Free agent defensive lineman Chris Canty is expected to visit with the Packers
For the second time in five years, GM Ted Thompson is interested in Chris Canty. According to Mike Garafolo of USA Today, the veteran defensive lineman is expected to meet with the Packers after the NFL Combine. The two sides flirted with each other in 2008, but Canty ultimately wound up signing with the Giants.
Canty was released by the Giants earlier this month. The former Virginia star played in 9 games last year after starting the season on the physically unable to perform list. He had 26 total tackles and 3 sacks. “Chris Canty is a high-character, highly intelligent young man,” said Giants head coach Tom Coughlin. “He distinguished himself down the stretch for number of reasons. One, the quality of his play, and two, is the toughness he displayed, which was a great statement about the quality of the individual.”
There’s no denying that Canty is a high-character, highly intelligent young man. He’s very well-spoken and he’s been honored numerous times for his charitable endeavors. But as far as the quality of his play is concerned, well let’s just say Coughlin was being quite charitable in his own right. In the two games I watched (week 12 versus Green Bay and week 15 at Atlanta), the 30-year-old Canty looked nothing like the tenacious and disruptive 26-year-old who signed a huge contract with the Giants four years ago.
The 2012 version of Canty looked sluggish. Working at both tackle and end in an aggressive 4-3 scheme, he allowed himself to get taken out of plays too easily. I saw little fire in his belly and even less explosiveness in his legs. He did manage a sack against the Packers, but that was due more to tight coverage in the secondary than anything he did at the line of scrimmage. More often than not, he was getting little done against center Jeff Saturday, left guard Evan Dietrich-Smith and right tackle T.J. Lang.
Canty is still talented enough to flash on occasion, but those instances were few and far between in the games I watched. Would he be a significant upgrade over C.J. Wilson? That’s debatable. While Canty is certainly a better pass rusher than Wilson (who isn’t?), he’s probably not as stout at the point of attack.
The Packers aren’t the only team interested in Canty. He has already visited with the Titans and the Chiefs and he’s scheduled to meet with the Jaguars. Because there’s so much interest, he’s going to command a pretty decent contract. My head tells me that would be enough to scare away Thompson. My eyes tell me that would be a good thing. As much as the Packers could use a defensive end with height (Canty is 6’7″), adding a descending player coming off knee problems probably isn’t the way to go.