The Green Bay Packers re-signed defensive tackle Letroy Guion on Friday.
Whether that’s insurance should the Packers lose free-agent stalwart B.J. Raji, or the Packers’ attempt to keep intact arguably the best unit on the roster, remains to be seen.
Regardless, the Packers kept one of their 14 unrestricted free agents off the market by signing him a three-year deal that’s worth $11.25 million, according to ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky. Incentives could push that to $11.75 million.
Guion totaled 41 tackles (14 solos) in 13 games in 2015. After serving a three-game suspension to start the season due to his March 31 arrest on gun and drug charges, it predictably took Guion time to get back in the swing of things. When that happened down the stretch, he became a key element of the Packers’ defense even while losing playing time to Mike Pennel. Guion’s play on an early goal-line series at Washington might have saved the season. He finished with two tackles for losses, six pressures and two quarterback hits. His 8.67 snaps per tackle ranked second on the unit. Teams averaged 0.61 yards less per carry with Guion on the field.
In two seasons with the Packers, Guion has started 20 of his 29 games and recorded 103 tackles and 3.5 sacks. He replaced an injured Raji at nose tackle and had arguably the best season of his career in 2014.
Even though Guion will be entering his ninth season, he will turn only 29 in June. Raji, on the other hand, will turn 30 in July. Raji, however, is a better player than Guion and has fewer off-the-field issues, as well, meaning he might have more than a few suitors throwing money at him as he seeks a long-term contract following back-to-back one-year deals with Green Bay. With the Packers signing defensive tackle Mike Daniels to a $41 million contract extension during the season, Green Bay might not be inclined to go too high in the bidding to keep Raji, which makes the Guion deal critical. Based on a possible $150 million salary cap, the Packers were right in the middle of the pack with $19.93 million of cap space before the Guion deal, according to OverTheCap.com.
On the defensive line, the Packers have Daniels, Guion, Pennel, 2013 draft picks Datone Jones and Josh Boyd, and returning practice-squad players Christian Ringo (sixth round, 2015), William Campbell (sixth round, 2013, by Jets) and B.J. McBryde (undrafted, 2015) under contract. Boyd missed almost all of the 2015 season with a broken ankle. If the Packers can keep Raji, a quality front wall will return intact. If not, defensive tackle immediately becomes a primary need in the draft.
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.