There has been a noticeable push by the Packer fan base for Ted Thompson to sign a prolific free agent.
What the Packers do not need, though, are free agents Albert Haynesworth or Julius Peppers.
Let me say that both can be phenomenal players. Leading the Titans rushing defense to a top 10 ranking for the past two years, Haynesworth has recorded 14.5 sacks in that time. Peppers has been lethal during moments in his career.
However, with those recent stats and Pro Bowl selection, Haynesworth is likely to warrant the highest salary of any defensive tackle in the league next year. Peppers is looking to cash on an outrageous contract.
That is money that could be better spent on areas already within the Packer organization.
Greg Jennings' contract is up at the end of 2009, and as the biggest playmaker for the Packers, he needs to be signed. Not only is Jennings a tremendous receiver, his demeanor on and off the field is just as valuable.
Pro Bowler Nick Collins also has his contract up next season and has proved his worth by starting nearly every game since being drafted in 2005.
Julius Peppers' words of wanting to play in a 3-4 had me confused. In a 3-4, defensive ends are more run stoppers than pass rushers. But Peppers fit the 3-4 defensive end frame, and I admit I garnered quite a bit of enthusiasm for Dr. Peppers. (Yeah, that's right. I had my nickname lined up for him.)
Then I read what Peppers wanted from the 3-4. To play as a linebacker.
Yes, the 290 pound Peppers wants to play linebacker. The Packers that already have Barnett, Hawk, Poppinga, Chillar, Bishop, and most likely the newest member Aaron Kampman. Kampman, 15 pounds lighter than Peppers, would be my choice to try to convert into the new system, hands down.
Every Panthers message board I've visited is littered with comments that are ecstatic Peppers might be leaving. His streaky play has supposedly left the Panthers wondering which Peppers will show up for every game.
I would want Peppers if he would play DE in the 3-4. But if he is already unhappy playing the position in the 4-3, he is going to hate the spot more in the 3-4. This could have been a very good fit if Peppers was willing, but I just do not see it working out.
A reason I do not want Albert Haynesworth is how he lets emotions get the better of him sometimes.
The incident of him stomping Andre Gurode has been well-documented. There have also been scuffles during practice with the Volunteers as well as with the Titans.
While I believe that Haynesworth would be a better fit for the Packers than Peppers, I have faith that Ryan Pickett can still hold down the NT position. His 6-2, 330-pound frame fits the bill well and he has played well since coming to Green Bay.
The Packers picked up Pickett in 2006, and the improvement was instantly noticeable. Upgrading their rush defense from 23rd to 13th from '05 to '06, Thompson's move to pick Pickett has been unfortunately overlooked. Green Bay was 14th in '07 as well, and it wasn't until this last season that they fell apart.
There is no question that the run defense needs to improve. However, with the formation change, they need to no longer hope the other DT position will be filled by a player who steps up.
Ted Thompson wisely has not overpaid players. Now is not the time to start with these two.
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