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.

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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

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