is unknown.
The Packers do own a nice amount of cap space this offseason, though, as the cap number for this year has been raised to around $143 million. Given that, the Packers should be able to afford Cobb and Bulaga.
Now just because the Packers won’t be going after some high-priced outside free agents, doesn’t mean they can’t make an impact this offseason.
The Packers only made two outside signings last year, linebacker Julius Peppers and defensive lineman Letroy Guion, and they both had a significant impact on the 2014 season.
So, here are three free agents that could greatly benefit the Packers next season.
1. Shane Vereen: Running Back, New England Patriots
I love the idea of Vereen coming to Green Bay. Packers’ running back Eddie Lacy is a great physical runner, but he is nowhere near the receiving threat that Vereen is.
Vereen is a lot like Cobb, but a running back. If Cobb returns, and he likely will, then Green Bay could very well be a matchup nightmare next season.
Hopefully Vereen sees the potential of working with Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers because it would definitely make the number one offense in the NFL even more dynamic.
2. Charles Tillman: Cornerback, Chicago Bears
This possibility is only if the Packers do not re-sign cornerback Tramon Williams because they would probably rather have him over Tillman. If the price for Williams is too much, the Packers would definitely not hesitate in letting the ageing cornerback go.
But, exit one ageing cornerback, and insert another.
Tillman will probably not demand much money on the free agent market and could come as a bargain. The Packers are not afraid to take ex-Bears players as we saw last year with Peppers, and Tillman could come in and play well in a limited role. He’s got a knack for forcing fumbles which could really help the Packers come next season.
3. Brain Orakpo: Linebacker, Washington Redskins
Call me crazy, but I like linebacker Clay Matthews in the inside role. He played better than expected at that position last year and really helped the run defense when he made the change. If the Packers sign Orakpo this offseason, he can stay there.
Orakpo could very well be a risky signing given his injury concerns, but those injury concerns will probably drive his price tag pretty low. He might want to sign a one year prove-it-all deal, and the Packers would most likely be happy to do it for the right price.
Orakpo is an effective pass rusher when healthy, and the upside to him far outweighs Packers’ linebackers Mike Neal and Nick Perry.