Veterans Kuhn and Pickett Mull their Packers and NFL Futures
In this year of the free agent (20 of them) for the Green Bay Packers, there are two players in particular where difficult decisions must be made. As much for their leadership and veteran smarts as for their play on the field, John Kuhn and Ryan Pickett will make it hard for the Packers to leave them behind.
But the possibility exists that both players could be looking at very different futures than the ones theyâ€™d like to have, thus impacting the officialÂ NFL FuturesÂ of the Packers.Â Both have expressed a desire to remain with the Packers, but a cut in pay would surely be required for both. If given a “home town” discount, should the Packers re-sign these grisly veterans? Let’s explore…
John Kuhn has been with the Packers for seven seasons, thriving at a position that is quickly becoming cast aside in the NFL. For Kuhn, the key has been making himself valuable in as many ways as possible. Need to gain a tough yard for a first down? Need someone to lead the way for Eddie Lacy? Need an ultra-reliable pass protector? Need a receiver out of the backfield? Need help with protection calls? Kuhn is your man.
To top things off, Kuhn is a “company man,” having been quoted recently as saying “”I love it in Green Bay, and I love playing for the Packers.”
It’s the little things that all add up to Kuhn being a very good value for the Packers. Not flashy in any way, it’s easy to lose perspective on John Kuhn. This writer is guilty of the same, having recently questioned his value to the Packers on a recent CheeseheadRadio episode.
In an offseason where money must be paid out to more “impactful” players, I found myself wondering if keeping John Kuhn made sense. After all, Kuhn earned a healthy 2.5 million in 2013. Well, after more closely watching his performances against the Bears and in person against the 49ers, I have to change my tune and say YES.
Aaron Rodgers recently said there is no one he trusts more on the field than John Kuhn. If he’s good enough for Rodgers, he’s good enough for me.
One a perennially youthful roster, Ryan Pickett is the “old man” in the locker room. “Uncle Pick,” as he’s called, is the sage you can go to for advice on whatever is going on in your life, on the field or off. Young defensive linemen like Mike Daniels credit Pickett for being a big (no pun intended) and positive influence on their careers and their lives. Johnny Jolly praises Pickett for being there for him when he most needed it.
Now a veteran of 13 NFL seasons, Pickett doesn’t see himself slowing down just yet. He says he feels great and plans to play another few years, whether for the Packers or elsewhere. He has, however, stated his desire to retire as a Green Bay Packer.
Whether the Packers will give him that chance is debatable. Pickett had a solid season in 2013, perhaps not his best, but he was battling a few injuries, the biggest being a knee injury suffered against the Eagles in game nine. Pickett has been nothing short of remarkably consistent in his time with the Packers, leading the defensive line in tackles four times and successfully occupying blockers when called on to do so.
Tramon Williams recently commented on the need for more veteran experience on the Packers defense, and it’s something I wholeheartedly agree with.Â But now Pickett’s seven million dollar per year contract has expired and the Packers’ need some, if not all of that money as eight starters from this year’s team are free agents.
Pickett has been quoted as saying that’s he’s not looking to break the bank, and if can be brought back on a one or two year contract for half that annual number, I say YES. Do it.
Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.