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Ryan Pickett  

In the final year of a four-year, $24.925 million contract. The deal contains $10 million guaranteed, including a $2 million signing bonus and a first-year roster bonus of $6.4 million. 2013: $5.4 million (+ $500,000 roster bonus due in March), 2014

At age 33, Pickett is certainly on the downswing on his career. The Packers are unlikely to get anything in trade for an aging, expensive veteran, so it would come down to whether the Packers believe they can live without him. It’s hard to evaluate Pickett statistically as, like Hawk, his primary role is swallowing up blockers in both the run and passing game and allowing playmakers like Matthews to do his job. However, no one will deny that Pickett is value-neutral in the pass defense game, with no sacks and precious few quarterback hurries the past few seasons. Pickett hangs his hat on his run-stuffing ability, but it is hard to reward that when Adrian Peterson rushed for 200 yards (twice) and Colin Kaepernick rushed for 180 over the Packers’ last three games of 2012. With Raji about to get the lion’s share of cap space along the defensive line, can the Packers afford Pickett’s salary matched with his production on the field

The Packers are already precariously thin at defensive line. They still don’t even have a solid third starter, much less someone to step in immediately for Pickett. Jerel Worthy may miss the start of the season, and the rest of the gang (Mike Neal, CJ Wilson, and Mike Daniels) have all shown flashes of ability, but nothing like what the Packers need to turn around the defensive pass rushing and run stopping woes they’ve suffered through the past two seasons.

Well, there’s a reason I’m not an NFL GM. I would be tempted to look at that $6M and draft two early-round defensive linemen, or even pursue a younger lineman in free agency. There’s plenty of big names out there. But even I know you don’t willingly send away a productive defensive end. You’re probably going to swallow that $6M, hope Pickett has another year in the tank, and look at drafting his successor in April.

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