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Packers leave franchise tag vacant for 4th year, Shield and Raji hit open market.

by Jon Henseler

(Ted Thompson from February-the draft. Also Pitch Perfect won the Jon Henseler Oscar for best picture this past year based entirely on what movies were on HBO in 2013. It was up against Taken 2, Magic Mike (no homo), Roll Bounce and Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. To think I only spend $17 a month for that channel. Basically stealing.)

So for anyone thirsting for Packer news in March, as expected Teddy Ballgame and company decided against using the franchise or transition tag for the 4th straight year. Honestly not that surprising but given how bad our defense was last season I felt like there was a Lloyd Christmas chance that they would franchise Sam Shields but that would have cost him 10-11 million and Ted likes spending money about as much as Scrooge McDuck. Dude's like a Depression era coal miner. Loosen the wallet big guy! We're 30 million under the cap!

That being said, I think there's still a decent shot that Shields ends up coming back on a 3 or 4 year deal. I wouldn't put him in the top-tier shutdown corner category but he was clearly the best our secondary had to offer last year and and his age chances are he'll get better. Plus the guy has only been playing corner since his senior year at Miami so there's still a learning curve. And letting Raji walk is probably in our best interest as well. 2010 was really his best best season and if we're being honest I don't think he fit into the 3-4 scheme like we thought he would. Those front 3 just need to be space eaters and Raji seems more a fit for a 4-3 where he can rush the passer like a diet Warren Sapp*. He just seemed miscast. Like Orlando Bloom in Kingdom of Heaven or Hayden Christenson in anything.

So now where do we spend that 30 million? I know there were a TON of rumors that were likely made up by Wisconsin sports radio stations so they don't have to talk about the Bucks that had Jimmy Graham being pursued by Green Bay. But, conservatively speaking, there is a roughly -2,000% chance of that happening. First of all it would not only cost money, but two first round picks and we all know there's a snowball's chance in hell that Thompson is giving up draft picks. And on top of that we need to spend all of our cap room on defense not offense. We have a HOF quarterback who we pay 20 million a year to make chicken salad out of chicken sh!t. Which is precisely why we're letting James Jones walk as well. If you compared the Packers to a house we'd be an MTV Cribs style mansion with a leaky roof. Actually with our defense it would be more comparable to a house with no roof whatsoever. So to me, money spent on the offensive side would be like renovating a bathroom before you get a roof. 

And in this case I think the roof consists of about 3-5 gigantic dudes that we can throw into a brand new front 7. I've always been a build from the front defensive guy. If your front 7 is stout and can consistently put pressure on a quarterback it automatically makes guys like Davon House and Micah Hyde better. So I know people will be upset that Shields might be gone and others want us to sign Byrd to a massive deal to play safety, but if we're giving the opposing QB enough time to send a snapchat in the pocket I don't care if you've got Deion Sanders and Ronnie Lott on the back end. Seattle and San Fran are constructed from their front 7 first and we need to follow that mold. Just ask Peyton Manning how no time in the pocket affected his Super Bowl performance. Dude could have screamed Omaha! until he sounded like Clint Eastwood and it wouldn't have mattered.

*That assessment of Raji comes with exactly 0 years of experience as an NFL defensive coordinator or a general manager and from a guy who selects 'Crash Right' 97% of the time.