The NFL free agency period is set to kick off on Wednesday, and several teams have already secured commitment from free agents. The Green Bay Packers are expected to make moves as well in the hopes of improving from a dismal 7-9 finish last season.
Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst has made it no secret that Green Bay will be active in free agency. Vincent Frank of Forbes predicted that New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler and New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson will sign with the Packers this offseason.
Butler is expected to draw a lot of attention, but it remains to be seen whether he will get the deal he is looking for. Teams might hesitate to offer a lucrative deal because the four-year veteran is coming off an unimpressive season. He was also mysteriously benched in Super Bowl 52.
Frank believes that Green Bay will be in a good position to acquire Butler. He said that Green Bay is known for offering reasonable one-year, prove-it contract, which could be the type of deal Butler will end up getting this offseason. With a one-year deal, Butler can boost his stock next season to earn another lucrative deal in 2019.
However, the Packers will face strong competition in case they decide to chase Butler. According to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, the Detroit Lions are making a strong push to acquire the 27-year-old cornerback. The Houston Texans are also in the mix, as they are expected to pursue Butler aggressively.
Meanwhile, Frank also believes the Packers will acquire Wilkerson this offseason. The 28-year-old defensive end played 13 games for the New York Jets last season, tallying 58 tackles and 3.5 sacks. He will be available in free agency after the Jets decided to release him earlier this month.
Frank said that Wilkerson will be a good fit for Green Bay’s defensive scheme. He concluded that Gutekunst’s aggressive approach in free agency will likely bring Wilkerson to the Packers despite getting strong interest from the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs.
However, according to Kimberly Martin of the Washington Post, Wilkerson is set to meet Washington Redskins coaches on Tuesday about a possible deal. The Redskins are looking to improve their defensive line, and bringing Wilkerson would give them what they are looking for.
Martin believes that the Redskins have a strong chance in the race to sign Wilkerson. He pointed out that the New Jersey native has always played close to home, which could be a factor in making his decision this offseason. Among his options, Wilkerson will be closer to New Jersey if he signs with the Redskins.