If there is one thing I know about the Green Bay Packers, it’s that they’re going to make it very difficult for me to enjoy the offseason.
Because even though the Packers have $20,460,042 in available cap space — or $3,770,069 less than the Bears’ projected available space, per OverTheCap.com’s calculations — Green Bay is expected to make a run at free agent tight end Austin Hooper. Yep, the same Austin Hooper the Bears reportedly are aiming to make a play for when free agency opens up.
Here’s the news from ESPN’s Rob Demovsky:
A couple of takeaways from the combine:
The Packers are intent on adding on a pass-catcher both in free agency and the draft and plan to make a run at Falcons free-agent TE Austin Hooper.
Also, they were scheduled to meet with Aaron Jones' agent, who… https://t.co/wC1y9e7ICo
— Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky) February 28, 2020
As if That Team in Wisconsin needed more offensive ammo beyond star receiver Davante Adams and stud running back Aaron Jones. What kind of team needs a perennial Pro Bowl quarterback, three-time Pro Bowl receiver, a running back who led the NFL with 16 rushing touchdowns, and a two-time Pro Bowl tight end? I mean, talk about excessive. The idea of Aaron Rodgers throwing to Hooper is the stuff nightmare fuel is made of these days — and I don’t like it one bit.
What’s more scary about the Packers positioning themselves to make a run at Hooper is that tight end is a glaring position of need (which lends some authenticity and urgency to this report). With just 93 catches, 1,083 receiving yards, and five touchdowns in 32 games, Jimmy Graham has been a disappointment since signing with them in March 2018. To put it in perspective, he averaged 90 catches, 1,116 receiving yards, and 12 touchdowns per 16 games during his four-year peak in New Orleans. Yeah … tight end is a trouble spot for the team north of the state border, too.
And to further drive the worry to another level, the Packers could cut Graham this offseason, take on a projected dead money hit of $3,666,668 and gain $8 million in cap space. By OverTheCap.com’s calculations, cutting Graham loose would bump Green Bay’s available cap space to $27,950,042. Yikes!
Free agency’s “legal tampering period” opens up in 18 days. Then, the next chapter of the Bears-Packers rivalry will open a new page with an arms race for offseason talent set to begin.