The Green Bay Packers have two unrestricted free agents to deal with this offseason — safety M.D. Jennings and linebacker Jamari Lattimore.
Of course, they can choose not to deal with them at all, which looks like a real possibility. If the Packers tender either player, they have the right to match any contract offer they receive. The problem with that scenario is the lowest tender for restricted free agents is $1.389 million.
So the question is are either of these guys worth that much money?
By now, you well know how terribly Jennings performed in 2013, so he gets a resounding no. Lattimore, meanwhile, showed flashes as a spot starter and was a beast on special teams.
But is a backup linebacker who’s primarily a special teams player worth $1.3 million a season? Not in our estimation.
While we’d be happy to see Jennings get the hell out of Dodge, we’d like to see Lattimore back. He’s not quite ready for prime time, but he’s shown playmaking ability on defense and is a valuable special teams contributor.
Remember this blocked punt against the Bears?
So let’s say the Packers don’t tender either guy, which is probably the correct strategy. We don’t see a huge market for their services. In fact, we see none for Jennings’ services, but he’s not really the concern here.
There’s a good chance the Packers can re-sign Lattimore at less than the low restricted free agent tender and save themselves some money to sign other guys. His last contract averaged slightly less than $500,000 a year.
So a slight raise — perhaps another $200,000 a year — would probably get the job done.
And if Lattimore happens to get a better offer or chance to start elsewhere, good for him. It’s not the end of the world for the Packers.