Ted Thompson and the Green Bay Packers have made several moves this morning to solidify the team’s position and finalize the cap space available to the team as the free agency period commences this afternoon.
By tendering a low level offer to center Evan Dietrich-Smith and and a second tier offer to Sam Shields, the Packers have committed about $3.3 million toward restricted free agents. The Packers didn’t extend tenders to tight end Tom Crabtree, Robert Francois or Frank Zombo, throwing those players to the market. However, reports indicated the Packers were trying to work out a deal to retain Francois.
Factoring in Johnny Jolly’s reduced salary of just more than $700,000, the Packers were set to enter the free agency period about $18 million under the salary cap, the most of any team in the NFC North. But the Packers are the only team that didn’t factor into the free agency game. Rather, it appears the Packers are poised to commit to long-term contracts for Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews with the bulk of the funds remaining.
Elsewhere in the division, the Bears, who are said to be aggressively working the available free agent offensive linemen, have about $7 million to $10 million available in cap space; Detroit, which has been working the Reggie Bush lines all weekend, have $6 million available; and Minnesota, which pulled off the Percy Harvin trade yesterday and are poised in an attempt to either land receivers via free agency or the draft, have about $15 million available.
With less than two hours before the bell for the start of free agency rings, it looks as though it will be a quiet one for the Packers, while the Bears land at least one offensive lineman, the Lions try to shore up their running game, and the Vikings make a run at either Mike Wallace or Greg Jennings.
But let me throw this out there: Talk has been that the Packers haven’t given up on Jennings yet and that negotiations continue with his agent … suppose, just for the fun of it, that the Packers find a way to free up more money (releasing A.J. Hawk or restructuring his deal?), and get the go-ahead from both Rodgers and Matthews to waylay their extensions for another year so they can re-sign Jennings …
I know, you think I’m crazy. I think I’m crazy. But hey! This is the National Football League where just about any kind of crazy thing can occur.
Just some food for thought as we sit waiting for something to happen.
Stay tuned …