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Packers Look to Be Bringing Back James Starks on Two-Year Deal

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Packers Look to Be Bringing Back James Starks on Two-Year Deal

From Adam Schefter of ESPN:

Financial details have not yet been disclosed.

Starks was reported to be taking a visit to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Tuesday, but the Packers apparently didn't allow him to get that far.

With Starks coming back to Green Bay, the Packers have a deep backfield. Reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Eddie Lacy leads a pack that also includes Johanthan Franklin, DuJuan Harris and the recently signed Michael Hill.

The question now is, can the Packers afford to keep up to four tailbacks on their 53-man roster?

Rarely do things go as planned, however. The Packers find themselves in good situation with several running backs, all with NFL experience, and that's before adding any reinforcements during the NFL Draft.

Starks averaged a career-high 5.5 yards per carry last season, carrying the ball 89 times for 493 yards and three touchdowns, another touchdown through the air, while playing in 13 games.

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Fan friendly comments only: on Comments (53) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Zoellner25's picture

I like Starks, hope this is true. I liked what he brought in limited work. He ran really hard and always runs north-south. He's a nice backup to have, and more proven that the others.

Jordan's picture

Excellent news indeed!

Clay Zombo's picture

Very happy to hear(read) that.

Its entirely possible that GB could take 4 RBs into the season if they all are able to stay healthy through TC and the preseason. None of them are exactly the picture of health and after last year why take the chance.

I just hope Starks' return doesn't make DuJuan Harris expendable, I wouldn't make that trade off unless he really blows in the preseason. Starks is pretty much guaranteed to get injured at some point this year so I work with that assumption in mind and keep 4.

ben's picture

I think TT and MM appreciate DuJuan Harris's potential & what he brings to the backfield. He'll surprise some people if he can stay healthy. Having Starks on board is great, but I'd be disappointed if it ends up meaning we lose Dujuan. But I don't see him getting enough opportunity to get out of Ted's reach next off season.

Stroh's picture

This would be excellent news! Starks is a perfect fit as the backup for Lacy. Having Harris and Franklin makes RB a huge Strength for the Packers, just one year removed from being a huge weakness. I doubt teams are willing to make Starks a #1 RB w/ his injury issues but as a #2 RB he's a perfect fit.

Tarynfor12's picture

He earned another go round with the Packers..I never gave up on him and this signing will bring more dividends from Lacy.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Great to see Starks coming back. He is a great backup and to have Harris and Franklin also makes this the best group of RB' s the Packers have had in a long time.

I do question now if they are going to bring back Kuhn. I'm not saying they won't but I do wonder if they will.

ballark's picture

This is huge. Absolutely huge.

To have two, not just physical, but borderline violent runners in Lacy-Starks? That is such a weapon. For a defense it's like having George Foreman gut punch you 30-40 times per game. It wears you down. Lacy-Starks reminds me of when the Pats had Gronkowski-Hernandez at TE, in that it's just a really unique advantage to have.

It may seem like a luxury, to have Starks back with Harris/Franklin. But I don't see it that way. Starks was a key player last year. An aside from having that second punisher, James Starks ran his ass off last year. I'm thrilled the rest of the league didn't seem to notice.

Go Pack Go!

Birney the baker's picture

Agreed Tom. I thought Starks was good as gone. This is huge news. The Packers next season will have the no. 1 rushing attack in the league. It's unbelievable when you go back to just last year. Never in a million years would I have believed that but it's true. We're talking 4 legit starters and three will be twiddling their thumbs while Eddie Lacy runs over people. What a luxury. There's a reason why I have a statue of Ted Thompson in my basement. He's God as far as I am concerned. TT does it again!!

RC Packer Fan's picture

And actually you could add Harris as a third power runner. Harris runs with real power even though he is smaller.

I agree that its not a luxury. I think they will find ways to use 2 RB's at the same time more next year. I know they were talking about doing that last year then Franklin got hurt.

Putting Lacy and Harris or Lacy and Franklin in the backfield together could create some good opportunities especially in the passing game.

I think they will find ways to use all the RB's a lot. Lacy will be the workhorse, but if they can save some wear and tear on him, I think that will really help the team for the long stretch.

