Ryan Pickett

Ryan Pickett was the Green Bay Packers best defensive lineman in 2012 and he says he feels like he can play 3-4 more years.

“I feel like I can play another three or four years, easily,” Pickett told FOXSportsWisconsin.com during minicamp. “It depends on how my body feels. If my body starts feeling bad, then I’ll call it quits. But I feel great.”

Defensive coordinator Dom Capers also gave Pickett a vote of confidence.

“He played as good last year as any of the four years that I’ve been here,” defensive coordinator Dom Capers said of Pickett. “I think that with ‘Pick,’ he’s really lighter than he’s been. He played more plays last year. He’s very good at specific roles. We just have to make sure we’re using him in those roles. He’s smart, he knows how to use up two blocks. He knows how to play pressure with pressure. All those things that experience teaches you.

“I don’t know how long he can go. If he can play like he did last year, he’ll certainly have a role.”

Will he, Dom? Will he?

Pickett is 33 and in the final year of his contract. We know Ted Thompson doesn’t like to keep old guys around — see Cullen Jenkins and Charles Woodson. As of right now, Pickett is also in a free agent group that includes B.J. Raji, Sam Shields, James Jones and Jermichael Finley.

Who you gonna pay, Ted?

Our guess is probably not Ryan Pickett… unless it’s at a much lower rate than he’s making this season ($5.4 million). Pickett is playing the part so far, saying he wants to continue playing for Green Bay.

“That would be a dream (to retire with the Packers),” Pickett said. “That’s exactly how you want it. But it’s a business and you realize that. So I don’t even worry about it. I’m just going to go out and play my best ball and know that whatever happens, happens.”

Despite his advanced age (by NFL standards, of course), it’s reasonable to believe Pickett could still be productive for a few more seasons.

Remember that fat bastard Pat Williams? He played for the Vikings until he was 38. He made the Pro Bowl when he was 34, 35 and 36. Pickett plays a similar role with the Packers — taking up blockers and stopping the run.

Unfortunately, this is a numbers game. Do the Packers have enough talent on the defensive line to let Pickett walk away? Maybe. Can they afford to pay him what he’ll get on the open market? Probably not.