Our next free agency update covers the Green Bay Packers, who signed safety Nick Collins to a 3-year contract extension. The deal is worth $26.75 million, and includes $14 million in the first season. Collins is a very underrated player, and this extension is well deserved. He has picked off 13 passes in the last two years, and only missed five games due to injury since becoming a starter five years ago.
The team has also brought back offensive lineman Jason Spitz and tight end Spencer Havner. Spitz signed a 1-year $1.7 million contract, and is expected to compete for the starting left guard position. Havner was second on the Packers' depth chart last season, but his participation in the off-season program has been limited due to an injury he suffered in a motorcycle crash. He should be fine by training camp, so Havner's job appears secure.
Apart from these acquisitions, the only move of note has been the departure of Aaron Kampman. Kampman had a been a productive player throughout his career in Green Bay, but the club's move towards a 3-4 defense slowly phased him out of the picture. He has since signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars. It will be interesting to see if Kampman's production improves now that he will be playing in a more familiar 4-3 scheme.
The Packers' biggest need heading into the draft appears to be left tackle. Mocking the Draft has them picking OT Charles Brown from USC with the 23rd overall pick. Brown is a talented player from a pro style offense, and his selection would address one of Green Bay's most pressing issues.
Team needs and 2009 Draft results after the jump...
- Left Tackle - Green Bay needs to select a capable replacement for Chad Clifton at left tackle. Clifton is aging and his play in decline.
- Cornerback- Al Harris and Charles Woodson are a very good starting duo, but the club needs to add to their depth at the position. Teams are always looking for good young cornerbacks, so this area will be addressed at some point in the draft.
- Safety- Nick Collin's contract extension has solidified one of the safety spots, but the team could still look to improve upon incumbent Atari Bigby. Bigby will be back with the team in 2010, but his starting position could be in question if the Packers choose to select a safety.
- Outside Linebacker- Look for Green Bay to add some depth at this position during the later rounds of the draft.
- Running Back- The Packers have been rumored to have interest in Brian Westbrook, but it is believed he may not be able to pass a physical. Westbrook could still produce as a third down back in Green Bay's offense, but it is unclear if the team is willing to take on such an injury prone player. At 31, Westbrook is not getting any younger, and it may be more prudent for the Packers to acquire a younger player via the draft.
2009 Draft Results
- DT B.J. Raji (Boston College)
- OLB Clay Matthews (USC)
- OT T.J. Lang (Eastern Michigan)
- FB Quinn Johnson (LSU)
- OT Jamon Meredith (South Carolina)
- DE Jarius Wynn (Georgia)
- CB Brandon Underwood (Cincinnati)
- OLB Brad Jones (Colorado)