Former 49ers, Redskins Defensive Tackle to Visit the Packers on Wednesday

Come Wednesday, the Packers will have the defensive MVP of the 2008 BCS National Championship Game in town for a visit.

Ricky Jean Francois is reportedly on his way to Green Bay to meet with the team, as reported Tuesday evening by ESPN's Adam Schefter. The 6'3", 313-pound defensive tackle was drafted in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft; the same draft in which the Packers selected their former behemoth of a nose tackle in B.J. Raji, who stepped away from football prior to the beginning of the 2016 NFL season.

Jean Francois, 30, would help round out one of the lesser-talked about weaknesses of the Packers defense, which is their defensive line. With the force of Mike Daniels anchoring the entirety of the line, the Packers have second-year talent in Kenny Clark opposite Daniels. Inside, defensive tackle Letroy Guion, who is suspended for the first four games of the 2017 season, supplies less-than-optimal talent at the 2-technique position in Dom Capers' 3-4 scheme.

In his eight seasons in the league, Jean Francois spent four years in San Francisco, two in Indianapolis and two in Washington, accumulating 12 sacks in the process. While his numbers haven't been eye-popping by any means, he has only missed six games since 2010, giving the Packers someone who could contribute and could do it for a good period of time.

Pro Football Focus ranked Jean Francois as the 45th-best interior defender out of 127 qualifiers.

With $23.4 million dollars in the bank and a deficiency on the defensive line, a veteran signing like the Packers would potentially pursue with Jean Francois wouldn't necessarily break the funds, but it would need to be at the right price. His most recent deal with the Redskins netted him $9 million for three years, estimated around $3 million per year. 

The only defensive linemen on the Packers roster at the moment are Clark, Daniels, Guion, Brian Price and Dean Lowry. Price undrafted and Lowry a second-year defensive end with 158 snaps to his name.

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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 (36)

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Point-Packer's picture

March 21, 2017 at 10:42 pm

Classic TT signing. Cheap and underwhelming.

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marpag1's picture

March 22, 2017 at 01:11 am

...and therefore Ted should never sign anyone unless he is a sure-fire Hall of Famer and well regarded on Internet message boards.

Are depth and rotational guys important?

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MITM's picture

March 22, 2017 at 04:31 am

This team needs to add DEPTH through free agency and sign guys like this who can push for some serious playing time as well. The first few rounds of the draft is where we expect to find new starters, or at the very least, guys who will definately see the field year one and usually will be a starter by their second year. Im fine with this strategy, I just want to see more signings like this (potentially) where we add seasoned guys for cheap. This offseason all I realistically was looking for was to sign 1 free agent of this caliber at every level of the defense, dline, olb or ilb, and cb. And depending on how many guys we lost offensively, to hopefully be able to replace ONE. And we did that.

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MITM's picture

March 22, 2017 at 04:35 am

He's getting up there in age, and I believe in the past couple of offseasons hes run into some minor trouble, but I would love to see Dqwell Jackson im Green Bay. Didnt even realize he was a FA until yesterday. Tackling machine who would be a wonderful mentor to our 3 young guys.

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pooch's picture

March 22, 2017 at 07:02 am

Dumb statement there were D players out there that could have had an impact on the defense. No need for hall of famers,Ted sits on. that cash like it's his own 401k account

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MITM's picture

March 22, 2017 at 08:18 am

Like who and what part was dumb

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Point-Packer's picture

March 22, 2017 at 07:15 pm

A very large percentage of GB's starting defense this past year (and likely this upcoming year) was full of "rotational guys". Like every homers hero, Datone Jones and underwhelming youngsters like Jake Ryan. This defense doesn't need a HOF acquisition this off-season, just someone who would start on another team in the NFL. (NOTE: I typed NFL NOT CFL)

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Point-Packer's picture

March 23, 2017 at 09:13 am

So many negatives? The extreme homers who loved Kung Fu Jones and swore he was the most "disruptive player" on GBs roster must be annoyed. Or maybe they watched the playoffs and saw how Kung Fu Jones was invisible for not one, but all three games. Not only did Kung Fu Jones not have the stats, he was also not....."disruptive".

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Handsback's picture

March 21, 2017 at 11:40 pm

For the right price...he would be a positive influence. Of course, a draft pick will be added to the mix, but at this time the Packers are one injury away from Price playing the first four games. Not saying he won't be making a contribution, just not ready yet.

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porupack's picture

March 21, 2017 at 11:40 pm

Glad to detect there is still a pulse...

Probably a good move. TT might need to cut bait with Guion? And what would we really lose? Even if no big upgrade, its probably better. While Zach highlights this under-discussed lack of depth at NT position, I don't think he or anyone would advocate a high priced, premium solution either.

I'd still rather spend on a vet defensive piece; ILB or CB; both positions are hard for rookies to step in and master.

Then fill OLB and Dline with rookies in high rounds, and CB and ILB in mid-later rounds for development.

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pooch's picture

March 22, 2017 at 07:05 am

Of course Ted missed the boat on veteran lbers and dbs

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UmpireMark's picture

March 22, 2017 at 07:47 am

Like who?

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L's picture

March 22, 2017 at 10:34 am

I would have liked to see him pursue CB S.Gilmore as Free Agency opened up, but that was honestly a long shot given Ted's general mantra on Free Agency. OLB C.Barwin was another guy I wouldn't have mind seeing Ted pursue; especially, since he was a street free agent.

