Re-sign or release? Ben Taylor

Ben Taylor

PackerReport.com's Todd Korth continues his 'Re-sign or Re-lease' series by taking a closer look at Ben Taylor, who is soon scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent. Korth explains why the Packers can do without the injury-prone linebacker.

When Ben Taylor signed a one-year contract with the Green Bay Packers as an unrestricted free agent, he had hopes of playing quite a bit, perhaps even starting. When those hopes weren't doused by younger players in front of him, he was kept off the field because of injuries.

In short, Taylor's season with the Packers never came close to what he had hoped it would be. Because A.J. Hawk and Brady Poppinga are firmly entrenched at the outside positions, look for Taylor to try and hook on with another team this off-season when his contract expires on March 1.

Taylor completed his fifth NFL season by playing in 10 of 16 games, mainly as a backup to Poppinga and on special teams where he had 13 tackles. He was signed as an insurance policy in case of a major injury to Poppinga or Hawk, but played with the first-team defense during off-season mini-camps and the early part of training camp opposite Hawk. When Poppinga came roaring back from his 2005 season-ending knee injury in mid-August, Taylor was demoted to second string.

Taylor, primarily a weak-side linebacker in his first four seasons with Cleveland, was tied for third on the team with 13 special teams tackles and would have had more if not for a hamstring injury during the middle part of the season that caused him to miss six games.

For the price that the Packers will have to pay Taylor in order to retain him, even for a season, they likely can find a linebacker in the draft with the same or better abilities on special teams. One of the knocks on Taylor in his career has been his durability. He missed 25 games while with the Browns from 2002-05 because of injuries, and his injury problems with the Packers last season verified the tag.


Todd Korth

Todd Korth is managing editor of PackerReport.com and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at packrepted@aol.com.

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