The Green Bay Packers appear content in letting Ryan Grant enter free agency without a new contract.
But that doesn’t mean the team won’t have an interest in bringing back the veteran running back once the market is set, says Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The Packers have told RB Ryan Grant that they are interested in bringing him back, but they aren’t expected to make an offer before free agency starts, and Grant will explore other options starting March 13.
Alan Herman, who represents Grant, told Silverstein that the door is still wide open for Grant to return to Green Bay.
He will hit free agency. But they gave us an indication they would like to have him back. I have to sit down with Ryan in the next few days and see what he wants to do. I haven’t talked to him about it yet. I’m sure he’s open to that (returning). On the other hand, being a free agent is enticing.
There may not be a huge market for a 29-year-old running back who doesn’t have an elite trait.
However, both the Miami Dolphins and Seattle Seahawks have history with Grant at the coaching or front-office level and could desire a backup running back for their respective starters.
Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin was Grant’s offensive coordinator for his entire career in Green Bay and knows everything the veteran back could bring in a secondary role. Miami appears set at running back with 1,000-yard rusher Reggie Bush and youngster Daniel Thomas, however.
Seahawks GM John Schneider was a part of the Packers front office that sent a future sixth-round pick to the New York Giants for Grant back in 2007. Seattle just inked Marshawn Lynch to a multi-year deal but might have a need for a veteran backup.
Overall, it seems unlikely that any team would be willing to offer Grant a big contract and starting potential. When Grant gets to free agency and finds out that truth, returning to Green Bay might be his best situation.
As Silverstein states, Grant’s desire to play in a Super Bowl could also “affect his decision.” The Packers likely represent one of the top options for Grant to get to a Super Bowl.
Injuries kept Grant out of the Packers’ Super Bowl XLV win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
A back-to-back 1,200-yard rusher for the Packers from 2008-09, Grant tore up his ankle to start the 2010 season in Philadelphia and missed the final 19 games.
Healthy again to begin 2011, Grant entered a running-back-by-committee system with playoff standout James Starks. After a frustratingly slow start, Grant rushed 50 times for 276 yards in his final five games with Starks battling various ailments. Grant finished the season with 559 rushing yards and two touchdowns with 19 receptions for 268 yards.
In five seasons with the Packers, Grant has more than 4,000 rushing yards and 25 career touchdowns.
While Green Bay has younger players at the running back position—James Starks (26 years old), Brandon Saine (23) and Alex Green (23)—there’s no clear starter in place. Green is still recovering from ACL surgery, too. Bringing back Grant once the market sets his price certainly seems feasible.
The Packers are likely to take another look at drafting a back in the later rounds to add depth to the position, especially if Grant finds an acceptable offer on the open market.