NFL free agency began today, and in a whirlwind of deals that I could barely keep up with, the Packers lost impact substitutes Micah Hyde and JC Tretter to big deals. Hyde signed with the Bills a few hours after Tretter joined the Cleveland Browns.

Along with right guard Kevin Zeitler, the Browns brought in JC Tretter on a deal rumored to be in the $8.5M per year range. This deal reinforces the Browns’ verbal commitment to rebuild a broken offensive line.

Tretter spent three years in Green Bay, mostly in a super-sub role, registering snaps at just about every position on the line, including some time spent at left tackle during the 2015/16 playoff run. He’s a very good lineman that I’m sad to see go, but Tretter deserved a chance to start and the Browns offered a figure that the Packers just couldn’t come close to. With TJ Lang’s status still up in the air, the center and guard positions stand as big needs heading into the draft.

Micah Hyde will go to Buffalo and play for the Bills, who cut safety Aaron Williams and lost cornerback Stephon Gilmore to the New England Patriots. Hyde can play both positions, so, in that regard, this deal makes a lot of sense.

On the other hand, a huge part of Hyde’s value in Green Bay was how well he knew the defense. As a cornerback, he struggles in coverage. As a safety, he’s too small to play against the run. So his production potential is limited in Buffalo, where he’s set to make up to $32.5M over 5 years. I was in favor of bringing him back to Titletown, but not at a price anywhere near what the Bills gave him.

I would like to congratulate both of these guys for getting some well-deserved pay raises and wish them the best of luck on their new teams.