Despite what some fans may believe, the Green Bay Packers have already had a successful offseason in free agency. Even prior to the end of the regular season, they resigned Kenny Clark and David Bakhtiari. Clark is widely considered on of the three best interior defensive linemen in the NFL. Bakhtiari is easily the NFL’s best left tackle.
Even though many believed Pro Bowl running back Aaron Jones was as good as gone, the Packers were able to resign him to a multi-year deal as well. With these players returning, the Packers are able to field a core of players who helped lead the team to back-to-back NFC Championship appearances. That being said, there are still holes to fill.
Like many NFL teams, the Green Bay Packers do not have much room to work with in terms of the salary cap. General manager Brian Gutekunst said as much when he addressed the media a couple of weeks ago. However, he did say that if the right player came along in free agency, the Packers would do what is needed to sign that player. As more and more free agents find homes, there are not many left who could make a significant effect on the team. Here, though, are three that the Packers could still take a look at.
Green Bay Target #1- Wide Receiver: TY Hilton
Even though the Green Bay Packers had the NFL’s top scoring offense last season, wide receiver is still an area they may look to address in free agency or the draft. Davante Adams, of course, is considered by some to be the best wide receiver in the NFL right now. However, after him, the Packers do not have a bonified second option.
TY Hilton, a nine-year veteran, could be signed by the Packers to fill this role. Hilton, of course, is the long-time Colts wide receiver who has made four Pro Bowls throughout the course of his career. At 31 years old, he may not warrant a long, expensive contract, making him an ideal target for the Packers.
Between 2013-2018, Hilton recorded over 1,000 receiving yards five times. He was a Pro Bowl selection in each season between 2014-2017. His best season was the 2016 campaign. That year, he had 91 receptions, 1,448 yards, and six touchdowns.
In 2019, Hilton was limited to a career-low 10 games. Despite lower numbers (45 receptions and 501 yards), he had a career-best 66.2% catch percentage. Last season, he played in 15 games. Hilton had a nice bounce-back season with 56 receptions and 762 yards.
Green Bay Target #2- Defensive Back: Richard Sherman
First drafted by the Seahawks in 2011, Richard Sherman immediately became one of the driving forces on the Legion of Boom defense. In his rookie campaign, he recorded four interceptions and deflected 17 passes. In 2012, his second season, Sherman earned his first First Team All Pro nod. That year, he notched eight interceptions and a NFL-high 24 pass deflections.
From 2013-2016, Richard Sherman was named to the Pro Bowl in each season. In two of those years, 2013 and 2014, he was also a First Team All Pro. In 2017, however, he was limited to just nine games. It was the first time in his entire career that he missed any playing time. At the end of the season, he departed in free agency for San Francisco.
Despite what many believed, Sherman remained one of the best cornerbacks in the game. In 2019, his second season with the 49ers, he made his fifth career Pro Bowl. Last season, though, he appeared in just five games, one of many 49er players who fell victim to the injury bug.
Due to his age (32 years old) and recent injury history, Richard Sherman may not garner a large long-term deal. The Green Bay Packers have a potential All Pro in Jaire Alexander, but no real depth after him. It is widely believed they will draft multiple corners to remedy this situation. That being said, it is not likely they would want to go into 2021 with Alexander and a bunch of rookies. Richard Sherman could be brought in on a short-term deal to provide leadership and veteran play in a defensive backfield that may be very young.
Green Bay Target #3- Interior Defensive Lineman: Geno Atkins
Late last week, it was announced that the Cincinnati Bengals were releasing Geno Atkins. Atkins is an eight-time Pro Bowler and has been named a First Team All Pro twice. He missed most of 2020 with a shoulder injury.
Like Hilton and Sherman, Atkins has been around the league for a while and should not garner a long, expensive contract. For the cap-conscious Green Bay Packers, this is ideal. Adding Atkins to compliment Kenny Clark would make the Packers’ defensive line one of the NFL’s best.
Atkins was originally drafted in the fourth round by the Bengals in 2010. At the time, he was considered undersized, standing six feet tall and weighing 300 pounds. Despite his stature, he has forged a career many could only dream of.
Geno Atkins’ best season came in 2012. That year, he had 12.5 sacks and four forced fumbles. It was also the year he made his first First Team All Pro. In 2015, he made his second First Team All Pro when he accumulated 11.0 sacks and 17 tackles for loss. Atkins reached double-digit sacks again in 2018 when he had 10.0.