It’s that time of year again where the hokey cokey of NFL is happening around the league, some are in, some are out, some are shaking it all about! But, the less said about that the better… So, what is happening with the Green Bay Packers?
We will be looking at those leaving Lambeau through the back door and those coming in through the front door and out onto the field.
Brandon Bostick – Tight End
The first player release will be of no surprise to any Packers fan, it is Brandon Bostick, in the game-that-shall-not-be-named he was the fall guy for a lot of fans anger as the one who lost the NFC Championship Game. Now I won’t go into this again you can read my thoughts here, but it was inevitable that he would not be with the Packers for the 2015 season. Before we say adieu to him let’s look at what he did for us; I am not going to lie this won’t take too long, he received the ball twice for a total of 3 yards, however, one of those catches was a one yard touchdown from Aaron Rodgers last year and that was a great addition to the game. Bostick was released from the team roster on February 16th 2015, and our division rivals, Minnesota Vikings, snapped him up on February 18th 2015 when his jersey hadn’t even got cold!
A J Hawk – Linebacker
It was a bit of a shock for me when I read on Twitter that the Packers had released on February 25th 2015 and has now signed for the Cincinnati Bengals on March 10th 2015. His was one of the first player names I learnt when I became an NFL/Packers fan. My other half would test me randomly to see how many I remembered and at first it was Rodgers, Nelson, Matthews and Hawk. Looking at the comments on Twitter of the various fans I follow, it seems it may have been coming and that he was OK towards the end but not a real difference maker. I saw him as a part of the furniture and knew he was always around, and why wouldn’t I when his career at Greenbay spanned 9 years, my oldest niece isn’t even that old yet! A J took his release gracefully and tweeted a very sincere “9 awesome seasons with the Packers” and added a video of him and his brother talking about the move. During his time as Linebacker for the Green Bay Packers, Hawk, had a total of 19 sacks, although Hawk was pretty quiet in the 2014 season only being credited for half a sack, in the 2013 season he achieved a career high of 5 sacks in the year. Already having his salary lowered a few times I am sure that he may have seen it coming and made a move to protect his career whilst he still could. The question will be what the Packers gain in salary cap will it cover what we will lose in our defense?
Davon House – Cornerback
At midnight (GMT) the news came through that House had decided to leave the Packers and sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Thank you GB for everything! Out of 32 NFL teams you guys were the only ones that gave me a chance to… https://t.co/8lqP5rCSfO
— Davon House (@DavonHouse) March 11, 2015
His past two seasons again have been on the quiet side so it may not be a massive shock to some that he has left, although he played in 29 of the 32 games he only started in a quarter of these, but his numbers weren’t great with 1 sack and 2 interceptions in the past 2 seasons. What I will say is thank you to House for what he did do and wish him all the best at the Jaguars!
Tramon Williams – Cornerback
Although Williams has moved on he did leave a legacy in his wake, in the 2014 season he had 3 interceptions and 70 tackles (60 solo and 10 assisted). I think that he will be missed in the defense for the 2015 season and wish him luck in his new team, Cleveland Browns.
So let’s look that some that are coming in, or as the Packers have been pretty quiet as apparently is normally the case in Free Agency but in most cases they are coming back.
Randall Cobb – Slot Receiver
In 2014, Cobb started all 16 regular season games and set career highs with 91 receptions for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdown receptions. He and Jordy Nelson became a powerhouse and manages to become the first duo in NFL history to both achieve 90+ receptions, 1,200+ receiving yards and 12+ touchdowns in the same season.
There was much talk across the interwebs about just what the Packers were going to do about Randall Cobb, would they fork out for him or let him go? His 2014 season had ended on a high note and many were worried that he would take his talent elsewhere as his end of contract date drew nearer.
News was slowly leaking out that the Packers had made an offer and that Cobb had rejected it, yet more waiting ensued to hear what the next move was. The issues was Cobb wanted $10 million a year, but the Packers would not pay this as they did not want to pay Cobb more than their main receiver Jordy Nelson who had renewed his contract last year for $9.76 million a year.
With only three days before Cobb hit the open market the news broke on 8th March 2015 that Randall Cobb had signed a contract for a 4-year $40 million deal, it was reported that he could have received more money from other teams (such as the Raiders or Jaguars) but he wanted to stay in Green Bay.
Green Bay Packers GROW players not buy them in!
— Randall Cobb (@rcobb18) March 10, 2015
Bryan Bulaga – Offensive Tackle
The Green Bay Packers selected Bulaga as their 23rd pick in the 2010 NFL draft, and after 5 years of hard work Bulaga has agreed to a five-year, $33.75 million deal, which is roughly $6.75 million per season.
Great to be back in Green Bay! The lack of snow is very welcoming!!!
— Bryan Bulaga (@BBulaga) March 11, 2015
The 2014 season was a very important one for the Packers, they had one of their best regular seasons for years, with 2-time MVP Aaron Rodgers able to put up some great numbers, but without his amazing Offensive Line this would not have been possible (see the Washington O-Line for how important it is) they were able to give Rodgers sometimes up to 7 seconds to complete his read options or chose to run it himself, some teams in the NFL only gave their QB’s up to 2 seconds!
Letroy Guion – Defensive Tackle
Another resigning was Letroy Guion, he joined the Packers last year after being with the Minnesota Vikings for 5 years. In his first year with the Packers he set career highs, achieving a career best of 32 Tackles and 3.5 sacks. He has signed a one year deal worth $2.75 million, however this good news was slightly hampered by the fact that a week earlier he had settled the case against him for being in possession of an unloaded firearm, $190,000+ in cash and 357 grams of marijuana, although he did not have to admit guilt as a first time offender he did have to pay $5,000 in fines. Take from that what you will. Hopefully, he learns from this mistake and moves onwards and upwards in order to stay with the Packers after this new contract expires.
A couple of smaller signings took place as well, B.J. Raji was signed for a 1 year $3.5 million contract, but being injury plagued may mean that all eyes are on him for this season to step up and earn his place for years to come.
In reserve QB’s the Packers have released Matt Flynn but resigned Scott Tolzien with a 1-year contract for $1.35 million, if there was ever a QB to be behind and learn from it is Aaron Rodgers, albeit he is rarely off the field to give Tolzien some play time, but Rodgers himself sat through the Brett Favre years and learnt his trade from the bench first. Some argue this is a better way to train QB’s rather than chucking them in at the deep end straight from college, unfortunately, not all teams have the opportunity to do this.
All in all, 2015 is looking good! We have a strong offensive line to help protect Rodgers so he can move the ball where he needs to, Eddie Lacy is his own personal powerhouse, I think in the draft we should look for some defensive players as that was the main area that let us down last season.