Green Bay Packers: 3 Implications From the NFC Title Game

Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine during practice at Clarke Hinkle Field on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 in Ashwaubenon, Wis.Gpg Packers 061119 Abw229
Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine during practice at Clarke Hinkle Field on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 in Ashwaubenon, Wis.Gpg Packers 061119 Abw229 /
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Following yet another disappointing NFC Championship loss, the Green Bay Packers will have to make some changes to their roster and coaching staff prior to the 2021 season.

In what seems like a sick joke on repeat, the Aaron Rodgers-led Packers were once again defeated in an agonizing way with a Super Bowl berth on the line. It was an ugly end to the first half and a rough start to the second half as Green Bay found themselves down 28 to 10. The team was in need of a miraculous comeback.

Then, all of a sudden, the defense came up huge! Three second-half interceptions should have been the fuel to one of the best postseason comebacks in history. Yet, in what seems perfectly in tune with the fabled Wisconsin sports curse, Rodgers and the offense could not come up with the touchdown they so desperately needed. Much to the dismay of Cheeseheads around the world, the Pack fell short and will have an offseason that will feel excruciatingly long to think about the defeat.

There are many reasons why the Green Bay Packers ultimately fell short, and no one person is to blame. While Kevin King obviously did not play up to his usual standard, and Aaron Jones fumbled early in the second half that fed into the Tampa lead, the loss was a team effort.

As the offseason comes sooner than hoped, Brian Gutekunst and his staff will have many rather large decisions to make in the coming months. This premature postseason loss will likely have ripple effects throughout the Green Bay locker room and lead to numerous personnel changes.

Let’s dive into three possible implications from this disappointing loss.

1.  Letting Free Agents Walk

This offseason, some staples of the Green Bay locker room are due for new contracts. Three big names are looking for extensions from the Packers, and frankly, none of them may end up staying in Green Bay.

Corey Linsley, Kevin King, and Aaron Jones may not be returning. Starting with Linsley, I personally want him to be extended; fresh off an All-Pro season, he makes the most sense to re-up out of the three. His price tag may be hefty, considering he is one of the premier centers in the league. However, the cost is justifiable as you need to protect Rodgers more and more—he is not getting any younger.

In his last press conference with the media, Linsley made it known there have been no talks of an extension between the Packers and his agent. This indicates he is more than likely out the door but could potentially return if they agree to a last-minute deal.

Next, let’s look into cornerback Kevin King’s situation. As a fan of his since they drafted him, this pains me to say, but King should not be back in the Green and Yellow next season. He is not a bad NFL corner, but he is far from elite. Following the absolute debacle against Tampa Bay, his price tag may have even dipped, but King and Green Bay should realize this is where their path ends.

The NFC Title game just sealed the deal on what was probably a decision already made by Green Bay’s management. King will have many suitors throughout the league, though. He is a 6’3″ cornerback who runs a 4.43-second 40-yard dash. Those sort of intangibles are not easy to come by and make him an intriguing player. However, he is too injury prone, is inconsistent in coverage, and will frankly cost more than the Packers can afford.

On top of that, there will likely be cheaper and more reliable veteran corners available in the free-agent market who will want to make one last Super Bowl push with Green Bay.

Aaron Jones is a tricky situation. He is loved by Packer fans all over, and it seems as if he loves them just as much. He has put up insanely good numbers in his role during the LaFleur era and shows no signs of slowing down. Outside of his disappointing performance against Tampa (both times), he had a very productive season. The reason he likely will not be back in Green Bay is due to the nature of the running back position.

Recently in the NFL, it is unwise to pay star running backs a lot of money following their rookie contract. A prime example of this is Todd Gurley and the historic contract he signed with the Los Angeles Rams. Fresh off an All-Pro season, Gurley inked a deal with more than $45 million guaranteed over 4 seasons. While at the time extending one of the best backs in the game seemed like a no-brainer, Gurley became injury-ridden, and his production fell off. The Rams waived their star running back and had to eat over $20 million in dead cap space.

Needless to say, the Packers cannot afford this sort of depreciation from Jones. So, as hard as it may be to see, Aaron Jones will be lining up in a new uniform next season. On top of that, take into consideration the selection of A.J. Dillon, Jones’ services will almost certainly not be needed in Green Bay. The Packers – Jones breakup will hopefully be a well-received move, and he should still be appreciated by Packer nation.

Next, let’s look into Mike Pettine and what another disappointing postseason performance could mean for him.