If you’re reading this article, there’s a very good chance that you’re an avid Green Bay Packer fan. You’re the kind of fan that takes in Packers related media as much as you can. You’re probably the kind of fan who has listened to Green and Gold Today, formerly hosted by Jason Wilde and Bill Johnson.
Bill Johnson has had a theory about Eddie Lacy for a number of years and it’s starting to come to fruition. His theory is that Lacy will either disappoint again in 2016 and not be given a serious contract offer from the Packers or he will excel and price himself out of Green Bay. One way or the other, it’s hard to see Lacy in a Packers uniform in 2017.
It’s for this reason that I believe Green Bay should make Lacy their top priority for a training camp extension, ahead of TJ Lang, Nick Perry, Datone Jones and David Bakhtiari, even ahead of Josh Sitton.
Let’s say the 2017 cap is $166,000,000. That’s what Spotrac has projected it to be. It looks like Green Bay will roll over about $8 million into that season. Setting aside ~$6 of that to sign the 2017 draft class and you’ve got an adjusted cap of $168 million. Green Bay has $141 million in liabilities before considering any releases or veteran reconstructions. That’s $27 million in cap room to get deals done.
It’s certainly possible the team could release James Starks or restructure Jordy Nelson in 2017 to find intermediate cap relief.
Running backs are devalued in the free agent market as it is. Realistically when you look at the deals that Chris Ivory (5 years, $6.4 per) , Doug Martin (5 years $~7 per) and Lamar Miller (4 years $6.5 per) signed, you should be able to get Eddie Lacy back in Green Bay for less (or right around) than $7 million in average annual value.
The question I have is whether or not Lacy and his team would accept a three or four year deal with an AAV between $4.5 and $5 million.
Last season was bad. Because last season was bad and because there is a (moderate) public consternation that maybe Lacy didn’t lose as much weight as he could have or should have this offseason there might not be a time when Lacy has less leverage to negotiate a new contract.
James Starks is under contract for 2017, as is John Crockett. If Green Bay lets Lacy walk in 2017 I have no problem believing that they’ll be just fine with Starks, Crockett, a draft pick and Cobb/Montgomery in the backfield. They won a Super Bowl with rookie James Starks and Brandon Jackson at tailback.
With that said, if Green Bay can lock up Eddie Lacy to a medium term deal at $4.5 or $5 million he becomes a value, even in today’s NFL. Green Bay is now paying the price for failing to reach a deal with Randall Cobb prior to the 2014 season.
Cobb excelled in 2014 and signed a contract worth between three and five million dollars more in annual average value than he might have before 2014 camp. Cobb was coming off of a 2013 injury, not a season of poor performance but the value remained the same.
I believe Eddie Lacy has a big 2016 in store for Packers fans, and that if Green Bay waits with his extension until after the season they’ll lose out on a potential value, causing them to either lose out on Lacy’s services for 2017 and beyond or lose another key player.
A team that drafts as well as Green Bay does can’t keep everybody, but this might be a good opportunity to keep Eddie Lacy.