Green Bay Packers

Five Free Agents for the Green Bay Packers

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The Green Bay Packers were uncharacteristically inactive during this past free agency period. It was reminiscent of the Ted Thompson era but off-brand for Brian Gutekunst. However, he was strapped with a negative cap figure that would hold hostage every front office.

Fast forward five months and the Green Bay Packers have the seventh-most cap space of any team in the NFL, with over $15 million to play with.

They’ll need to reserve some of that capital to fill holes throughout the season but they could spend a good chunk right now to put the team together during training camp.

Here are five free agents the Green Bay Packers can spend that money on right now.

 

1. Benson Mayowa

Benson Mayowa has bounced around the league for almost a decade. He’s had two stints with both the Raiders and the Seahawks, with stops at Arizona and Dallas as well. He’s never been a Pro-Bowl caliber performer and is far from a household name, but Mayowa has had a very productive career for an undrafted edge defender.

Over 9 seasons where he’s never been a full-time starter, Mayowa has totaled 27 career sacks and 183 pressures. He’s been a productive ‘6th man’ for most of his career and has well over 3,000 snaps worth of experience to lean on.

That makes him a perfect fit for the Green Bay Packers. Preston Smith and Rashan Gary have earned starting reps but the lack of proven depth behind them is concerning. Jonathan Garvin, Tipa Galeai, and rookie Kingsley Enagbare are the favorites to earn snaps off the bench.

Mayowa may not be the sexiest name among NFL circles but he would push this young group of edge rushers. He brings a wealth of knowledge and an ability to both rush the passer and defend the run. At a likely $1-2 million, one-year contract, there is no downside for the Green Bay Packers.

 

2. Anthony Barr

Anthony Barr may have broken Aaron Rodgers’ collarbone 5 years ago but we all have to move on… this is a business.

Barr has been a top performer at the linebacker position for almost a decade. He entered the league as a pass-rusher with questions about his ability to operate as an every-down defender. He answered those questions with 4-straight seasons of Pro-Bowl caliber play.

His last three seasons have been plagued by injuries but when he’s healthy, Barr is a versatile defender that’s still capable of operating at a Pro Bowl level. He can contribute in every role that would be asked of him at both inside and outside linebacker with the Green Bay Packers.

Barr would command an expensive contract compared to the other remaining free agents but he’s on the books for almost $10 million for the Vikings this season, which is icing on the cake.

Anthony Barr would not be asked to participate in a traditional starting role but could still earn borderline starter money with well-over 500 snaps in a versatile role that Joe Barry would be happy to create for him.

After decades of watching the Vikings poach former Packers, it’s time for Papa to return the favor.

 

3. Chris Harris

The former Charger and longtime Bronco is the second UDFA on this list. Chris Harris spent most of his time in the NFL flipping seamlessly from outside to slot corner but he seems destined for a position change to finish out his career.

Harris has always displayed stellar coverage instincts and he’s shined whenever he was asked to play deep-thirds from any corner position. He’s been tough against the run and always willing to get after the quarterback.

With those qualities, Harris could seamlessly transition to the safety position to close out his career and the Green Bay Packers would be wise to contact him for his services.

After the Packers let Henry Black walk, no third safety currently exists on the roster. Shemar Jean-Charles and Vernon Scott are the other contributors available that have reps at the safety position behind starters Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage.

The starting trio at cornerback is set, with Jaire Alexander, Eric Stokes, and Rasul Douglas but the depth beyond those three is lacking as well. SJC is the only other player returning with any experience in Barry’s defense.

To make matters worse, the Green Bay Packers completely ignored the defensive backfield during the 2022 NFL Draft, which surprised me and other draft pundits considering that they walked in with 10 picks. That is the reason why the DB depth is lacking right now.

Its undeniable that Chris Harris’ production has tapered off toward the end of his career. He’s lost a step that he’ll never get back but the experience that he gained during his 11 years in the league cannot be overstated.

The Green Bay Packers need depth in the defensive backfield beyond their starting five and Chris Harris would bring that.

 

4. Dee Ford

Dee Ford was released from the 49ers just days ago.

His injury history is extensive but his past production is hard to ignore. Ford has recorded double-digit sack totals twice in his career and was once considered one of the most dangerous young pass rushers in the league.

Fast forward a couple years and we’re looking at a player that’s clearly past his prime, AKA ‘can be had at a bargain. Ford signed a massive FA contract with San Francisco that he was unable to live up to. Now unemployed at 31 years old with over $60 million in the bank, he’s free to sign with whomever he wants.

He should choose Green Bay. He’d have the opportunity to contribute to his first Super Bowl ring and coach some yearlings in the process.

Coming off the bench for the Green Bay Packers, Ford would never be asked to over-extend himself. He’d primarily operate as a role-player or a DPR in the Packers’ defense.

Ford is a violent and handsy edge rusher that’s developed a deep bag over his 8 seasons in the NFL. He’s formidable in every phase of the game and can be utilized in every front. It’s well-worth kicking the tires on the old buck.

At this point in his career, the biggest question regarding Ford is his value. Can his camp come to terms with a lesser contract? They’ll have to. Nobody’s signing Dee Ford to a multi-year, $15+ million APY.

If they can come to terms, Dee Ford and the Green Bay Packers would be a perfect marriage.

 

5. Will Fuller

Yes, we’re having this discussion again… Only the Packers aren’t looking at trading for him this time around.

Will Fuller is the only wide receiver on the free agent market that can immediately improve the Packers’ passing game.

The former first-rounder is in rarified air when it comes to getting open on deep routes. Fuller combines awesome long speed with great footwork and route-running nuance. He’s not far removed from a 2020 season where he graded in the top-ten at the position via PFF while registering 8 TDs and 16.6 yards/rec.

Fuller would step in and immediately improve the long-ball for the Packers’ passing-game. He would be the first among Packer WRs to actually fill a role. Some players are flashing in camp but right now the Green Bay Packers don’t have anything to hang their hat on at the wide receiver position.

Will the Packers make another move or push on, hoping that a player or two emerges?

Fuller is generating some noise on the free agent market but he hasn’t come to an agreement with anybody yet. If it we’re up to me, I’d be on the phone with Fuller’s agent RIGHT NOW.

He’s coming off back-to-back seasons of over $10 million APY but I doubt the 28 year-old would command even close to that number after his disastrous 2021 season where he only participated in just two games and barely recorded a statistic.

The fact that Fuller is still available means that the NFL community might be privy to information that the general public is not. It’s likely that Fuller’s camp is far away from NFL front offices regarding Fuller’s value but it could be that the six-year vet has already lost a step.

Regardless, if I’m Brian Gutekunst, I’m reaching out to Fuller’s agent to gauge interest. Prime or not – Will Fuller would provide a massive boost to the Green Bay Packers’ wide receiver room.

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