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07.11.2019 08:41

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As the Green Bay Packers look to bolster their outside linebacker

unit in the 2019 offseason Jake Ryan Jersey , most of the attention at present is going to the 2019 NFL Draft class. That’s entirely understandable, as this year’s group of edge rushers is both strong at the top and quite deep, with quality players likely available well into day two of the draft. The free agent class will also see some intriguing players coming available, with big names like Jadeveon Clowney, Dee Ford, and Demarcus Lawrence set to see their contracts expire.However, there is a third group of players who are under contract for 2019, but whose cap numbers may make them available this offseason. These are the cap casualties — players who could end up being released and saving their former teams significant amounts of cap space.It just so happens that there are three big names who are good candidates for that type of a move. All three have posted monster seasons in the past, and all of them will be 30 years old or younger in 2019. Let’s take a look at these players, all of whom could provide the Packers with some intriguing abilities if they indeed are released and would sign for the right price.Justin Houston, ChiefsScheduled cap hit in 2019: $21.1MSavings if released: $14MThinking back to 2011, Justin Houston was a common pick for the Packers at #32 in some mock drafts. The former Georgia edge rusher fell to Kansas City in round three, largely due to failing a drug test for marijuana at that year’s Combine. However, Houston made an immediate impact opposite Tamba Hali, recording 5.5 sacks as a rookie before a truly magnificent three-year stretch that saw him total 43 sacks.Despite some lingering durability questions, Houston is still effective. He’s still averaging 11 sacks per 16 games played over the past four seasons, though he has missed at least one game each year and missed a total of 11 contests in 2016. That stands in contrast to Nick Perry Lance Kendricks Color Rush Jersey , who has dealt with injury issues of his own but who managed just 1.5 sacks in nine games this year. Houston isn’t worth a $21 million cap hit any more, and so he’s a good bet to be released for cap reasons, but he could be a great pickup for the Packers, who will need veteran help on the edge. Another connection here is that the Packers hired Mike Smith, the Chiefs’ outside linebackers coach in 2018, to the same job for 2019.Robert Quinn, DolphinsScheduled cap hit in 2019: $12.9MSavings if released: $12.9MAnother member of the 2011 draft class, Quinn went 14th overall to the Rams. Like Houston, he had a five-sack season as a rookie before an explosive three-year stretch from 2012 to 2014 — he had 40 sacks in those three years, compared to Houston’s 43. Since then, he has dropped off a bit, and thanks to some unconventional accounting, the Rams were able to trade him to Miami before the 2018 season without much of a salary cap penalty. And since the Dolphins traded for him, they can release him without any dead money on their capFor most of his career, Quinn has been a 4-3 defensive end. However, in 2017 he did have 8.5 sacks in 15 games as the Rams moved to more of a 3-4 defense under Wade Phillips. This season in Miami, he had 6.5 sacks in 16 games. Like Houston https://www.thepackersfanshop.com/Davon-House-Jersey , Quinn could be a nice second-tier pass-rush option if he ends up on the open market.Vic Beasley, FalconsScheduled cap hit in 2019: $12.81MSavings if released: $12.81MWith the Falcons releasing kicker Matt Bryant today, writers at The Falcoholic were discussing Beasley as a candidate for a restructure or release as a cap casualty. He is currently under contract on his fifth-year option as a first-round draft pick in 2015, which for now is guaranteed for injury only. However, the Falcons could release him prior to the first day of the league year on March 13th and get off scot-free. Beasley’s Combine performance in 2015 was one to behold, as he tested above the 90th percentile of edge rushers in literally every athletic drill. He translated that into a league-leading 15.5 sacks in 2016. However, Beasley has hardly played up to that impressive season over the past two years. I asked The Falcoholic’s Kevin Knight about what happened, and he responded with the following:Yikes. That’s not a good sign, and the stats bear that out: his sack total dropped from 15.5 in 2016 to just five each of the past two years. Still, the