Mark Tauscher has suffered through injuries that have kept him out of the lineup the past two years. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

A look ahead, post-lockout


Does the Packers defense need Nick Barnett? Raymond T. Rivard photograph

By Jimmy Riley, for

The Green Packers have a number of things to address when the lockout ends, as it is supposed to in the near future.  There are several players whose futures with the Packers may not be so bright.

Among them Nick Barnett and Mark Tauscher
Nick Barnett

What should the Packers do with Nick Barnett?

If the Packers were to trade him or let him go it would save them around $4.4 million.  The injury bug has bitten the linebacker two of the last three seasons.  In 2008 he started nine games and last year he only started four.

With Desmond Bishop coming off a strong season, as well as an emerging pass rusher in Frank Zombo, the Packers also have Brad Jones and Brandon Chillar coming back from injuries.  The team just committed long-term to A.J. Hawk and they have some linebacker named Clay Matthews as well.  With some depth at linebacker and Barnett’s $4.4 million contract for this season, it may in the Packers’ best interest to part ways with the nine-year veteran.

Mark Tauscher

Another player with a situation similar to Nick Barnett is offensive tackle Mark Tauscher.  If they don’t bring Tauscher back, the team will save in the neighborhood of $4.5 million. Tauscher has been a stable anchor on the Packers’ offensive line for nearly 10 years, but his best years are definitely behind him. He, like Barnett, has battled injuries in recent seasons. He has only started 12 games over the last two years.  With Bryan Bulaga, T.J. Lang, pro-bowler Chad Clifton, and rookie Derek Sherrod, the team has some depth at offensive tackle and may want to cut ties with Tauscher.

The Packers are approximately $62,000 under the cap right now, and not bringing back Barnett or Tauscher will take nearly $9 million off the books. Keep in mind the team still needs to sign their draft picks from April’s draft. Free agency isn’t usually a method Ted Thompson uses to address the team’s needs, but if he does elect to add depth via free agency the $9 million from Barnett and Tauscher may come in handy for that as well.

Tags: A J Hawk Brad Jones Bryan Bulaga Chad Clifton Clay Matthews Derek Sherrod Desmond Bishop Frank Zombo Mark Tauscher NFC NFL Nick Barnett T.J. Lang Ted Thompson Winning Isn't Everything, It's The Only Thing

  • Tarynfor 12

    IMO,Barnett is the safest player to trade or release.With the rise in play of Bishop,Hawk finding his calling and what looks to be a nice find in Zombo,add in the return of B.Jones,Chiller and also IMO the good pick of Elmore makes Barnett very movable.

    Tauscher is a different scenario in that Lang must show early that he is the player hoped to be.Sherrod is assumed to follow Chad but putting him as Rodgers protector too early leaves a sick feeling in my stomach as would having to rely on College to not allow Rodgers eggs to get busted.Newhouse can play some LT but…yeah,I’m getting queasier as I type.

    As to Tauscher,he has had his injuries but keeping him is a move that cannot be loosely discounted unless the money needed for that to happen is too much to count.

    I also think that a restructuring of Grants contract is also warranted as 5.5 mil is a tad too much.But,overall we should be able to achieve the cap status without inflicting any serious gashings to the team as a whole.

    • apackphan

      Good take on the situation … I also agree that Barnett could be a great candidate for trade bait … for what? I’m not sure … a quality player at any position to add even more depth would be a good thing.
      Tauscher, I feel, would be a great player to keep around, if for nothing else but as a leader in the locker room. He is well respected by his teammates and would make a great failsafe should Bulaga or even one of the guards go down. I think he could probably play anywhere with the exception of left tackle. Anyway, I say keep him for one more year and let him retire with two rings.

      • Tarynfor 12

        Barnett is an enigma.I can’t to this day yet,figure out what it is or what he really did to acquire some of the stardom emblazened onto him and how some still feel he can/does still shine.

        I’m sure TT will find a 4-3 team that can easily be duped into giving us a 4th rd pick for him,which would be a great steal since that seems to be right in TTs wheel house in the draft that many a fan go agog over one way or another.

        I would look to Carolina,S.Diego,Wash as possible dupes.

        • Tarynfor 12

          A question posed as food for thought,”Since Barnett was the defensive QB and Hawks play during those years were never up to par for a 1st rd pick and since taking over those duties and the explosion of his play since,is it possible that Barnett was really a hindrance moreso than the benefit many contrived him to be”?