Mike Neal - #96 - Linebacker - 6'3" - 285lbs
Fri. Mar 7, 2014 | RotoWire
News: Neal received a "meaningful" contract offer from the Packers, but it isn't enough to keep him from testing the free agent market, Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette reports.
Impact: The 2013 season was by far the best of Neal's still young career, as he played in all 16 games for the Packers and racked up 47 tackles (36 solo), 5.0 sacks, one interception and one forced fumble. Still, it seems the club is prepared to let Neal walk, as GM Ted Thompson is looking retool the defensive line. Neal was a second-round pick by the Packers in 2010.
Sam Shields - #37 - Cornerback - 5'11" - 184lbs
Sat. Mar 1, 2014 | RotoWire
News: The Packers have not reached a contract agreement with Shields, who now intends to test his value in free agency, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
Impact: The Packers would pay up $11.834 million to put the franchise tag on Shields, and that action appears to be a non-consideration for the team. Journal Sentinel writer Tom Silverstein suspects the Packers are willing to pay Shields up to roughly $7 million per year, and they're apparently willing to bet on Shields taking an eventual deal in that range, or perhaps finding a suitable replacement for Shields in free agency at a similar or better price. This free agency class includes names such as Vontae Davis, Brent Grimes, Alterraun Verner, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Aqib Talib.
Johnny Jolly - #97 - Defensive Tackle - 6'3" - 325lbs
Thu. Feb 27, 2014 | RotoWire
News: Jolly underwent single fusion neck surgery on Jan. 10 to repair a bulging disc, ESPN.com reports.
Impact: The report further clarifies that the procedure was done to address a bulging disc between Jolly's C-5 and C-6 vertebrae, while suggesting that such a surgery is easier to rebound from than fusions performed higher in the neck. In any case, the report indicates that the defensive lineman expects to be able to play this coming season. With that in mind, Jolly is scheduled for an MRI on March 11, which is also the first day of NFL free agency.
Chris Banjo - #32 - Safety - 5'10" - 207lbs
Wed. Feb 26, 2014 | RotoWire
News: Banjo has re-signed with the Packers, the team's official website reports.
Impact: Banjo made one start and appeared in all 16 games for the Packers last season, when he accumulated 15 tackles (12 solo). While he saw spot time at safety, Banjo primarily made his mark on special teams, where he ranked second on the Packers with 10 coverage tackles.
James Jones - #89 - Wide Receiver - 6'1" - 208lbs
Feb 23, 2014 | RotoWire
News: The Packers are prepared to let Jones walk in free agency, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
Impact: Green Bay has not extended Jones a contract offer and more than likely won't, as Jones' agent, Frank Bauer, said bluntly, "I don't think [GM] Ted Thompson wants him." Age seems to be a big factor for the Packers, as Jones will be 30 next month, and Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are understandably higher priorities. Jones led the NFL in 2012 with 14 touchdown receptions, but finished with just three scores last season.
Jermichael Finley - #88 - Tight End - 6'5" - 247lbs
News: Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Friday that he's "open and optimistic" about Finley's return from neck surgery, NFL.com reports.
Impact: It's the first public indication that the Packers think Finley will resume his playing career, though McCarthy didn't say anything about a possible return to the Packers other than he's "open" to the idea. The general consensus is that Finley will not re-sign with Green Bay. Joseph Maroon, the neurosurgeon who performed Finley's spinal surgery in November, said last week that there's a "99.9 percent" chance that the tight end's neck will fully heal.
Sam Shields - #37 - Cornerback - 5'11" - 184lbs
News: Shields is one of the players the Packers would "like to have back" according to general manager Ted Thompson, FOX Sports Wisconsin's Paul Imig reports.
Impact: Shields had one of the best years of his career in 2013, proving to be a reliable cover corner opposite Tramon Williams. It's no surprise that the Packers want him back, but he will likely demand a high price tag in free agency. The team does have a projected $31 million in cap room to work with, so re-signing him is certainly not outside the realm of possibility.
Eddie Lacy - #27 - Running back - 5'11" - 230lbs
News: Lacy could be headed for an increased workload in 2014, as Packers coach Mike McCarthy is hopeful to use him as a three-down back, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Tom Silverstein reports.
Impact: Lacy eventually grew to be the feature back in the Green Bay offense over the 2013 campaign, but according to the head coach, his role may be headed for further expansion. After seeing heavy usage, Lacy was often spelled by James Starks last year, but Starks is set to become a free agent, and his return is currently uncertain. Jonathan Franklin and DuJuan Harris (knee) come next on the depth chart, but it appears as if the Packers are more comfortable relying on their workhorse. If Lacy can consistently fill the role of a three-down back that McCarthy is describing while avoiding the injury bug, he could be poised to be one of the top fantasy running backs in 2014.