The Green Bay Packers recently locked up one of their high profile, impending free agents re-signing tackle David Bakhtiari to a four-year contract extension. However, with this deal now done, the question becomes, Which Green Bay Packers 2021 free agent should the team resign?
Green Bay Packers 2021 Free Agents That the Team Should Re-Sign
Since being taken in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Aaron Jones has gone on to assert himself as one of the NFL’s best running backs with over 2,700 rushing yards so far in his young career while rushing for 32 touchdowns, including a breakout 2019 in which he tied with Derrick Henry for a league-leading 16 touchdowns. While on the field, Jones is a clear threat and will give any defensive co-ordinator sleepless nights.
Despite this, he does have many things working against him when it comes to getting a new contract, the biggest of which is that he is a running back. Previously considered the key behind a team’s success, the position has slowly been losing value over the last few decades ever since the infamous Herschel Walker trade proved to the world that a running back isn’t the make or break position it once was. And in recent years, more and more running backs have seen a significant dip in form after signing new contracts. Jones has also had injury problems, only playing all 16 games once in his four years as a professional.
With all this in mind and given that Jones could reasonably demand to become one of the league’s highest-paid running backs, while the Packers would obviously love to have his explosive play back, a deal is by no means guaranteed.
Since being signed off of the Jacksonville Jaguars practice squad in 2018, Allen Lazard has shown himself to be somewhat of an undrafted gem and has become one of Aaron Rodgers‘s most reliable targets. This has been proven during this 2020 season in which, while on the field, Lazard has been the obvious number two receiver only behind star receiver Davante Adams after 2020 off-season signing Devin Funchess opted out of the season due to COVID concerns.
Other things working in Lazard’s favor are that while he’s a talented player, he is unlikely to get number one receiver money from another team. This makes him affordable for the Packers, and as an exclusive rights free agent, the Packers will still have first say on him despite his free-agent status.
All things considered, a deal to keep Lazard in Green Bay in 2021 and possibly beyond is more than likely going to happen.
Robert Tonyan has had somewhat of a breakout year in 2020, already putting up career highs in receptions, yards, and touchdowns, and despite joining the league as an undrafted free agent with the divisional rival Detroit Lions, he has beaten out Packers 2019 third-round pick Jace Sternberger and former Jaguars first-rounder Marcedes Lewis as the main target for the Packers at tight end.
While not the best blocker, his breakout has somewhat captured the hearts of Packers fans following two years of very underwhelming play from Jimmy Graham as a receiving threat from the tight end spot.
Considering the connection with the fans, the vastly improved play, and his status as a restricted free agent, a deal seeing Tonyan stay in Green Bay wouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.
When it comes to impending free-agent options on the defensive side of the ball, none are more high profiled than Kevin King. After the Packers took him in the second round of the 2017 NFL draft, King struggled to adjust to life in the pros. He has dealt with the injury curse in his first few years and failing to impress even when on the field for the first two years.
King, however, had a breakout year in 2019. He appeared in 15 games, starting 14, and helped a Packers team, normally dependant on its offense, to a 13-3 record despite the offense frequently struggling during the course of the season.
King failed to follow this up with an injury-riddled start to 2020 in which his play was solid but nowhere near his 2019 form on the rare occasion he has seen the field.
While he showed in 2019 why he was an early pick in the 2017 draft, his inconsistent play and inability to stay healthy leaves the Packers with only one option, and that is to move on from Kevin King.
While these are the four big decisions the Packers have to make, there are also questions surrounding the future of backup running back Jamaal Williams, return specialist Tyler Ervin, and safety Raven Greene to name a few. While some of these are almost certain to return, they are unlikely to make as big an impact as the four mentioned previously.