Packers: An early look at 2019 unrestricted free agents

LANDOVER, MD - JANUARY 10: Inside linebacker Clay Matthews
LANDOVER, MD - JANUARY 10: Inside linebacker Clay Matthews /

An early look at the Green Bay Packers’ unrestricted free agents a year from now.

The Packers face a number of tough decisions between now and next March.

Looking ahead to free agency next year, something general manager Brian Gutekunst will already have done, the list of players set to hit the market is a little daunting.

Eleven Packers currently under contract are entering the final year of their deals and will become unrestricted free agents next March if they aren’t re-signed before then.

Here’s the full list:

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S

Randall Cobb, WR

Clay Matthews, OLB

Muhammad Wilkerson, DT

Ty Montgomery, RB

Lance Kendricks, TE

Quinten Rollins, CB

Jake Ryan, LB

Brett Hundley, QB

Demetri Goodson, CB

Aaron Ripkowski, FB

Clinton-Dix needs to have a strong 2018. An All-Pro and Pro Bowler just a couple of seasons ago, the 25-year-old needs to step up after a disappointing 2017, particularly in a secondary sans Morgan Burnett.

Cobb, too, needs to put together a good campaign following Jordy Nelson‘s departure. At his best, Cobb can be an excellent receiver in the slot, and he’s a player Aaron Rodgers trusts.

Matthews has been a superstar in Green Bay for a number of years, and he’s still an important player now even as he begins to decline due to age. Injuries have been problematic for the 31-year-old, but the six-time Pro Bowler is still key to the Packers’ defensive success this season. I’m sure the Packers will want him back a year from now. His performances in 2018 will determine how much it’ll cost.

Wilkerson was given a one-year “prove it” deal by Green Bay. If he does indeed “prove it”, the Packers will have to decide whether to pay him next spring.

When healthy, Montgomery is a huge asset on offense, no matter whether he’s lined up as a running back or wide receiver. The key words there are “when healthy”. This is a big year for Montgomery.

Kendricks, Rollins, Ryan and Goodson all need to prove themselves in 2018.

Hundley might not even make it to next offseason. He’ll need a strong summer after the Packers traded Damarious Randall away to the Browns in exchange for second-year quarterback DeShone Kizer.

Assuming the Packers decide to keep a fullback after this season, Ripkowski will likely be re-signed.

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Time will tell whether Gutekunst looks to re-sign one of these players ahead of time, as the Packers did with Davante Adams and Corey Linsley last December, and David Bakhtiari in the past.