Chiefs’ Dee Ford was a speed rush specialist and Mike Smith helped coach him to a career year with 13 sacks in 2018. Maybe he could do something similar with Beasley? GREEN BAY, Wis. — Packers right tackle Jason Spriggs saw no need to keep going on and on about Bears linebacker Khalil Mack.More Packers coverageBucks’ Wes Matthews loves Wisconsin, is a Vikings fanPreview: Packers look to slow Vikings’ revitalized run gameTop Tweets: Yelich thanks fans for support after season-ending injuryAmos sparks rebuilt Packers defense in debutPackers to be tested again by familiar foe in Zimmer, VikingsThere’s plenty of film to watch. The rest of that Chicago defense is pretty good, too.Now Green Bay must face the NFC’s top-ranked unit on the road on Sunday, a week after Chicago tripped up the high-octane Los Angeles Rams at Soldier Field.“You don’t have to go on and rant about how good Khalil is and all that stuff. Everybody knows who Khalil Mack is for a reason,” said Spriggs, who started last week for veteran Bryan Bulaga. “I think he brings a level of confidence to everybody on the defense Bryan Bulaga Jersey , and we just have to key on that and make hay when we get the chances.”The right side of the Packers’ line could especially be a pressure point if Spriggs, a third-year player, starts again. Bulaga missed practice again Wednesday with a knee injury.Justin McCray appears to have taken over the right guard spot after starter Byron Bell (knee) went on injured reserve Wednesday. McCray started last week. Another backup, Lucas Patrick, started at left guard for Lane Taylor, who has a foot injury.The results for Green Bay’s backup-littered line were encouraging last week against Atlanta in a victory that snapped a three-game losing streak and kept slim playoff hopes alive.After allowing four sacks in the first half, the Packers (5-7-1) didn’t allow one the rest of the game. Aaron Rodgers and the offense were effective throwing quick, short passes in winning Joe Philbin’s debut as interim head coach and offensive play caller.“I wouldn’t say the concepts were basic, but I thought the flow was really good,” Rodgers said. “Joe did a great job. The communication was great on the sideline and the flow was good and kind of got into a rhythm.”Philbin has made it a point to mostly stick to the same routines the Packers had under fired predecessor Mike McCarthy. While it’s difficult to go through a coaching change, players have said that they appreciate the relatively smooth transition.“I mean, he kind of fit into the role pretty seamlessly,” left tackle David Bakhtiari said. “He’s done a great job adding his spin to it, yet keeping kind of the integrity of the schedule, so it’s not completely different after having guys who were used to something for so long.“So overall it’s been pretty fluid, even in the first week,” he added.There is no sense changing things up so dramatically when it will be a tough enough task to hold off the Bears.The Packers J'Mon Moore Color Rush Jersey , though, do have an intangible going into Sunday that the Rams lacked: Green Bay has won eight straight at Soldier Field. The run started with Green Bay’s victory in the NFC title game on Jan. 23, 2011.There’s also a confidence boost that comes with the Packers’ stirring rally in the season opener in September, scoring 21 points in the fourth quarter for a 24-23 win over Chicago. The game marked Mack’s debut with the Bears following his trade from the Oakland Raiders.Rodgers returned at halftime from a left knee injury to add to the drama The Packers went no-huddle in the second half of that game, though Rodgers stayed primarily in the pocket. It was the Packers’ offense at its best.“I mean getting into a rhythm, not only just as an offensive line, but just as an offense in general,” Bakhtiari said about the key takeaway from that night.Rodgers is healthier now with the ability to scramble out of trouble again. Mack, who has 10 sacks and six forced fumbles, has the benefit playing nearly an entire season in the Bears’ scheme. The linebacker has been mainly lining up on the right side of the defense in recent weeks, though he can easily switch sides.Respect Mack and be prepared. But don’t get caught up in the star power, Spriggs said.“You can’t go out there and be like you’re blocking God,” Spriggs said. “But at the same time, you give respect where respect’s due.”NOTES: Taylor was limited in practice Wednesday. … DL Kenny Clark (elbow) and CB Bashaud Breeland (groin/not injury related) missed practice.
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