Ryan Longwell

Longwell has been better since leaving the Packers.

Although the Green Bay Packers have given every indication they plan to re-sign kicker [intlink id=”152″ type=”category”]Mason Crosby[/intlink], who will be a free agent when the lockout ends, things don’t always go according to plan.

It’s conceivable, although probably not likely, another team will do something to pry Crosby away from the Packers. In that scenario, the team may be forced to turn to a familiar face — former kicker [intlink id=”603″ type=”category”]Ryan Longwell[/intlink], who’s spent the last five seasons with the [intlink id=”35″ type=”category”]Minnesota Vikings[/intlink] and will be a free agent himself.

Interestingly, Longwell didn’t rule out a return to Green Bay when posed the question.

Appearing Friday morning on ESPNMilwaukee.com, Longwell made clear he intends to play in 2011 and said he “wouldn’t mind going back” to the Vikings. Asked if he would consider returning to Green Bay if Packers place-kicker Mason Crosby moves on in free agency, Longwell laughed and said: “You never say never. You just don’t know.”

What’s perhaps more interesting than the possibility of Longwell returning to the Packers is the career arc of the two men in question.

Longwell was a pretty good kicker during his nine years in Green Bay, but he’s become even better since leaving the team in 2006. His field goal percentage has increased in each of the past four seasons. In 2010, he made a career-high 94 percent of his kicks (17 of 18) and has a career percentage of 83.5.

Crosby, on the other hand, has been fairly mediocre since coming to the Packers in 2007. His field goal percentage decreased each of his first three seasons with the Packers, resulting in a below-average 75 percent in 2009, before he rebounded to hit 78.6 percent of his kicks in 2010. In his career, Crosby has made 78.1 percent of his kicks.

Of course, other than their accuracy, the biggest difference between Longwell and Crosby is age. Longwell turns 37 in August, while Crosby turns 27 in September.

So, who would you rather have?