GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Slowly but surely, the Green Bay Packers have tried to improve their defense. A week after signing cornerback Davon House, they added veteran defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois on Thursday.
The deal was completed on the same day that the 30-year-old visited the Packers.
Terms: One year, $3 million, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
ESPN Top 150 ranking: Not ranked
Grade: B -- Individually, the signings of House and Jean Francois might not move the needle much. But together, they give the Packers solid options at positions of need, and they’re the kind of economical signings general manager Ted Thompson likes. Both were released by their former teams -- House after two seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Jean Francois after two years with the Washington Redskins. That means they won’t count against the Packers in the compensatory draft pick sweepstakes next offseason.
What it means: The Packers needed some insurance on the defensive line after Letroy Guion’s four-game suspension was announced earlier this month. Jean Francois is a lot like Guion -- an interior linemen who thrives in a limited role. While Guion might be the better run-stopper, Jean Francois could offer a little more pass rush. He had 3.5 sacks in two years with the Redskins, and he has 12 overall in his eight-year career, which also includes stops with the Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers (who drafted him in the seventh round in 2009).
What’s the risk?: One-year deals offer little risk and mostly upside. This gives a young defensive line group some veteran presence and leadership to go along with Mike Daniels. Like Daniels, Jean Francois is known as a vocal leader, which could be good for second-year players such as Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry. After the Packers lost veteran Julius Peppers to the Carolina Panthers, it can’t hurt to have another veteran on the defensive side of the ball.