I know, I know, Ted Thompson and the Green Bay Packers never spend money on free agents, especially on free agents over the age of 30. But I believe that to be successful you need to be flexible and sometimes you need to go against your own rules, sometimes there are special circumstances.
In the NFL special circumstances equals special players.
The Packers, who are coming off their third-straight NFC North Championship and fifth straight season of the making the playoffs, are on the doorstep of Super Bowl contention. Two things have consistently held them back the past three seasons, bad defense and injuries.
The Packers are continuing to research and find ways to manage their injuries but in many cases, there is nothing that can be done. Therefore, upgrading the personnel of the defense seems a much more tangible goal to me.
One area that has plagued the Packers over the past few season has been the sub-par run defense and big reason for that has been the play of the inside linebackers.
A.J. Hawk has been solid but not spectacular, while Brad Jones and Jamari Lattimore have flashed potential but also been marred by inconsistency.
The Packers need a big, physical presence inside and with $33 million in cap space, I think it would be a perfect time for the Packers to take the leap and sign a few free agents.
My recommendation would be D’Qwell Jackson, the free-agent linebacker, who was recently released by the Browns. Yes, he’s 30 years old but he’s an impact player with experience in the 3-4 defense, who could help the Packers right away.
Over the past three seasons, Jackson hasn’t missed a single game and he’s been consistently productive in an area the Packers lacked last season – impact plays.
Since 2011, Jackson has totaled 8.5 sacks, four interceptions, four forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries.
The Browns released him because he was due an $8 million bonus this year and if the Packers acted quickly before free agency starts, they could maybe get a steal. I would think a three-year deal worth around $15 million would get it done and personally I think it would be worth the investment.
That is my take. Sorry it was a little long winded. Let me know what you think and comment or get a discussion going in the forums. I’d love to hear your thoughts.