No, it’s not the big free agent announcement Green Bay Packer fans have been waiting for, but there is news along the Packers free agent front.
Francois, who joined the Packers back in 2010 as an undrafted free agent out of Boston College, has been a pleasant surprise and carved out a niche for himself on the team as a backup linebacker, while playing a key role on special teams.
Last season, Francois played in all 16 regular season games for the Packers, but did not see much time on defense. Most of his action came on special teams, where he was one of the teams leading tacklers, finishing with a total of 13.
2011 was Francois’ best year in Green Bay, as he logged two interceptions, three passes broken up and a fumble forced, while starting two games due to injuries to linebackers Desmond Bishop and A.J. Hawk. The former B.C. standout actually held up quite well in his two starts and notched two interceptions as well as one forced fumble over the course of the season.
Francois gives the team some much needed insurance at inside linebacker with both Bishop and D.J. Smith coming off season-ending injuries.
Additionally, Brad Jones, who started the majority of the 2012 season (in place of Smith and Bishop) is a free agent and Hawk, a seven-year starter at linebacker, is owed over $5 million this season and could be a salary cap casualty.
The terms of the deal are not yet disclosed, but they are certainly going to be below the minimum tender for restricted free agents, which is $1.323 million. Francois entered the offseason as a restricted free agent but, because of the high cost of the restricted tender, the Packers didn’t tender him an offer and hoped to re-sign him for less.
In the end, money didn’t matter as much to Francois, who simply wanted to stay in Green Bay. Now it looks like he will get his wish.