Well over 500 NFL players were on the list of free agents available when free agency kicked off on March 14. Among the few players who have not secured a contract are a bunch of ex-Green Bay Packers who were on the team last year or in previous years. For many on the list, their NFL careers might well be over.
Starting with quarterbacks, it appears no team believes that ex-Bear Jay Cutler wants to play anymore. Matt Moore is considered the top QB who remains unsigned. Ex-Packer Scott Tolzien, who is now 30 years old, appears unwanted by the Colts or anyone else.
Running backs have a short shelf life. Among the more recognizable names who haven’t been picked up: Adrian Peterson, DeMarco Murray, Darren Sproles, Jamaal Charles, and, yes, Eddie Lacy. The Seahawks appear to have moved on from Lacy, who is only 27 years old. John Kuhn is also without a job, but at 35, he’s ancient for even a fullback.
The wide receiver with by far the most damaged ego has to be still-available Dez Bryant – he is resisting a big drop in income. Jeremy Maclin and Eric Decker are two others who have had much previous NFL success. Though Decker has had three 1,000-yard seasons in eight years and Maclin has had two in the same time span, I’m not hearing any buzz coming out of Green Bay about either of them.
Antonio Gates at age 37 wants to play a 16th year. He has the most tight end touchdown receptions in league history.
Tackle Ulrick John, with the Packers in 2017, has yet to be picked up by anyone.
If the Packers want to re-sign 34-year-old guard Jahri Evans, they aren’t in any hurry to do so. Don Barclay, a Green Bay hanger-on from 2012 through 2016, ended the 2017 season on Detroit’s IR list due to a concussion. He’s near the bottom of still-eligible guards.
Edge defender Ahmad Brooks hasn’t been picked up by the Packers or anyone else. The same is true of defensive lineman Quinton Dial, another Packers pickup of 2017 who was not productive. Ricky Jean-Francois is one more available defensive line guy with past Packers’ ties.
With linebacker Joe Thomas now signed by the Cowboys, the only linebacker I’m spotting with Packers’ ties, though minimal, is 26-year-old Jordan Tripp.
Several cornerbacks with name familiarity haven’t been able as yet to cut a deal. Former Seahawks Jeremy Lane and Byron Maxwell are in this group, along with ex-Viking Terence Newman, the once-great Darrelle Revis (only 32), and former Saints cornerback Delvin Breaux, who visited the Packers in March.
After Morgan Burnett was lost to the Steelers, former Packers players Jermichael Finley, LeRoy Butler and Gary Ellerson all urged the team to sign safety Eric Reid. He’s still out there, though he’ll eventually be signed by someone.
Ex-Packers’ punter Jake Schum hasn’t caught on with anyone.
Every team gives up on players each year, but perhaps the difference with Green Bay is many of these guys were expected to be regular contributors. They weren’t and the Packers’ castoffs might tell you something about the judgment of the previous administration.