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Old 15.02.2011, 03:29 PM
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transmetropolitan transmetropolitan is offline
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Default 2011 roster decisions

Much as I am still basking in warm fuzzy Superbowl afterglow… I thought it would be fun to think about the roster for next season and put down my thoughts about the decisions facing the Packers as they shape the roster that will attempt to retain the Lombardi trophy.

Clearly there are unknowns at this point. With the CBA up in the air, there’s a good chance roster sizes could change. The salary cap is coming back but we don’t know on what terms. And we don’t have access to players who are injured, how they are rehabbing etc. But these are my thoughts at this time based on what I know. Thought it might make a good discussion. I’ll start with offence today and do defence when I get the chance.


Free Agents

G Daryn Colledge
G Jason Spitz
FB Korey Hall
FB John Kuhn
HB Brandon Jackson
TE Spencer Havner
WR James Jones

Colledgewill leave in free agency
I think everyone can see this coming. At the end of the day, this boils down to the fact that Colledge wants to get paid, and Green Bay would be foolish to invest money in their 5th best O Lineman. In some respects Colledge is unfairly maligned. He’s resilient, he’s experienced, his availability has been excellent, he is fairly solid. Rank and file, you know what you’re getting with him. Someone will need a guard and there’s a good chance he gets the contract he’s looking for. I just don’t see it being in Green Bay. With Nick McDonald and T.J. Lang waiting in the wings, the Packers figure to be OK at the position and there are better areas to invest money than in an average guard.

Spitzwill leave in free agency
We should have traded Spitz to the Eagles at the start of this season. They offered, apparently we didn’t do it as we were playing them week 1. As it was we kept him on the roster, he barely played and when he did come into the game for Colledge against the Vikings he was so awful he got benched for Lang. I don’t see the sense in resigning him unless it’s as a bargain basement backup. With the shortage of good linemen around the league my guess is a player with his experience gets a better offer elsewhere.

Hall = will leave in free agency/may resign in GB
The big thing working against Hall is that he’s always been injury prone. With 2 of them FAs this year, we aren’t carrying the 3 FBs on the roster next year IMO. Hall is the most likely to leave – more than anything he’s just missed too many games.

Kuhnwill resign in Green Bay
Based purely on the tangibles, you probably wouldn’t do it. But Kuhn is so popular, and you’ve got to think the heart which we all love in his play rubs off on his teammates. He’s versatile, he’s tough and he consistently plays above himself. We’ll resign him to a respectable deal.

Jackson - may leave, may resign in Green Bay
Probably the most borderline decision on offence. The Packers figure to draft a RB this year. Ryan Grant is probably leaving after 2011. James Starks has promise but cannot be relied upon. So that would take up 3 RB roster spots. I think Jackson warrants a 4th. He’s a great pro, he’s smart, he’s tough, a great 3rd down back and if we need him to play he will never disgrace himself. He’s an average player in a lot of respects, but there’s potentially a long term role for a player who picks up the blitz so well and can catch out of the backfield. Grant is not long term, if the price is right… Jackson is. Unless someone offers him silly money, I hope we keep him.

Havnerwill leave in free agency
I can’t see what role Havner might have in Green Bay next year. Finley, Quarless and Crabtree figure to be back. Beyond that I think they’ll probably go younger. He’s not that good and he doesn’t have a whole lot of upside at this point. Maybe at a cheap price you get him into camp and see how it shakes out? But my guess is he might get a better shot somewhere.

Joneswill resign in Green Bay
A little unfairly maligned IMO. Supposedly reliable Jordy Nelson dropped as many passes as Jones in 2010. Still has an awful lot of talent. There may be competition to bring him back, someone may well want to pay him like a starter. But with Driver nearing the end and Nelson a FA after 2011, that receiving depth chart thins out awfully quickly. We just won the SB because our passing game outplayed the best pass D in the league. This is why you let Colledge the man his money.

Should they stay or should they go? – roster calls to make
2011 compensation in brackets

Donald Lee ($2.2m)
Mark Tauscher ($4.1m)
Donald Driver ($4.1m)

He’s a great pro in many ways, gym rat and all around good guy to have in the locker room. But he’s way down the pecking order as a receiver and he’s never been the stoutest blocker. He isn’t a bell cow on special teams either. Thanks for being a Packer but we can’t afford to pay $2.2m for a 4th string TE. Time to get younger.

Tauscherassuming he doesn't retire...if he’ll play for backup money, stay
Clifton is coming back, Bulaga is entrenched at RT. $4.1m is just not happening. However if Tauscher wants to continue his career in GB and is amenable to returning as a backup, I’d definitely offer him $1.5m if the rehab of his injury is checking out. You can’t rely on Clifton staying healthy for 16+ games. Marshall Newhouse is a long way from a sure thing. TJ Lang might be starting at LG. This gives you an experienced player to turn to. It’s a good insurance policy. Of course, he might choose to retire. We’ll have to see what he wants to do – if he wants, he can force his way onto the open market.

If he weren’t 42 yards short of a franchise record for receiving yards, if you were making this decision from a cold business perspective… I think it’s highly likely Driver would be on the outs. But he is an absolutely exemplary pro. If anyone is capable of something of a bounce back season at this kind of age, it’s Driver. Moreover, if I’m Thompson, I’m going to draft another receiver this year. Who better to have him look up to as a rookie? If we need the cash elsewhere, I would not be above discussing a renegotiation with Driver – the team redid his contract in back to back years earlier in his career to pay him fairly. IMO he is not getting $4.1m anywhere else this season. But most likely he plays what is likely to be his last year as a Packer for the full amount.
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