GREEN BAY, Wis. -- With offseason workouts and minicamps in the rearview mirror and training camp just a few weeks away, we assess the Green Bay Packers offseason moves and assign a letter grade in the video above.
Best move: Think about how differently the Packers would be viewed if they lost a 91-catch receiver and their franchise right tackle in free agency. You'd have serious questions about their ability to match the offensive output from last year, when they led the NFL in scoring at 30.4 points per game. General manager Ted Thompson wasn't about to let that happen. The four-year, $40 million deal he gave to receiver Randall Cobb and the five-year, $33.75 million deal he gave to right tackle Bryan Bulaga ensured that every offensive starter from last year would return. Without signing a single player from another team in free agency, Thompson perhaps had the best offseason of any general manager.
Riskiest move: You could argue that letting cornerbacks Tramon Williams and Davon House leave in free agency was a huge gamble, but Williams, at age 32, could decline at any time now and House never could stay healthy for long stretches. So the biggest risk has nothing to do with player acquisition but rather coach Mike McCarthy's decision to give up the offensive play-calling duties and hand them to associate head coach Tom Clements. It's understandable that McCarthy wants to be more involved in other areas, especially considering the defensive and special teams meltdowns in the NFC Championship loss to the Seahawks, but ask coaches around the league and they'll tell you that McCarthy is a superb play-caller. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, who also gave up play calling recently, expressed surprise that McCarthy would make such a move, saying "whatever they're doing there, they should keep doing it."
About time: For too long, the Packers relied on A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones as their middle linebackers. Hawk's play declined rapidly in the last two seasons, and Jones never should have been given such a large role. It was a mistake signing Jones to a three-year, $11.25 million contract in 2013. By the end of last season, Hawk's role had been greatly reduced and Jones barely played. The decision to cut both of them within days of each other in February was the long overdue.
Training camp outlook: At the close of minicamp last week, McCarthy said he felt "very good about what we accomplished and feel very good about the start for the 2015 Packers." One of McCarthy's major goals is to start the season faster to avoid the 1-2 starts that have befallen his team each of the last three years. So look for some subtle, yet noticeable changes to the way McCarthy approaches training camp and the preseason.