Evaluating Packers' UFAs: Should They Stay or Should They Go?

-- The Green Bay Packers still have seven unrestricted free agents that they have yet to make offers for and retain for the 2018 season.

Two others, safety Morgan Burnett and receiver Jeff Janis, found new homes in free agency, so that made the Packers' decision for them. The others, however, are in limbo.

Amongst them are three starters, including cornerback Davon House, long-snapper Brett Goode and guard Jahri Evans. Should the Packers bring any of those aforementioned three back? What about the others? Would doing so put them in some sort of foreign financial bind?

Brooks, Ahmad - OLB

Ahmad Brooks was signed late in the preseason last year to help solidify the Packers' edge unit, and when he was healthy, he did just that as a rotational piece that played opposite Kyler Fackrell in sub-packages. He played on a $3.5 million dollar deal for one season and played in just 12 games. Brooks played 346 snaps on defense in 2017, and at age 34, there's a good chance he won't be commanding too much money on the market.

The verdict: You can never have enough guys rushing the opposing quarterback, especially if you're the Packers. They'll more than likely draft an edge rusher with their 14th overall pick -- or somewhere in the first two rounds given whether or not they trade around -- but that doesn't mean Brooks can't round out that group as a veteran.

Dial, Quinton - DT

Like Brooks, Quinton Dial was a former San Francisco 49er signed by the Packers late in the summer last year. He never truly blossomed in the 13 games he played, nor did he provide much of an impact defensively. Sure, he'd be cheap -- in similar fashion to his one-year, $775,001 dollar contract he signed with the Packers -- but the Packers appear to be set along the defensive line. Between Mike Daniels, Kenny Clark, Muhammad Wilkerson, Dean Lowry, Montravius Adams and a likely draft pick, there doesn't seem to be much room for Dial.

The verdict: Let him walk, maybe even draft a defensive lineman in the mid-to-late rounds come draft time. Dial may just be 27 years old, but it's hard seeing a scenario where he'd be fitting into their defensive plans from a schematic standpoint.

Evans, Jahri - OG

Jahri Evans presents probably the toughest UFA decision the Packers will have to make out of this group. Evans, a four-time All-Pro guard, was superb last season just a few months removed from turning 34. He didn't miss a step, regardless of age, and went on to start 14 games for the Packers at right guard. This is where it gets tricky; the Packers have two serviceable guards who are capable of being plugged into Evans' spot and holding their own. Justin McCray and Lucas Patrick, both of which were tendered as exclusive rights free agents this offseason, are both backup guards that are on the roster for reserve purposes. However, when McCray was called upon last season, he stepped in at both guard and tackle with minimal difficulty.

The verdict: Ron Wolf once said that interior guard is the easiest position to learn, so we'll bet safely that he knows what he's talking about. The Packers can afford to let Evans walk and plug McCray into starting right guard. Starting jobs are won and lost in training camp, but up to this point, McCray has certainly done more than enough to at least be given the opportunity.

Goode, Brett - LS

Anyone else lose track of how many times the Packers and Brett Goode have parted ways? Whether it's Derek Hart or Taybor Pepper, nobody has been able to consistently fill the void at the long-snapping position like Goode has done. Goode tore his ACL at the end of the 2015 season, re-signed with the Packers at the start of 2016 when the whole battle between journeymen long-snappers didn't work out, re-signed with the Packers again in August 2017, placed on injured reserve a month later with a hamstring injury and was subsequently released, then re-signed with the team in November. Oh, and he's 33.

The verdict: Give this man a sense of consistency. Re-sign him to another one or two-year deal, whatever, and just let him play for heaven's sake. This is almost as bad as how many times Joe Callahan and Joe Kerridge have been either waived, signed to the practice squad or signed to the active roster since October 2016. (The answer is 15. 15 times.)

House, Davon - CB

Davon House played in just 12 games last year, and most fans just tend to remember a lot of the bad moments, but House played well when he was healthy. Of course, that's somewhat overshadowed by how poor the entirety of the defense performed, but in his return season to Green Bay, House played as a perimeter cornerback, in the slot and even in the box. He wasn't anything special, but for a team with over $16 million in cap space and a glaring need at cornerback, it's hard to see the Packers not retain House.

The verdict: The Packers just recently brought back Tramon Williams after he bounced between Cleveland and Arizona since leaving Green Bay after the 2014 season, so you would think one veteran voice in the cornerback locker room is enough, right? Wrong. House and Williams shouldn't be starting together, but the two of them could be very formidable veteran foundations in a young cornerback unit. For a team that's so consistently relied on undrafted free agents to fill the void after injury to starters, it's time to flip the script and get with the program. Veteran. Depth. Is. The. Best. Kind. Of. Depth.

