But it leaves them one man short.
Ever since Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone in 2013, coach Mike McCarthy has been fearful of having just two quarterbacks on the roster -- something he did regularly at the end of Brett Favre’s career and the beginning of Rodgers’ time as a starter.
The musical quarterback experience -- from Rodgers to Seneca Wallace to Tolzien and finally Matt Flynn -- made McCarthy a fan of having three quarterbacks at his disposal. In 2014, Flynn was Rodgers’ No. 2 and Tolzien the No. 3. Last season, Tolzien won the backup job and rookie Brett Hundley spent the year as the third quarterback.
Based on his performance last season, Hundley has given the Packers every reason to believe he can dutifully perform the functions of a backup quarterback. Now that Tolzien signed with the Colts to be Andrew Luck's backup, it leaves the Packers with a hole -- albeit not a gaping one -- on their depth chart at the game’s most crucial position.
McCarthy said at the NFL scouting combine that he is “excited about Brett,” but general manager Ted Thompson will have to find his coach at least one more arm, if not two. Typically, McCarthy likes to have four quarterbacks in training camp. Last summer, that meant Rodgers, Tolzien, Hundley and Matt Blanchard. The Packers liked Blanchard, but he signed a reserve/futures contract with the Bears shortly after the season. At around the same time, the Packers signed quarterback Ryan Williams, a first-year player from Miami (Fla.), but Williams had never previously been with an NFL team.
Most likely, Thompson will add another developmental quarterback -- perhaps a late-round draft pick or an undrafted free agent -- who either serves as the No. 3 or does his work on the practice squad.
There are some experienced quarterbacks on the market, but signing a Johnny Manziel or Robert Griffin III isn’t Thompson’s style, though a quarterback-savvy coach such as McCarthy would surely love to get his hands on a player with those talents. (Remember, it was McCarthy who said way back in 2010 that he “would definitely love to coach” Tim Tebow).
Among the other veteran, backup-type quarterbacks available in free agency are Jimmy Clausen, Tarvaris Jackson, Case Keenum, Ryan Lindley, Matt McGloin, Brandon Weeden, T.J. Yates and Charlie Whitehurst. All are unrestricted free agents except for Keenum and McGloin, who are restricted. The Rams put the first-round tender on Keenum, while the Raiders put the second-rounder tender on McGloin, which means there’s no way Thompson would make a run at either of them.