This Packers offseason has been without a doubt the worst across the league. After a close-fought NFC Championship game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it seemed the Packers were a few key moves away from a Super Bowl. Fixing issues at receiver, and some positions on the defensive side of the ball is all that was necessary. Unfortunately, GM Brian Gutekunst had other plans. Not only was the lack of moves concerning, but the few signings that did happen were beyond disappointing. Packer fans have all the reasons to be livid with the organization this offseason.
What Went Wrong
The Packers went into the offseason with little cap space compared to other teams, but nothing a few restructures and cuts couldn’t alleviate. The first issue was restructuring Preston Smith instead of cutting him. The emergence of Rashan Gary makes Smith a rotational pass-rusher. Cutting Smith would’ve opened up $8 million in cap space, rather the Packers opted to restructure his deal.
Key free agents were Corey Linsley and Aaron Jones (and Kevin King). After a season in which Linsley cemented himself as the best center in the league, if anyone should’ve been brought back it should be him.
Aaron Jones is one of the best running backs in the league, but as we have learned, paying up for running backs is not worth it. Not to forget a second-round pick was spent on AJ Dillon last season, likely to become Jones’s replacement. And finally, after being almost entirely to blame for a brutal playoff loss to the Buccaneers, cornerback Kevin King should’ve suited up for the last time as a Green Bay Packer.
Instead, the exact opposite occurred, re-signing Kevin King and Aaron Jones while letting Corey Linsley walk. Re-signing Aaron Jones first on a large deal makes the second-round pick of AJ Dillon obsolete, why bother drafting him to be a backup?
And with a large need at cornerback, why re-sign the player who made constant mistakes and ended your season? In a market that had William Jackson, Shaq Griffin, and Ronald Darby they settle for King who didn’t come for cheap. A one-year $6 million deal is approximately $6 million more than he deserves.
Letting Linsley walk means less protection for an aging MVP Aaron Rodgers who just finished getting killed by the combination of Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul against the Buccaneers.
And not addressing the receiver position yet again is beyond absurd. Letting top receivers in last year’s draft class flyby is one thing, but not signing one this offseason is much worse. The loaded free-agent class consisted of Kenny Golladay, Will Fuller, Juju Smith-Schuster, and Curtis Samuel. All of whom would’ve boosted Rodgers’s arsenal to a new level. Any receiver signed could’ve stepped into a role opposite of Davante Adams who would consistently draw primary coverage from the opposing defense.
Instead, Gutekunst thought it’d be best to roll with Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard. Two receivers who can’t get open if their lives depended on it, much less catch the ball if they somehow do find space.
Holes remain at receiver, cornerback (Kevin King is NOT the answer), linebacker, and on the defensive interior. A new hole has also been made along the offensive line after letting Linsley walk. And with $3 million in cap space and all the top free agents already gone, the Packers must try to address all of them with late-round picks in the 2021 draft.
The needs far outweigh the number of valuable picks the Packers own, making it hard to be optimistic about the Packers’ Super Bowl prospects next year. The defense will be just as porous and the offense will look similar except for worse pass-protection and run-blocking.
It seems yet again the Packers want to make life as hard as possible for Aaron Rodgers, hoping he can produce despite the lack of talent around him. Now reports are coming out that the Packers are trying to restructure Rodgers’ contract. After drafting his future replacement last season in Jordan Love and giving him less to work with this offseason, I can’t imagine why Rodgers would even consider such an idiotic offer from the front office.