It’s a free agent signing that should warm even Ted Thompson‘s robotic heartstrings: shore up a defensive weakness and do damage to a divisional opponent. If you hadn’t figured out what it is by the title, let me repeat it for you: the Packers should sign Antoine Winfield.
Before you get all angry at me and say calmly say “THEY SHOULD NEVER SIGN EX-VIKINGS!!! PLUS HE’S 35 YEARS OLD!!!!” con fsider a few points: first, the Packers are obviously lacking a solid tackler in the secondary. Despite his declining coverage skills, Charles Woodson was an excellent, physical tackler. Winfield could fill a similar role. And given how poorly Tramon Williams, Casey Hayward, and Sam Shields tackle, anyone could be an upgrade.
Secondly, Winfield’s age would justify a short contract, one that wouldn’t cripple the Packers’ cap situation long term. Yes, big-time deals for Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews are looming, but if something needs to happen, the numbers can be made to work.
Thirdly, signing Winfield would deal a significant blow to the Vikings’ secondary, a unit already facing more than its share of question marks. With Winfield gone, their top three cornerbacks are Chris Cook, A.J. Jefferson, and Josh Robinson. Depriving them of Winfield would weaken their secondary while improving the Packers’.
I could dig up all sorts of stats and other reasons about why it would be a good idea, but ProFootballNation.com already did it for me:
“The 35-year-old veteran came back after an injury in 2011 to show he still is an All-Pro caliber player. Winfield’s presence in the run game and in coverage made him a threat on every play. He tackles like Troy Polamalu and covers like he was 10 years younger than he is. He was also the top-rated corner in 2010 according to Pro Football Focus and has been a model of consistency for all defensive backs. He didn’t give up a touchdown all year and deterred teams from throwing in his direction. The Darrelle Revis effect was indeed present all year with Winfield. Quarterbacks had a 74.0 rating when throwing at him, ninth in the league. He didn’t allow big plays as receivers only averaged 9.4 yards a catch against him, fourth best among corners. He only had three interceptions all year but they were on crucial parts of the field in key situations. Winfield is notoriously known to be one of the biggest hitters in the league and his run support was No. 1 by a wide margin out of ALL defensive backs in 2012. No safety got within range of Winfield’s effectiveness against the run. He had 101 tackles, including a defensive back high 44 stops. He stuffed the run game all year with a tenacity not seen anywhere else in the league. Two penalties all year displayed that Winfield is physically capable of still shadowing the games best at age 35. His 2012 campaign was one, if not the best year of his career, even with just three interceptions. Winfield is a physical marvel who has at least three more seasons left in him. The Vikings are in luck that they have the most complete corner in the NFL going into 2013.”