We’ve seen how Super Bowl winners and losers both get plundered for spare parts after they win their championships.
Jonathan Vilma and Jammal Brown were lured away from the ’09 Saints. Bryant McFadden and Larry Foote left the ’08 Steelers. Anquan Boldin, Antrel Rolle and Karlos Dansby all eventually departed Arizona. The Packers will have to deal with eager suitors for Cullen Jenkins and James Jones, among many others.
Re-signing Jenkins should be the priority for this club in the offseason, depending on how effective they think Johnny Jolly can be. It’ll be interesting to see how much money they’re willing to give Jones, as well as how much he’ll be offered by clubs that saw his big plays against Atlanta and his big drops against Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
There’s no indication that Donald Driver will hang up his cleats, but if he does (or his $5 million salary is deemed too high for a No. 3 WR) and Jones leaves, the Packers will be forced to take a receiver high in the draft.
Also on draft day, the Packers will have decisions to make on their offensive line. Chad Clifton coming back for another year would help, but the Packers will have to figure out if Bryan Bulaga can be their long-term LT. We also need to find a permanent fixture at RT if that’s the case. A dedicated return specialist might be in the mix, along with competition at kicker.
Daryn Colledge, long regarded as the weak link on the offensive line, should face fierce competition in training camp from a T.J. Lang fully recovered from wrist surgery last offseason.
The Packers will have an abundance of players in training camp, including a barbershop quartet of OLBs (Walden, Zombo, Poppinga, Jones) and a bouquet of strong safeties (Bigby, Peprah, Burnett, Smith). I’m excited to see what Frank Zombo looks like in his second season of transitioning from defensive end to OLB. Additionally, this might be the year that Thompson spends a high pick on a complement to CMIII (Casey Matthews, anyone?)
A.J. Hawk’s $10 million-for-this-year contract will need to be restructured. If a salary cap is reinstated, the Packers will be spending a ton of their money at ILB (Chillar, Barnett and Bishop all have fairly recent new contracts) and may consider trading one of them away.