Packers hosting free-agent DL Jean Francois
GREEN BAY - Ricky Jean Francois, a journeyman defensive lineman entering his ninth season in the NFL, is taking a free-agent visit to the Green Bay Packers.
Jean Francois, 30, said Tuesday on his Twitter account that Green Bay was next on his free-agent tour, which already had brought him to Seattle and Chicago.
The 6-2 ½ 313-pound Jean Francois played his last two seasons in Washington but was released a week ago. Washington gained $3 million in cap space by releasing Jean Francois, but there was speculation that negative comments he made about the team’s losses in free agency might have led to the move.
In his two seasons in Washington, Jean Francois played in all 32 games, starting seven. He played 439 snaps or 40 percent of the defense’s snaps last year, finishing with 32 tackles, 1 ½ sacks and one pass breakup.
He signed with Washington after Indianapolis cut him halfway through his four-year, free-agent contract. Jean Francois started 23 of 26 games for the Colts and had a career-high three sacks in 2014.
Jean Francois can play all three defensive line positions in a 3-4. His strength has been playing the run and if signed could be a replacement for defensive lineman Letroy Guion, who is suspended for the first four games of the season and could be cut any time between now and when he is reinstated without the Packers owing him any money.
The Packers had interest in Jean Francois when he became a free agent in 2013 after four seasons in San Francisco, but he signed a four-year, $22 million deal with the Colts that included $8.5 million guaranteed. After the Colts released him, he signed a three-year, $9 million deal with Washington that included $4 million guaranteed.
The Packers’ defensive line consists of Guion, Mike Daniels, Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry and Brian Price. The Packers lost two defensive line options both in the base and nickel when Julius Peppers (Carolina) and Datone Jones (Minnesota) left in free agency.