Ricky Jean Francois: The Great Escape From Washington D.C.
The newest member of the Green Bay Packers, Ricky Jean Francois, said he was surprised when he was abruptly released by the Washington Redskins on March 15. I doubt that. The Packers jumped at the opportunity, had him visit Green Bay on Wednesday evening, and signed him on Thursday.
There’s a back story to all this. On March 9, Francois appeared on The Sean Salisbury Show on SB Nation Radio. He ripped the team’s leadership and bemoaned the team’s dysfunction for almost 10 minutes.
A sampling: “It seems like we’re getting back to the norm, we’re getting back to the dysfunctional, we’re getting back to the drama… Everything is changed and it’s like, why?”
You can listen to the audio here.
On that very same day, receiver DeSean Jackson signed a three-year deal with the Buccaneers at over $11 million per year and receiver Pierre Garcon signed a five-year, $47.5 million contract with the 49ers. Francois’ fellow defensive line-mate Chris Baker is also gone, joining Jackson with the Bucs.
Jackson and Garcon were both 1,000-yard receivers in 2016. The Packers beat the Redskins, 35-18, in the 2015 Wild Card game, but the Redskins came back and trounced Green Bay, 42-24, last November.
Talk about dysfunction. Both the offensive and defensive coordinators are also gone – Sean McVay left his offensive job to become the 30-year old head coach of the Los Angeles Rams. Franchise QB Kirk Cousins wants a trade. Oh, and shortly after Francois went public, the team announced the firing of the guy who usually does the firings, general manager Scot McCloughan.
It seems clear to me that Francois went on the show as part of an escape plan. It worked: the Redskins promptly released him and he’s landed in the more tranquil confines of Green Bay.
Prospects for Francois
As we have reported, Francois’ signing makes it more likely that that Packers might do what I urged earlier in the month: dump Letroy Guion. Francois is making starter’s money and he’ll surely be starting when the season opens – as Guion begins his bi-annual early season vacation. Guion also missed the first three games of 2015 due to suspension.
The two players are pretty even in terms of ability. The big difference between them is that Guion is more beholden to his drugs than to his team and teammates.