Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY

James Starks Remains Packers’ Backup Plan

James Starks put up career-high numbers in several statistics last season and, statistically, was the NFL's most dangerous running back in the passing game.

James Starks is back in the Green Bay Packers’ backfield, having agreed to a two-year deal worth $6 million.

A source said Starks will receive a total of $3 million for each of the two seasons.

Once Matt Forte signed with the New York Jets – he received $9 million guaranteed as part of his three-year, $12 million contract – Starks became the obvious target for Green Bay to serve as the No. 2 at running back behind Eddie Lacy.

Starks, who turned 30 on Feb. 25, set career highs in rushing yards (601), receiving yards (392), total yards (993), receptions (43) and total touchdowns (five). Starks’ 993 total yards led the team.

Always a dangerous runner, Starks had his best season in the passing game, with no sacks allowed and a league-leading 11.37 yards after the catch per catch. Among running backs, Starks tied for the NFL with four receptions of 25-plus yards and was one of five with 600-plus rushing yards and 390-plus receiving yards. However, his five fumbles matched his combined total from his first five seasons in the league, with those fumbles costing him a chance to supplant Eddie Lacy in the backfield down the stretch.

After playing in 35 of a possible 64 regular-season games during his first four seasons, Starks has played in all 32 regular-season games the past two seasons.

In 2013, Starks led the NFL with 5.5 yards per attempt. In free agency the following offseason, Starks returned with a two-year deal worth $3.25 million. Starks took a free-agent visit to New England and had significant interest from a few other teams but elected to go back to Green Bay where, as a sixth-round pick in 2010, he helped the Packers win the Super Bowl.

Bill Huber is publisher of and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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