With the offseason officially underway, Around The NFL will examine what's next for all 32 teams. The series rolls on with the Green Bay Packers.
Green Bay rolled into their conference championship game with good vibes. Their brilliant head coach was secured on a mega-extension and, though hobbled, their franchise quarterback was capping off one of the most impressive offensive seasons we've ever seen. So why is everyone in Green Bay so nervous? Likely because the Packers have a lot of work to do this offseason.
Green Bay got that work started on March 7, agreeing to terms with wide receiver Randall Cobb on a four-year, $40 million contract.
Biggest free agents
» CB Tramon Williams: Williams is 32 but is coming off a more than respectable season at cornerback. For the amount of snaps he plays alone, he is one of Green Bay's core quality starters and should command a decent price tag this offseason. He will not, however, have a cap number anywhere near the 2014 hit of $9.5 million.
» OL Bryan Bulaga: Bulaga was one of the best offensive linemen in football this season and is just 25 years old. He's coming off his rookie contract at the perfect time for someone interested in banking some serious coin. Aaron Rodgers said bringing Bulaga back was a priority, but how much is Green Bay willing to spend?
Other key free agents: fullback John Kuhn, quarterback Matt Flynn, cornerbacks Jarrett Bush and Davon House.
On the way out?
» LB Julius Peppers: The veteran was a fantastic addition to Green Bay's defensive front and played like a 21-year-old during the playoffs. However, Peppers is 35 and will have a cap hit of $12 million next season. At the least, his contract will need to be restructured.
» DL B.J. Raji: The former first-round pick signed a one-year, $4 million deal last season in an attempt to prove he was worthy of a mega-deal. A torn bicep in the preseason changed things quickly. Raji's replacement, Letroy Guion, played above replacement level, but was recently arrested and charged with multiple felonies. The uncertainty there, and Raji's likeliness to sign another prove-it deal, could link him back with Green Bay, though it could also motivate the Packers to move on.
What they need:
Run-stoppers: Clay Matthews will likely play inside more next season, which truly isn't fair to one of the league's premier pass rushers. The team became even more thin at inside linebacker after releasing A.J. Hawk. Green Bay needs to upgrade the core of their defense, which includes a possible replacement for Raji and someone to spell Julius Peppers every now and then. The Packers had the 23rd best run defense in football this offseason.
A playmaking tight end: Could you imagine Aaron Rodgers' offense with the presence of a brutal, playmaking tight end in the middle? The position is evolving and while Jordan Camerons don't exactly grow on trees, it's easier than ever to find value and playmaking ability.
Offseason crystal ball
Everything starts with Cobb and Bulaga. From there, the Packers can get the wheels in motion. Look for them to cut some corners by restructuring Peppers' deal.
The latest Around The NFL Podcast breaks down the top 25 free agents and reacts to the latest news. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.