With plenty of speculation taking place in regards to free agents available on the open market, the Green Bay Packers have 21 of their own that GM Brian Gutekunst will have to make decisions on.
Given how poorly the 2018 season went for the Packers, there is the strong possibility that we will see a number of moves made this offseason to strengthen the overall roster.
However there are five pending free agents from the Green Bay Packers 2018 roster that Gutekunst should bring back for the 2019 season.
Types of Free Agents
In the NFL, free agents can fall into three different categories largely dependent on tenure in the league.
The first and most familiar type of free agent is the unrestricted (UFA). This is a player who has four or more years of NFL experience and has the freedom to sign with whichever team they desire.
Next we have the restricted free agent (RFA) who has three years in the league. They will receive a “qualifying” offer from the current team which is predetermined by the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement. The free agent has the opportunity to negotiate with other teams but their current team has the ability to match any offers they receive.
Finally, there is the exclusive-rights free agent (ERFA) who has two or fewer NFL seasons under their belt and are unable to negotiate with other teams.
Geronimo Allison, RFA
Since going undrafted in 2016, Geronimo Allison has come a long ways in this Packers offense and was poised for a breakout year in 2018 before being bit by the injury bug.
During the course of his five games last season, Allison tallied 20 receptions, averaged over 15 yards per catch and caught two touchdowns. Before suffering his first injury, Allison led the team in receiving yards through the first four weeks of the season.
Perhaps most important is the trust he has built with Aaron Rodgers during his time in Green Bay. We saw how much a lack of trust with the young receivers crippled the passing game last season, which is another reason bringing back Allison makes sense.
Bashaud Breeland, UFA
The Packers were able to bring in Bashaud Breeland on a cheap contract last season after he failed an offseason physical with the Carolina Panthers who were set to sign him to a three year, $24 million deal.
Breeland had earned that big contract in Carolina for a reason after a solid four years in Washington where he recorded eight interceptions and averaged just under 15 pass deflections per season.
In Green Bay, Breeland appeared in seven games where he posted two interceptions including a pick six, along with four pass deflections and a fumble recovery.
With another year in Mike Pettine’s system and a full offseason to get healthy, Breeland would be a fine third option at corner behind Kevin King and Jaire Alexander.
Ibraheim Campbell, RFA
Since he was drafted, Ibraheim Campbell has played for a number of teams and when the Green Bay Packers brought him in he wasn’t expected to do much initially. However due to injuries he was forced to play much earlier.
Campbell was drafted by Mike Pettine when he was the head coach of the Cleveland Browns, so he is familiar with the defensive system. He is also a very solid tackler, an area that the Packers secondary struggles in. During his three games in Green Bay, Campbell was able to record 18 tackles.
Unfortunately up to this point Campbell’s career hasn’t panned out as hoped but he isn’t expected to be a starter and will add depth to the safety position at a cheap price.
Robert Tonyan, ERFA
The tight end position has been a puzzle for the Green Bay Packers in recent years but with the addition of Matt LaFleur at head coach, it should play a more prominent role in the offense.
While Robert Tonyan is no where near ready to be a full time starter, we have seen flashes of his potential including a 54 yard touchdown grab in Seattle.
As a former wide receiver, Tonyan can create mismatches out wide and will be another red zone target for Rodgers as well as an option over the middle.
With a high upside and low cost, it makes sense to bring Tonyan back for 2019.
Jake Kumerow, ERFA
It was during training camp that Rodgers praised Jake Kumerow and appears to have confidence in throwing the ball his way. Which as highlighted above with Allision, is an important aspect.
Although he was injured and appeared in just two regular season games, we saw the big play ability that Kumerow brings to the table.
During the preseason he hauled in an 82 yard touchdown against Pittsburgh, while against Tennessee he had added a 52 yard reception. In the regular season Kumerow caught a 49 yard touchdown pass in New York.
With the uncertainty around whether or not Randall Cobb will be back and J’Mon Moore still an unknown, it won’t hurt to bring back Kumerow.
With the Green Bay Packers in the midst of a mini-rebuild that they are trying to conduct on the fly they will have to nail the draft and be active in free agency if we hope to see a big jump in 2019.
But by bringing back these five players they can get the offseason started off on the right foot.