Packers Reportedly Bringing Back James Starks

ESPN reports the veteran running back will be back in the fold for 2016. 

From ESPN's Adam Caplan:

Starks had visited the New England Patriots last week prior to the Pats signing Donald Brown.

The Packers bring back a running back who became an important part of their offense in 2015 after Eddie Lacy's well-documented struggles.

Starks rushed for 601 yards on 148 attempts for a 4.1 yard average per attempt last year and scored two rushing touchdowns, adding 392 yards receiving and three touchdowns through the air. 

Most importantly, Starks really improved in pass protection last year. Pass pro had been a major weak spot in his game, but his improvement in 2015 was striking. The major blemish on his 2015 resume were the number of times he put the ball on the ground, a career-high five times. There were at least three other near-fumbles throughout the year as well. 

Overall, the Packers get back a player they are very familiar with who knows their offense and who is much more valuable in Green Bay than anywhere else in the league. 

No word yet on financial details of the contract Starks has agreed to, but Spoon has the length of the deal.

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Comments (68)

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

March 18, 2016 at 08:09 am

We know what we've got in Starks. I support bringing him back for about his last contract ($1.6 mill AAV), but I would prefer to see less than $725K guaranteed this time. Love to see TT draft a true scat back - someone fast who can catch a pass.

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dobber's picture

March 18, 2016 at 08:12 am

He should be on 1-yr contracts at this point. I agree: Packers should be looking for a young RB in the draft, and if he beats out either Crockett or Starks, those guys should be cut-able based on their $$$.

Not really surprised by this at all.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

March 18, 2016 at 08:21 am

Agree. 1 year - 2 year, if the dead money in year two is $200K, it basically is a one year contract with a team option.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

March 18, 2016 at 10:37 am

Yep, if the guaranteed money is low it can be a one year contract

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croatpackfan's picture

March 18, 2016 at 08:49 am

But you love scat...

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dobber's picture

March 18, 2016 at 10:10 am

Ouch! Burned by the non-native English speaker... ;)

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

March 18, 2016 at 09:19 am

Report is Starks signed for 2 years and $6 million with GB, almost doubling his last contract. I'll wait for the exact details before expressing my shock at the raise.

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Packer_Pete's picture

March 18, 2016 at 09:22 am

2 yrs $6 million wow. Way too much. That is truly a head scratcher... Let's see how much is guaranteed, but Starks won't get any better at that age. Big mistake by Ted.

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Mags's picture

March 18, 2016 at 10:09 am

If those figures are true TT paid to much. He sometimes does that with is own players, but when it comes to UFA he is hesitant to pay a reasonable amount for say a Trevathan or Freeman. A position lacking for a long time.

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Tundraboy's picture

March 18, 2016 at 10:18 am

Yes too cheap with FAs and too generous with re-signs.

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RVAborn's picture

March 18, 2016 at 02:01 pm

Completely agree. If Starks is on another team, there is no way TT gives him that contract. I'm assuming (and hoping) the guaranteed $ is low,though, still wayyyy too much for a 30 year old RB with injury history.

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dobber's picture

March 18, 2016 at 10:11 am

I'm surprised by that if it's true, but Starks doesn't have the wear on his tires that many other 30-year-old backs do. I don't worry about too much decline at this stage, and if the guaranteed money is low...

Negates the need to draft a back.

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Tundraboy's picture

March 19, 2016 at 09:57 am

Yes negates need to depend on drafting a RB, but if there is a good one in the later rounds I think we should. Still don't know what Crockett can do.

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WinUSA's picture

March 18, 2016 at 09:59 am

The organization made a great decision. Yes, his putting the ball on the ground this year was very alarming...but what he does for the offense is amazing. I have been a Stark fan ever since our SB year.... I can't imagine not having him in the event that Lacy went down... I just have two things to say: w00t w00t!!!!!!!

