One-year deal for Kuhn worth just over $1 million.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) April 3, 2014
The 31-year-old veteran has spent the past seven seasons in Green Bay, but saw his three-year, $7.6 million contract expire at the conclusion of the 2013 season, per Spotrac.com.
Although Kuhn's numbers aren't impressive, numbers aren't necessarily his game. The undrafted back has been an unsung hero for the Packers since signing in 2007 and is a fan favorite in and around Green Bay. Kuhn is most effective as a short-yardage runner and as a pass-blocker in the backfield.
Packers running backs coach Alex Van Pelt talked about the importance of bringing Kuhn back shortly before he became a free agent last month, per ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky:
"I have to say he's probably the best pass protector, third-down back in the league as far as protection. At certain points, you have a comfort level with John that's huge. That would be a hole we'd have to fill."
NBC Sports Pro Football Talk's Darin Gantt breaks down what Kuhn adds to the Packers offense:
Kuhn, whose name has the kind of long-vowel sound that fans love to stretch out, added some value as the Packers began to run more last season...He only touched the ball 23 times all year (10 runs, 13 catches), but he scored a touchdown, and helped as a lead blocker when Aaron Rodgers was down with injury.
Kuhn rushed for a career-high 281 yards and four touchdowns in 2010, the year the Packers went on to win Super Bowl XLV. The Dover, Pa., native is also an experienced postseason performer. Kuhn has appeared in nine playoff games with the Packers since 2009, scoring seven total touchdowns in those games as both a runner and a receiver.
Although 2010 was Kuhn's best year from a statistical standpoint, he earned a Pro Bowl nod in 2011, the year he helped the Packers to a 15-1 record.
It's unlikely that Kuhn's production will increase in 2014. However, if he can continue to provide experience and toughness in an underrated role behind quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Mike McCarthy and the Packers' coaching staff will be thrilled.
Also, with Kuhn signing a one-year deal, the Packers aren't tied up in big money for the long haul and have given themselves an easy exit strategy if Kuhn struggles in 2014.
The bottom line is that Kuhn's value can't be measured in rushing yards or touchdowns. Sure, he lacks the physical tools to be a superstar in the conventional sense. But he understands his limitations and is comfortable fitting in as a role player, which makes him a standout in his role. And if Green Bay hopes to make a deep playoff run next season, having Kuhn on the roster and on the field is critical.
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