Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY

Packers Win by Losing J.C. Tretter

J.C. Tretter gets a much-needed change of scenery along with a contract in Cleveland. The Packers get something, too.

The Green Bay Packers suffered their loss in free agency, with center J.C. Tretter set to join with the Cleveland Browns once the signing period starts at 3 p.m. today.

In this case, however, it’s addition by subtraction for the Packers.

That isn’t a knock on Tretter. In his limited opportunities, he played well. That includes starting the first seven games of this past season, when Corey Linsley was sidelined by a torn hamstring. Tretter played so well that he likely would have held onto the job through the rest of the year had he not suffered a knee injury that ultimately led to season-ending surgery.

In those seven games, Tretter allowed two sacks and was penalized twice (once for holding), according to STATS. According to Pro Football Focus, Tretter allowed two sacks and a total of 10 pressures in 493 pass-blocking snaps from 2014 through 2016. That gave Tretter the fifth-best pass-blocking efficiency among centers who played at least 100 pass-protecting snaps during that span.

Tretter needs a fresh start and a change of luck. As a rookie fourth-round pick in 2013, he suffered an ankle injury during the first practice of OTAs and missed most of the season. In 2014, he was handed the starting job at center but suffered a knee injury in the preseason, which opened the door for Linsley. Tretter replaced an injured Linsley for three games in 2015, then remarkably helped save the Packers’ season when he started at left tackle in the playoff win at Washington. Tretter ran with his opportunity in 2016 until struck again by injury.

So, how do the Packers gain by losing Tretter? His three-year deal averages $5.583 million. That almost certainly means the Packers will gain a fifth-round compensatory pick in 2018. In this year's draft, they received a fifth-rounder for losing Casey Hayward, whose three-year deal with San Diego was worth about $5 million per season.

The cut-off to receive a fourth-rounder is projected to be about $6.375 million, according to

With Linsley locked in at center — and with a cap charge of just $1.84 million — and with Tretter probably lacking the strength to be a factor at guard, Tretter’s departure from Green Bay was a foregone conclusion. With the NFL in full-blown silly-season-spending mode, the team is probably disappointed Tretter didn't command a bigger deal.

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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