When the frenzy of undrafted free agent signings begins right after the final pick of the NFL Draft is announced, agents look to land their clients with the teams that provide the best opportunities. They consider factors ranging from roster depth at their client's position to location (some players prefer to be closer to home, others farther away).
However, one factor that's often overlooked is playing opportunity and retention rate for UDFAs. According to the statistics included in a brochure the Seahawks sent to agents yesterday, the Green Bay Packers rank among the league leaders in several important areas.
While Seattle offered more average playing time to UDFAs during the 2013 preseason (36.2% of snaps), the Packers came in second at 33.6%. More importantly, Green Bay is the only team with such a figure at or above 29.6% in each of the last four years. Breaking down the numbers further, no team has given more playing time to defensive UDFAs over the last four years than the Packers (35.8%) or offensive players (29.9%). That makes Green Bay a far more attractive landing spot for the top undrafted players.
In terms of UDFAs making the final roster, the Packers once again rated among the league's best. 24% of the 70 UDFAs signed since 2010 earned a spot on the Packers' 53, fourth-best in that time frame. In terms of total numbers, only five teams retained more UDFAs than the Packers' 17.
Perhaps the most interesting statistic included in the brochure is number of draft picks released in their rookie year since 2010. The brochure paints having a high number as a positive, as it demonstrates "which teams are willing to admit their draft mistakes," though that rationale is debatable. Green Bay finished in the middle third of the NFL with six such cuts, all picks from the sixth round or later.
While the Packers won't sign every undrafted free agent on their wish list, there's plenty of reason to believe they'll fare well again this year. More consistently than nearly every other team, Green Bay provides ample opportunity for undrafted players to prove themselves on the field and earn a job.