Thursday, July 05, 2012

Where In The World Is Ryan Grant?

I'm a little disappointed the Green Bay Packers didn't make an effort to re-sign RB Ryan Grant. I'm not exactly inspired by a group of running backs led by an oft-injured back (James Starks), another coming off a major knee injury (Alex Green), and a bunch of undrafted players (Du'ane Bennett, Brandon Saine, and Marc Tyler). However, that might be good enough for an offense that doesn't rely on the running game.

There's also some comfort in the fact that John Kuhn is still around if an emergency strikes. But Grant could have provided something none of them could: a back who can still play and was playing at an elite level as recently as 2009. Also, he did finish strong last season.
Grant's agent says that he's made visits and received multiple offers, but "the deals haven't been right." I'm sure that's why the Packers aren't paying him anymore. With the exception of Donald Driver, the Packers don't pay for veteran backups who aren't contributing on special teams. And even Driver is arguably a valuable special teams performer for when they need him to play on the hands team during an onside kick.

Grant was OK last season, ranked No. 27 overall by Football Outsiders, but the guy ranked ahead of him at No. 26, Raiders RB Michael Bush, just received a four-year, $3 million per season, $7 million guaranteed contract from the Bears. I think the Bears overpaid for a backup RB, that's starter's money, but Grant is arguably Bush without as many attempts. It's reasonable for him to believe that he should be paid the same.

But Grant is two years older and there's only one Bears team out there will to overpay for a backup RB. No one is obviously viewing either player as a starter, or they'd be starting for that hypothetical team. Hopefully his agent isn't waiting for just the right opportunity and a contract in the $2 to 3 million range because I don't think it exists. There will be an injury or two during the preseason, there always is, but that doesn't mean that team will consider Grant as an option.

It would really be a shame if he doesn't play next season because he should still be playing football. He's still a good backup, and he'd be a better replacement starter than many backups on other teams. While he's never done much on special teams with the Packers, back when he was with the Giants, he was great at playing on the scout team and pretending to be the opponent's starting running back. That's probably not worth $3 million, but that should be worth something to many teams.

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