It may be only a few weeks until the start of the regular season, but it is important that we look ahead and play as Ted Thompson by evaluating players who should or should not have their contracts renewed for the 2010 season and beyond.
So far this offseason, Greg Jennings has been the only player that has been given a contract extension which prevents him from testing free agency in 2010. Yet, 15 more Packers are in the last year of their contracts.
In Part 1, I will look at the offensive players who will become free agents next off-season.
Deshawn Wynn age: 25 RB3/4
Wynn was the Packer's seventh round draft pick in 2007. Though he been injured quite a bit, he has shown flashes of potential as a backup to Ryan Grant. Currently, Wynn is battling for a roster spot with Kregg Lumpkin and Tyrell Sutton. Wynn will most likely make the roster this year due to his improved off-season work ethic that has grabbed the coach's attention.
Prediction: Stay. As a restricted free agent, the Packers can match any team's offer. So long as Wynn avoids the injury bug, he should be able to contribute to the offense. Its not likely a team will reach out to sign him due to his history with injuries.
Ruvell Martin age: 27 WR5
Since being on the practice squad in 2005, Martin has been able to crack the deep lineup of wide receivers as the fifth receiver. Martin is tall and has an excellent repartee with Rodgers. His ability to make clutch catches on third downs makes him a favorite target. Though other receivers that include Brett Swain appear to try and take the remaining receiver spot from Martin, I believe Martin will make the final roster.
Prediction: Walk. As a fifth receiver, Martin is expendable to the Packers and would make a valuable No. 3 receiver on many teams. He will most likely look to join a team where he can receive more playing time.
Chad Clifton age: 33 LT1
Clifton has become a staple of the offense since his rookie season. Drafted in the second round in 2000, Clifton has been a very reliable starter at left tackle. He went to the Pro-bowl in 2008 and has protected the quarterbacks well. Even though his play dropped off last year, Clifton will remain the starter for the 2009 season.
Prediction: Walk. At the age of 33, Clifton will not be given a lucrative deal by the Packers and will test free agency. Clifton should get interest from other teams and still has a couple more years left. The organization is hoping Jamon Meredith can step into Clifton's role in 2010.
Tony Moll age: 26 OT2/3
Moll can be described as a "jack of all trades - a master of none". As a former fifth round pick in 2006, Moll is quite versatile on the offensive line but is not a starter. He has struggled in training camp and may not secure a roster spot.
Prediction: Walk. I'm not sure if Moll will make the active roster with the younger talent coming up behind him. If he does, I'm positive Jamon Meredith and T.J. Lang will have passed him on the depth chart by the end of the season, making Moll expendable.
Daryn Colledge age: 27 LG1
Since being drafted in the second round in 2006, Colledge has been a durable force as a starter. He has started 44 of 48 games—all but three at Left Guard. He and Jason Spitz were the only two linemen to start every game in 2008.
Prediction: Stay. Colledge has been one of the better blockers up front for the Packers and needs to be given a contract extension. Thompson needs to lock him up.
Jason Spitz age: 26 G/C
Spitz is a very skilled and versitile lineman. Currently, he is competing with Scott Wells for the starting center position, but was the starter last year at right guard. Spitz was a fourth round pick in 2006 and had played both guard positions in college, yet scouts saw him better suited as a center.
Prediction: Stay. If Spitz ends up winning the starting job for center, he should easily be rewarded with a contract extension. However, if he fails to become a starter this year at center or right guard he may be let go due to more important expiring contracts that involve current starters Colledge, Kampman, and Collins who are more valuable to the organization than Spitz if he can't secure a starting spot.
Any thoughts or comments Packer fans?
That's it for the offense. Part 2 will cover the defense.