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DrealynWilliams's picture

March 18, 2016 at 12:25 pm

Exactly. I love some Starks. I just wish he'd see the field more and/or get more rush/pass attempts. He needs to work on ball control and pass blocking though. I think he's gotten better at catching.

If he still has the burst and speed he displayed last season this signing is good. I still think we need a real threat to RB1 though

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ray nichkee's picture

March 18, 2016 at 10:10 am

I'm ok with the 2yr 6mill deal if he gives back $500,000 for each game changing fumble. I was thinking let him walk after his last fumble. He will earn his cabbage if the rock stays in his arm.

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Tundraboy's picture

March 18, 2016 at 10:16 am

Glad to see him back for next year. Allows team to have a safety valve and not have to depend on a draft pick or Crockett. One less area that is not in transition. Still hope they draft a RB.

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Irish_Cheesehead's picture

March 18, 2016 at 10:38 am

Good move. Starks has been a good change of pace back, great on screens out of the backfield, and a good backup when Lacy falters. Plus he knows the system.

Now let's sign a TE. Anyone seen this guy? At first I laughed until I realized he may actually be faster than Rodgers. http://bit.ly/1TU21vr

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Tundraboy's picture

March 18, 2016 at 04:01 pm

400 plus lbs. I thought this was an early April fools joke. Sounds like the fridge

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WinUSA's picture

March 18, 2016 at 04:07 pm

I love this quote: " I didn't see a TE, all I saw was the monster that ate him!!!"

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EddieLee's picture

March 18, 2016 at 11:13 am

So, they could have had Trevathan for less then they paid Perry and Starks. One 3-down legit NFL starting ILB vs two backups.

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Tundraboy's picture

March 18, 2016 at 04:03 pm

Thought something similar. Between what they are going to pay Starks, and over pay some others it is possible for them to scrounge enough money to buy a FA.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

March 18, 2016 at 04:59 pm

Yep I agree.

Jerrell Freeman (Signed 3-year, $12M deal with CHI)
Danny Trevathan (Signed 4-year, $24.5M deal with CHI)
Derrick Johnson (Re-signed 3-year, $21M deal with KC)

Karlos Dansby ?????

Could have had any one of these guys and they are better players than backups Starks and Perry :(

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Tundraboy's picture

March 18, 2016 at 06:59 pm

Just read a story on Dansby. Would be a great fit for a year or two. One year guaranteed on a 2 to 3 year deal. Makes a lot of sense. Gives us a true coverage ILB now , so we can then wait for a draft pick to develop, and for that pick to learn from . Of course we will wait for his price to drop more and somebody else will sign him. At best a pick, if a good one is only going to play about 4 games anyway. So unless we strike gold in draft, not going to see any improvement at ILB this year.

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Oppy's picture

March 20, 2016 at 08:37 pm

It simply isn't true that Trevathan sould have been had for less than they paid Perry and Starks. In fact, Trevathan's money this year is actually above the guaranteed money owed Starks and Perry for the entirety of their contracts (one year for Perry, two for Starks.)

Trevathan is due almost nine million in 2016 (of his $12m guaranteed) when all is said and done.

I let you look up Perry and Starks and do your own math.

http://www.spotrac.com/nfl/chicago-bears/danny-trevathan/

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4EVER's picture

March 18, 2016 at 11:25 am

Starks at 6 million is far to much even if the guaranteed is low. What can the incentives be other then 2.2 mil for not losing track of the ball.

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sheppercheeser's picture

March 18, 2016 at 11:39 am

Good teammate, good signing- I like it. A little too much? Maybe, but we know him and he hasn't been overworked while in GB. I look for a big year from Starks.

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Point Packer's picture

March 18, 2016 at 11:42 am

This is ridiculous. Is Starks really that necessary to GBs success? And if those numbers are accurate, we vastly overpaid for a mediocre, aging backup RB.

Ted is on drugs.

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ben's picture

March 18, 2016 at 12:12 pm

Who turns the ball over

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Clay Zombo's picture

March 18, 2016 at 11:37 pm

Adrian Peterson.