L's picture

I wouldn't be surprised if they look to space Franklin or Harris out as a dynamic slot receiver some this coming year a la Daren Sproles w/ the Saints; so, perhaps they don't carry as many wide receivers on the 53 while keeping several on the Practice Squad in case of injuries.

1. E.Lacy
2. J.Starks
3. D.Harris
4. J.Franklin

1. J.Nelson
2. R.Cobb
3. J.Boykins
4. Chris Harper or K.Dorsey or 2014 (upper round) Draft Pick

DrealynWilliams's picture

I like the dynamic role part. I've been feeling that's how Franklin should/would be used. It's something we don't know on why he wasn't on the field much (especially after his performance after the Bengals game).

DrealynWilliams's picture

Great news! Y'all think it was the video I posted of him trucking the newly signed Letroy Guion? Just joking. But who's the odd man out? Harris? Lacy,Starks and Franklin. Power,awareness and agility(Lacy),Power and speed(Starks) and then there's change of pace,speed and agility(Franklin)

Birney the baker's picture

I think they keep them all but if I was to choose who to trade if forced too I would go Franklin because he's too damn good to sit on the bench and will be as miserable as Rodgers was waiting for the old goat to retire. I personally think DuJuan Harris is another Barry Sanders. He's that good. Remember, McCarthy liked him so much last year that he said he was the starter going into training camp. It won't be that way this year since Lacy is the man but DuJuan has power and speed. He's a Barry Sander and Joe Morris mix. No matter what happens, the Packers are set for once at running back.

Nick Perry's picture

Wow Tom Barry Sanders? Really?? I love what Harris was able to do for 5 games in 2012, especially after watching Alex Green. But 43 carries for 199 yards is hardly Barry Sanders like. Starks was absolutely great last year in his limited role. He'll run hard like that again and help give the Packers one of he best running attacks in the all of the NFL. Especially if Franklin holds onto the ball and Harris can come back from the knee.

Irish_Cheesehead's picture

If he was the next Barry Sanders he wouldn't have been working at a car dealership when the Packers signed him. While I like his story, I don't see him making the roster next season.

Birney the baker's picture

If Kurt Warner was that good he wouldn't have been bagging groceries for minimum wage either. Sometimes guys slip thru the cracks. DuJuan Harris had a lot of things going against him. Playing at Troy for one then being one of the smallest/shortest guys in the league. Automatically scouts ignore you. I said a few years back that Russell Wilson should be the first qb taken and was laughed at. Why? He's too short!! DuJuan Harris? Too short. We now know the kid can play with the best of them. He was a human bowling ball out there when he played then he got hurt.

You can laugh all you want but this kid Harris is just as special as Lacy is. I doubt very much the Packers will let him go. TT never lets a talented guy go unless he's injured. If Harris is healthy he's on this team. They can do a lot with him and as someone suggested kickoff return might be another thing he can do. Lord knows we need it with Slocum still here.

ben's picture

Dujuan Harris is a special talent and a freak athlete. I for one wouldn't be surprised if he ends up being the best RB on the team.

I'm not as big a Franklin fan as most. Franklin had a pretty good game against the Bengles. He's shown good patience running the ball, decent vision, and receiving skills. But I watched a lot of his UCLA tape and his preseason with the Pack and I'm not at all impressed.

I'm not really a Starks fan either but can appreciate what he brings to the offense as a decisive physical back that will help wear defenses down and keeping Eddie Lacey fresh.

Lacey and Starks are an excellent 1-2 Punch and will wear defenses down. Dujuan Harris and Franklin make excellent change of pace backs.

Great Backfield.

But I still would make that trade for Lamichael James or the entire 2014 or 2015 draft for Badger RB Melvin Gordon. Talk about special!

Birney the baker's picture

Ben V, better watch what you say about DuJuan Harris. You might also be nominated for COMMENT OF THE DECADE . Not that there's anything wrong with that. I agree with you 100% on Harris. Eddie Lacy has erased Harris out of a lot of people's minds but not me. I remember the absolute power, speed, shiftiness this cat has. He was hurt but he's back this year. How teams will stop our rushing attack I have no clue.

ballark's picture

"I personally think DuJuan Harris is another Barry Sanders. He's that good."

COMMENT OF THE DECADE.

Birney the baker's picture

Um......thank you???? I'm new here so cannot tell you getting this COMMENT OF THE DECADE award was something totally unexpected. I don't know what else to say after this.

