The Green Bay Packers Should Give Johnny Jolly Another Chance

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

News broke on Thursday that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell would be reinstating Green Bay Packers DL Johnny Jolly. This could be what the Packers need.

After the 2009 season, Jolly was arrested for possession of codeine cough syrup. The sipping of the “purple drank” is something that the Southern hip-hop culture has brought to light in recent years. Jolly was arrested two more times between 2010-11 for the same thing. He was suspended indefinitely by Goodell and was sentenced to six years in prison. After serving six months of the sentence, Jolly was released and reinstated recently.

The Packers have missed Jolly as much as he has missed them in the past few years. In 2009, his last season, he had a breakout year with one sack, one forced fumble and one interception. He seemed to be a great fit in Dom Capers‘ 3-4 scheme. Since then, the Packers have struggled to find the right combination of defensive linemen for their scheme. The combination of losing Cullen Jenkins via free agency and Jolly to suspension was a perfect storm for the Packers’ defense.

There isn’t any confirmation that the Packers will keep Jolly. At this moment, they still have him under contract for another year. The Packers should cut him, sign him for the veterans’ minimum and let him compete in camp. Jolly has a few months to get himself in shape and if he can be the player he was before, he will have no trouble making this team. With Jerel Worthy tearing his ACL late last year, there is no timetable set for his return yet. The Packers are going to be looking for competent defensive linemen and Jolly can be that guy.

Ted Thompson could go this route instead of looking into free agency, although the plan could backfire on him if Jolly isn’t ready to play. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out through the off-season.

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