Green Bay Packers 2018 impending free agents primer
FOX Sports Wisconsin
Before Ted Thompson handed over the reins to Brian Gutekunst, he gave contract extensions to impending free agents Davante Adams and Corey Linsley. However, Gutekunst and the Packers have several other key players who they'll have to make decisions on whether to bring back to Green Bay or not. FOX Sports Wisconsin takes a look at the 12 players set to hit free agency. (Note: free-agent and salary information via OverTheCap.com).
Why the Packers would re-sign him: Burnett has been a mainstay in Green Bay's secondary since being selected in the third round in the 2010 draft. He has 699 tackles, 7.5 sacks, nine interceptions and 44 passes defensed in that span. Burnett and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix form one of the best safety tandems in the NFL.
Why they wouldn't: Burnett won't be cheap to bring back, as he's one of, if not the best, safety on the free-agent market. The Packers selected Josh Jones in the second round of last year's draft as the supposed inevitable replacement for Burnett. That time might be now.
USA TODAY SportsJeff Hanisch
DE Quinton Dial, unrestricted
2017 stats: 13 games (2 starts), 19 TKL, 1 PD
2017 cap number: $775,001
Why the Packers would re-sign him: Another late signing after being cut by the 49ers, Dial saw plenty of snaps both on defense and special teams. He likely would be a low-cost signing and provide quality depth.
Why they wouldn't: Dial will be 28 in July and the Packers, drafted Montravius Adams last year to fill a role along the line, specifically defensive tackle.
Why the Packers would re-sign him: Evans did a fine job in his first year with the Packers at right guard. The free-agent market at guard is pretty slim and Green Bay has a bunch of inexperienced interior linemen currently on the roster. Would Green Bay want to trust one of them or a rookie?
Why they wouldn't: Evans will turn 35 in August. Guard that old in the NFL are rare. According to pro-football-reference, since 2009 there have been just eight guard who played at age 35, and of those, just two played more than 12 games.
Patrick GorskiPatrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports
LS Brett Goode, unrestricted
2017 stats: 10 games, 0 TKL
2017 cap number: $253,235 (prorated from $900,000)
Why the Packers would re-sign him: He's the boomerang long snapper. It seemed like the Packers might be ready to move on past Goode the past couple of years, but eventually they keep bringing him back. There's something to be said about having familiarity among your main special teams players.
Why they wouldn't: Well, Green Bay has thought about trying to find someone else to long snap in the past. The Packers also have Taybor Pepper on the roster, who would command a lesser salary.
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY SportsChris Humphreys
CB Demetri Goodson, unrestricted
2017 stats: Did not play
2017 cap number: $715,788
Why the Packers would re-sign him: Coming off an injury-filled season (and career), Goodson shouldn't be in demand and likely could be had for low-cost contract. The Packers saw potential in him as a strong special teams player in the past and could see that for his future as well.
Why they wouldn't: The injuries are obviously a big concern and there's a fear that Goodson's career could well be over.
Why the Packers would re-sign him: House was brought in ostensibly to provide some veteran leadership to a young secondary group and be the team's third or fourth cornerback. He ended up having to start 12 games, despite battling through injuries. A return in 2018 could see him back for the role envisioned for him this past season. One reason House returned to Green Bay was because of Joe Whitt, who remains on the Packers' staff (and got a promotion). That connection could well lead to another reunion in '18.
Why they wouldn't: House had an up-and-down season and didn't demonstrate the ability to be a consistent starter if needed. He'll be 29 next season, which is far from ancient, but with Green Bay might look to go younger and cheaper.
Why the Packers would re-sign him: Janis is probably the best special teams player on the Packers, serving as the team's gunner, and that shouldn't be taken so lightly. Janis was in on 247 special teams snaps in 2017, following seasons of 272 and 288 snaps.
Why they wouldn't: Much to the chagrin of some members of the Packers' fan base, Janis just doesn't contribute at all on offense -- he had just 50 offensive snaps this past season. Green Bay could look to find someone not so one-dimensional, or just turn the page on Janis and find someone else who is fast and can play special teams.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY SportsJasen Vinlove
T Ulrick John, unrestricted
2017 stats: 5 games (0 starts), .5 sacks allowed
2017 cap number: $506,471 (prorated from $615,000)
Why the Packers would re-sign him: Can play both left tackle and right tackle, and as the Packers found out in 2017 injuries happen and depth is needed. He won't be in demand in free agency and could provide more depth in '18.
Why they wouldn't: Despite all the injuries to Green Bay's offensive line, John got just 40 offensive snaps. The Packers will have starters David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga as well as reserves Kyle Murphy and Jason Spriggs back in 2018 plus swing lineman Adam Pankey, not to mention perhaps some rookies. Is there really room?
Why the Packers would re-sign him: The Martellus Bennett experiment obviously didn't work out and Lance Kendricks (18 receptions) wasn't the answer, either, and the Packers could save over $1.6 million by cutting him. Rodgers did have 58 receptions and eight touchdowns in 2015, so he's had value to Green Bay's offense previously. He doesn't necessarily have to be the No. 1 tight end, as he'd be a solid No. 2.
Why they wouldn't: Let's face it, if the Packers thought Rodgers was the answer at tight end they wouldn't have gone out and signed Bennett and Kendricks last offseason. He's a serviceable tight end, but Green Bay can definitely upgrade -- and there are some big names scheduled to be on the free-agent market. Besides, Rodgers might want a change of scenery as well.
P Jacob Schum, restricted
2017 stats: Did not play
2017 cap number: $615,000
Why the Packers would re-sign him: Schum spent the entire 2017 season on injured reserve, but had a decent season in 2016 (43.2-yard average, 39.1 net). Justin Vogel had a fine rookie season (44.4 average, 41.6. net), but why not have a little competition at punter? Plus, Schum is a restricted free agent -- he's not likely to get an offer from somewhere else.
Why they wouldn't: Vogel did enough to show that he's worthy of year No. 2 as Green Bay's punter. Or, if the Packers want competition they try to find someone else, since Schum didn't exactly set the world on fire and is coming off a back injury.
LB Joe Thomas, restricted
2017 stats: 12 games (1 start), 14 tackles, 1 PD
2017 cap number: $615,000
Why the Packers would re-sign him: While Thomas wasn't needed as much as in 2016 (when he started seven games and had 70 tackles), he's a proven commodity who was the only experienced backup Green Bay had at inside linebacker. Thomas also logged 213 snaps on special teams. When given a chance in his lone start of 2017, he had nine tackles against Carolina. As a restricted free agent, he'd be easy to re-up.
Why they wouldn't: Listed at 6-foot-1, 227 pounds, Thomas is a bit undersized. Beyond the one necessary start, the Packers didn't opt to play him much on defense with just 48 snaps other than the Panthers game and none in the final two games. It's a depth position the Packers should expect to upgrade.