Even if the Green Bay Packers decide against giving Robert Francois a free-agent tender, the veteran linebacker and special teams leader is open to returning in 2013.
According to Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, the chances of Francois receiving the cheapest of restricted tenders is growing increasingly unlikely.
The lowest tender ($1.323 million) is still over $600,000 than the minimum salary ($715,000), making Francois a very plausible candidate to become an unrestricted free agent on March 12. If a restricted free agent does not receive a tender by that date, the player becomes free to sign with any team.
Even in that scenario, Francois would desire a return to Green Bay.
From agent Noel LaMontagne:
“If the situation goes that way where Green Bay essentially makes him an unrestricted free agent, he’d be very closed minded to not look and see what other opportunities could be available. But he’s obviously going to keep a hand on that doorknob on Green Bay where if there’s a way to stay here (where Francois can say), ‘that makes sense for them and makes sense for me and gives me an opportunity to show what I can be down the line,’ we’re going to have to weigh that incredibly heavily."
Francois has played in 35 games over the last three years, including three starts. He had 13 tackles in 16 games in 2012, all of which came on special teams. Only Jarrett Bush had more special-teams tackles last season.
Zach Kruse is a 24-year-old sports writer who contributes to Cheesehead TV, Bleacher Report and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He also covers prep sports for the Dunn Co. News. You can reach him on Twitter @zachkruse2 or by email at email@example.com.