Monday, January 6, 2014
A look at the Packers' defensive free agents
By Rob Demovsky
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- At least two of the Green Bay Packers’ upcoming free agents on defense will be looking for blockbuster contracts.
The Packers were unable to complete contract extensions during the season for either defensive tackle B.J. Raji or cornerback Sam Shields during the season.
According to a mid-season report by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Raji turned down an offer that averaged $8 million per year.
Indications were that the Packers went deep into negotiations with Shields, who avoided a major injury scare against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday when he left with a left knee injury that turned out to be only a bone bruise.
B.J. Raji, DT: Turning down $8 million per year could be an indication the former first-round pick would prefer to leave and play for a team that gives its defensive linemen more freedom to rush the passer. He has been unwilling to comment about his future. 2013 base salary: $4.49 million
Ryan Pickett, DT: At age 34 and having finished his 13th season, he is the elder statesman on the team. He has expressed his desire to keep playing, but his age may turn off other suitors despite the fact he did not miss a game for the second straight season. 2013 base salary: $5.4 million
Johnny Jolly, DT: Returned after a three-year absence due to prison time and an NFL suspension and proved to be an effective run stopper before sustaining a late-season neck injury. At age 30 and with his past, his value has diminished, but the Packers might be interested in bring him back for the right price. 2013 base salary: $715,000
C.J. Wilson, DE: Run-stopping lineman who has value as a backup but wouldn't warrant a big contract. 2013 base salary: $630,000
Mike Neal, OLB: Successfully transitioned from defensive end and showed promise as an outside rusher. More importantly, the oft-injured former second-round draft pick stayed relatively healthy and when he did have issues he played through them. He did not miss a game for the first time in his career. 2013 base salary: $630,000
Robert Francois, LB: Career backup and special teams contributor who tore his Achilles’ tendon on Oct. 16. 2013 base salary: $630,000
Sam Shields, CB: Emerged as the Packers’ top cover cornerback and will be looking for a blockbuster deal in free agency, especially considering he entered the league as an undrafted free agent and hasn’t made more than the minimums or the restricted free agent tender. 2013 base salary: $2.023 million
*Jamari Lattimore, LB: Core special teams player who could challenge Brad Jones for a starting job if he is tendered. He likely will be offered the lowest restricted free agent tender. 2013 base salary: $550,000
*M.D. Jennings, S: Started all 16 games plus the playoff game at free safety, but that’s a position that Packers will be looking to upgrade in the offseason. Likely will be offered the lowest restricted free agent tender. 2013 base salary: $550,000