The Green Bay Packers' season could have gone very differently had Letroy Guion not capably replaced injured nose tackle B.J. Raji. The team recognizes this and is now working on an extension with Guion, per a report from ESPN's Rob Demovsky.
After a rough start to the year, Guion has settled in as an important piece of Green Bay's vastly improved defense. He ranks second among the team's defensive lineman in sacks (3.5) and first in tackles for loss (4). Moreover, Guion has sealed the middle of a defensive line that was amongst the worst units a year ago.
It's a remarkable return on investment for a player the Packers signed to a one-year, $1 million contract this offseason. The team expected little more from him than a handful of snaps each week to spell Raji. Instead, Green Bay found a key contributor deserving of another deal.
And according to Guion's agent Seth Katz, contract discussions are already underway.
"We've had some very, very early conversations," Katz said. "The Packers are obviously focused on the postseason, but we know how they feel about him, and they know he wants to be back. We're not making it a secret that he wants to stay in Green Bay."
It's difficult to project where Guion's price might fall. Few of the recent contracts handed out to 3-4 nose tackles were given to players around his age (27) and coming off a career year. Given the dearth of such defensive linemen, his annual pay could conceivably exceed the $4 million the team paid Raji for 2014. However, the Packers have fared well at the bargaining table with their own guys as Jordy Nelson's last contract attests.
Though an extension for Guion would conceivably make B.J. Raji, who also signed a one-year deal this offseason, expendable, it would not be surprising if the Packers bring back both players. Both players can play multiple positions along the defensive line, and having depth at nose tackle couldn't hurt.