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Letroy Guion Contract: New deal with Packers is low-risk, but raises questions

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Although the contract breakdown of works in Green Bay's favor, the extent of the signing raises many questions as to how Ted Thompson will proceed through free agency and the NFL Draft this off-season.

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When the report of Letroy Guion receiving a contract renewal from the Green Bay Packers broke last Friday, it raised some significant questions. Without seeing the contract breakdown and simply going off the 3-year $11,750,000 report, I found it surprising that the Packers offered Guion a contract for this much money and that duration, and that they did so this early in the off-season. Whether it was the off the field incident last off-season that saw Guion arrested for the possession of marijuana or his regressing play in 2015, I found it odd the Packers made the decision to proceed with Guion this early.

Statistically and analytically, Guion declined in 2015 from the 2014 season in large part due to his three-game suspension and the role he played compared to the 2014 season. Starting in only four games this season, Guion failed, in my eyes, to make much of an impact to warrant the contract extension. Through his off the field problems, regressing play, and other potential options available, I found this renewal questionable.

Off-the-Field Problems

February 3rd of 2015 saw Guion arrested for the possession of marijuana in Florida, which resulted in a three-game suspension for the start of the 2015 season. Entering 2015, the Packers chose to stick by Guion and show support while the legal process took place.

A detailed report by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel then broke on October 24th about problems Guion has faced in the past, which included gun, battery, and drug charges. The report included instances of domestic violence and abuse that definitively raised an eyebrow or two especially during the masculinity period the NFL is currently facing. Although I suspected the Packers would endure the rest of the 2015 season with Guion, I figured he was all but gone entering this off-season.

Regressing Play

A fifth round pick in the 2008 draft, Guion has accumulated 91 solo tackles, 59 assists, and 8.5 sacks in his NFL career, while enjoying his best career season in 2014. Filling in for an injured B.J. Raji, Guion started in all 16 games for the Packers in 2014, tallying 26 tackles with 15 assists and 3.5 sacks. He provided a punch for the Packers through the interior of their defense, filling a much-needed role.

This past season saw Guion start in only four games, making 12 tackles and 8 assists. Obviously when you are a 3-4 lineman, stats are not going to be your main selling point when negotiating a contract extension, but one had to figure the off the field issues didn't play into Guion's favor either. Analytically, Guion received a 72.3 rating from ProFootball Focus, which ranked him 66th among interior defenders in the NFL.

Although Guion provided a good push or pop from the line of scrimmage from time to time, he was suspect at best when rushing the passer, and average in stuffing the run. The contract extension makes Guion the fourth-highest paid 3-4 DT in the NFL per year according to OvertheCap.com, which just doesn't feel right.

Other Options

3-4 tackles obviously do not have a huge impact on the game itself, and are one of the least-valued positions, monetary-wise. When looking at available free agents at the DT position in a 3-4 defensive scheme, there are not a ton of names that pop out. Damon Harrison is probably the name that raises the most intrigue, as he has been one of the better nose tackles throughout the NFL the past couple of seasons, but there is no guarantee the New York Jets are going to let him hit the market, and wherever he ends up is going to see him cash out, meaning the Packers may not have been the most ideal fit anyway.

The NFL Draft was and still may be the ideal route to go, when looking for depth at the position. A'Shawn Robinson, Kenny Clark, and Jarran Reed would be ideal fits for the Packers in round 1, and if they are available, it will be interesting to see how the front office reacts. Sitting at 27th, it's been tough to scope out exactly what direction the Packers will go with their first round pick, especially before the combine and seeing exactly where each prospects ranks physically. Reed had a versatile showing in the Senior Bowl and will be a very intriguing option for the Packers at 27th overall, given that versatility.

Money Earned

With that said, the overall breakdown of Guion's contract works well for the Packers, as Guion received only a $500,000 signing bonus, while he will earn a $50,000 bonus for each Sunday he spends on the active roster. Heavily reliant on earned bonus money, the Packers front office covered their tracks well with the contract. The low base salaries per year and huge emphasis on bonus money give the contract negotiation a heavy upside. Even with the contract working in the Packers favor, I still found it interesting the Packers were willing to sign Guion this early, and who knows, maybe this is a sign of Ted willing to open up the check book this off-season -- only time will tell.