Second in a daily series looking at the Green Bay Packers' free agents in advance of the start of the 2016 league year March 9.
For nearly eight years, Brett Goode was the steady hand who delivered the football on every field goal Mason Crosby attempted without interruption.
Goode’s improbable NFL career started in 2008 when the Green Bay Packers called the former Arkansas long snapper off a construction site for an opportunity to replace an injured J.J. Jansen. Goode won the job and didn’t miss a long snap over the next 137 games.
Then, the injury happened.
Goode, less than a month shy of unrestricted free agency, tore his anterior cruciate ligament early in the Packers’ 30-20 win Dec. 20 at Oakland. He finished the game, but was placed on season-ending injured reserve two days later and underwent reconstructive knee surgery the following week.
Instead of working out another long-term extension with the Packers, the 31-year-old long snapper faces an offseason of uncertainty. For that reason, Goode likely will stay on the open market until the Packers or another NFL team clears him to return later this year.
The injury couldn’t have come with worse timing as Goode was in the final weeks of a three-year, $2.715 million extension he reached with the Packers in October 2012. While the injury likely eliminates a long-term contract, Goode should get a chance in Green Bay or elsewhere once he’s healthy.
The $885,000 minimum salary for an eight-year veteran next season means he won’t need to take much of a pay cut, either. While it likely robs him of a signing bonus, Goode practically made the league minimum with an $870,000 base salary and $25,000 workout bonus last season.
Goode will be seven months removed from surgery by the time training camp begins. For the moment, the Packers are likely to move forward with 23-year-old Rick Lovato, who served as Green Bay’s long snapper for the final four games without issue.
The Packers likely will bring in offseason competition again for punter Tim Masthay, so it remains to be seen whether they’ll dedicate five spots on the offseason roster to specialists. That general manager Ted Thompson didn’t immediately bring in another long snapper after the season was an early indication that the organization was satisfied with Lovato.
Meanwhile, Goode waits to see whether he’ll return to Green Bay or need to find a new home like Jansen did in Carolina after Goode replaced him in 2008.
Brett Goode, ninth-year long snapper
The skinny: Unrestricted free agent.
The snaps: 135 total (135 special teams).
The stats: Fourteen games with no penalties.
2015 salary: $895,000.