There are a variety of reasons why Garafolo came to this conclusion. For starters, general manager Brian Gutekunst made it clear that they’ll “evaluate” the position, which would probably be an odd statement if the team was confident they’d retain their leading tackler. Further, Martinez was emotional following the Packers’ NFC Championship loss, and much of that could have been due to the fact that the 26-year-old had potentially played his final game with the organization.
Plus, Garafolo notes that the market for middle linebackers has exploded in recent years, with C.J. Mosley and Bobby Wagner earning lucrative, market-setting contracts. Martinez has been one of the most productive linebackers in the league over the past few years, so teams will surely be lining up for his services. Even if the Packers are focused on retaining the veteran, there’s a chance that a rival could throw him an extraordinary amount of money.
Martinez had another productive season in 2019, compiling a career-high 155 tackles to go along with three sacks, two passes defended, an interception, and one forced fumble. The linebacker has finished with at least 140 tackles the past three seasons.