By the way just for the record, I also predicted Aaron Rodgers would be a hall of famer before he took his first snap as a starter though at that time the COMMENT OF THE DECADE didn't even exist. I wish it had, I could be two for two.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Love the idea of Lacey and Starks running the ball. I might not like the price, which is not reported.

Ibleedgreenmore's picture

Wow the news just keeps getting better I would say TT is close to being done for a bit of time.

HankScorpio's picture

I'm just missing what Starks brings to the table. He's decent with the ball in his hands. Lots of guys are.

He's no good when the ball isn't in his hands. And way more than half the time, the ball is not in the RB's hands.

And then there is the injury history. It goes back to college. It's a pretty long list of ailments that have caused him to miss time.

Evan's picture

The injury history doesn't concern me at all. He's hardly being counted on to be the guy. He ran tough last year and showed a real nice burst.

I'm not sure how many touches he'll get this year with Harris hopefully back healthy, but he's a good complementary piece.

Evan's picture

I'm actually pretty surprised by this - pleasantly so, but still surprised. I figured with Lacy, Harris and Franklin they were more than set at RB. Now bring back Starks, and that's a deep, deep stable of RBs. Can't really complain about that.

Ben Tate got 2 years for like $7 million. I can't imagine Starks got more than around $4 million total.

Idiot Fan's picture

I'm also (pleasantly) surprised by this. Although I'm trying to remember, what was Harris's injury? Is it possible that his recovery isn't coming along as well as could be hoped?

Evan's picture

Something with his patellar tendon.

He said it wasn't ruptured, but he did have surgery after the second injury.

Evan's picture

I also want to add - 1 year for Neal and Guion. 2 for Quarless and Starks. 1 (basically) for Peppers.

I'm loving these short-term deals TT has been able to strike.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I thought Neal was a 2 year deal?

Evan's picture

You're right - Raji was the other 1 year. Neal was 2.

Packatron's picture

I love this move. I personally think that the Packers best two RBs are Lacy and Starks.

Now we're super deep at RB after just 2 years removed from the position being the teams biggest hole.

It's amazing how fast roster turnovers are in the NFL.

So now, who's on the hot seat? Harris? Franklin? Is someone trade bait? This is very interesting...

RC Packer Fan's picture

I don't think anyone is on the hot seat. I think they will keep the depth at that position. I think they will keep all 4 RB's.
RB's don't have very high value right now in the league. If they tried trading one, they would be lucky to get a 6th or 7th round pick.

If you want to say about someone being on the hot seat, will Kuhn now be on the hot seat? Do they not resign him now that they brought Starks back?

Packatron's picture

RBs don't have a ton of value until a team needs one and you have 3 that could be a decent number 2 on the depth chart.

I don't think it's a stretch to think TT would trade Harris or Franklin (or even Starks for that matter) for a 6th or 7th round pick. He's sneaky like that.

Birney the baker's picture

I agree. It's Kuhn that is on the hot seat. Remember, last year they did something unusual in the end in short yardage situations bringing in Daniels, a former RB and the big blob Raji and they were successful. I see them doing this more and more especially with Lacy as the carrier. Lacy rarely goes down by the first guy. 600 plus lbs of blocking then you have to tackle Lacy. Good luck with that. lol Kuhn is almost totally expendable. It might come down to Rodgers going into Ted's office and demanding they keep him. Isn't Michael Hill a full back? They'll probably go with him this year, much cheaper.

Evan's picture

Hill is definitely not a fullback - I see him mostly as just a camp body. He'd have to light the world on fire - and someone would have to get hurt -- to make the final 53.

I like Kuhn and do think he has value. That said, I would love to see a true, wrecking ball fullback brought in. Really commit to the power running game.

ben's picture

FB: Jay Prosch (Round4pick21)

HankScorpio's picture

"I like Kuhn and do think he has value. That said, I would love to see a true, wrecking ball fullback brought in. Really commit to the power running game."

Why not both? FBs may be out of fashion in the NFL but they're cheap. And useful on special teams, usually.

Kuhn brings value to the 2 minute offense. He's the best pass blocker in the backfield. A wrecking ball FB would bring value to the 4 minute offense. Both skill sets are unique and help the offense in certain relatively normal circumstance.

