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Mike McCarthy: Packers ‘might shock you this year’ in free agency

Green Bay Packers and Mike McCarthy need to ace free agency.

Is it possible the Green Bay Packers will be big players in free agency this spring? Just hours after general manager Ted Thompson made a statement about not being adverse to spending some cash on veterans, head coach Mike McCarthy echoed his sentiments, adding some bold flavor.

“We’ll see how it shakes out,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said, per ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. “We might shock you this year.”

The Packers are estimated to have just over $21 million to spend this offseason. It’s not a ton of cash, but it does mean the team could make a splash or two in free agency and still have what it needs to sign the incoming draft class while keeping a few million stashed away.

When Thompson spoke on Thursday, he pointed to Julius Peppers and Charles Woodson as examples of his willingness to spend money on a key veteran via free agency. However, there can be no doubt that those two players are the exception to the team’s rule of thumb, which is to build through the draft.

With that in mind, Packers fans shouldn’t hold their collective breath waiting for the team to land in the “winners” section of free agency articles in the coming months. Thompson’s philosophy is hard-wired into his football DNA, and it’s hard to imagine he’ll feel comfortable making a big change.

That said, perhaps rumors that McCarthy is “fed up” with Thompson and his traditional approach to free agency have caused a change of heart in the general manager.

If Green Bay does decide to become players in the free-agency fray, then targeting an offensive tackle like Cordy Glenn would be a good first step towards improving the team’s ability to win. Aaron Rodgers was abused playing behind an oft-injured and quite honestly sub par offensive line last year and needs better protection to ensure he remains a top signal-caller in the league.

Another top target could be inside linebacker Danny Trevathan, who the Denver Broncos are conceding will likely hit the free market. Bringing in a top inside linebacker would finally allow Clay Matthews to slide back to his natural outside linebacker spot, which in turn would make the defense much more dynamic on a consistent basis.

There are plenty of ways Thompson could improve his roster via free agency. It’s going to be interesting to see if he can bite the bullet and move away from his historically prudent game plan to make those moves.