Blue 58, #14: Where Do We Go From Here?
Blue 58 goes beyond the headlines to help you become a smarter fan of the Green Bay Packers. Hosted by former WTMJ newscaster Jon Meerdink and his friend Gary Zilavy, Blue 58 brings you a unique, upbeat perspective on your favorite NFL team, as long as that team is the Packers.
The Packers season is at an end, so what happens now? Jon Meerdink and Gary Zilavy break down the Packers' untimely demise in Atlanta, Jordy Nelson's gutsy performance, and the future of Green Bay's eleven pending free agents. Plus, was A.J. Hawk actually a good draft pick?
One of the bright spots in the NFC Championship Game was the return of wide receiver Jordy Nelson. Nelson, who missed most of the Wild Card game against the Giants and the entirety of the Division Round against the Cowboys, suited up against the Falcons despite being two weeks removed from broken ribs.
The Pro Bowl guard re-aggravated a foot injury from earlier this season that never fully healed against the Falcons. Lang is scheduled to become a free agent, and he's expressed a desire to return to the team who drafted him in the fourth round over eight years ago. He's one of eleven players on the Packers' roster with an expired contract.
Both local and national media read Rodgers' quotes from after the game as a not-so-subtle sign to the front office: sign some free agents. But we're not so sure that's exactly what the 33-year-old quarterback was trying to get across. The model in recent memory for a team going "all in" is the Denver Broncos under Peyton Manning. Denver aggressively pursued free agents and had enough of a core already established to content. The team made two Super Bowl appearances in three years.
Our Main Topic: Where do we go from here?
After a disappointing end to the Packers' season, it's time to start thinking about what happens next. We anticipate there being three big offseason storylines surrounding Green Bay this year:
Will there be a power shift in the front office?
Depending on who you ask, Ted Thompson is considering retiring sometime between tomorrow and the heat death of the universe. If and when he does retire, the Packers will have to implement their succession plan. Part of that plan may have been worked out already, when top personnel men Eliot Wolf and Brian Gutekunst signed new contracts with the Packers.
What happens to Sam Shields?
Shields has been battling concussion symptoms since Week 1 and said recently they’re not letting up. He counts for $12.125 million against the cap next year. Both Shields and the Packers have significant decisions to make.
How will the Packers handle their free agent class?
Eleven members of the 2016 Packers are set to be unrestricted free agents in the near future, and a solid case could be made for why each one of them should return. Jon believes running back Christine Michael is a near-lock to not be on the Packers roster next season, while Gary disagrees and argues he's got a better chance of returning than Eddie Lacy.
Bad Mock Draft of the Week
In lieu of predictions, the guys break down a mock draft from around the internet. This week's mock draft comes to us from ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr, who has Green Bay selecting Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey.
"McCaffrey fits what the Packers want on offense. He's versatile like college quarterback-turned-receiver Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery, who switched to running back in 2016," Kiper writes. "McCaffrey can return kicks, catch the ball out of the backfield -- he's dynamic with the ball in his hands. The Packers have a few needs on defense, but running back Eddie Lacy is a free agent, and they don't have an internal replacement."
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