I know. It’s not the offseason yet, but some people are getting an early jump on looking at the Green Bay Packers free agents to be.
One guy who’s in an even more dubious position than receiver James Jones, whose chances of returning to the Packers seem about 50/50, is running back Brandon Jackson.
When the Packers finish their season, Jackson will very likely have played his final game for the team. Although he was the team’s leading rusher this season and has proven himself a valuable third-down back, Jackson is in a numbers game.
Last season’s starter, Ryan Grant, will return from the ankle injury that landed him on injured reserve in time to be a full participant in the Packers’ offseason program, providing there is one. That, coupled with the emergence of rookie James Starks, means there aren’t many carries left for a guy like Jackson, who averaged a mediocre 3.7 yards per carry this season.
“I enjoyed my opportunities here,” Jackson said. “And I really don’t know what’s going to happen. But if it’s here, hey, I’m glad to be here. If it’s somewhere else, then I’ll take it somewhere else.”
The team and Jackson’s agent haven’t even discussed the possibility of a new contract, which is another sign the running back will be playing elsewhere, next season.
To say the former second-round draft pick has been somewhat of a disappointment is an understatement. He’s averaged only 3.8 yards per carry during his four-year career and his highest rushing total prior to this season was 267 yards in his rookie year.
Before this season, Jackson reached the end zone only five times.
Not exactly the numbers you want from a second-round pick.
The Packers will need to fill Jackson’s spot with someone, though.
One option is re-signing John Kuhn, who’s also a free agent, to continue filling his hybrid halfback/fullback role. While bringing Kuhn back seems like a good possibility, the more likely scenario is the Packers will continue to develop Dmitri Nance and slide him into the third running back slot.
Although Nance wasn’t impressive in the limited playing time he got, this season, the Packers seem to like his potential. He was active for 12 of the 15 games he was with the team.
Of course, the other options are picking someone in the draft or off the free agent scrap heap.
Whatever course of action the Packers take, it will probably be one without Brandon Jackson.