Packers should let Richard Rodgers walk in free agency

GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 03: Richard Rodgers
GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 03: Richard Rodgers /

The Green Bay Packers should let tight end Richard Rodgers walk in free agency this offseason.

Rodgers, a third-round selection four years ago, has struggled to consistently produce as a receiver.

He’s coming off his worst season to date. This year Rodgers caught just 12 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown, all career-lows.

Even when free agent bust Martellus Bennett was released midway through the season, Rodgers remained a non-factor.

His best game came against the Carolina Panthers. That afternoon the tight end caught four passes 77 yards and a touchdown, but these performances were few and far between.

Playing half the season without Aaron Rodgers at quarterback didn’t help. But even in the six games the two Rodgers played together, the tight end tallied just seven receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown. That includes his impressive numbers at Carolina.

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Rodgers’ biggest strength is down in the red zone.

He’s hauled in 13 touchdowns in four years, including that catch in Detroit. No matter whether Rodgers is re-signed or not, his stunning Hail Mary grab to defeat the Lions will never be forgotten.

But despite his abilities in the red zone, he’s only caught more than two touchdowns in a season once. That year was 2015, when Rodgers scored eight times.

There are a couple of things working in Rodgers’ favor.

The first is durability. He’s missed just one regular season game in four years, suiting up in 63.

Then there is price tag. It’s unlikely Rodgers will break the bank, and the Packers could probably bring him back on a reasonably cheap, one- or two-year deal.

But despite the fact he’s a solid depth piece at the position, I think the Packers should force themselves to get better at tight end.

Lance Kendricks disappointed in his first year with the Packers, but the former Ram should get a second year to prove himself as a backup option.

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Whether it’s through the draft or free agency, general manager Brian Gutekunst should look to find an upgrade at tight end this spring.