The Green Bay Packers generally don’t jump into the first wave of NFL Free Agency, but once things slow down, general manager Ted Thompson starts to take a more active interest in the market. With that in mind, the Packers have some needs that need to be addressed and one of the biggest is at inside linebacker.
Now, don’t get wrong, the Packers don’t have a huge hole there. Yes, Brad Jones and A.J. Hawk were both just released but it was because of poor play. Green Bay can do better. Plus, with Sam
Barrington penciled in as one starter, the Packers only need a player or two to get proper depth. And of course Clay Matthews could always resume his successful role at inside linebacker, even though I’m sure Dom Capers would love to use pass-rushing skills more in 2015.
So that brings me back to free agency. I believe in building through the draft and I fully expect the Packers to select and inside linebacker to compete with Barrington and other young players on the roster such as Carl Bradford, the fourth-round pick out of Arizona State in 2014. But, I’m not sure that will be enough and sometimes it pays off to add some veteran help, which is why the Packers should look into signing Brandon Spikes.
Spikes, who was once a second-round pick of the New England Patriots, played for the Bills last season and notched 54 tackles as an inside linebacker in the Buffalo’s 3-4 scheme. The thing about Spikes is that he’s essentially a two-down linebacker. Coverage is not his strong suit, it never has been but when it comes to stopping the run, he’s tough as nails. And that is exactly the kind of player Green Bay could use against – Oh — I don’t know — Seattle.
The downside with Spikes is that the Packers would still need to find someone who can play the nickel linebacker position alongside Barrington. It’s possible Matthews could play in that role, especially cause the Packers are loaded with edge rushers in Julius Peppers, Mike Neal and Nick Perry. Yet, again Matthews is best pursuing the quarterback and that’s the only downside to signing Spikes, it doesn’t fully solve the problem.
However, run defense has been Green Bay’s biggest problem on defense the past few years and if they are going to win a championship it’s something that will need to improve and make no mistake, Spikes can definitely do just that. Last season, he played on a one-year $3 million deal with the Bills and shouldn’t command more than $2-$3 million this year. If he wants more than that it doesn’t make sense but if Spikes is willing to take a reasonable salary, the Packers should definitely take a long, hard look at signing him.