Any avid Simpson fan will recall the episode where Bart briefly became the heir to Mr. Burns’ vast fortune. In one particular scene, Bart and Burnsie can be seen in the office at the nuclear plant, forcing employees to convince them both why they shouldn’t be fired. Failure to do so, resulted in a quick exit through a hidden trap door. Whilst watching this particular episode, I laughed at the possibility of a GM calling in a member of the roster and waiting with his hand on the trigger whilst the particular player worryingly tried to convince them of their worth for at least one more season.This image then got me thinking, which players would Green Bay be sending on a mystery ride through the trap door in this off season.
So I will take a look at some of the players that may well come under consideration and ultimately end up on the chopping block. Some are free agents this off season and others are potential cap casualties. I’m not going to get too deep into the Rodgers and Adams situation(I hope both stay), but instead, look at some of the less obvious and what could perhaps be some of the toughest calls this off season. There are also numerous restructures that will inevitability occur this off season and I will, in the main, avoid these also as I can’t claim to know enough about the cap to describe how we get under the magic number for 2022. What I will say is, I firmly believe and hope, that the Green Bay front office have a plan for how they want the roster to look, not just in 2022, but for 2023 and beyond and some of the names below may or may not be on those lists.
So who might possibly be taking a trip through the trap door:
Kevin King. Probably not the popular opinion, but I keep King. Its cheaper cap wise and I genuinely believe he had a decent, but not spectacular, season. Proneness to injury is an issue, but King can play a part moving forward. Verdict: Keep
Chandon Sullivan. A solid season from Sullivan, that included three picks. Sully formed part of CB trio along with Stokes and Douglas, that provided a more than average secondary and can continue to complement Stokes and Alexander next season. Given that Douglas may leave and Sully will be available cheaper than most, he’s a keeper. Verdict: Keep
Lucas Patrick. A tough call on this one, Patrick was comfortable when needed at center. He performed well when moved to right guard at the expense of Royce Newman. However, given the likelihood of an O-line player being drafted and the encouraging, if not spectacular, rookie season of Newman, I think Patrick is gone from Green Bay. Verdict: Gone
Jack Heflin. Recently re-signed, Heflin and Slaton will, in my opinion, play a role on the D-line next season. Its likely that Lancaster is released and Lowry is either cut or restructured, leaving a gap in the support afforded to Kenny Clark. Verdict: Keep
Krys Barnes. Two full seasons with Green Bay, that included 166 total tackles, the highlight being the hit on Edwards-Helaire against the Chiefs. Not good enough to fill the shoes of Campbell, but has the potential to develop into a more than adequate replacement. Verdict: Keep
Randal Cobb. A good friend of our QB, Cobb’s return seemed to be a token gesture of appeasement. An injury down the stretch and a below par return in the divisional round, have led to Cobb’s contribution being overlooked. Some big catches on 3rd downs, I think Cobb is worth bringing back, but only if he agrees a team friendly deal. Verdict: Keep (only on team friendly deal)
Marcedes Lewis. A fumble in the divisional round could be the lasting memory of Lewis in a Packers’ uniform. However, in a room that’s light on quality and experience, why take a gamble on a free agent vet when we have a proven one in the room already? With no guarantees over Tonyan’s week one availability, I’m inclined to hold onto the big dog if he wants to run it back another year. Verdict: Keep
Dennis Kelly. Prior to the 49ers game, I had Kelly lined up as a cheap option to replace my cap casualty Billy Turner. Now I’m more inclined to restructure Turner, draft a tackle or even try Jenkins there when he returns. Who knows, maybe Cole Van Lanen can make the step up. Verdict: Cut
Whitney Mercilus. With the likely departure of one, or both, of the Smiths, I’d look at the option of Mercilus on a cheap one year deal. What looked like another mid season stroke of genius was cut short by injury. Similar to Lewis, why gamble on a free agent vet, when we know what we have already and likely to be available on a cheap deal? Verdict: Keep
Mason Crosby. The sands of time seemed to fall rapidly in the hour glass for Crosby this season. A little grayer on top, a little weaker down low. Crosby’s leg seemed to markedly weaken this year. Missed field-goals aside, Crosby’s inability to find the end zone on kickoffs was more concerning and evidence that perhaps his time is up. Verdict: Cut
Dean Lowry. Arguably his best season as a Packer so far, Lowry silenced many critics this year. Unfortunately for Lowry, his cap hit, along with some promising D-line draft prospects, makes this one of the tougher calls. Verdict: Cut
MVS. A speedy deep threat, his ability to stretch a defense is undisputed. His consistency and, this season, availability, are. One of the bigger calls to be made this off season. Verdict: Cut
So there you have it. Some obvious ones and maybe some that might provide some positional depth in the event of other being cut. I think its obvious that Za’Darius is gone and possibly Lazard too. The list above is meant to be ones to make us think. I believe most, if not all, of this seasons play makers will be back. I think it was Matt LaFleur who said, “you can bring back anyone you like, you just can’t bring back everybody.” A result of this is that some popular players get moved, but that’s the cruel nature of the NFL.
As I mentioned earlier, I believe the front office have a plan for the next two or three seasons from a cap point of view and the cap increase will play into their plans. I’m eagerly awaiting the next few weeks and we’ll soon have an idea of the Packers’ 2022 Super Bowl chances. Following from this, I will put together a list of potential free agents that I think the Packers could pursue to replace our cap casualties and add some roster depth.
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