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ben's picture

March 18, 2016 at 12:09 pm

The Packers offseason is going perfectly. And completely as expected. But im a viking fan so..... looks like the vikes have really addressed 1 of their 2 weaknesses this offseason. Really solidifying that oline. Could use a safety but thats about it. While the packs been in need of a middle linebacker and te for over a decade. what a joke

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Rossonero's picture

March 18, 2016 at 07:50 pm

Nice try. A decade? Really? Neither statement is true and you know it. Why don't you guys sign a kicker that can hit 25 yarders? Bud Grant could've made that field goal!

SKOL =Still Keep On Losing

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ben's picture

March 18, 2016 at 12:11 pm

What a waste. In ted u trust.

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Bearmeat's picture

March 18, 2016 at 12:14 pm

Ben is such a turd. Why does CHTV let those guys hang around?

Anyway. Yeah. It's about double how much Starks should have been paid. I'm not thrilled with the deal. Not even happy. For the money, I'd rather have drafted a better change of pace back and gotten an ILB or TE in FA that is a proven commodity.

I hate being a Packer fan in March.

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marpag1's picture

March 18, 2016 at 02:07 pm

No, no... I LOVE being a Packer fan in March. Such a festive time of year, when all of the cheesehead uncles and long-lost cousins come out of the woodwork and gather around the fireplace to tell stories about the evil and arrogant grinch who stole free agency. Then the family lights a few candles and takes part in the annual Bunching of the Undies Festival, while drinking Budweiser and eating chicken wings. Ah, good times....

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Tundraboy's picture

March 18, 2016 at 07:01 pm

Budweiser ? That's bad.

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marpag1's picture

March 19, 2016 at 02:42 am

Exactly.

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ray nichkee's picture

March 19, 2016 at 03:16 am

Please don't bring ckicken wings into that bunch.

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Lphill's picture

March 18, 2016 at 12:29 pm

Hey Ben all the Vilings need is a QB and some receivers . Then maybe they can contend.

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ben's picture

March 18, 2016 at 12:36 pm

Ok phill

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ben's picture

March 18, 2016 at 12:33 pm

How about January? Hows that been workin out?

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WinUSA's picture

March 18, 2016 at 04:23 pm

You know...for someone whose team has been to four Super Bowls and have ended up with nothing but a goose egg to show for it... a team that has the embarrassment of tying with Buffalo for the same privilege wreaks in anals (yes anals) of football lore, a team that is famous for the big choke, a team that can't kicks a seventeen yard field goal....you should be at the alter of the Ol Football Gods to take the curse off of your suck ass team... rather than flapping your lips on the Green and Gold home court!!!!!!!!

GO PACK!!!!!! w00t w00t

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Tundraboy's picture

March 18, 2016 at 07:03 pm

He probably doesn't remember Joe Kapp and the start of it all.

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Nick Perry's picture

March 19, 2016 at 05:29 am

LOL.....Joe Kapp, the Purple People Eaters, Chuck Foreman, a man named Fran...None of of it added up to anything to remember. They have a rich history of LOSING!

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Tundraboy's picture

March 19, 2016 at 10:03 am

Yes that was their first and last hurrah. If they couldn't win with Eller, Page and Joe Kapp, they probably never will.

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Nick Perry's picture

March 19, 2016 at 10:22 am

How about EVER??? How's that working out for you Ben? I grew up in Minneapolis when the Vikings couldn't EVER get in done and they still can't. Last time you guys had a decent season you went 6-10 then 3-13. BTW... Andre Smith is hardly a savior. The Bengals, the cheapest organization out there didn't sign the guy for $3.5 Million after a horrible season. You think he'll come in a protect that bum you have at QB? Thanks Ben, you're always good for a joke and a laugh.

