Green Bay Packers: To Keep or to Cut Every 2012 Free Agent

J FCorrespondent IJanuary 2, 2012

Green Bay Packers: To Keep or to Cut Every 2012 Free Agent

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    The Green Bay Packers already locked up two of their top players before the season ended, but they still have many more decisions to make when it comes to this year's free agency.

    Jordy Nelson and Josh Sitton both received extensions before their contracts expired. However, there are eight more players who will go into the playoffs with uncertain futures.

    The team must work to keep a few of its stars, but the Pack will also have to let the majority of their 2012 free agents walk away.

    Sources:, ESPN

Cut: Ryan Grant

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    Ryan Grant has been reliable at best in the absence of James Starks, but not good enough for the Packers to renew his contract after this season.

    Starks is undoubtedly the Pack's lead back for the future, and it is time for Grant to move on.

    He has lost most of his explosiveness, and he's no longer productive.

    They have plenty of younger options in the backfield such as Alex Green, who missed most of the season with injury, and fellow rookie Brandon Saine, who has shown promise as a third-down back.

    Grant may be of use to another team next season, but the Packers should release the struggling back and possibly even add another running threat in the draft.

Keep: Jermichael Finley

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    Jermichael Finley has dropped a good number of catchable balls this season, and he hasn't necessarily revolutionized the tight end position—still, his value remains undeniable to the Packers offense.

    My guess is that he will work on his inconsistency in the offseason after he is given a brand new contract, and his talent will flourish with Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback in 2012.

    Finley has had a solid season since his return from injury, and by no means should the Packers give up on his potential just yet.

Cut: Howard Green

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    Howard Green has seen the field a decent amount of time this season because of injuries along the defensive line.

    Still, the 340-pound nose tackle hasn't made much of an impact.

    He's only recorded 11 tackles, and he hasn't taken down the quarterback once.

    The Packers will be safe to let him go, and there's a good chance he might still be available if they decide they really do need him at some point next season.

Keep: Scott Wells

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    Scott Wells made his first Pro Bowl this season, but that is just another incentive for the Packers to re-sign him.

    His play protecting Aaron Rodgers and as a run blocker has earned him a new deal.

    Wells was the team's best offensive lineman in 2011, and he's the center of the Pack's dynamic offense.

    The Packers must do everything they can to bring him back for 2012. 

Cut: Matt Flynn

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    The Packers did Matt Flynn a huge favor by starting him against the Lions on Sunday.

    Six touchdowns and nearly 500 yards later, what quarterback-desperate team won't be drooling over Flynn in free agency?

    He showed once again that he can effectively manage an offense, make big plays and ultimately win a game.

    While the Packers would love to hold onto him, there is simply no way that they'll be able to compete with other offers just to keep him as a backup.

    Even though there would be a chance of getting something in return for Flynn, slapping a franchise tag on him would be very risky if teams weren't willing to pay for him.

    Nevertheless, Flynn's performance against Detroit wasn't a fluke, and he has played his last game in Green Bay. Fortunately, Aaron Rodgers is the superior signal-caller in Titletown.

Cut: Erik Walden

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    Erik Walden had some great games at the end of last season, but that was last year.

    In 2011, Walden has struggled in every facet of his responsibilities from pass-rushing to run-stopping.

    He has started every meaningful game, but recently the Packers have used a rotation opposite of Clay Matthews.

    Frank Zombo and Vic So'oto will likely get some playing time in his place going forward.

    When you add his off-the-field issues into the equation, there is no good reason to keep Walden around.

Cut: Pat Lee

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    Pat Lee's play certainly hasn't earned him a new contract, and his injury issues won't help his case.

    Not to mention he was ejected in the Pack's first matchup with the Lions this season.

    In the second game against Detroit, Lee misplayed two kickoffs, and one of them resulted in a safety.

    He's only valuable for depth on defense, and even then not so much.

    It won't be hard for Green Bay to watch him walk this offseason.

Cut: Jarrett Bush

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    Bush has been serviceable as a dime back in the Packers secondary, but he's certainly no stud in pass coverage.

    Despite nabbing two picks this season, he is much better off on special teams, where he is a solid contributor.

    The Packers shouldn't put up too much of an effort to stop other teams from trying to add him in free agency.