Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Packers could get involved with Hester
By Rob Demovsky
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers signed one former Chicago Bears' Pro Bowl player in defensive end Julius Peppers, so why not another in return specialist Devin Hester?
The Packers have not gotten involved yet with Hester, who visited the Falcons on Tuesday, but they could if the price is right.
According to an NFL personnel evaluator whose team has discussed the possibility of going after Hester, the former Pro Bowl return specialist is currently seeking a deal in the $4-million-per-year range.
However, that may be too high for teams interested in the 31-year-old return man.
If Hester discovers the market for his services is lower, it could bring in more teams, the Packers among them, when the price drops.
The Packers want to upgrade their return game while also taking receiver Randall Cobb out of that job. Cobb, who has three career special teams touchdowns on returns, will take on an even greater role on offense this season after the departure of James Jones.
After Jeremy Ross was released and Cobb sustained a knee injury early last season, the Packers turned to rookie cornerback Micah Hyde as their primary returner. Hyde ranked fifth in the NFL last season in punt return average (12.3 yards per return) and had one touchdown. But the Packers struggled all season on kickoff returns, ranking 30th with a 20.3-yard average. Hyde is expected to have a larger role on defense this season, perhaps even moving to safety.
The Bears decided not to re-sign Hester after his contract expired following last season. He holds the NFL record for kickoff and punt returns for touchdowns with 18, one of which came last season on a punt return.