It is surprising to see the Packers sign Robert Ferguson to a contract extension. Although Ferguson was drafted in 2001, he didn't start playing until 2002 and in the last two seasons he has averaged about 30 catches, 400 yards, and 3 to 4 TD receptions. Ferguson only played 1 year of major college football, so he has learned a lot in the NFL, but it would have been reasonable to wait and see how he plays in 2004 before committing long term to him. He has also had problems staying healthy, so that could be another concern.
On the other hand, the Packers are counting on him in 2004 because the Packers lack depth at wide receiver behind him, Javon Walker and Donald Driver. Ferguson has the size and speed that every NFL team wants at wide receiver, and if Ferguson had left after the 2004 season, then the Packers would have made wide receiver a priority next offseason and during the 2005 draft. Espn.com reported that Ferguson's base salaries over the 5 year contract are just over $6 million, and he couldn't have signed for a huge signing bonus. His signing bonus will not be as high as Driver's $4 million signing bonus that Driver signed in 2002, and should be less than the $2.25 million signing bonus given by Cleveland in May 2004 to WR Dennis Northcutt. If Ferguson received a $1.75 million signing bonus and can emerge in 2004 as a reliable and consistant deep passing threat, then this will be a great signing.