Monday Musings: Bargain Shopping
It’ll be very interesting to see which veterans, if any, choose to stay home when voluntary organized team activities (OTAs) begin next Monday. With vaccinations now available to everyone over the age of 12, unhappiness and/or laziness are the only reasons why players being paid millions of dollars wouldn’t report to a program designed to make them better at their job and improve their team’s chances to win. Anyway, here are three more Packers-related thoughts that went through my mind in the past few days:
1) The pickings are slim two months into free agency, but there are still a couple of players available who could really help the Packers. Cleveland’s Sheldon Richardson and Seattle’s K.J. Wright have seen their better days, but both played pretty well last season. Richardson would add some explosiveness to a defensive line that lacks much in the way of talent after Kenny Clark and Kingsley Keke, and Wright would provide leadership and cover skills to an inside linebacker position that is currently manned by a pair of second-year players. It might take at least $4 million to get a deal done, and while the Packers don’t have the cap space right now, there are ways to create it through restructuring (Rodgers), extending (wide receiver Davante Adams), or releasing (defensive end Dean Lowry).
2) The Packers chose journeyman Kurt Benkert to be one of their quarterbacks for at least the next few months. The former Virginia star beat out Chad Kelly, who also participated in last weekend’s rookie camp. The 26-year-old spent the past three years with the Falcons, but he’s yet to be active for a regular-season game. Benkert is a good athlete who can create on the move, but he tends to spray the ball under pressure and is prone to mistakes. He has a strong arm and there were times in college when he looked like a legitimate third or fourth-round pick. Unfortunately, those times didn’t come frequently enough. Still, a team could do a lot worse than having him as a No. 3 QB.
Here are two plays from the 2018 Hall of Fame game against Denver that show the best and worst of Benkert (#6). First, he gets flustered by pressure and fumbles the ball. But on the very next snap, given adequate protection, he steps up in the pocket and delivers a dart 20 yards down the field.
3) I’m not sure when Rodgers’ frustration with the organization started, but I’m guessing it was long before Jordan Love was drafted in April 2020. Perhaps it was on Jan. 3, 2018. That’s the day Mike McCarthy shockingly fired quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt, who was very close to Rodgers. And while GM Brian Gutekunst wasn’t involved in that particular decision, it’s fair to wonder whether everything that’s occurred under his watch has been exacerbated because Rodgers was already upset with the organization for what happened to his buddy. Then again, it’s impossible to know when it comes to the future Hall of Famer and current world-class grudge holder? Maybe Gutekunst forgot to say happy birthday in ’06 and Rodgers has been plotting his revenge ever since.