Buying or Selling the Latest Buzz on the Packers' Free-Agency Rumor Mill

Matt Stein@MatthewJSteinCorrespondent IIMarch 10, 2014

Buying or Selling the Latest Buzz on the Packers' Free-Agency Rumor Mill

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    Could the Packers really be interested in defensive end Lamarr Houston?
    Could the Packers really be interested in defensive end Lamarr Houston?Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    With the hours ticking away until NFL free agency begins, the rumor mill is spinning at full speed for the Green Bay Packers.

    It can sometimes be difficult to discern whether these rumors are worth buying stock in or have absolutely no substance at all. What makes it really difficult this year is the fact that Green Bay has more holes on its roster this offseason than most people are used to seeing.

    Today we're going to take you through the Packers' free-agency rumor mill and let you know whether to buy or sell what's being said.

Could the Packers Make a Move for Arthur Jones?

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    Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

    Rumor: The Green Bay Packers are interested in defensive end Arthur Jones according to Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun.

     

    Few defensive ends were as productive as Jones was last year for the Baltimore Ravens. In fact, Jones finished the year as the No. 12 3-4 defensive end according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

    Where Jones really makes his presence felt is with his ability to stop the run. At 6'3" and 315 pounds, Jones' size allows him to plug holes while his athleticism helps him chase down ball-carriers.

    Throw in the fact that Jones will only be 28 years old when the 2014 season starts and it's easy to see why the Packers are interested in his talents.

     

    Verdict: Buy

    The Packers certainly have the money to add a player like Jones and there is little doubt that he'd be an upgrade over defensive ends B.J. Raji and Johnny Jolly. As long as Jones doesn't want a ridiculous amount of money, don't be surprised if Green Bay is a serious player to sign him to a contract.

What About Lamarr Houston?

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    Ben Margot/Associated Press

    Rumor: One of the teams interested in defensive end Lamarr Houston is the Green Bay Packers according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

     

    As good as defensive end Arthur Jones is against the run, Houston is better. Plus, Houston is a full year younger than Jones (he'll turn 27 years old this summer).

    The biggest difference between Jones and Houston is likely going to be the salary that they demand. Houston is going to be an expensive option for any team looking to add him to its roster.

    One reason he could stay with the Oakland Raiders is due to the fact that Oakland is brimming with cap space this offseason.

     

    Verdict: Buy

    Green Bay is likely interested in every top defensive lineman, but we shouldn't dig too deep into this rumor. Oakland has the money to match any offer Houston may receive, so it's unlikely he'll be suiting up for a new team in 2014.

Is Ryan Pickett Coming Back to Green Bay?

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    Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

    Rumor: Defensive tackle Ryan Pickett and the Green Bay Packers continue talks according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com.

     

    Nearly everyone thought that the Packers would move on from Pickett this offseason without even looking back. 

    While Pickett has certainly had his positive times with the team, his 2013 season left quite a bit to be desired. Also, Pickett will turn 35 years old during the 2014 season, which doesn't fit at all with the Packers wanting to get younger and faster along the defensive line.

    The biggest problem with Pickett is the fact that he doesn't have an aspect of the game that he specializes in. He isn't overly stout against the game and he offers very little in terms of pass-rushing ability.

     

    Verdict: Sell

    Unless the Packers are looking to lock Pickett up in an extremely cheap one-year deal, it simply doesn't make sense to bring him back.

Too Cheap for Mike Neal?

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    Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

    Rumor: The Green Bay Packers haven't offered enough money to outside linebacker Mike Neal according to Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

     

    Neal actually wasn't too bad in his first year at outside linebacker this past season. In fact, his 37 quarterback hurries were the most for the Packers and the 10th-most for a 3-4 outside linebacker in the entire NFL per Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

    However, it's really hard to see Neal getting a huge payday this offseason. For starters, he doesn't offer much more for a defense outside of getting pressure on the quarterback. 

    The only way that Neal will be getting a big paycheck is if a team feels they can convert him back to a defensive end and have him be extremely productive.

     

    Verdict: Buy

    The reason it's worth buying this rumor is mostly due to the fact that the Packers probably aren't foolish enough to pay too much money for Neal's services.

    If the Packers aren't offering Neal enough money right now, it's likely they never will. It'd be much cheaper for Green Bay to add a pass-rushing specialist in the draft than to overpay for a player like Neal.

Do the Packers Want to Bring Back Andrew Quarless?

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Rumor Mill: The Green Bay Packers and tight end Andrew Quarless continue to talk about a new deal according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.

     

    There isn't a more interesting position for the Packers this offseason than tight end. This is mostly due to the medical issues surrounding Jermichael Finley and his neck.

    Right now the Packers have tight ends Brandon Bostick, Ryan Taylor and Jake Stoneburner under contract. That group of tight ends isn't going to instill fear in any defense. So, the Packers definitely need a player like Quarless or Finley to boost their talent at this specific position.

    What will ultimately decide the Packers' interest in Quarless will be the health of Finley. If he's healthy, there's a good chance Green Bay will give him a one-year deal to prove he's the same player while passing on re-signing Quarless.

     

    Verdict: Buy

    At this point in time, Quarless certainly has more to offer the Packers than Finley does. While he's no superstar, he'd definitely be an upgrade over any other tight end currently on the roster.

No Interest in Jairus Byrd?

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    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Rumor: The Green Bay Packers haven't shown interest to safety Jairus Byrd yet according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.

     

    The premier free agent available this offseason is without a doubt Mr. Byrd. 

    Very rarely does a top player at his position become available, but that's exactly what's happened with Byrd. He's an instant impact player who is guaranteed to improve a secondary and defense the second he steps onto the field.

    What makes Byrd so valuable is his ability against the pass. Opposing quarterbacks only had a 35.0 quarterback rating when throwing his way according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

    The team that ultimately signs Byrd will get a huge boost in production from their defense.

     

    Verdict: Sell

    When a team has a need as badly as the Packers do at safety, it's hard to imagine them not showing interest in one of the best safeties in the league. While they ultimately may not sign Byrd, or even offer him a contract, the fact that they don't have any interest in him is a little ridiculous to even think about.