BTW... Starks has 555 carries in his entire career so he's not CLOSE to a 30 year old RB. You're just praying and hoping this isn't the year the RB you employ who should be in prison doesn't fall off the edge. He'll be lucky to run for 1000 yards at 31 and the Vikings will be lucky to finish 8-8. Bridgewater regressed and will continue too.

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ben's picture

March 18, 2016 at 01:06 pm

Dansby and cook are no brainers.

If only ted could get over himself.

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ben's picture

March 18, 2016 at 01:06 pm

Dansby and cook are no brainers.

If only ted could get over himself.

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Razer's picture

March 18, 2016 at 01:13 pm

We all complained because the Packers didn't invest in the run game. Then we get some run game going and we start complaining about the price that we are paying. Starks knows the offense, he's productive, he can protect the passer and, if used properly, he will generate numbers.

Starks will be one or two years insurance on Eddie Lacy depending on what happens next year for lacy and his next contract. And, Starks will get the benefit of a good RB coach. If anything, we will get the best value for Starks over the next two years than most other player resignings. Welcome back James.

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RVAborn's picture

March 19, 2016 at 10:35 pm

But TT's rebuttal to signing free agents is "I can always find better in the draft". There's nothing in the draft better than Starks at that price?

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lou's picture

March 18, 2016 at 01:17 pm

As I posted yesterday in regards to the chances of the teams free agents returning, "Starks is the #1 priority. Scatback comments ? Starks lead the NFL backs in yards after the catch, what are you guys calling a "scat back". Thompson is fair, Starks has improved every year catching the ball and in blitz pickup and has shown he can carry the load for a few games like he did in the Super Bowl season - and as others have indicated his few touches during his 6 seasons negate his age. Thompson was FAIR in giving him a raise (my bet is he met the going rate) because in other cases like Hawk and Crosby, he actually took money from them going forward which at the time was deserved. With a new RB coach look at him to hold onto the ball better. Again, he was the #1 priority.

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egbertsouse's picture

March 18, 2016 at 01:17 pm

Crap! Another example of the sickening TT man-crush on his own players; 3 mil/yr for an aging, part-time back who is fumble-prone. To go with his 5 mil/yr out-of-position OLB who plays an average of 8 games a season. Thank heaven that Raji quit or TT would have probably signed him for 6 mil/yr. But we can't afford a quality FA ILB, can we Teddy? The Packers are too poor. And, anyway, you don't want to be reckless like those Patriots. You might accidentally win another Super Bowl.

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lou's picture

March 18, 2016 at 02:17 pm

CRAP !!!!! Hard to handle that the Thompson built Packers are tied with the New England Patriots for making the playoffs 7 straight sesaons and prior to that he was doing the same thing with the Seattle Seahawks, how much more of that CRAP can we take ?

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RVAborn's picture

March 19, 2016 at 10:50 pm

The Patriots have been to 5 straight AFC CHAMPIONSHIP appearances. They adapt. They use all facets of player acquisition; when the draft picks don't hit, NE compensates via trades and FA signings. When GB misses in the draft ( i.e. 2011, 2012- only 3 players remain) only the 2016 drafts and beyond can be our savior.

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lou's picture

March 21, 2016 at 12:23 pm

Every thing you posted is correct, and like most I would like to see a move at TE, LB, and T in free agency for a "known quantity" at a reasonable price. Bloggers continually forget that when Ted used free agency (Woodson - Picket - Peppers) he has hit the jackpot on them and they vent there frustrations by dissing the signing of a solid pro and great team player like Starks's. If they just post there dislike with Ted's way of doing business that is just fine, don't discredit a player for just that reason.

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Mags's picture

March 18, 2016 at 02:32 pm

Well said. Here come more of the TT apologists.

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AgrippaLII's picture

March 18, 2016 at 03:46 pm

I'm glad Starks I staying with the Packers. I think it's what he "is" worth to the Packers...2 yrs. 6 Mil...1.5 guaranteed...incentive loaded. I think it serves another purpose as well. It let's the other players know that Ted will make them a fair offer when it's their turn.

