Last week, we took a look at the players the Green Bay Packers didn’t re-sign from expiring contracts. Now we’ll take a look at many of the notable names they did choose to bring back.
Geronimo Allison – Allison came on strong at the end of the season. Over his final five games, including playoffs, he brought in 13 receptions on 21 targets for 222 yards and a score. That’s great production from an undrafted rookie and the talented Allison will look to take a step forward in his second year with the team. A-
Don Barclay – I don’t get it, man. For a while I’ve considered Barclay the weakest link in the Packers’ rotation of lineman. He can (and has) played every position on the line, but just not very well. I’d rather let Barclay go and let second-year tackles Jason Spriggs and Kyle Murphy back up the line, while bringing in another young guy (perhaps in the draft) to see what he’s got. Barclay will never be more than a below-average offensive lineman. Maybe he’s a locker room guy. D
Jayrone Elliott – In contrast to how I’ve always felt about Barclay, I’ve always like Elliot. He seems to have a few big plays in him as a rotational piece on the D-line, though he can disappear at times. Thompson made a savvy move in not tendering the defensive end, then bringing him in on a 1-year deal worth less than the lowest tender. B-
Don Jackson – I guess it’s always good to have running back bodies… Jackson was not impressive in his very few snaps before getting injured, but he knows the offense after spending time on the practice squad and will fight for a roster spot in the preseason. C
Joe Kerridge – While many teams don’t even keep one fullback on the roster, the Packers kept two last year. Kerridge is more of a special teams player than an actual backup fullback behind Aaron Ripkowski. That alone gave the Packers a reason to bring him back on a veteran’s minimum deal. C+
Christine Michael – Michael makes more sense to me than Jackson. He’ll count for only $640,000 against the Packers’ salary cap and is a proven commodity, kind of. He’s clearly talented and plays with a lot of enthusiasm. He hits the hole hard, but almost too hard. The anti-Le’veon Bell, Michael will hopefully develop some patience during the offseason and will likely earn a roster spot as the Packers’ number two or three back depending on how/if they address the position in the draft. B
Nick Perry – The shiniest piece of the Packers’ free agent class is returning to Green Bay. Perry led the team in sacks and finished the season tied for eighth in the NFL in that category. Perry earned a 5-year, $60 million payday and will continue to be the team’s main source of pressure on the defensive front. With Clay Matthews getting older, and potentially moving inside, it was important for the team to lock up their only proven, productive pass rusher (aside from an ancient Julius Peppers). A
Christian Ringo – Ringo was drafted in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft and hasn’t really gotten a chance to show off yet. He’s a pass rush specialist, which is extremely valuable in today’s NFL, but it’s concerning that that hasn’t gotten him on the field in the two year’s he’s been with the club. Perhaps the third year will be the charm, but even if not, he’s cheap enough to warrant the opportunity. C
Jacob Schum – I liked Schum, but maybe it’s just because I had such a sour taste in my mouth from Tim Masthay. Schum doesn’t have the biggest leg by any means, yet he still averaged within a yard of Masthay’s 2015 season average. I think he’s more consistent and can pin teams back with smart, accurate directional punting. B-
Joe Thomas – Thomas was a solid coverage linebacker who developed into a decent ILB option for the Packers. While I don’t think Thomas is the long-term stalwart fans have been waiting for for years, I do think he’s a very solid rotational piece that is a steal at $615,000 this year. B+
Jordan Tripp – Tripp joined the team midseason in 2016 and appeared in just two games without recording a tackle. It’s hard to hate the move to bring him back when we really don’t know if he’s any good in the Packers’ system. C-
It’s also worth mentioning that the Packers have yet to make a move on RB John Crockett or LS Brett Goode. Both remain unrestricted free agents as of publishing. Crockett was an Exclusive Rights Free Agent that Green Bay chose not to tender and Green Bay has brought in two other long snappers via free agency, so perhaps Goode’s time in green and gold has passed.
I like most of the moves Thompson and the Packers’ organization have made in regards to returning players. It’s easier to get excited about who’s coming back than who’s moved on and I agree for the most part with the offseason plan.