Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Michael Hawthorne received a $175,000 signing bonus and $1.425 million for the 2004 season, reported, which is probably far less than William Bartee, who the Packers were considering as their third cornerback, received from Kansas City when they gave Bartee a 4 year contract last week. It was probably a rude awakening for Hawthorne, because he was quoted while speaking about himself in the 3rd person on back on January 28th saying "Michael Hawthorne has to look out for Michael Hawthorne." Hawthorne reportedly was looking for a starting job at a starting salary in an active market for cornerbacks, and he missed badly. He should have a lot to prove in 2004.

Larry Smith was resigned at the league minimum, reported. Smith was picked up from Jacksonville last preseason but missed the opening game roster in favor of Curtis Fuller. He was resigned after Joe Johnson got hurt (again) and Smith was able to create some pass rush from the tackle position on 3rd downs. He was a reason why Cleditus Hunt (5 games pre Smith-0 sacks, 11 games with Smith-4 sacks) and Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila (5 games pre Smith-2 sacks, 11 games with Smith-8 sacks) both improved their sack totals. His return is welcomed.

And to make sure no stone was unturned, the Packers signed an Australian Rules Football player named Nathan Chapman to try out at punter, reported. Well it worked out for San Diego with Darren Bennett.

Mark Hatley is probably disappointed after being awarded only one seventh round pick as compensation for free agents lost last offseason. reported that Hatley was expecting multiple picks, based on a formula that considers free agents signed and lost and how the free agents performed. The Packers' primary losses were Tyrone Williams and Tod McBride, who both played lousy for Atlanta, and Vonnie Holliday, who started strong and finished weak in Kansas City. The Packers' primary gains were starting linebacker Hannibal Navies, along with useful part time performers Nick Luchey and Chukie Nwokorie. Cincinnati received a 3rd round pick for the pro bowl linebacker Takeo Spikes, and Philadelphia received two 4th round picks for starting linebacker Shawn Barber and former pro bowl defensive lineman Hugh Douglass. Only Holliday approaches the level of those three players, although Douglass had multiple teams after him last offseason while Holliday was lucky to find a multiyear deal, and he is defintely a step below those three players. Maybe an additional 5th round selection would have been appropriate for Holliday, instead of the 7th round selection.

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