Should I Stay Or Should I Go?: Packers Free Agents

The offseason is upon us, and that means there's another crop of guys whose contracts have expired. All in all, it's a pretty pedestrian class, with only 6 unrestricted & 5 restricted free agents. The only "superstar" is Greg Jennings, otherwise it's mostly role players.

Unrestricted Free Agents:


RB Cedric Benson

One of only two unrestricted FAs who made the team last year (Jeff Saturday being the other), Benson had a solid but unspectacular start to the season until he was injured week 5 against the Colts. The Lisfranc injury to his foot landed him on IR, and although he was the designated player to return from, he did not recover quickly enough to do so. In the meantime, he moonlighted at strip clubs as DJ World Peace.
Season Stats: 71 rush, 248, 1 TD, 3.5 ypc; 14 rec, 97, 6.9 ypr
Should I Stay Or Should I Go?: I would say he has a slim chance of returning.

RB Ryan Grant

Ted Thompson elected to not re-sign Grant during the 2012 offseason; he started the season without a team. After a short stint with the depleted RB corps of the Was Redskins, Grant again found himself out of work. Then, in December, the meat grinder that is the RB position once again provided him with an opportunity, as the oft-injured James Starks made his another visit to the injury report. He performed admirably, but no one would mistake him for Arian Foster.
Season Stats: 31 rush, 127, 2 TDs, 4.1 ypc; 1 rec, 34 [post-season: 7 rush, 7, 1 ypc; 1 rec, 16]
Should I Stay Or Should I Go?: Since he wasn't in the team's plans to begin '12, it's doubtful he would be for '13.


WR Donald Driver
The longest tenured Packer (besting Rodgers by a full 6 years), Driver wasn't involved in the offense much this year. The high point was a 26 yard TD against the Bears week 2, and the only game where he had multiple receptions was against the Jaguars, where he caught 2 passes for 10 yards (although one was a 4 yard TD).
Season Stats: 8 rec, 77, 2 TDs, 9.6 ypr
Should I Stay Or Should I Go?: Roster spots are too valuable; the only way he's a member of the Packers is on the coaching staff.


WR Greg Jennings
A season derailed by injuries is probably not what Greg wanted in his contract year. He only appeared in 8 games this season, but finished strong, nabbing 15 receptions for 165 & 3 TDs in the final two weeks.
Season Stats: 36 rec, 366, 4 TDs, 10.2 ypr [post-season: 10 rec, 115, 1 TD, 11.5 ypr]
Should I Stay Or Should I Go?: Only if other teams are scared off by his injury will he remain a Packer. Someone will likely back the Brinks truck for his services, and it will not be the Packers.


ILB Brad Jones
Talk about the exact opposite situation as Jennings. Jones, who was buried on the depth chart to start the season and nothing more than a bit special teams player, made the switch to ILB from OLB & benefited from multiple injuries on the inside, and ended up starting the final 10 regular season games.
Season Stats: 77 tackles (56 solo/21 assist), 2 sacks, 4 PD, 1 FF [post-season: 15 tackles (8 solo/7 assist)]
Should I Stay Or Should I Go?: Jones seems like the type of player that TT retains, though if Jones is looking to cash in big time, Green Bay is not the place for it. I'd put the likelihood of his return at about 80%


OLB Erik Walden
To call his season an unmitigated disaster is an insult to unmitigated disasters everywhere. Is that being too harsh? I suppose he was adequate when used as part of a rotation, but it is quite clear he can not be a reliable starter in the league.
Season Stats: 46 tackles (27 solo/19 assist), 3 sacks, 4 PD, 2 INT [post-season: 8 tackles (4 solo/4 assist), 1 sack]
Should I Stay Or Should I Go?: I will be very disappointed if he is a member of the 53 man roster in 2013.

Restricted Free Agents:

A side note here on the distinction between the two types of free agents: RFAs can negotiate with any club, but the original team can match any offer the player receives, and essentially "holds the tiebreaker". RFAs also are given a "qualifying tender offer" of three levels which determine compensation (in the form of a draft pick) should the original team not match an offer from another club. If the player receives no offer sheet by the draft, the original club retains the player's rights, and the player essentially has a one year contract for the value of the tender. The three tender levels are: 1st round ($2.742 mil in '12), 2nd round ($1.927 mil in '12), and the player's original draft round ($1.26 mil in '12). It is important to note that since all 5 RFAs this year were undrafted, should any of them receive the lowest tender, the Packers would receive no compensation if another team gives them an unmatched offer sheet.


TE Tom Crabtree
The only Packer to catch TDs from multiple players this season; the fake FG TD reception is one of the most endearing moments of the season. Proficient at both blocking & catching, he makes for a sneaky target when the defenders are all reading run.
Season Stats: 8 rec, 203, 3 TDs, 25.4 ypr [post-season: 1 rec, 10]
Should I Stay Or Should I Go?: TT loves TEs, doesn't he?

C/G Evan Dietrich-Smith
TT may view him as the C of the future. Saturday was benched for him to end the year & he seemed to acquit himself quite nicely. He appears to be a much better C than G.
Season Stats: 8 starts
Should I Stay Or Should I Go?: I'm not completely sold on him as the C of the future, but he's more than fine as a 6th OL

ILB Robert Francois
After stepping up in '11 when both starting ILBs were injured, starting against the Lions & Giants, his virtual invisibility this season is perplexing, as it's not as if there weren't ILB injuries this year. He seems to be a core STer, but I'm not sure if he's played more than a handful of snaps on defense this year.
Season Stats: none?
Should I Stay Or Should I Go?: He's proven himself as adequate depth at worst.

OLB Frank Zombo
He started the season on the PUP; since being activated he has only played sparingly on defense, but made a few impact plays on special teams. Injuries have been a problem for him throughout his career, but there is some potential in him.
Season Stats:
6 tackles (4 solo/2 assist)
Should I Stay Or Should I Go?: I'd like to see him brought back, if only to compete for a job in camp.


CB Sam Shields

Arguably our best defensive back this year, Shields missed weeks 7 through 12. He provided a spark to begin the 49ers game, and he is probably the fastest player on the team. Plus, dude's got a neck tattoo of the SB ring.
Season Stats: 26 tackles (22 solo/4 assist), 1 sacks, 10 PD, 3 INT [post-season: 11 tackles (9 solo/2 assist), 2 PD, 2 INT, TD]
Should I Stay Or Should I Go?: If not inked to a long-term deal, 1st round tender.

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