NFC North: Orwin Smith

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers began this offseason with 17 players scheduled for unrestricted free agency.

They have re-signed five of them: outside linebacker/defensive end Mike Neal, tight end Andrew Quarless, defensive tackle B.J. Raji, cornerback Sam Shields and running back James Starks.

Four of them signed with other teams: center Evan Dietrich-Smith (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), receiver James Jones (Oakland Raiders), tackle Marshall Newhouse (Cincinnati Bengals) and defensive end C.J. Wilson (Raiders).

That leaves eight still on the market. Here's an update on where things stand the Packers’ remaining free agents:

Kahlil Bell, RB: With Starks back on a two-year, $3.165 million deal, it’s unlikely Bell, a late-season pickup last year, will be re-signed. The Packers already have five halfbacks with NFL experience on the roster -- Eddie Lacy, Johnathan Franklin, DuJuan Harris, Michael Hill and Starks -- plus practice-squad member Orwin Smith.

Jermichael Finley, TE: There's no guarantee Finley will receive medical clearance to resume his career following last season's neck injury. Finley reportedly failed a physical during a free-agent visit to the Seattle Seahawks, and the Packers say they are still monitoring his condition. At this point, Finley's career remains on hold.

Matt Flynn, QB: It's all but a lock that the player who kept last season alive while Aaron Rodgers was sidelined with his broken collarbone will return. Coach Mike McCarthy wants Flynn back and would like to keep three quarterbacks on the roster this season. Expect Flynn to be re-signed soon.

Robert Francois, LB: The special-teams player is coming off a torn Achilles tendon. If healed, he could be re-signed for a minimum contract later in free agency.

Johnny Jolly, DT: Like Finley, Jolly underwent neck fusion surgery. But Jolly's injury was not as severe as Finley’s and the fusion took place lower in his neck, which makes it safer for him to resume his career. McCarthy said he liked how Jolly played last season, so expect the Packers to bring back Jolly at some point.

John Kuhn, FB: The Packers remain in talks with the fan favorite who completed a three-year, $7 million contract last season. Kuhn is a valuable special teams player and has been their best pass protector out of the backfield the past several seasons. But it's not a given he will return. And if he does, it likely will be for less money than he received three years ago.

Ryan Pickett, DT: The plan to move Raji back to nose tackle might make Pickett expendable. Or perhaps his age (34) has already done that. McCarthy was non-committal when asked about Pickett's status last week at the NFL annual meetings.

Seneca Wallace, QB: McCarthy would like to bring four quarterbacks to training camp, but don't expect the 33-year-old Wallace to be one of them. He couldn't stay healthy when the Packers needed him after Rodgers' injury. Instead, they would like to add another young, developmental prospect.

Starter Pack: McAdoo on the move?

January, 7, 2014
1/07/14
8:00
AM ET
A roundup of what's happening on the Green Bay Packers beat.

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The first day of the Packers' offseason on Monday was spent mostly talking to and writing about players who may or may not return next season.

With 17 unrestricted free agents, there's bound to be significant roster turnover (more on that in the "In case you missed it" section below).

But every offseason there's also the possibility of turnover on the coaching staff and in the personnel department. This season, there are not only questions about the status of defensive coordinator Dom Capers, but also the possibility that coach Mike McCarthy could lose members of his offensive staff.

Multiple reports, including one from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, indicate that quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo appears to be a hot candidate for an offensive coordinator job or possibly even a head-coaching position.

One such possibility could come with the Miami Dolphins, where coach Joe Philbin parted ways with offensive coordinator Mike Sherman. Philbin, the former Packers offensive coordinator, spent six seasons on the same staff with McAdoo in Green Bay. It was Philbin's departure for Miami in 2012 that opened the door for McAdoo to move from tight ends coach to quarterbacks coach.

Before McAdoo was promoted two years ago, quarterback Aaron Rodgers expressed an interest in having a coach who had played the position -- something McAdoo did not do. McCarthy now has a member of his coaching staff who fits that profile. That's running backs coach Alex Van Pelt, who spent nine seasons as a quarterback with the Buffalo Bills.

In case you missed it on ESPN.com:
  • Perhaps the most interesting thing to come out of Monday's final open locker room session was what cornerback Tramon Williams had to say. He said he thinks the Packers need more veteran players, especially on defense.
  • We broke down the list of free-agents-to-be into two categories -- those on the offensive side of the ball and those on the defensive side.
  • There were so many defining moments to the 2013 season, but we've tried to narrow them down to the 10 that most shaped the season. We will count them down over the next two weeks. Here's number 10.
  • On a personal note, we've made it through our first season here -- although not without a bit of a medical scare -- and I appreciate everyone's interest. Things will continue to evolve here over the next few months. We'll keep the Starter Pack alive for at least a little while longer as the early stages of the offseason tend to be rather newsworthy, and then we'll see where things go from there. Your input is always welcome. At this point, the best way is to reach out to me on Twitter @RobDemovsky.
Best of the rest:
  • The NFL's official transaction wire indicated the Packers signed six of their eight practice squad players to futures contracts for next season. They were: receiver Alex Gillett, running back Orwin Smith, cornerback Antonio Denard, guard Andrew Tiller, center Garth Gerhart and tackle Aaron Adams. It was unclear why receiver Tyrone Walker and guard Lanier Coleman were not immedialy signed.
  • At ESPNWisconsin.com, Jason Wilde wrote that McAdoo would be a logical choice for Philbin in Miami and that running back DuJuan Harris (who missed the entire season with a knee injury) hopes to return next season and join with Eddie Lacy to provide a 1-2 punch.
  • In the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Pete Dougherty wrote that although there have been no signs that McCarthy is pondering a change at defensive coordinator, that possibility can't be dismissed.
  • In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Tyler Dunne and Tom Silverstein came up with a list of things general manager Ted Thompson will have to address in the offseason.

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