The Packers had arguably their most active offseason in my lifetime. GM Brian Gutekunst went extremely defense-heavy in his draft class and free agency class. Key signings include OLB’s Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith, Safety Adrian Amos and Guard Billy Turner.
Some people look at the Packers’ roster and will tell you they’re satisfied. Others will whine that they don’t have enough offensive weapons. I’m more concerned of who’s NOT on the roster at this point.
Free agent signings later in the offseason tend to be more of a back page news story compared to the madness that is the initial free agency signing period. But in most years I’m a fan of waiting until after the draft to finish off a free agency class, and this year is no different.
There are two players who I want to see in green and gold, Eric Berry and De’Anthony Thomas. Berry, a hard-hitting Safety and All-Pro would be a great addition to the defense lacking a veteran voice other than Tramon Williams. Thomas is a speedster kick/punt returner who could undoubtedly improve the piss-poor return game we’ve had the last few years.
Eric Berry spent the first 9 years of his career in Kansas City and when healthy, was one of the best players in the entire league. A former first-round draft pick, a 5-time Pro Bowler, 3-time All-Pro, and all-around stud. I promise I will never type a sentence with that many hyphens ever again.
There’s a reason he’s unsigned and it’s obviously his injury history. There’s a torn ACL and ruptured Achilles in his past, not to mention Berry overcame Hodgkins’ Lymphoma in 2014-2015.
The important thing is Berry has always been able to come back from whatever setback he’s faced to play at an extremely high level.
Given the current state of the Safety Room at Lambeau, this could be just what the Packers need to balance things out. Free Agent signing Adrian Amos and first-rounder Darnell Savage are going to have their hands full learning Mike Pettine’s defense.
Former second-rounder Josh Jones has reportedly demanded to be traded (good riddance underperformer); which would open the door to bring in our 2nd veteran defensive back in Berry. Tramon Williams has been sturdy in his 2nd stint in Green Bay, and Eric Berry would be a great fit for a low price on a defense that needs a veteran to help develop some of our younger, core players.
De’Anthony Thomas is a burner, a speedster, and the type of player the Packers haven’t had on the roster in a long, long time. Thomas (5-9, 175 lbs) is a former Kansas City Chief just like Eric Berry, who was drafted in the 4th round of 2014. He was a human highlight reel in college at Oregon, putting up 41 touchdowns as a receiver, running back and returner.
His NFL career has been primarily as a returner; which he has excelled at, but he could bring some value on the offensive side of the ball. He has 93 career touches with an average of 7.4 yards per touch and 6 touchdowns. Aaron Rodgers has said recently he wants to get more creative with the offense, what better way to shake things up with a gadget player who could take one to the house in the blink of an eye?
Injuries have held Thomas back, but we’re used to it with the oft-injured Trevor Davis. Thomas has a career return average of 24.8 yards per return.
The Packers don’t have to make any more moves for me to like our odds of turning things around. But I think it’s important to be aggressive no matter what stage of the offseason we’re in. Two low-cost, proven playmakers can’t hurt, so why not take a chance?
Let me know what you think!