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

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Johnny Jolly

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports photograph

3. Johnny Jolly – this year’s feel-good-story, Jolly took a three-year hiatus after his drug addiction nearly wrecked his promising football career. Jolly was a big part of the reason that the defense was much improved that year and heading into the Super Bowl 2010 season. A 6th-round draft pick, Jolly really “pulled his weight” on the defensive line, known as a run-stuffer by all counts. His loss was truly felt moving forward. However, his triumphant return in 2013 was capped by his winning a spot on the 53-man roster and rounding the run defense back into form. Through the first six games of the season, Jolly helped glue together a 1,200-pound four-man brick wall. He was plagued by injury further into the season and production halted. The Packers now have to make tough decisions regarding their second chance man.

  • Returns to GB if – the Packers value his presence and veteran leadership on the defensive line. With Raji’s production faltering greatly, Ryan Pickett aging quickly and an array of young and hybrid players along the line … Jolly is a welcome constant. Jolly was one of the only bright spots on this defense over the course of the season and his play earned him a future contract. He should re-sign with the Packers sooner rather than later. I don’t believe Jolly will truly threaten free agency because he has such allegiance and owes his second chance to the Packers organization who took a big leap of faith in his direction this past offseason.
  • Walks from GB if – everything that could go wrong in negotiations, does. The defensive line is going to be shaken up this offseason and the Packers know they need a stable presence on it; no one is more qualified than Jolly. Of anyone on the line this year, he proved his worth 10-fold. He should be back.