GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Ted Thompson’s last acts as Green Bay Packers general manager -- if he was actually still acting as GM and not just as a figure head -- were to sign Davante Adams and Corey Linsley to contract extensions on the final weekend of the 2017 regular season.
It leaves new GM Brian Gutekunst without a must-sign player on his list of upcoming free agents.
Adams would have been one of the top receivers had he hit the open market. Instead, the Packers were able to retain him on a five-year, $58.9 million contract that made him the fourth-highest-paid receiver in the league.
In Linsley, the Packers made sure they retained their starting center -- and the only player on the team who played in every snap on his side of the ball last season. He signed a three-year, $25.5 million extension.
Here’s a look at the rest of the Packers’ players who are headed for free agency when the new league year opens on March 14:
Unrestricted (Players with four or more accrued seasons)
Richard Rodgers: Tight end is a major need with or without Rodgers, who never quite took off after his Hail Mary catch against the Lions in 2015. That remains the only 100-yard receiving game of his career. He slipped behind Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks to start the season and even when Bennett was released, Rodgers’ productivity barely spiked. He had only two games this past season with more than one catch and missed the finale with a shoulder injury. The market could be light for the former third-round pick, so perhaps the Packers could get him back cheap for some depth. His salary last season was $1,797,000.
Jahri Evans: The 12th-year veteran was perhaps the surprise of last year’s free-agent class for the Packers. He played the first 912 snaps of the season before a knee injury kept him out of the final two games. Evans said late in the season that he wasn’t sure if he would play a 13th season. He will turn 35 in August. The Packers could slide Justin McCray or Lucas Patrick into the right guard spot if Evans isn’t back. He signed a one-year, $2.25 million deal with the Packers last offseason.
Jeff Janis: His chance to contribute as a receiver is probably gone; he played just 50 snaps on offense last season and didn’t catch a pass until the second-to-last game of the year. But he’s become a valuable special-teams player.
Restricted (Players with three accrued seasons but not four; can be tendered by March 14 for the Packers to retain the right to match any offer from another team):
Exclusive rights (Players with fewer than three accrued seasons; must be offered minimum salary tenders by March 14 or they become street free agents): WR Geronimo Allison, QB Joe Callahan, WR Michael Clark, OL Adam Pankey
Morgan Burnett: The veteran safety was No. 3 on the priority list behind Adams and Linsley, but he was a distant third. Yes, he’s versatile -- having played everywhere from safety to slot cornerback to inside linebacker. But he’s also never been one to make a ton of splash plays. He has nine career interceptions in eight NFL seasons. He just turned 29 and hasn’t played a full season since 2012. He missed four games this past season because of two separate injuries (hamstring and groin). The Packers also have potential replacements in Josh Jones and Kentrell Brice. Burnett is at the end of a four-year, $24.75 million deal. There will be a market for Burnett, but it may not be at that same price. Given that new coordinator Mike Pettine’s defense can be complicated, Burnett might have more value to the Packers than to another team.
Ahmad Brooks: Essentially signed as a replacement for Julius Peppers, who left months earlier in free agency, but the former 49ers linebacker didn’t come close to replicating what Peppers did during his three years with the Packers and certainly couldn’t match the production Peppers had back in Carolina. For the same money -- $3.5 million -- the Packers got 1.5 sacks from Brooks and the Panthers got 11.0 from Peppers.
Quinton Dial: Like Brooks, Dial was a last-minute pickup right before the regular season started. He gave the Packers quality snaps along the defensive line to complement Kenny Clark, Mike Daniels and Dean Lowry. At just $775,001, he was a value signing who probably earned a little bit more in his next contract.
Davon House: After two seasons with the Jaguars, House returned to the Packers on a one-year, $2.8 million deal and played with the kind of toughness the Packers expected. He also served as a mentor to top draft pick Kevin King. A similar type of deal would make it worthwhile to bring him back. Like Burnett, House could be valuable in a scheme that favors veterans because of its complexity.
Demetri Goodson: Although he made it back to the active roster more than a year after a serious knee injury, he did not play a single snap in 2017, so it’s unknown what the fourth-year cornerback can do. He would be a minimum-salary-type signing.
Joe Thomas: A year after he led the inside linebackers in snaps, he fell behind Blake Martinez and Jake Ryan on the depth chart. Injuries and the increased use of the “nitro” defensive package with a safety at inside linebacker also played a role.
Brett Goode: The veteran long-snapper played in 10 games during two separate stints on the roster last season. His snaps have been on point for 10 seasons, but the Packers have seemed intent on trying to replace him in recent years, even though he’s on a minimum salary. The Packers signed another snapper, Zach Triner, to a futures deal and also could bring back Taybor Pepper, who finished the season on IR.