The defending NFC North champion Green Bay Packers fell one game short of the Super Bowl for the second time in three years. The team’s 44-21 loss to the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC title game at the Georgia Dome was bitterly disappointing. Mike McCarthy’s club opened 2016 at 4-6 but reeled off eight consecutive victories, including playoff triumphs over the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.

The Packers’ defense has been a problem area in recent seasons. In any case, this is a franchise that stresses the draft and isn’t very busy when it comes to adding talent from other teams.

So which Packers’ proven performer will the club stress to Bring back. On the other hand, which veteran player might hit the open market? By March 9 at 4 p.m. ET, each NFL team will have made their decisions on which potential Free Agents they want to re-sign. So what does general manager Ted Thompson have in mind?

Bring him back

The Green Bay Packers’ secondary was under siege last season. A rash of injuries at the cornerback position was a year-long problem. When the smoke cleared from opposing quarterback, Dom Capers’ defensive unit gave up the second-most passing yards in the league. Green Bay defenders also surrendered 32 scores through the air in 16 regular-season contests. The Pack wasn’t much better in the playoffs.

Three postseason tilts and the club allowed eight more touchdown passes.

Strong safety Micah Hyde is one of the team’s most versatile players. He’s a plus in the secondary and can play a myriad of positions. In fact, Pro Football Focus actually ranks him as a cornerback in 2016. Add in his big-play ability on punt returns and it is imperative that the team bring back the four-year pro.

Let him go

By all indications, it could be the end of the line for outside linebacker Julius Peppers. He’s enjoyed a Hall of Fame-type career with the Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers, making the switch from defensive end when he signed with the latter in 2014. His three-year stint in “Titletown” includes 25 sacks, two interceptions, 10 forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries.

In 15 NFL seasons with the three franchises, he’s racked up an impressive 143.5 quarterback traps, forced 50 fumbles and picked off 11 passes. But Thompson and the team are likely leaning towards bringing back 2016 club sack leader Nick Perry (11.0), who can also become a free agent.