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UmpireMark's picture

March 22, 2017 at 11:03 am

Gilmore signed 5 year, $65M deal. $13M a year CB is outside the Packer model.

Either Barwin wasn't interested in the Packers or the Packers weren't interested in him. I can only find the one, early conversation between the two.

To your point, however, we lay folks have no idea what conversations between players and Packers ever go on behind the closed doors.

Still, there are some glaring holes in the current defensive make up that need plugging, but I just don't know who could fit that bill.

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slit's picture

March 22, 2017 at 12:06 am

Bring him in, and say goodbye to Guion already. How much do the Packers save if they cut Guion right now? I think RJF is a better player than Guion right now, and I think we can all agree he's more dependable...

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4thand1's picture

March 22, 2017 at 01:14 am

Can he cover?

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croatpackfan's picture

March 22, 2017 at 03:38 am

Sure, he is very good in covering...

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ironman3169's picture

March 22, 2017 at 05:30 am

Hahahaha!!! YEAH!!!

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Ferrari Driver's picture

March 22, 2017 at 01:29 am

Every team needs guys like Francois on the roster.

He shows up; gives a good effort; makes few standout plays, but won't embarrass himself or the team.

The teams with the greater number of super stars and remain relatively healthy are the ones in the playoffs and battling to get to the Super Bowl.

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Seth Borden's picture

March 22, 2017 at 05:37 am

Would be a solid addition to a line which has benefitted from rotation in the past.

Also, while I agree overall with this piece, let's not sleep in Lowry. Hoping he continues his progress. Looked solid last year as he got more opportunity.

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Seth Borden's picture

March 22, 2017 at 05:37 am

Would be a solid addition to a line which has benefitted from rotation in the past.

Also, while I agree overall with this piece, let's not sleep on Lowry. Hoping he continues his progress. Looked solid last year as he got more opportunity.

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sonomaca's picture

March 22, 2017 at 07:51 am

Love Lowry's energy. Packers were gassed after Dallas game on D-line. Need more rotators in rotation.

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MITM's picture

March 22, 2017 at 08:21 am

Barring injury, I am expecting Lowry and Clark to both be significantly better.

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Nick Perry's picture

March 22, 2017 at 06:59 am

Cutting Guion would have a minimal effect on the cap. It would actually do more good than harm it terms of $$$. I think RJF is probably a shade better than Guion and he's available for all 16 games. THIS would actually be a good signing if the price is right.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

March 23, 2017 at 06:33 am

Cap savings on Guion is a little over $3M if cut before 10/2/17 with the suspension. I don't see the point: we are short-handed a bit on the DL with him playing.

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Lphill's picture

March 22, 2017 at 07:06 am

He is just a guy but fits right in with other guys. That's what the Packers defense is made up of.

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pooch's picture

March 22, 2017 at 07:07 am

lol if he had more than 1 hurry than he is better than Guion,no I don't mean sack I mean hurry

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Dzehren's picture

March 22, 2017 at 07:50 am

If the money is right let's sign him for depth and a camp body. It's unfortunate Pennel's decision making was so horrendous.

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egbertsouse's picture

March 22, 2017 at 10:01 am

It's fun to speculate but we all know Ted won't sign him unless the guy has no other offers and has to take the low-ball. He seems to have some interest from other teams.

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Rossonero's picture

March 22, 2017 at 10:05 am

An excellent point about our run defense. We've been consistently ranked in the 20s in this area. With Pennel gone and Guion suspended yet again, this would be a smart signing. Pretty nice career for a 7th rounder. Do it, Ted! Be bold!

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Bearmeat's picture

March 22, 2017 at 10:21 am

Cheap. Veteran. Depth/Rotation.

GET IT DONE TT.

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vj_ostrowski's picture

March 22, 2017 at 12:13 pm

It's always hilarious to read Packer fans poo poo a depth FA signing because he's "not a difference maker"

I'd be willing to bet that each FA class has no more than about 5 or so difference makers. If GB doesn't get one of them, then it's time to shit on every other FA signing.

I'll bet in 2-3 years time Marty B will be one of the best signings of this FA. And that one of Bouye or Gilmore will be cut in that same period of time for underperforming, costing too much, and needing to be replaced.

Of course RJF isn't going to rock the world - he's available in the late period of FA for a reason. That doesn't mean we should balk. We need depth. And more depth that UDFA should be asked to provide.

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vj_ostrowski's picture

March 22, 2017 at 12:14 pm

*than a UDFA

Dammit!!

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Dzehren's picture

March 22, 2017 at 05:40 pm

VJ-
Jean Francois was cut last week & not expected to hit free agency- that's why chicago- Seattle & GB r interested. Francois was outspoken about the mis management of the Redskins & called out alcoholic Scot McCloughan who was mysteriously fired during the dispute he was released.

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Point-Packer's picture

March 23, 2017 at 03:13 am

Apparently Kung Fu Jones is hungry. Hungry for another year of being a 1st round bust. If the Pack would have resigned him, the extreme homers would have wet their panties.

Maybe this year he'll finally achieve double digit career sacks.

So glad that the Vikes paid for the shit talent that is King Fu Jones.

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jameswilliamson's picture

March 23, 2017 at 09:56 am

Thanks for this. Great

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