Over a two-week span, we at Acme Packing Company are breaking down the 2017 Green Bay Packers position-by-position. Today we conclude the analysis with a look at the Packers’ special teams units.
Wrapping up our examination of the Packers’ specialists and our 2017 roster review overall is a look at the three players on special teams whose contracts expire this March, making them free agents.
NFL Experience: 10 years
Status: Unrestricted free agent
Expiring Contract: One year, $900,000
Goode has spent ten years in the NFL, all with the Packers dating back to 2008 when he replaced Rob Davis as the team’s long snapper. He has missed games just twice, two games in 2015 with a torn ACL late in the season and six games in 2017 under an injury settlement following a hamstring injury.
Given the Packers’ struggles with the other long-snappers over the summer and during his period away from the team, it would be no surprise to see the team give him another one-year, veteran minimum contract in 2018. That way, the team could maintain the veteran minimum salary benefit with his deal, something they could not do if they gave him a long-term deal. Furthermore, Goode is 33 years old and has had injuries two of the past three years, so a one-year deal makes sense from an age and injury risk scenario.
NFL Experience: 3 years
Status: Restricted free agent
Expiring Contract: One year, $615,000
Schum returned for 2017 on an exclusive-rights free agent contract, and after spending the entire season on injured reserve, he will hit the market as a restricted free agent.
However, given the Packers’ discovery of Justin Vogel, the team likely has no need for additional competition at the position and Schum probably will not receive a tender for his services in 2018. If that is indeed the case, he will become an unrestricted free agent upon the start of the new league year in March.
NFL Experience: 1 year
Status: Exclusive-rights free agent
Expiring Contract: One year, $465,000
Pepper landed on injured reserve as well in 2017 after his foot was stepped on by a teammate in practice. The Packers could elect to bring him back on an exclusive-rights free agent tender and let him try to earn the long-snapper job to start the 2018 season. In that case, they could keep Goode’s number handy if Pepper fails to impress (much in the same way that they replaced Derek Hart with Goode last summer).
However, this writer’s prediction is that Goode is re-signed once free agency opens up and Pepper looks for a job elsewhere.