The Green Bay Packers have several players who have played a big role on the team who are set to enter free agency next week when the new league year starts. While the team was not expected to re-sign most of these players, GM Brian Gutekunst is now reportedly in discussions with one potential free agent so he can remain in Green Bay.

The Free Agent Player the Packers are in Discussion with to Stay in Green Bay

The player the Packers are reportedly in negotiations with is starting right guard Jon Runyan, Jr. The former Michigan star just finished his fourth season with the Packers and has been a starter for the last three seasons. He has played both left and right guard for the Pack.

One of Runyan’s strengths remains his durability. He has not missed a game in his first four seasons in the NFL. Runyan has played in all 67 games the Packers have played since he joined the team in 2020. He’s started 50 of those games including every contest over the last three years.

The strongest part of Runyan’s game remains his pass blocking. Runyan does a good job of protecting the quarterback. He allowed only two sacks this season according to Pro Football Focus.

If Runyan has a weakness, its run blocking. His run blocking has graded out significantly lower than his scores in pass protection according to PFF. He struggled in 2023 which was his worst season in his three years as a starter.

The Packers Depth Behind the Free Agent They Are in Discussion to Keep

One reason the Packers may be interested in bringing Runyan back is the team’s lack of depth along the interior offensive line. While Elgton Jenkins remains a strong performer at left guard, the center and right guard spots lack talent and depth without Runyan.

Josh Myers has struggled at center and never lived up to his second-round draft status. The team’s only viable backups right now are Jenkins and starting right tackle Zach Tom. Runyan did receive snaps at center during the preseason and may provide depth at center if he rejoins the team.

At right guard, the only players are third-year man Sean Rhyan and Royce Newman. Rhyan alternated series with Runyan late last season although Runyan still played 85 percent of the team’s offensive snaps.

Rhyan’s strength is run blocking although his PFF grade was still slightly below Runyan’s in that department. He struggles badly in pass protection and may not be ready to take over as the starter at right guard.

Newman has regressed since starting as a rookie in 2021. He may not make the team unless he shows a good deal of improvement. Newman cannot be considered a reliable candidate to start at this point in his career.

While the Packers are expected to add at least one guard in the draft. It’s unclear if a team that wants to win now can count on a rookie to start at right guard and help protect Jordan Love.

The Possible Cost of Keeping Runyan in Green Bay

According to several reports, Runyan has recently switched agents. After the season ended, he told reporters how much he liked playing in Green Bay.

“It was awesome. “I don’t know if there’s a better organization out there. I gave them all I could, really.” Then he added, “I never went out there without trying to give my best. I hope the fans and my teammates and coaches are able to see that…It was awesome. I don’t want to leave, but it’s not really in my hands.”

Runyan’s agent and the Packers are in negotiations to possibly bring Runyan back if they can find an agreeable price. There is no doubt the veteran could probably get a solid offer elsewhere if he hit the open market in free agency.

If Runyan is willing to accept less money to stay in Green Bay, he could provide the Packers with a solid performer on the interior line. Runyan already knows Matt LaFleur’s offense. He could be the starter until a rookie is ready to take over or for the entire season if he earns that. Runyan may also provide the team with quality depth at both guard positions and center if somebody beats him out for the position.

The only question now is whether the price is right for both sides.



Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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