John, Ulrick - OT

Ulrick John only played in five games last season and has 40 offensive snaps to show for it. Even despite injuries to Kyle Murphy and Jason Spriggs, the two backup tackles, the Packers still moved McCray to tackle before even needing John in an emergency situation. He was claimed off of the Cardinals' practice squad in late September last season, and from then on, it was blatantly obvious why he was on the practice squad to begin with. His small sample size provides a tough means of player evaluation.

The verdict: The Packers don't need John, but that'll all come down to Spriggs and Murphy's recovery. Murphy seems to be just fine and ready for the offseason program, whereas coach Mike McCarthy is confident Spriggs will be ready by camp. The situation behind David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga is hazy -- hell, even Bulaga's situation itself is hazy -- but the Packers also have Adam Pankey and can more than likely swing Patrick into right guard while McCray checks out to tackle. Ah, the beauty of versatile linemen.

Rodgers, Richard - TE

Richard Rodgers played the least amount of offensive snaps last season amongst the trio of himself, Lance Kendricks and Martell-who-shall-not-be-named, but he played the most special teams snaps as a result. Rodgers may have had career lows in catches, yards, touchdowns and catch percentage last season, but a third-string tight end -- eventually second-string by season's end -- isn't going to light up a stat sheet with Brett Hundley at the helm. Not that it's a knock on Hundley, but he isn't formatted with the offense that's designed to spread the ball around, and Hundley tended to lock on one player: Davante Adams.

The verdictHe blocks well, he catches well and somehow, he knows how to get open. Re-signing Rodgers won't hurt, especially considering the Packers still don't know what they're getting from Kendricks as he enters his second season in Green Bay. We pretty much already know what Rodgers brings to the table as he prepares to enter his fifth season, and it's a solid, possession-oriented skill set that can either round out the bottom of the depth chart or step in with starting experience if need be.

__________________________

Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (26)

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Savage57's picture

April 03, 2018 at 02:29 pm

None of these guys warrant an opening gambit. See what level of interest they generate around the league and at what number, and then offer the ones you want what you want to pay them. No more.

Dial, Brooks, John? It's been fun. Evans, Goode, House? Let's let the market decide. Dick Rodge? Sign him unless someone else falls in love with him.

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cuervo's picture

April 03, 2018 at 02:47 pm

Only the GB Packers would seemingly have such trouble replacing a long snapper. I could run faster on one leg that Goode can on both legs and a 10 yard headstart. It seems like a decade that they've been trying to replace him...I truly do not understand the problem.

Is Shawn Slocum still the special teams coach??

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Tundraboy's picture

April 03, 2018 at 02:56 pm

RRodgers blocks well?.Do I need to have my eyes checked?

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Coldworld's picture

April 03, 2018 at 03:48 pm

My thoughts precisely. He is a converted receiver who has never really learned to block consistently or particularly effectively when he does succeed. Had he done so, he would be a wholly different value proposition in my view.

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croatpackfan's picture

April 04, 2018 at 01:51 am

Yes! You need to check your eyes not because of RR but for yourself...

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DD's picture

April 04, 2018 at 07:57 am

Rodgers gone. Draft another young, big, fast TE. How bout Gesicki? Trade Kendricks too! Keep Graham, that's it.

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Lare's picture

April 03, 2018 at 03:12 pm

I would re-sign Davon House for insurance, the rest can be replaced by younger, faster, cheaper (and hopefully better) players.

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sonomaca's picture

April 03, 2018 at 04:00 pm

Packers have lots of picks. Grab 2 or 3 corners, plus Pipkins and Hawkins, plus a couple more UDFA’s.

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Chuck Farley's picture

April 03, 2018 at 06:43 pm

Ditto. None are worth keeping however with that said, lazy ass mm likes to keep guys who 'know I his system '. Wink wink hint hint. Bring in new blood, mm has work to do. He hasn't changed his playbook in 20 years.

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Since'61's picture

April 03, 2018 at 03:54 pm

I would resign Goode now because we always end up bringing him back at some point in the season. Maybe House if we don't sign one of the other FA CBs. We can chuck the rest. Thanks, Since '61

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4zone's picture

April 03, 2018 at 03:54 pm

You could sign them all for chump change and no guaranteed money. What's the problem here?

