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The Green Bay Packers needed help at cornerback.
Davon House needed a team.
A reunion, which seemed so obvious when the Jacksonville Jaguars released him on March 6, is going to happen. House is set to sign a one-year, $3.5 million contract with the Packers, with the deal struck with House still taking his free-agent visit to Pittsburgh. In fact, his flight from Pittsburgh wasn't scheduled to depart until Tuesday afternoon.
"Like I told (agent) Kenny (Zuckerman), my ultimate goal is to go back to Green Bay," House said from the airport. "If we can’t come to terms, then Pittsburgh it is. Somehow, someway, my agent was able to get the Packers to agree to what we wanted, and now I’m here."
It was a quick change of direction after a source on Sunday told Packer Report that House would not be signing with the Packers. According to the source, the Packers jumped into the mix with House in Pittsburgh. As is their way, the Packers didn't want to negotiate against themselves and wanted to wait until a market developed. No doubt the Packers learned of Pittsburgh's intentions and offered accordingly. House said he wanted a one-year, "prove-it" deal; the Packers gave it to him.
House fills an obvious need on a Packers defense that ranked 31st in passing yards allowed and 27th in opponent passer rating. Moreover, Green Bay released Sam Shields (concussions) and lost Micah Hyde (free agency), so a porous secondary had only gotten worse.
"The pass defense did struggle a little bit but the pieces are there," House said.
He’ll join a secondary with Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins and LaDarius Gunter as the primary cornerbacks. House and Gunter play on the outside while Randall and Rollins can play outside or in the slot.
House was a fourth-round pick by the Packers in 2011 and spent his first four seasons with the team, making 14 starts during that span. His career was derailed three times by injuries. The first came as a rookie, when he played in only two games due to hamstring and ankle injuries. The second was a shoulder injury sustained in the 2012 preseason after he had secured a starting job. The third came in 2014 against Atlanta. In the midst of a strong late-game showing against Julio Jones, who had otherwise torched the Packers’ secondary, House suffered a broken scapula when he made a leaping deflection but landed on Jones’ knee. Along with two interceptions in those four seasons, he had 13 passes defensed in 2012 and 2013 and 11 more in 2014.
With Green Bay using Tramon Williams, Shields and Casey Hayward as their three primary cornerbacks, House pounced on Jacksonville’s four-year, $24.5 million contract with Jacksonville. He rewarded the Jaguars immediately with four interceptions and 23 passes defensed — the latter number ranking third in the league and setting a franchise record.
House, however, couldn’t replicate that success last year. He had no interceptions or passes defensed. Of his 272 defensive snaps, 188 came in the first three games and 218 came in the first four. Over the final 12 games, House played 54 snaps on defense — never more than 15 in a game.
One source said House was “horrible” last year. Another said House’s diminished role was due to a schematic change, which went away from House’s preferred press-man style, and the addition of Jalen Ramsey, the fifth overall pick of the draft. Said that source, "Sign House, draft a cornerback and you're set."
The Jaguars cut him a week ago, clearing the way for House to return to the Packers.
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.