American Football

Friday Cheese Curds: Who should be the Packers’ biggest free agent priority?


Green Bay Packers v San Francisco 49ers
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Choose your fighter in the comments.

The Green Bay Packers have no shortage of key players set to hit free agency this fall. The team has a whopping five players who played at least 50% of offensive or defensive snaps set to have expiring contracts, and another four who played at least a third. Then there are key special teamers, like All-Pro kickoff returner Keisean Nixon, who doesn’t even quite fit into that category.

With the Packers strapped for cap space and needing to adjust contracts just to get below the expected salary cap for 2023, they will need to be judicious with their contracts for free agents. That might mean that the team can only bring back one or two of the higher-profile players.

If that’s the case, who should be at the top of the team’s priority list? Let’s assume that the team offers a restricted free agent tender to tackle Yosh Nijman, ensuring his return. Besides him, there are four other players over that 50% snap mark: Adrian Amos, Allen Lazard, Jarran Reed, and Robert Tonyan. Going farther down the list you have players like Dean Lowry, Rudy Ford, Marcedes Lewis, Randall Cobb, and Nixon.

Of that group, who is an absolute must-sign? There’s an argument to be made for Tonyan, given the state of the tight end group, as well as for an All-Pro special teams spark plug like Nixon. Perhaps Reed could be a candidate as well, given his strong close to the 2022 season.

One analytics site goes with a more under-the-radar pick, however, who is important in large part because of a skill set that he brings that nobody else does. Let’s take a look at that selection and much more in today’s curds before shifting our attention over to the NFL’s conference championship games set for this Sunday.

One free agent each NFL team can’t afford to lose | NFL News, Rankings and Statistics | PFF
PFF’s pick for the Packers might be a surprising one, but given the depth at the tight end position and the fact that none of the other players on the 2022 roster do much as an in-line blocker, a Marcedes Lewis return should be welcomed by all.

Packers OL Jon Runyan Jr. earns proven performance escalator, bumps base salary in 2023 | Packers Wire
Runyan will hit his fourth season next year and after being a full-time starter for each of the last two years, he’s getting a big raise to his base salary, bringing him close to $2.75 million. The Packers may need to consider an extension for Runyan sometime this year.

2022 Packers: The best individual performance at each offensive position | Packer Report
Picking the best game of Aaron Rodgers’ season isn’t as fun an exercise as it usually is, but his game against the Cowboys saw him go 16-22 for 230 yards and three scores as he helped the team upset his old coach.

Mike McCarthy: Jerry Jones wants me to coach Cowboys as long as Tom Landry |
That old coach has one exactly one playoff game with the Cowboys, but the team’s owner says he wants McCarthy to coach in Dallas for a long, long time.

Nick Collins proved the skeptics wrong |
Collins was a surprising second-round pick in 2005 — so much so that even Brian Gutekunst, then the scout in his area, was skeptical of selecting him that early. But Collins made sure that pick paid off, and if not for a neck injury, he might have followed in LeRoy Butler’s footsteps into Canton.

Black Eyed Peas Record Label Sues Maker of Pooping Unicorn Toy – Variety
Perfect headline. No notes.

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