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Packers tender ERFA G Justin McCray

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Packers tender ERFA G Justin McCray

-- Chalk another one of the Green Bay Packers' exclusive rights free agents down for 2019.

According to Rob Demovsky of ESPN, the team tendered guard Justin McCray on Thursday, adding some depth to their offensive line before the free agency period begins.

McCray was an undrafted rookie free agent signing by the Tennesee Titans in 2014, spending much of his first season in the league on their practice squad before being waived the following summer. McCray spent two years out of the NFL, seeing stints in the Arena Football League with his brother, Jordan. 

The Packers picked McCray up in 2017, playing in 13 games that season and starting eight of them. He was an occasional fill-in at tackle while alternating between both interior guard positions.

McCray struggled in 2018 as the Packers swapped between both him and Byron Bell, a free agent signing in the summer, at right guard. Keeping him around on a cheap, $645,000 tender gives the Packers at least one more emergency option at guard in the event that the team doesn't retain Bell.

Interior pressure killed the Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers last season, leading to a majority of Rodgers' 49 sacks -- his most since 2012.

Being an exclusive rights free agent (ERFA), the Packers had the luxury of issuing new deal to McCray before he hits the market and any other pursuing team can swipe him up.

Other ERFAs include guard Lucas Patrick, edge rusher Reggie Gilbert, tight end Robert Tonyan Jr. and receiver Jake Kumerow. They offered an original-round tender to defensive end Fadol Brown on Wednesday.


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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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (16) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

stockholder's picture

Good for Gute. Justin McCray is becoming a decent football player. I'd sign Bell again too. I believe both were fighting injuries. The more quality back -ups, the better.

Coldworld's picture

I did not know Bell was injured to that extent. Bell is 30 and a vet minimum type. A little more expensive but no upside unless he was hampered for most of the season, which is news to me. Overall, I’d say move on from Bell absent that injury information.

stockholder's picture

No there is no upside. Thats true. He was injured. But he gives them depth/experience at RG and RT. Back-up for Bulaga! You aren't going to get any rookie starting. Move on next year.( Per who we draft.) We have a new OL coach. Give him bodies. Many a OL have played beyond 30.

jannes bjornson's picture

Get a free agent and draft a Guard to fill the spots. Bell is a liability. Mccray
functions as a solid backup but you don't want him starting at the RG spot.

TheVOR's picture

I don't even think he's serviceable as a backup. Not impressed by this player, doesn't cost them anything to have him back to compete, but this is anything but an "Impressive signing". Overall, if he see him, he's a turnstile liability. Not a fan, this is the biggest "who cares moment" of the offseason for me.

Old School's picture

And yet, the professionals at 1265 who know him and work with him, including the coaches, seem to have a different opinion about McCray than you do.

As of this moment, he's our starting guard.

TheVOR's picture

Ya, I get that, the same brain trust that allowed the decline of the franchise with the best QB in the NFL at the helm. Clueless, there is no defense for 1265. Eventually it will become as obvious to everyone here as it has been to me for a few years. Dude is not an answer, and not even a serviceable backup. We need better depth than this, and because we don't have it, Rodgers got murdered and threw away more passes than at any point in his career. The OL needs to improve, and they can start by pursuing some new blood. This guy does not have game.

BaldingersBentDigit's picture

"Interior pressure killed the Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers last season, leading to a majority of Rodgers' 49 sacks -- his most since 2012."

That and Aaron's propensity to HOLD ON TO THE BALL too long looking for chunk plays.

LambeauPlain's picture

“Chunk plays” was the MM strategic directive. They passed deep to the perimeter 40% of the time last season...the next closest team was around 30%.

Even as they owned one of the most prolific run games in the NFL.

That said, Bell is awful...a windmill. McCray isn’t much better but at least he is a younger 3rd stringer type.

cheesehead1's picture

We need to draft OL or thru FA. Have to protect Rodgers much better. Just look at NE. Brady, who obviously is not very mobile, was rarely touched on their run to the SB. Big, big draft for our GM to say the least.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Brady throws the ball on time.

Skip greenBayless's picture

This is a meat and potatoes lunch bucket type player. We need guys like this on our team. Good signing IMPrO.


LambeauPlain's picture

Sign Patrick, Tonyan, Gilbert and Kumerow.

All are quality depth players.

D Ernie's picture

This is great is we want decent football players. There are a lot of 'decent' football players on the lions, jets, bills, raiders, cardinals and many other teams that missed the playoffs.

I think you need better then just ok if you really have your sights on the SB and the playoffs. Just sayin.

This team is avg at best and needs to improve in all catagories including the passing game. Just OK wont do it this year

Lare's picture

McCray didn’t play very well last season, but as I’ve said before I’m reserving judgement on a lot of last year’s players until I can see how they perform under new coaching and schemes.

That said, I’m hoping that many of the offensive linemen on last years roster end up being cut simply because the Packers are replacing them with better players.

AgrippaLII's picture

Keep the best backup players you have and replace the rest!

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