The Green Bay Packers’ offense was missing only a tight end.
When Jared Cook hit the market, Green Bay’s biggest offensive need was the tight end position.
The Packers addressed that need (twice) in the first 72 hours of free agency. Ted Thompson added former Patriot Martellus Bennett and former Ram Lance Kendricks to build a now formidable group of tight ends.
The moves ran counter to Thompson’s normal philosophy, but bolstered an offense that boasts a ton of receiving threats. While defense remains a pressing need, signing two established tight ends definitely make an elite offense even better.
Bennett in particular provides a dynamic presence that will help the entire offense. He caught 55 passes for 701 yards with New England. He added a career-high seven touchdown catches as well. Bennett also showed his toughness, appearing in all 16 games while battling injuries.
The new tight end has also started making a case to be a fan favorite. He announced he’d let fans choose his jersey number via a Twitter poll.
What’s more is that the Packers got Bennett on a team-friendly deal. His contract runs for three years, paying the tight end $21 million. He’ll be a major presence in the middle of the field and in the end zone, and his ability to break tackles ranks first in the whole league among tight ends. Bennet should make the entire offense better, allowing Nelson, Cobb, and Adams to wreak havoc outside.
The Packers also added tight end Lance Kendricks to form a formidable duo at the position.
While not as explosive as Bennett, Kendricks is also an excellent pass catcher who will allow Green Bay to explore some two tight end sets on offense. He posted a career high 50 catches in 2016, scoring two touchdowns.
The former Wisconsin Badger will partner with Bennett to give Green Bay two legit threats at the position. While Cook and Richard Rodgers were decent in 2016, the current group should add a whole new dimension to the offense.
Their athleticism will hopefully create match up nightmares in 2017 and beyond. Since Kendricks was released by the Rams, he also won’t count against future compensatory picks.
The signing means Cook won’t be back in Green Bay next season, and hopefully the Packers aren’t finished in free agency. The offense looks stacked–especially in the passing game–but defense still needs work.