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Packers 2018 Free Agent Preview: Joe Callahan should return to compete for #3 job

The Packers have one quarterback with an expiring contract in 2018, but we expect him to be back in Green Bay.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Over the next two weeks, Acme Packing Company takes a look at each position group on the Green Bay Packers and provides grades and insight on how they performed in the 2017 season. Today, we examine the quarterbacks.

To wrap up our look at the Packers’ quarterbacks today, we’ll examine the one player at the position who has a contract that expires in March. However, that player will likely return to compete for a job again in the summer.

Joe Callahan

NFL Experience: 2 years
FA Status: Exclusive-rights free agent
Expiring Contract: 1 year, $540,000
2017 Stats: 5/7 (71.4%), 11 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs
2017 Preseason Stats: 13/21 (61.9%), 112 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs; 1 carry, 11 yards

In the preseason, Callahan was locked in a battle with BYU rookie Taysom Hill for the number three quarterback job behind Aaron Rodgers and Brett Hundley, a battle that Hill won handily. However, the Packers elected to keep just two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster, and the Saints claimed Hill on waivers as their number three (and as a special teams ace).

Thus, the Packers brought Callahan back onto the practice squad as the third option to start the year, and he was promoted to the active roster following Rodgers’ broken collarbone. Despite Brett Hundley’s struggles, Callahan only saw game action once, during the season finale in Detroit. In that game he gained just 11 passing yards on seven attempts with the game well out of hand.

For 2018, Callahan is an exclusive-rights free agent, meaning that as long as the Packers give him a league-minimum contract tender before the start of free agency, he cannot negotiate a deal with another team. Given Mike McCarthy’s apparent love of Callahan, it is likely that the team will give him that tender. The salary would not be guaranteed, so if the team goes in a different direction there would be no dead money against the salary cap.

Personally, I expect the Packers to draft a quarterback in 2018, probably on day three, and to have that individual compete for the number two job with Brett Hundley; this plan would then leave Callahan as a camp body. However, the team would be wise to bring him back on the minimum tender for the time being until seeing whether they can add a veteran backup through free agency or a draft pick.

Coming up on Tuesday: the Packers’ running backs.