Think, for a minute, about what that might mean.
House signed a one-year, $2.85 million contract last week to return to the team that drafted him in the fourth round of in 2011. This came two years after House left the Packers to sign a four-year, $24.5 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars, who cut him two weeks ago.
The rest of the Packers’ cornerbacks are on their rookie deals, which explains why they lag behind House in the financial department. But it also says the Packers probably have not yet done enough to fortify the unit that was part of the 31st-ranked passing defense in the NFL last season.
If re-signing House was just one step in the process of rebuilding the Packers’ cornerback position, then it’s at the very least a step in the right direction. If it’s designed to be the end game, then general manager Ted Thompson is taking a major risk.
That doesn’t mean Thompson has to – or will – sign one of the other available veteran cornerbacks, although there are five corners on ESPN's list of the top 150 free agents who are still unsigned. Thompson probably could get any of the five -- Alterraun Verner (No. 52), Darrelle Revis (No. 67), Brandon Flowers (No. 72), Tramon Williams (No. 77) and Sterling Moore (No. 141) – at a reasonable price.
But if Thompson, who passed on the big-name and big-money cornerbacks in free agency, doesn’t add another veteran, it will be clear he thinks Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins and LaDarius Gunter will make significant improvements over last season’s performances. Sure, Thompson could draft one or more cornerbacks – ESPN’s Todd McShay has him taking one, Ohio State’s Gareon Conley, at No. 29 in his latest mock draft – but any rookie would face the same learning curve that slowed Randall, Rollins and Gunter.
With that in mind, here’s a breakdown of House’s contract:
Cash value: $2.8 million
Salary-cap charge: $2.8 million
Signing bonus: $850,000
Roster bonus: Up to $300,000 ($18,750 per game active)
Workout bonus: $150,000
Base salary: $1.5 million
House is not only the highest-paid cornerback on the roster for 2017, but he’s the Packers' second-highest paid defensive back. Only safety Morgan Burnett is scheduled to be paid more ($5.35 million in salary and bonuses) or count more against the salary cap ($6,981,250) than House.
The Packers’ current salary and salary-cap structure for the cornerbacks this season looks like this: House ($2.8 million in both categories), Randall ($1,154,621 in pay; $2,158,835 against the cap), Rollins ($775,233 in pay; $1,029,699 against the cap), Demetri Goodson ($690,000 in pay; $715,788 against the cap), Gunter ($615,000 in pay; $616,668 against the cap), Josh Hawkins ($540,000 in pay; $541,666 against the cap), Makinton Dorleant ($540,000 in pay; $541,666 against the cap) and Herb Waters ($465,000 in both). There’s a chance Goodson won’t be ready for the start of the season after he tore his ACL on Nov. 20.