A lot is changing for the 2018 Green Bay Packers. This includes players as well as management. With a satisfactory season behind them, Green Bay has fired long time GM Ted Thompson, and replaced him with former director of player personnel, Brian Gutekunst. He has been working within the Packers organization for 20 years and knows his team’s roster as good as anyone. It’s a welcome change from Ted Thompson who is notoriously stubborn when it comes to adding talent via free agency. While I appreciate his view of “draft and develop from within”, I think there has to be a balance of home grown players as well as acquired players through trade and free agency. Why is a balance important? Just look at Ted Thompson’s biggest outside acquisition – Charles Woodson. He is one of the rare big name players that he signed as a GM. What were the results? A defensive MVP season for Woodson and a Super Bowl for Green Bay.
That brings us to Gutekunst, who in his short time has already made a huge splash in free agency and shown the world that Green Bay means business again. Two big names have been added to the roster for Mike McCarthy and new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine to take advantage of. Jimmy Graham and and Muhammad Wilkerson. Sadly, in order to fit Graham’s salary, Jordy Nelson was cut from the team. But losing from a position of strength where Davante Adams has overtaken Nelson as the teams top WR, and gaining one of the best receiving tight ends in the league, could prove to be a big boost. Nelson’s end zone ability will be missed for sure, but let’s remember that Jimmy lead all tight ends in touch downs just last season. I’m genuinely excited to see what him and Rodgers are capable of doing together. And just to top it off, Gutekunst has also signed veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis who is widely considered one of the leagues best blocking tight ends. Talk about taking a weak position and turning it into a very strong one!
Muhammad Wilkerson will be a huge addition to Green Bay’s defensive front. Drafted in the first round in 2011, he has amassed 45 sacks for the Jets, and has shown flashes of dominance, specifically in 2015 where he had a career high of 12 sacks and made the pro bowl. He will join fellow pro bowler Mike Daniels to steady the Packer’s defense.
The secondary should also see a boost with First round draft pick Jaire Alexander looking to steal a starting spot, and former fan favourite Tramon Williams returning to Green Bay to give some much needed help to Ha-Ha Clinton Dix.
All there is left to do is sit and wait to see if there are any other moves up Gutekunst’s sleeve. Adrian Peterson has vocalized interest in coming to Green Bay, and Dez Bryant is another name that seems to be linked to them as well. Is signing either of these players the right move? Probably not as Dez will be commanding too much money and AP is a shell of his former self. But it’s nice to have that feeling of possibility instead of “Nope, Thompson doesn’t do the whole off season thing”. We already know what Rodgers thinks of the whole Dez Bryant idea;
At the end of the day it is Brian Gutekunst’s decision and if he feels like Dez is worth the gamble, we could very well see him in Green Bay soon. It would be a strange look for sure.