The Packers have historically not made a huge splash in free agency. In recent years the Packers have been more of a player in the free agency game. This year, the Packers made more of a splash in what they gave up in free agency rather than what they got. However, two free agent signings from this offseason could be the difference for the Packers this year.
DL Jarran Reed
The offseason was full of chaos on the wide receiver front and so a lot of signings, like the one of Jarran Reed, went unnoticed. Defensive coordinator Joe Barry sang his praises at a recent press conference. He called him a savvy veteran who can play “up and down the line”. The Packers have a stacked group of players to rush the passer. While Reed may not be the headliner, don’t be surprised if he gets more sacks than you might predict. The attention will be on Rashan Gary, Preston Smith and Kenny Clark giving Reed a lot of 1-on-1 opportunities. If Reed can win those 1-on-1 battles, he is going to be a huge free agent signing for the Packers.
WR Sammy Watkins
Everyone scoffed at this signing. Watkins was a top 5 draft pick bust who can’t stay healthy. The talent is there but everyone guarantees he will be injured in the first couple weeks. While some players are injury prone, injuries are generally luck based. If Watkins can stay healthy, and I realize that is a big if, he is going to have a huge year for the Packers. Rodgers is already a little frustrated with his rookie wide receivers. He is not having issues with Watkins. At the joint practice with the Saints, Watkins caught a beautiful pass from Rodgers showing off his speed and hands. He will be the steal of a free agent signing for the Packers.
Don’t Discount the Rookies
While rookies are not free agents, this class looks to be ones that will make an impact this season as well. Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson will have some role in the passing game. (And if Watkins gets hurt, an even bigger role) Quay Walker looks to be the starting inside linebacker. In training camp late round picks Kingsley Enagbare and Samori Toure have impressed and are looking to lock up coveted roster spots. On top of that Zach Tom is getting reps with the “ones” in training camp. New faces will be all over the Packers roster.
The Packers seem to always make smart free agency decisions. They will not make a big splash but they will add free agents that make their team better. These free agent signings will make a huge difference for the Packers this season.