Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Starter Pack: No action, no surprise
By Rob Demovsky
A roundup of what's happening on the Green Bay Packers beat.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- To the surprise of no one, the Packers sat idle on the first day of free agency.
And Day 2 could be more of the same.
As of the end of the day on Tuesday, the first day of the new NFL year, the Packers did not have any visits set up with any of the available players.
If the Packers do anything in free agency -- and they often don't -- it's almost never in the opening days. As good a signing as Charles Woodson was for the Packers in 2006, it's worth remembering that almost no one else wanted him. He did not settle for the Packers' offer until three days before the draft that season.
The Packers view defensive end Julius Peppers, who was released by the Chicago Bears, as the best defensive front player still available. But at age 34, he probably isn't a player Packers general manager Ted Thompson would be willing to pay.
Perhaps the next best option as a pass-rusher is DeMarcus Ware, who was released by the Dallas Cowboys for the same reason as Peppers. Ware is younger (he turns 32 in July) and would be a good fit for the Packers' 3-4 defense. The Packers spent part of Tuesday discussing Ware but have not set up a visit. That would likely only happen if Ware goes unsigned after the initial wave of interest.
Here’s a recap of the rest of the Packers-related happenings from day one of free agency, with a little perspective added in:
- Tight end Jermichael Finley was en route to Seattle, where he will visit the Seahawks on Wednesday. It will be interesting to see what the Seahawks' medical staff thinks of Finley, who underwent neck fusion surgery last November following his season-ending injury. It's not known if the Packers will clear him.
- Center Evan Dietrich-Smith is expected to visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With the New York Giants also interested, it appears likely the Packers will have a different starter center for the third straight season.
- The Packers tendered one of their two restricted free agents, linebacker Jamari Lattimore. He received the lowest-possible tender ($1.431 million). That gives the Packers the right of first refusal, but if they don’t match any offer he receives, then they will get no compensation. They did not tender safety M.D. Jennings, who started every game last season. He is free to sign with another team immediately.
- Of the 471 free agents to hit the market, the Packers had 16 of them, including defensive tackle Johnny Jolly. He underwent surgery last month to correct a bulging disc in his neck. On Tuesday, he tweeted that his doctor told him his fusion surgery healed perfectly and he can begin lifting weights.
- The details of cornerback Sam Shields' new contract were as expected. It was indeed a four-year, $39 million deal. Here’s the year-by-year breakdown.