Packers Retain Lattimore

Lattimore (Ronald C. Modra - Getty)

Jamari Lattimore, one of the team's best special-teams players, should be in the inside linebacker mix in 2014. He started four games on defense in 2013.

Jamari Lattimore was given a restricted free-agent tender, all but ensuring one of the Packers' more promising defenders will return for 2014.

Lattimore's agent, Tony Agnone, told Packer Report last week that he didn't believe the Packers would tender his client. Whether the Packers had a change of heart or simply were waiting until Tuesday's deadline, the Packers made their move.

"He got the tender off after all," he said.

The lowest of the restricted free agent tenders, which gives the Packers the opportunity to match any contract offer but no draft choice compensation should the player depart because he entered the league as an undrafted free agent, is worth $1.431 million.

Lattimore recorded 38 tackles and a forced fumble while starting four games on defense and playing extensively in two others. He had sacks in back-to-back games against Cleveland and Minnesota. He also blocked a punt and recovered an onside kick against Chicago while finishing the season with five tackles on special teams.

While Lattimore never really pushed Brad Jones for the starting job last year, he might get his opportunity in training camp this year. Position coach Winston Moss said "nothing's holding Jamari back," other than inexperience. Lattimore played defensive end at Middle Tennessee State and spent his first two seasons at outside linebacker.

"Jamari will get better with just getting more reps at everything," Moss said. "He's still fairly new, he's still fairly young, so he has a lot of football in front of him if he just stays healthy and works hard. Everything else will take care of itself."

There was no immediate news on the other restricted free agent, safety M.D. Jennings, from agent Chris Martin. At $1.431 million, it's hard to imagine the Packers tendering Jennings, though they could try to re-sign him at a lower rate.

(Update: A source said the Packers did not tender Jennings.)


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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