Brian Gutekunst is the new general manager for the Green Bay Packers and will be tasked with making the proud franchise a Super Bowl contender once again. After missing the playoffs this season, it has become obvious that change was needed in “Titletown.” That change happened, as the Packers decided to move on from Ted Thompson, defensive coordinator Dom Capers, and quite a few other members of the coaching staff.
Now, the Packers will be focused on improving the roster around Aaron Rodgers. Mostly, the Packers will be looking to improve their defense, which struggled mightily last season.
Obviously, any time a franchise quarterback goes down with an injury, a team will struggle. That being said, they shouldn’t struggle as much as the Packers did in 2017. Starting the season off 4-1, it looked like the Packers were a serious contender, then the reality of everything came crashing down and the fact that Green Bay simply isn’t all that good without Rodgers set in.
Looking ahead to the upcoming offseason, the Packers will need to fix a few holes defensively. One of those needs will be finding a dominant inside linebacker to lead the defense.
Navorro Bowman is coming off of a huge season with the Oakland Raiders. He was released by the San Francisco 49ers and proved that he is still capable of being a defensive star. Green Bay needs to seriously consider making an aggressive run at him in free agency.
NaVorro Bowman was the second-highest graded #Raiders player in 2017. When in coverage, Bowman was third among all linebackers allowing 0.67 yards per cover snap #RaiderNation pic.twitter.com/zn0Nxlkvfh— PFF OAK Raiders (@PFF_Oakland) January 19, 2018
Bowman put together one of the strongest seasons of his career, racking up 127 combined tackles to go along with 1.5 sacks and an interception. He may not be a great coverage linebacker, but he is a strong run-stopper and is most of all a leader. Green Bay needs the kind of veteran leadership that Bowman brings.
At 29 years of age, Bowman is still one of the most consistent middle linebackers in the game. He may regress a little bit heading into the 2018 season, but not enough to keep the Packers from offering him a one or two-year contract.
Spotrac.com currently has his market value at around $4.9 million per season. If that price tag holds true, the Packers should be all-in on bringing him to Green Bay.
New defensive coordinator Mike Pettine loves hard-nosed football players and that is exactly what Bowman brings to the table. Green Bay would be upgrading the middle of their defense in a big way.
That being said, there are going to be quite a few teams interested in signing Bowman this offseason. He has proven that he is still a force to be reckoned with and there are plenty of teams with needs in the middle of their defense.
Green Bay can offer Bowman a chance to play for a storied franchise and a team that should compete for a Super Bowl appearance in 2018. They certainly have some work to do, but Bowman would be one of the big pieces that help get them back into contention. That alone would be tough to turn down for any free agency target that the Packers went after.
Expect to see a much more aggressive approach in free agency from the Packers this offseason. Thompson is gone and Gutekunst knows that he has to make some moves to get Green Bay back to the top.
Bowman wouldn’t be a one-hit fix for the Packers’ defense, but he would certainly fill a major void from last season.