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Amanofthenorth's picture

March 18, 2016 at 05:32 pm

This is a small price to pay for a solid running back with a Super Bowl ring. If he were from another team, there would be cream on most of your screens

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TommyG's picture

March 18, 2016 at 08:04 pm

I think this kind of money is a little high for Starks. Those fumbles and injuries are too numerous to command this paycheck. I say all of that without knowing the true breakdown of the contract of course. This may end up being much better than it seems.

I will absolutely agree with some others who have already posted here. If we had signed Starks away from a team like NE, we would all be very happy. Look at how excited we got for cook! Turns out that rams fans couldn't stand the guy because he dropped the ball in key situations.

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Miisbigsur's picture

March 19, 2016 at 02:41 am

Aaron - thanks for the update. I see a lot of comments posted here about surprise regarding the size of some of these contracts the Packers are signing to bring back their own guys. They seem consistently high to me as well, and remind me of the very large contracts we gave in the past to A.J. Hawk and others. That said, I don't know the ins and outs of NFL front office decisions like these. Plus, the Packers front office seems to be well-respected around the league.

You've developed quite the network of NFL insiders...what are their impressions of some of these signings? Was the market for Starks, Taylor, and Perry really that high? Would they have been unlikely to sign for $1.5, $1, and $4 million/per year respectively? Are these players really worth 4-5 times more (production wise) than rookies that we would be bringing in, or guys that would sign veteran minimum deals? Are people around the league as perplexed as we are as to why the Packers take so long to address areas of need like safety, ILB, TE, etc.? Are the Packers overpaying their own players to keep them happy in a small market town?

Thanks.

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pooch's picture

March 19, 2016 at 08:50 am

Ted the idiot could have Forte for basically the same amount.So let me get this right Pats and Fins both take a pass on Starks so Thompson doubles bis salary and signs him.Packers going no were fast at this pace

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

March 19, 2016 at 11:19 am

No, Forte´s contract is considerably more lucrative. Yes, it gets listed as 3 yrs, $12 million, or $4 million AAV, $1 million more per year than what Starks got. But Forte got $9 million guaranteed. Forte´s contract is essentially a 2 year, $9 million contract, or $4.5 million per year. Starks´ contract looks like it will be closer to $2.75 million AAV. Lot more risk in Forte´s deal. Maybe Forte is $1.75 million per year better than Starks - we will find out, I guess.

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scullyitsme's picture

March 19, 2016 at 10:54 am

The thing everyone is missing is that these free agents have to Want to come to green bay, Ted doesn't have a magic wand. Also it's not about the x number of dollars at so many years, it's all about the guarrenteed money. Starks essentially will make 1.5 million unless he performs very well. That's reasonable.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

March 19, 2016 at 11:21 am

No, Starks takes home $2.7 million year one if contract reports are correct.

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pooch's picture

March 19, 2016 at 02:12 pm

Seems to me lb from Denver wanted to come to GB but Ted never inquired,guess Danby from Cleveland want in to but still waiting on Ted.So not sure what your saying

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pooch's picture

March 19, 2016 at 02:12 pm

Seems to me lb from Denver wanted to come to GB but Ted never inquired,guess Danby from Cleveland want in to but still waiting on Ted.So not sure what your saying

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ff4packers's picture

March 20, 2016 at 10:03 am

I like it. Think of it as a one year Eddie Lacy insurance policy. Starks knows the system - and played well last season (fumbles notwithstanding). Lacy looks to be taking his physical fitness very seriously this offseason - and I think he's going to have a monster season.

I know Starks is the big 3-0, but look at his total touches: 661. Someone else already said it - lot of tread left on the tires. Compare that to Forte: 2522.

He also became a huge factor in the screen game last season.

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Lphill's picture

March 20, 2016 at 06:25 pm

Hey Ben not many receivers scrambling to go to Minnesota , we all know how that outcome is.

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