GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Last offseason, Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy said general manager Ted Thompson "might shock you this year" when it came to free agency. That turned into exactly one significant free agent signing, tight end Jared Cook.
If the Packers make any moves this offseason, Pro Football Focus thinks it could be at cornerback. The analytics website, in a piece for ESPN Insider, picked one free agent for every team. For the Packers, it was Los Angeles Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson.
The Packers still have high hopes for the trio of Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins and LaDarius Gunter -- who all played extensively last season as second-year pros -- but they would be taking a big chance if they didn’t make a significant addition at a position that struggled mightily last season.
Johnson would offer the Packers a tall cornerback (he’s 6-foot-2) who could help offset the loss of Sam Shields, who was released this month after he missed all but one game last season because of a concussion.
Johnson, a former third-round pick of the Rams, played last season under the franchise tag of $13.952 million. If the Rams tagged him again, it would cost nearly $17 million. The website Spotrac estimated that Johnson’s market value would be $12.4 million per season.
In 2016, Johnson had just one interception in 14 games. In the same number of games in 2015, he picked off seven passes.
PFF had another possible free agent cornerback target, A.J. Bouye of the Texans, going to Carolina. His market value was estimated at more than $11 million per season.
The Packers surely need help at cornerback after their pass defense ranked 31st in the NFL last season, but even if it did come in free agency, it would seem unlikely that Thompson would spend that kind of money.