With the 2014 NFL free agency less than a week away, the Green Bay Packers have several decisions to make regarding numerous players. It has already been reported that Green Bay offered a one-year, $4 million offer to B.J. Raji. The next offer the Packers need to make must go to folk hero John Kuhn.
Green Bay has already announced they have no plans to offer a contract to the veteran fullback prior to the start of free agency, which begins Tuesday, March 11. The reality is the Packers should want to retain the fan favorite for various reasons. I’m not saying Green Bay should give him anything more than the veteran’s minimum, but a deal needs to be made.
Kuhn is someone who has specialized in short-yardage situations over the past few years. However, that isn’t the reason why the organization must re-sign him. Kuhn has made a living by excelling in pass protection on critical downs. More specifically, he comes in on obvious third-down passing plays to protect quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Even though opponents know the Packers are about to pass, Kuhn rarely allows a defender to get past him. Green Bay doesn’t have anyone else on the team with the kind of experience or success rate that Kuhn has, which is certainly a major concern if he leaves in free agency.
The Packers are moving in a direction in which they want their running backs to raise their level of play in pass protection. That way, players such as Offensive Rookie of the Year Eddie Lacy won’t have to come off the field on a third-down pass attempt. It will keep the defense more honest and allow Rodgers to feel more comfortable to audible to a run play if he sees the middle open up.
There’s no question it’s a good idea by the organization. With that being said, it will take some time for the running backs to get caught up to speed, which means keeping Kuhn around a while longer makes perfect sense. Kuhn can provide quality protection for Rodgers while also showing the youngsters how it’s done.
The last position the Packers want to find themselves in is without a confident back to block the league’s premiere pass rushers. Not many players would have been able to make the play Kuhn did on Julius Peppers in the season finale against the Chicago Bears, which led to the Rodgers-Randall Cobb GMC Never Say Never Moment of the Year. To me, that play is all there is to know what type of player Kuhn truly is.