Free Agency: The Curious Case of House

When cornerback Davon House has played, he's played well; he just hasn't played often enough to get a gauge on where his career stands after four seasons. House's future could be tied to that of his mentor, fellow free-agent corner Tramon Williams. (Benny Sieu/USA TODAY)

In four seasons, 2011 fourth-round pick Davon House has started 12 games for the Green Bay Packers.

The cornerback’s talent is without question. Whether it’s injuries or the depth chart, however, he just hasn’t been able to get in the lineup. And when he does get in the lineup, he hasn’t been able to stay in the lineup.

With free agency starting on March 10, who could blame House if he wanted to take a peek over the fence to see if the grass is greener outside of Green Bay.

That, however, isn’t the case.

“In talking to my wife and just praying a lot, my heart’s been telling me here. I don’t want to play nowhere else,” House said on Monday.

Injuries have been a big part of the story of House’s career. After playing in only two games as a rookie, House made a run at the starting job in 2012 but injured his shoulder in the preseason opener and missed the first six games. He returned to start five games and finished fourth on the team with 13 passes defensed. In 2013, House played in all 16 games, again making five starts and finishing third with 13 passes defensed — including his first interception.

To get ready for this season, he worked out alongside Darrelle Revis, improved his conditioning by training with Jarrett Bush and honed his ball skills with Tramon Williams. Nonetheless, House started only two games as he was a victim of the numbers game in a crowded secondary. He broke up 11 passes (fourth on the team) — including an impressive interception when matched against Detroit’s Calvin Johnson. He played in the first 13 games before bad luck struck again. Thrust into action against Atlanta on Dec. 8, he was the only member of the secondary to have any success against Julio Jones. However, when breaking up a pass in the end zone, he fell on Jones’ knee and sustained a significant shoulder injury, which cost him the final three games of the regular season.

So, with free agency a month-and-a-half away, House’s resume is mixed. When he’s played, he’s played well. He just hasn’t played enough to give anyone an idea of how he’d fare as a 16-game starter. Or even if he could hold up as a 16-game starter.

“I think I’ve gotten better every year,” House said. “I’m excited to see what will happen if I was to be a starter and how I would play. I look at the things that I’ve done and then I look around the league at other players, and my numbers with the pass breakups and whatnot are up there with them and I only started four or five games. If I started 16 games, the sky’s the limit, I believe.”

Will that opportunity come in Green Bay? Cornerback is an interesting position entering the offseason. Sam Shields is locked in as one starter but who will line up as the other starter when the 2015 season begins? Williams, who has started all but one game over the past five seasons, will be a free agent, as well. He had a solid season and is an excellent veteran leader but will turn 32 on March 16. Bush will be a free agent, as well. Casey Hayward, a second-round pick in 2012, had a quiet third season but, like House, saw limited reps because of the depth. Micah Hyde, a third-round pick in 2013, opened the season at safety but settled into the nickel role. There’s no doubt he’ll play somewhere. Rookie Demetri Goodson didn’t play a snap on defense but the coaches like his long-term potential.

It’s quite possible that House’s future is tied to that of his mentor, Williams.

“I think everyone wants to be a starter,” House said. “Like I said, though, I don’t want to play nowhere else. I really would do anything to stay here if I can but I know it’s a business. It really is a business. If they want me, we’ll see what they say.”

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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