Packers: Free agent cornerback Micah Hyde unsure what future holds

March 5, 2017

GREEN BAY — With free agency looming, Micah Hyde decided to get away.

From a trip to the Dominican Republic with current and former Green Bay Packers teammates — including good friend Casey Hayward, a fellow defensive back who went through the free agency process last spring and wound up leaving for the San Diego Chargers — to a trip to Hawaii with his girlfriend and her family, Hyde did his best to unplug and recharge.

Other than “a couple quick phone calls” with agent Jack Bechta, Hyde put away his phone, avoided Twitter and various NFL rumor mills and simply tried not to think about his uncertain football future.

Now, the versatile fourth-year player is ready for whatever happens when free agency begins next week.

While Hyde would like to stay with the team that selected him out of Iowa in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL draft, he isn’t sure where he stands with the Packers as the open market beckons. Agents can begin fielding offers from outside teams on Tuesday, but players cannot sign with a new team until 3 p.m. Thursday.

“We have a number in mind. But at the end of the day, it’s a business — just like I’m sure (the Packers) are thinking the same thing,” Hyde said in an interview on ESPN Wisconsin’s “Wilde & Tausch” on Friday. “You’ve got to weigh your options. I think the biggest thing is, we’ve been through this whole period — been through the whole season (and) the whole offseason so far — and really no talks have happened with Green Bay.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean Hyde won’t return to the Packers, as general manager Ted Thompson suggested at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis this week he’d like to get one or two of the team’s free agents re-signed before the market opens. When wide receiver Randall Cobb and right tackle Bryan Bulaga hit free agency two years ago, the Packers didn’t have any substantive talks with them before the negotiating window opened. Both players ended up returning to the Packers.

Hyde certainly made a strong case — for the Packers or for an outside suitor — with his performance in 2016. Always viewed by the coaches as versatile and reliable, he was one of the defense’s few true playmakers down the stretch, intercepting four passes in the final seven games (including playoffs) and delivering pass breakups at key moments. His goal-line interception in the regular season-ending win in Detroit was a huge play, as was his interception against Dak Prescott in the third quarter of the playoff victory at Dallas.

Hyde played in all 19 games last season on a defense that had all kinds of problems in the back end because of injuries to and inconsistent play from cornerbacks Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins and LaDarius Gunter.

When the Packers let Hayward walk, it was for a relatively inexpensive price (three years, $15.3 million). Hayward led the NFL in interceptions (seven) last season and earned his first Pro Bowl selection. Given the Packers’ lack of proven secondary depth, coupled with having watched Hayward thrive elsewhere, they may not want to make the same mistake with Hyde.

Nevertheless, having played last season for a $1.6 million base salary, Hyde will weigh the financial offers he receives with his desire to play with a perennial contender with a likely Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback in Aaron Rodgers. In four seasons, Hyde has never missed the playoffs, reaching the NFC Championship Game twice.

“I have no idea what’s about to happen,” Hyde said. “I think that a lot of teams are interested in that (versatility). But at the end of the day, they have to worry about their guys, also — just like Green Bay does — and then go from there. Whatever the market dictates price-wise and stuff like that, there is some interest there. I wouldn’t say it’s all 32 teams, but there’s definitely some interest. I’m looking forward to the next couple weeks and the conversations we’ll be having.

“I love the four years I’ve spent in Green Bay — as far as the people, the community, the organization, the coaches, the players I’ve played with. Definitely a blessing to be a part of those football teams and play with the guys I’ve played with. Obviously, everybody wants to go to a good football team, everybody wants to go to a team with a good quarterback and winning history.

“There’s a lot of stuff that goes into it. I’ve loved every minute in Green Bay, and if that’s the case that I end up back there, it’ll be another blessing for another three, four, five more years.”