Re-sign or release? Donald Lee

PackerReport.com's Todd Korth continues his 'Re-sign or release?' series by taking a closer look at tight end Donald Lee:

About the best way to describe Donald Lee's season in 2006 is disappointing. Coming off his best season as a pro in 2005, Lee no doubt was optimistic, but it simply never happened for the fourth-year pro.

Playing behind Bubba Franks and David Martin, Lee finished with just 10 catches for 150 yards and no touchdowns, one season after he had a career-high 33 catches and two touchdowns, tops among Green Bay's tight ends.

It wasn't like Lee was buried on the depth chart, either. He had chances to play for the injured Martin in the second half of the season, even start two games, but a combination of dropped passes (five) and few opportunities to make catches hurt his statistics.

"He could have had a few more balls thrown his way," said Lee's agent, Cary Mark Fabrikant, "but you can't make any catches if they're not thrown your way."

Lee only had four of his catches through the first three months of the season. He did show an ability to stretch the field, at times, making five catches for 110 yards, including a 32-yarder. He is a good blocker, according to coaches, which begs the question: Will the Packers try to re-sign him prior to the start of free agency. Fabrikant said this week that the Packers have yet to contact him regarding an extension for Lee, but he hopes to hear from them within the next couple of weeks before the annual NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

Because of Lee's ability to stretch the field and block, the Packers should try to re-sign him. At 6-foot-4, 248 pounds, Lee has excellent size and he has yet to miss a game in his four-year career, which began in Miami. He also can contribute on special teams.

Lee likely will not draw a lot of interest when free agency begins, so the Packers probably can re-sign him to a one or two-year deal for close to the veteran's minimum. If he then proceeds to continue on where he left off in 2005, the Packers can always extend his deal again, knowing that he has met their expectations.


Todd Korth

Todd Korth is managing editor of PackerReport.com and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at packrepted@aol.com.


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