Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Kuhn still might have something to prove
By Rob Demovsky
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- There's little reason to think veteran fullback John Kuhn won't be on the Green Bay Packers' roster when this season opens in September, but the contract he signed last week does not make that a given.
Kuhn will turn 32 on Sept. 9 and is part of a crowded backfield. Although he's the only experienced fullback on the roster and is one of the most experienced players on the entire team, the Packers did not lock themselves into anything with the one-year contract the two sides hammered out last week.
The $1.03 million deal included only $100,000 in guaranteed money in the form of a signing bonus, according to ESPN Stats & Information salary data. Three years ago, he received a $750,000 signing bonus as part of a three-year, $7.5 million deal. That contract all but ensured Kuhn would be on the roster.
This one, however, does not.
The rest of the contract includes a base salary of $855,000, a $25,000 workout bonus and up to $50,000 in a roster bonus that is broken up into $3,125 per game in which he is active.
The Packers only have one other fullback on their roster, street free agent Ina Liaina, but it's worth wondering how much they will even use a fullback this season, if at all. Last year, Kuhn played 28.1 percent of the offensive snaps and although he once again showed his mettle as a blocker, he carried only 10 times for 38 yards.
Earlier in the offseason, it was worth wondering if the Packers would even bring back Kuhn after coach Mike McCarthy said at the NFL scouting combine that he hoped reigning offensive rookie of the year Eddie Lacy -- and the rest of his halfbacks -- would become three-down players, thus perhaps eliminating the need for Kuhn as the designated third-down pass protector.
For now, though, Kuhn is back, but it's worth watching how things develop in the backfield between now and the final cuts.