So the offseason in the NFC has been somewhat predictable, the Packers stayed true to their roots of developing through the draft, the Bears continued their season of making change/ seeming to be content with not competing overly. The Vikings putting what they hope are the finishing touches to their roster to make the push to be the challengers in the division. And its yet to play out what will happen with the Lions with one of the biggest stars in the division hanging up their cleats in future hall of famer Calvin Johnson. Each team has made some interesting offseason moves, and will be looking at the draft for different needs.
Acquisitions: Other than the acquisition of Trevathan, who was what I think, an under-appreciated cog in the most dominant defence in the NFL last year, the offseason has been a bit flat. Given the talent that the front office have let walk out of the door I’d have expected more to come in. That being said they haven’t been ‘Packers quiet’ and have managed to bolster their roster with some offensive line talent in the form of Cardinals lineman Bobby Massie who will have his work cut out for him considering the defensive talent in the division, and Akiem Nicks who will hopefully be able to try and put pressure on the quarter backs this year.
Departures: This is where I get a bit confused. I can see losing Bennett because he wasn’t going to resign a deal with the Bears, but unless John Fox sees something in the draft this year I don’t understand why they wouldn’t let him leave next year and get a (probable) third round pick. Time will tell with this trade but at the moment I don’t really understand it. Matt Forte, a much loved member of the roster by the fans leaving not through a trade, but because the front office didn’t see the value in re-signing him? Personally (as a Packers fan) I think that’s the wrong move, he always looked dangerous out on the field and constantly asked questions of the defence, and had all a modern NFL Running Back needs.
Strategy going into the draft: There are holes all over the roster that could really be plugged. They could do with getting a defensive back, a running back, and some more offensive lineman. All I would say is they should really just pick the best player left on the board. They can’t go far wrong given their needs.
Acquisitions: They’ve plugged some holes they had last year in getting Tavon Wilson, Johnson Bademosi and Rafael Bush to boost their defensive backs corps. The signing that has all the pressure though is Marvin Jones. How he can be expected to replace Calvin Johnson I have no idea, and really all this signing did was highlight the market this year for wide receivers was weak. Its not that I don’t think he is a good player, but I can’t see him playing up to the $40m/five year deal that he has been awarded off the back of a good season with the Bengals.
Departures: Only four departures this offseason, with Mathis deciding to hang them up rather than test the open market. But really how does anyone look past Johnson? It’s tough to understand just how much the Lions will miss him, but he was a legend of the game and a HUGE red-zone threat. Call the double team on him? No problem still comes down with the ball. A large presence on their roster has gone, which leaves a large hole and frees up a lot of cap room for the team.
Strategy going into the draft: Defense! This division has so many weapons on offense that unless you can stop them you are asking a big question of your offense to keep you in the game, which considering they just saw one of the most transcendent talents leave might be a big ask for a team lead by hot and cold Stafford.
Acquisitions: They’ve made the moves that Teddy Bridgwater must have been praying for. Offensive Linesman with true NFL pedigree, Alex Boone gives the Vikings a huge upgrade and Andre Smith bolsters their options too giving the team more time to their star quarterback to find that pass to punish their opponents.
Departures: The Vikings are looking to keep their roster together, and have only really let Mike Wallace go as a player of any real note. And will be looking to try and challenge the Packers recent dominance of the division.
Strategy going into the draft: After bolstering their offensive line, and with the foundations of a solid defence with Barr, Smith and crew you’ve got to look to try and give your star QB more weapons on offense, so I’d look for them to try and improve their WR options.
Green Bay Packers
Disclaimer: I am a Packers fan, so you may notice a somewhat rosy view of this team. I don’t apologise I just can’t be too critical of an organisation that I support!
Acquisitions: Cue tumbleweed… As is always the case in Green Bay free agency has gone with only Jared Cook being added, although that being said the Packers pulled off one of the best re-signings in getting Mike Daniels before the market was set for pass rushers with the signing of Malik Jackson and Oliver Vernon’s contracts in the offseason.
Departures: The big name on the list is Casey Hayward who has been Green Bay’s best corner for the past few seasons. I cannot see why he was allowed to leave, but I have faith in the organisation and with the play of the rookie’s Randall and Rollins last year maybe they are looking to promote within (as is the Green Bay way).
Strategy going into the draft: Green Bay have to look at improving their Line backers, especially inside so they can let Clay Matthews do what he does on the outside, combining with Peppers to make quite a challenge for offensive linesman. It has to be an inside line backer, as well as so fast players on the outside as Nelson was a big miss for the Packers and we need more options going forward for the great Aaron Rodgers.
Richard is a Green Bay Packers fan (as a result of too much That 70’s show as a child) when he isn’t watching or commenting on the NFL he is watching rugby and can be followed on Twitter @dvdaldo.