Green Bay Packers defensive free agents: Who stays and who goes?

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Will Packers linebacker Robert Francois (49) be back with the team in 2014? John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports photograph

1. Robert Francois — Francois is a fourth-year guy out of Boston College. He went undrafted (as per Ted Thompson‘s propensity) though he originally signed in 2009 with the Minnesota Vikings before coming over to the Green Bay Packers early in 2010 and participating in the Super Bowl run.

He has primarily been used as a backup. While linebacker hasn’t been the healthiest unit this year (by far), he was always sitting behind A.J Hawk and a group of more experienced guys. He made appearances in 11 and 14 games, respectively, in ’11 and ’12, adding two career interceptions and two fumble recoveries. His performance has never garnished a starting role, even on a decimated defense.

  • Returns to GB if – he is willing to continue being a culpable backup plan. Francois re-signed with the Packers in March 2013 to a one-year deal solely because he was promised a chance to win the starting job in the offseason. He couldn’t pull the rug out from under Brad Jones and thus began his season on the bench – again. When Jones was injured, Francois got his opportunity to showcase his talents; however, after a brief half-game stint, he was injured and moved to season-ending reserves.
  • Walks from GB if – all things go according to plan. The Packers may bring Francois back as LB depth because his salary is a measly $700,000 per season and they could afford to do it. However, I fully expect the Packers to address their linebacker needs in the upcoming draft and use this free agency to free up space on the roster for younger, game-ready talent. As far as I see it happening, Francois has played his last down in green and gold.