‘Shutdown Corner’ offseason TPS report: Green Bay Packers

Brian McIntyre
Shutdown Corner

Over the next few weeks, "Shutdown Corner" will pay homage to "Office Space" (TPS reports) as we take a quick look back at each team's 2012 season and a look at what lies ahead for the 2013 offseason. We wrap up the NFC North with the Green Bay Packers.

2012 record: 11-5

What went wrong: After ranking third in the NFL in total offense and first in scoring offense in 2011, the Packers dropped to 13th in total offense and fifth in scoring offense in their first season with Tom Clements as offensive coordinator. The Packers' ground game improved, slightly, while the passing attack dropped to ninth in the NFL as wide receiver Greg Jennings missed half the season with a groin injury and Jordy Nelson missed most of the second half of the season with a hamstring issue. Nelson and Jennings were among the top receivers in Football Outsiders' opponent-adjusted DYAR (Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement) metric in 2011, but both fell out of the Top 15 in 2012, with Jennings sliding all the way to 66th during his injury-marred season.

Green Bay's special teams ranked 18th in Football Outsiders' special teams DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average), a ranking lowered by the struggles of kicker Mason Crosby, who missed five field goals from within 49 yards and was just 21-of-33 on the season.

What went right: Aaron Rodgers remains one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL, completing 67.2 percent of his pass attempts for 4,295 yards with 39 touchdowns and just eight interceptions for an NFL-best passing rating of 108.0 on the season. Sadly, Rodgers also tied for the team lead with two rushing touchdowns.

With Jennings and Nelson banged up throughout the season, 2011 second-round wide receiver Randall Cobb had a breakout season, leading the Packers with 80 receptions and 954 receiving yards and his eight touchdowns receptions were second on the team behind James Jones' NFL-leading 14 touchdown receptions. Cobb and Jones ranked among the leaders in Football Outsiders' receiving DYAR metric.

After ranking 25th in Football Outsiders' defensive DVOA in 2011, the Packers shot up to eighth in 2012 and were seventh against the pass. Part of that was due to a resurgent pass rush that went from 29 sacks in 2011 to 47 sacks in 2012 as Clay Matthews shrugged off a less productive 2011 season (six sacks) to lead the team with 13 sacks in 2012. The Packers were outstanding against opposing No. 2 and "other" receivers, according to Football Outsiders, and got a productive season from 2012 second-round cornerback Casey Hayward, who led the team with six interceptions and 21 passes defensed.

Coaching/front office changes: The Packers front office lost longtime executive John Dorsey, who is now the general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Estimated 2013 cap space: $17.896 million

Possible cap casualties: The Packers have already gotten a jump on creating additional cap space. $10 million in cash and cap space was saved when they released safety Charles Woodson last week and retiring center Jeff Saturday was released this week, which saved another which saved $3.75 million in cash and $3.8 million in cap space. Tight end Jermichael Finley, who has struggled with drops and complained about his role in the offense, has a $3 million roster bonus due on March 27 and, if released, would save the Packers $8.25 in cash and cap space .

Unrestricted free agents

Cedric Benson, RB
Ryan Grant, RB
Greg Jennings, WR
Brad Jones, LB
Erik Walden, LB

Restricted free agents

Tom Crabtree, TE
Evan Dietrich-Smith, C/G
Robert Francois, LB
Sam Shields, CB
Frank Zombo, LB

RFA tender amounts in 2013 are:

• $1.323 million for right of first refusal and/or original draft round compensation

• $2.023 for right of first refusal and second round draft selection

• $2.879 for right of first refusal and first round draft selection

Franchise Tag candidates: The Packers are not going to use the franchise tag, but if they did, the logical recipient would be Greg Jennings, a two-time Pro Bowler who caught 425 passes for 6,537 yards and 53 touchdowns in his seven seasons in Green Bay. Jennings missed half of last season with a groin injury and turns 30 in September, making it unlikely that the Packers will commit a franchise tender, worth an estimated $10.365 million, on him this offseason.

Previous installments of the "Offseason TPS Reports" series:

AFC East: New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Buffalo Bills
AFC North: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns
AFC South: Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans
AFC West: Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, Denver Broncos
NFC East: Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Washington Redskins
NFC North: Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings

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