INDIANAPOLIS -- Eddie Lacy said the Green Bay Packers have been "very vocal" about bringing him back. T.J. Lang said he's had some "good conversations" about returning. Micah Hyde said his agent is expected to meet with team officials this week at the NFL scouting combine.
It's time for the Packers to take care of some business.
With the combine starting just a week before free agency, there's a good chance the Packers will hammer out a new deal or two this week before players are free to begin negotiating with other teams next Tuesday.
One longtime agent expected this to be one of the busiest combines ever for getting contracts done because it's so close to free agency.
By this time last year, the Packers had already re-signed one pending free agent -- defensive tackle Letroy Guion, who signed a three-year, $11.25 million deal in mid-February -- and were on the verge of another deal with kicker Mason Crosby, who signed a four-year, $16.1 million contract on March 2.
Perhaps the Packers will inquire this week about veteran running backs Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles, who will either hit the market (Peterson, after the Minnesota Vikings announced they would not pick up his 2017 option) or are already available (Charles, after he was released by the Kansas City Chiefs on Tuesday). But most of what Russ Ball, the Packers' chief contract negotiator, will do this week is meet with agents of their pending free agents.
At this point, it seems likely that the Packers will re-sign tight end Jared Cook given how important he was to their offense down the stretch and given how vocal quarterback Aaron Rodgers was about bringing him back -- Rodgers called it a “priority” to re-sign Cook -- although it will take more than the $2.75 million they gave him last season. The website Spotrac estimates that Cook will garner a deal that averages $3.4 million a year. However, that's based on a two-year estimate. Going off last year's production and importance to the Packers, that number would be significantly higher, perhaps in excess of $5 million or more.
The rest of the Packers' free agents remain up in the air, but his week will go a long way toward determining whether they will be back in Green Bay.
General manager Ted Thompson, who is expected to speak with reporters here on Wednesday afternoon, will no doubt say that he'd like to bring back all of his free agents -- he always does -- but that's just GM-speak. Most of them, like Hyde, are in a wait-and-see mode. The versatile defensive back told ESPN.com that his agent, Jack Bechta, is expected to meet with the Packers this week in Indianapolis. After that, he will have a better idea of whether he will be back in Green Bay next season or playing somewhere else.