Over the past two weeks, we have broken down the Packers' roster position-by-position. Today, we wrap up our analysis with the safeties. Check here for the full list of our positional breakdowns.
Now that the Green Bay Packers finally have their starting safety situation figured out, it's time to look at building depth behind Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Morgan Burnett.
They currently have two pending free agents at the position: Sean Richardson and Chris Banjo. Banjo was only active for three games all season and contributed minimally, but Richardson is a more interesting case. He was considered at one point to potentially be a savior for a safety group that struggled badly in 2013.
With Burnett and Clinton-Dix entrenched as starters and Micah Hyde as the third safety, where does this leave Richardson and Banjo as they prepare to hit the the free agent market?
Status: Restricted free agent
How acquired: Signed as undrafted free agent in 2012
Expiring contract: Three years, $1.445 million
2014 compensation: $570,000 base salary
As mentioned above, Richardson was at one time considered to be a potential solution at safety. Had that worked out, it would have been another diamond in the rough find by general manger Ted Thompson in the undrafted free agent market. He's been limited to a backup role and special teams play since the arrival of Clinton-Dix and the conversion of Hyde to safety.
As a restricted free agent, Richardson can sign with any team but the Packers will have a chance to match the offer. Will they with Richardson? Hard to tel until someone offers him a deal. The Packers don't have many other options left but that doesn't mean Thompson won't consider drafting another safety in this spring's draft in the later rounds.
Richardson hasn't been horrible and he'd be a good choice to bring back on a one-year deal again. He's still relatively young (2015 will be his fourth season) and he's been far from a liability when he has seen the field.
Thompson would be wise to bring Richardson back for 2015.
Status: Exclusive Rights Free Agent
How acquired: Signed as free agent in 2013
Expiring contract: one year, $495,000 (all base salary)
Banjo became a sort of viral sensation the last couple seasons with his performance in practices, but little of that has actually translated to the field. Banjo was actually released by the Packers at the end of the preseason before being added to the practice squad not long after. He stayed there until Week 15 when he was added to the active roster when linebacker Jamari Lattimore was moved to injured reserve, but he contributed exclusively on special teams while active.
As an exclusive rights free agent, all the Packers need to do is make Banjo a minimum of a one-year offer and he is basically under contract to the team. If another team makes an offer, the Packers can either accept or deny it. The Packers may still see some hope in Banjo, but in this case Green Bay might be best to let him sign elsewhere. He hasn't proved to have the staying power Richardson has and that he wasn't activated when Burnett dealt with injuries speaks volumes.
Banjos just aren't meant to be plucked in Green Bay.