Today, Acme Packing Company continues the examination of the Green Bay Packers’ 2016 roster. Each day over the next two weeks, we will break down a different position on the roster with examinations of the players on the 53-man roster in 2016, the contributions of new additions and players who signed new contracts, and players who have contracts expiring this offseason.
No position group saw its perception change as dramatically as the Packers' cornerbacks. Considered a strength entering the year, the unit lost its No. 1 cover man in the season opener and both of its other top-3 corners go down with groin injuries. Still, a defensive back who went into the year expecting to play mostly safety ended up performing well at cornerback later in the year. He now hits free agency, placing Green Bay in a bind.
Free-agent status: Unrestricted
Experience: Four years
2016 statistics: 58 tackles, three interceptions, two fumble recoveries
Expiring contract: Four-year, $2,338,108 deal
Until 2016, Green Bay utilized Micah Hyde primarily as a safety. While the versatile defensive back had the skill set to play corner, the team had little reason to use him there. Sam Shields, Tramon Williams, and Casey Hayward held up well as the team's primary corners in 2014, and Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins showed promise as rookies the following season.
However, when injuries depleted the secondary in 2016, Hyde saw his role transition back to cover man, first working in the slot and then as a boundary corner down the stretch and into the playoffs. While Hyde certainly didn't perform perfectly, he showed up in the wild-card and divisional rounds. Those games could have a dramatic impact on his negotiation leverage now that his rookie deal has expired.
With Shields now gone and Randall and Rollins coming off lackluster sophomore campaigns, retaining Hyde becomes a higher priority for the Packers. To keep him, they likely need to hand out a multi-year deal worth in excess of $5 million annually (a price tag comparable to other No. 3 corners on second contracts). However, if another team offers a contract that blows up Hyde's market, Green Bay might have to let him walk.