Free Agency Decisions Part 9: John Kuhn

Versatile John Kuhn delivered time and again, especially in short yardage, as the only reliable runner for most of last season. Throw in his superb work in pass protection, and the Packers would be wise to bring back the big but surprisingly nimble Kuhn.

At some point — hopefully through negotiation rather than a court ruling — there will be football this year. That means there will be free agency.

The Green Bay Packers have 11 free agents — six of whom are unrestricted and five of whom may or may not be restricted, depending on the verbiage of the NFL's 2011 rules.


The rest of the series

Packer Report is examining the Packers' 11 free agents.

Part 1: Bigby, Spitz, Hall

Part 2: Backup safety Smith

Part 3: Veteran ILB Wilhelm

Part 4: Star DE Jenkins

Part 5: Inconsistent G Colledge

Part 6: Erratic K Crosby

Part 7: Reliable RB Jackson

Part 8: Unreliable WR Jones

In this series, we have looked at those players and told you who should stay and who should go. We wrap up things with the last of the players who are in restricted/unrestricted limbo but likely will be unrestricted when a collective bargaining agreement is reached, versatile running back John Kuhn.

There is no doubt that the Packers — who barely got into the playoffs — would not have won the Super Bowl without Kuhn, the versatile fullback-halfback who picked up some of the slack after Ryan Grant's season-opening ankle injury in the opener.

— Kuhn's 12-yard run set up his 3-yard touchdown plunge in the third quarter that gave the Packers a 20-3 lead in a season-opening win at Philadelphia.

— Kuhn bailed out a sinking ship by running seven times for 34 yards — getting three first downs in the process — as the Packers drained the final 6:32 in a Week 4 victory over Detroit.

— A week after running, catching and jumping his way to 48 total yards in a narrow loss at New England, Kuhn scored a career-high three touchdowns in a late-season win against the Giants and earned game balls on offense and special teams.

— In the wild-card win at Philadelphia, Kuhn converted a third-and-7 with a 9-yard reception, with Tom Crabtree's 7-yard touchdown catch on the next play giving the Packers a 7-0 lead. Later, his 16-yard rumble on a screen set up the Packers' final touchdown.

In all, Kuhn finished second on the team with 84 carries, third with 281 rushing yards and second in total touchdowns with six during the regular season. All set career highs. More importantly, here's a stat for those who gripe about coach Mike McCarthy's "predictable" play-calling in certain situations. On third-and-1 and third-and-2, Kuhn finished third in the NFL by converting 10-of-12 opportunities (83.3 percent), according to STATS. Moreover, he lost yardage on just 4-of-84 carries (4.8 percent), the fifth-best figure in the league over the course of the regular season.

Plus, in 107 snaps when his singular role was pass protection, Kuhn allowed merely three pressures and one quarterback hit, according to Pro Football Focus' breakdown (which, unlike STATS, includes the playoffs).

Kuhn, 28, told the York Dispatch of his hometown of York, Pa., that he'd prefer to remain with the Packers. The Packers would be wise to pay the relatively modest price to keep him.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport.


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