4. Contract years
The list of Packers whose contract expires after this season is long. Among the notable veterans are Clay Matthews, Randall Cobb, Muhammad Wilkerson, Marcedes Lewis, Lance Kendricks, Byron Bell, Davon House, Bashaud Breeland, Jake Ryan, Geronimo Allison, Justin McCray and Kentrell Brice.
Here’s a breakdown of the situations for some of the players not on injured reserve:
Clay Matthews: Has been much better than Nick Perry, but still nowhere near worth his exorbitant contract. Clay is likely gone after this season, but the Packers have such little depth at edge rusher that he could come back at a much-reduced rate.
Marcedes Lewis and Lance Kendricks: Lewis will be 35 at the start of the 2019 season, making his future status with the Packers quite unclear. Despite excitement about his size and blocking ability, he’s seen less than 20 percent of the snaps this year.
Kendricks, meanwhile, has seen about a third of the offensive snaps this year, often lining up as a fullback. He hasn’t stood out in that role, though, and could be replaced next year fairly easily.
Byron Bell and Justin McCray: Bell has been bad all year at guard, and probably isn’t worth bringing back next year. He’s currently out with a knee injury, which should open the door for McCray. McCray can put himself in position to contend for the 2019 starting role with whatever draft picks and free agents Gutekunst brings in.
Bashaud Breeland: Breeland has had a frustrating inaugural campaign in Green Bay, seeing snaps in only three games so far. But he’s the most accomplished cornerback on the roster not named Tramon Williams. If he can get on the field in the last few games and flash some more of the potential that earned him a big contract last summer, Gutekunst will feel compelled to retain him.