The Green Bay Packers finally agreed to terms with defensive tackles B.J. Raji and Letroy Guion. ESPN’s Rob Demovsky reported that the Packers signed both Raji and Guion to one-year deals. The moves help keep a defensive unit intact, but are they enough to keep the Packers on top of the NFC North?
It has been a quiet offseason for the Packers thus far. They were five minutes away from going to this year’s Super Bowl. An injured Aaron Rodgers could not score a touchdown over a vaulted Seattle Seahawks defense in the second half of the NFC Championship game, yet they were ahead 16-0 late in the third quarter. The Packers’ defense, once considered the weakness of the team, had a shutout going.
Green Bay did not win, but they were close, therefore it was the belief that big offseason moves were not necessary. All they had to do was hold on to their key free agents and head into the upcoming NFL Draft.
When grading the offseason for each team, ESPN’s NFL insider, Mike Sando, gave Green Bay the highest grade of an A. “First Take’s” Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith take their time to debunk the notion of an “A grade” in this video.
Normally, in order for a team to get a good grade, that team must make at least one significant acquisition. Re-signing key players, which is exactly what Green Bay did, does not qualify in this sense – keeping your players does not fix your needs. It somehow prolongs the agony, unless those players improve drastically.
Packer fans should be relieved that Green Bay kept receiver Randall Cobb and offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga. Losing cornerbacks Tramon Williams and Davon House to Cleveland and Jacksonville hurts. Slot receiver Jarrett Boykin signed to play for the Carolina Panthers. The Packers will miss his speed.
Did the Packers bring anyone in to help the defense? No. Stopping the run was a problem this past year. They did not improve in this area until linebacker Clay Matthews was moved to the inside of the defense.
Bringing back Raji, who missed all of last season due to an injury, will help if he is healthy. That is a big if. There is a reason why other teams did not jump at signing him. There is also a reason why the Packers only signed him to a one-year deal. B.J. Raji is a gamble, one in which Brad Berreman of Rant Sports suggest that Green Bay overpaid him. Raji is slated to make $3.5 million next season.
What works in the Packers’ favor is the fact that the other teams in the NFC North may not have improved enough to challenge them for supremacy.
The Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings have made the most improvements this offseason, but they were under.500 teams last year. The Detroit Lions lost defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, but made up for it by trading for Haloti Ngata of the Baltimore Ravens.
Bringing back Raji and Guion is the equivalent of bring the band back together for one more run. If that is what the Green Bay Packers are doing, so be it. More is expected from a team so close to a Super Bowl. Will the lack of activity come back to haunt them?