A 4th RB is just another face behind Lacy. If the Packers use him, something has gone terribly wrong. I don't think it is worth kicking something of value to the curb to make something that has gone terribly wrong a little bit less terrible.

Doug In Sandpoint's picture

Don't know the answer to this, but I cannot remember the last time we traded someone or trades for someone. Is that even done anymore? I guess there are trades for future draft choices, but I cannot think of when we did it last. Maybe I'm just not paying attention.

Evan's picture

Ryan Grant, maybe? Didn't they trade for some journeyman safety a couple years back after cutting him in TC?

ben's picture

That BlockBuster deal of 2009, Tony Moll for Derrick Martin.

lou's picture

Best set of backs since Levens and Bennett, what a great change of pace. Not only does Starks run north & south but he showed a much quicker first step and top end speed last year. Overall the best combination of running backs in several years with just a few question marks, Franklin's size (ability to take a hit), and Harris's durability. I still think Harris should be the kickoff return man, besides his quickness he can take a hit, in regards to Barry Sander, he does have the same type of lower body. I would leave the sure handed Hyde on punts but give Harris the nod on kick offs. Nobody is going to ask why they didn't sign Benson any longer.

Clay Zombo's picture

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNqrWZLGKAI

When I watch that video he just looks like a smaller quicker version of Eddie Lacy to me. He runs just as hard and is not afraid to hit you in the mouth.

Can't wait to see what those 2 can do together this year. Keeping Starks in that mix along with Franklin gives us the best backfield I have ever seen in GB in my lifetime.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Yeah, that is a really good comparison. He really is a smaller version of Lacy. Quicker/faster, but very similar.

Right now they have 3 power type of RB's and 1 speedy, quick cutting type.

I can't wait to see how they use all 4 to be honest.

I could see them trying to use Franklin similar to how the Saints used Sproles in the passing game.

Birney the baker's picture

Agree. I honestly don't think in the history of the Packers that they had four running backs on their team that were better than these guys. They might of had a better runner or two on the team at the same time but not four. All four of these guys are studs. Oh, and please don't somebody start telling me about how Barty Smith, Harlan Huckelby, Nate Simpson, and Eric Torkelson were better. Please.. I dare someone to name four guys on the team at anytime in the history of this team as being better than Lacy, Starks, Harris, and Franklin. You can't!!

Evan's picture

Dorsey Levens, Edgar Bennett, William Henderson and Travis Jervey...?

Birney the baker's picture

Nope, I'd take these four easily over those guys besides Henderson was a fullback. I was talking strictly 4 guys that can carry the rock for a hundred a game. We have that with these four and all are above average. Dorsey was the only guy above average in that group. Bennett got to a thousand on a 3.4 average for something like that. I never considered him to be all that great. His best trait was being able to play in bad weather. I liked Jervey. For a white guy he was pretty good. You simply don't see a lot of white halfbacks these days. Jervey just never had much of a chance unfortunately.

Ok, you or someone got some other group?

Evan's picture

I was mostly kidding...

But Henderson is an all-time favorite of mine.

Birney the baker's picture

Just think if we had Henderson in his prime blocking for Lacy? That would be one deadly combo. Yeah, Henderson was one of the best fullbacks in Packers history. Great all around guy too.

KEMDog's picture

If he inks a deal, love the Starks signing. I'm actually liking the O-line they'll have to run behind. IF they can stay healthy??

A team built to control the clock or strike quick, if needed.

Ibleedgreenmore's picture

I wonder where Kuhn fits in here, they are getting some of these guys on the cheap look at Raji deal wow that is something.

HankScorpio's picture

Protecting Rodgers is a prime concern and Kuhn does that very well. I'd love to see him back at the vet min.

I believe the CBA still gives a cap rebate on those kinds of deals so it wouldn't cost as much cap as dollars. And the Packers have more money than they know what to do with.

L's picture

The Deal's numbers are in and I think they're terrific looking for the Team's finances.

2 year contract for $3,165,800 split evenly between this year and next with only $725,000 guaranteed.

This deal keeps him with the Packers and backing up Eddy Lacy until he's 30 years old without really hurting the team's finances at all.

Love it!

Still hoping we can sign TE Owen Daniels to a team friendly 2 year deal and bring in FS Thomas DeCoud for a look.

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