Well, the NFL world anyway. Ted Thompson has actually made a splash in free agency. In what is a classic case of “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” defensive end Julius Peppers is now a Packer. The question now is how much does he have left?
Thompson has been fairly active this year, re-signing Sam Shields, James Starks and Andrew Quarless while losing only Evan Dietrich-Smith and James Jones so far. While there is still some work to be done, I would like to see John Kuhn and Matt Flynn back, Thompson has at least made an effort this year.
Peppers, who went 2-7 against the Packers in his four years in Chicago will undoubtedly improve the Packers’ pass rush in 2014. The Packers will likely line him up at linebacker some and move him around to keep offenses guessing. He will also be a positive influence in the locker room. If he can turn back the clock a couple of years the Packers’ defense as a whole will be much improved.
You already know how I feel about Shields and I am almost as happy to see Starks and Quarless back. With Eddie Lacy’s hard running style not only is Starks a great change of pace he is also insurance against a Lacy injury. Quarless stepped his game up big time down the stretch last year and can certainly be part of replacing Jermichael Finley if the Packers are unable to re-sign him.
The Packers also signed defensive lineman Letroy Guion, a journeyman from the Vikings who has good size but isn’t too bright. At 6-4 he has the height the Packers were lacking prior to signing the 6-7 Peppers so he may stick around anyway.
Nice to see a little activity in March by the Packers. A few choice pickups now and a good draft and there might be hope after all.