Year after year, the Green Bay Packers have a lot of cap room. They are smart, they re-sign their own players, often times to cheaper deals and they rarely mistakenly give out a bad contract.
Entering the 2016 off-season, the Packers are going to have $23.8 million at their disposal and that’s after re-signing Mike Daniels and Letroy Guion. B.J. Raji and Casey Hayward are free agents, as is James Jones, but none of those players are must keeps.
Therefore, the Packers actually have quite a bit of room. Sure, they may want to save some to extend the contracts of current players such as David Bakhtiari, Green Bay’s starting left tackle that has one year left on his deal.
However, that alone may not be enough to get the Packers over the hump. Green Bay is good at drafting yes, but it would be nice to see the Packers add a veteran or two capable of starting right away. One position that is definitely in need of some new blood is tight end.
Here are five tight ends the Packers should consider signing this off-season.
LaDarius Green –
I have always liked Green and would like him even more in a Green Bay uniform. He’s not much of a blocker, but he’s a big target and he’s a talented pass-catcher. He may not be good enough to start, but if he and Richard Rodgers were splitting snaps, that wouldn’t be a bad situation for Green Bay.
Coby Fleener –
There isn’t a ton of pub surrounding Fleener right now, but he may be as good as any free agent tight end on the market. He is more of an old-school two-way tight end, which is something I think would be appealing to Green Bay, especially cause Rogers is a below-average blocker. Fleener caught 54 passes for 491 yards and three touchdowns in 2015 and he has over 2,100 receiving yards in his career and 17 touchdowns. He would be a definite upgrade but might cost the most money.
Benjamin Watson –
After not posting a season with 500 yards receiving since 2012, Watson broke out in New Orleans in 2015, hauling in 74 passes for 825 yards and six touchdowns. Watson is 35, which could be a major deterrent, yet, he looked like he was in his prime last season. Guys like this are dangerous and in the end, he will probably want too much money. But, over the past two years, he was more of a blocking tight end and with the receiving skills he showed he still had last year, he may be a solid two-way tight end for another year or two and he could certainly stretch the middle of the field much better than Rodgers.
Vernon Davis –
The Packers like to look for bargains and one player that could offer great value in free agency this year is Vernon Davis. The 32-year old former Pro Bowler only caught 18 passes in 2015 and hasn’t looked like himself in the past couple of years. Yet, even though he has struggled the past three years, it has been mostly due to injury and he has still averaged close to 10 yards per reception. If the Packers get lucky and Davis stays healthy, he could prove to be a steal. He would look good catching passes from Aaron Rodgers and should have been if the Packers hadn’t foolishly passed on him for A.J. Hawk in the 2006 NFL Draft.
Dwayne Allen –
Allen is another Colts’ tight end that is getting ready to hit the market and he is doing so after an injury-riddled campaign. Allen, who is just 24 years old, played in 12 games for Indy last season and caught 16 passes for 109 yards and one TD. However, he has a season with over 500 yards receiving and another with 395. He also has 13 career touchdowns. He is young and still has upside. He has a career yards per reception average of 11.6. This past season Rodgers averaged 8.8 for the Packers and that was with a hail-mary touchdown. There is some risk factor with Allen and his blocking is only average, but there could be a big payoff for what would likely be a meager investment.