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Coldworld's picture

April 03, 2018 at 04:11 pm

it all depends upon the draft for me, other than House. House is viable depth who offers something a rookie is unlikely to. I would sign him now at the right price, if he is open to it.

Evans, if he doesn’t retire, and maybe Brooks, depend on the draft, but could be insurance if we don’t get playing time ready players in the draft process. No hurry though: experienced, aging, but who add something to the locker room if youth is not ready.

John looked like the last in a long chain of backups. My guess is he is gone barring injury nightmares later in the OS.

Rodgers, if he could block, I would consider. But he can’t. He can catch, but is that enough? With our new OS signing, we need to look for more younger, athletic talent to develop behind the starter I think.

Goode is too slow. We have to look for a LS who can play on other special teams. Based on prior years, he will likely be available late in the event we can’t.

Dial did OK in what I think was his role. Whether he comes back depends upon whether we have a better replacement replacement for our Dline run stuffers.

In short, other than perhaps House, now is not the time to make a positive decision on these players. One could argue that the team should decide affirmatively whether to move on from R Rodgers. My guess is that it has. For the others, decisions will likely not be appropriate until post draft at the earliest, and probably drift much later.

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croatpackfan's picture

April 04, 2018 at 01:53 am

OS? Operative system?

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Point-Packer's picture

April 03, 2018 at 04:54 pm

It would increase my happiness to never see another 1.5 yard out pattern from Dick Rodge ever again.

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Tundraboy's picture

April 04, 2018 at 12:01 am

I hope I never see that play ever again. I'm scarred.

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TXCHEESE's picture

April 03, 2018 at 05:11 pm

I'm good with Rodgers, Evans, and House coming back on reasonable deals. They're veterans, and if nothing else provide some solid depth. I'm pretty sure Brooks had more off-sides penalties than tackles last year. None of the others provide much more than a warm body.

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Fire_Gute's picture

April 03, 2018 at 07:19 pm

Ahmad Brooks was an Ironman until he came here. He'd have to be cheap. Evans yes if he's committed. I'd rather have Elton John than Ulrich John. I don't know how an offense gets better resigning Richard Rogers, and no he can't block. It's hard to believe he can't with his body type. I'd pass on everyone else.

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Johnblood27's picture

April 03, 2018 at 07:37 pm

Goodbye yellow brick road, youre no rocket man so sing your song like a tiny dancer, maybe you can play for bennie and the jets.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 04, 2018 at 03:58 am

No to Dial and John. Evans, if he wants to play. Also, House, RR and Goode would be okay re-signings.

That said, can't we, for the love of Pete, find better scrub back-ups than these last three named specimens?

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PackEyedOptimist's picture

April 04, 2018 at 06:53 am

I would say that in most of these cases the question is "What does the coaching staff think of the young guy who is competing with said free agent? Brooks? What do they think of Biegl/Fackrell? Dial? What do they think of Adams? Evans? McCray/Patrick/Amichia. Et Cetera.

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HankScorpio's picture

April 04, 2018 at 07:24 am

None of these guys will make a significant difference whether they are on or off the team. They are replacement-level players.

My preference would be to see if Gute can find better either in the draft or elsewhere. That's his job. Let's find out how good he is at doing it. But it won't bother me much if some are re-signed.

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carlos's picture

April 04, 2018 at 07:32 am

Too many needs across the board. Packers need to upgrade depth all over. Especially on the offensive line or we’re in for a long year. Secondary is what’s most talked about and for good reason.

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DD's picture

April 04, 2018 at 07:59 am

Get some hungry, fast, young players! Competition ramped up.

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DD's picture

April 04, 2018 at 08:14 am

Packers sigh two good free agents. Great. But since? Any DB, speed receiver? Very nothing, done, quite. Told you so. Draft now, pick up what's left on the floor after dinner. Was I right? You bet I was.

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lou's picture

April 04, 2018 at 08:42 am

This is only the 2nd time I have ever read that "Richard Rodgers" blocks well and I believe both times it was the same author. PFF and other performance evaluation sites along with most fans naked eye says he is a below average blocker for his position. He has great hands and in the red zone does get open which is of real value to the offense, from scrimmage outside the red zone he has virtually no yards after the catch, but he does catch the passes so you have to give him that. As a 2nd or 3rd tight end at vet minimum, no reason not to sigh him and give him a chance to make the 53.

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Finwiz's picture

April 04, 2018 at 10:57 am

Dump them ALL except Evans and Rodgers.

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