Re-sign or release? Tracy White

Linebacker/special teams standout Tracy White is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this month. PackerReport.com's Todd Korth offers his opinion on whether the Packers should try to retain White, or part ways.

Tracy White is one of the reasons for Green Bay's improvement in special teams this season, and the Green Bay Packers should do all they can to re-sign the linebacker/special teams standout.

If not for an ankle injury that caused him to miss four games in November and December, White probably would have been under strong consideration for the Pro Bowl. The team's kamikaze wedge buster, White was second with 16 coverage stops.

Because of White's success on special teams, particularly the coverage units, he may draw interest from other teams that will offer him more of a chance to start or play more frequently on defense at weak-side linebacker. The chances of White unseating A.J. Hawk in Green Bay are slim to none.

Still, White's presence on the coverage units is a must for the Packers. Last year Green Bay rose to fourth in the league in opponent punt return average and seventh in opponent kickoff return average. After only forcing one fumble in 2006, the Packers forced three fumbles during the regular season and had four fumble recoveries.

In the season opener against Philadephia, White scored his first career touchdown by recovering a muffed punt in the end zone in the first quarter. He forced a fumble while on punt coverage in the NFC Championship Game against the Giants, but the Packers were unable to recover.

If the Packers lost White in free agency, linebacker Desmond Bishop would be one of the leading candidates to take over as wedge buster. Bishop was third in special teams tackles last season and stepped in as the wedge buster in White's absence. So, the Packers may go that route, depending on how confident they feel with Bishop.

Though the Packers may have to pay more than the veterans' minimum to keep White around, it would be money well spent. Special teams can never have enough good players. Green Bay's resurgence in that area helped lead to the team's success this season. White is one of the main reasons why.

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


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