Thursday, March 24, 2005

There isn't much to say about the loss of FS Darren Sharper to Minnesota. Minnesota picked up a big play maker on defense and paid him about the same in a signing bonus as the Packers would have paid in a roster bonus ($4 million). Part of the problem was that Sharper's Packer base salary would have been higher than his Minnesota base salary. Sharper should be a good to great player over the next four seasons of the contract. It strengthens a division rival while weakening the Packers. The only good news this offseason in Minnesota is that the loss of WR Randy Moss can't be overcome by these other additions.

The Packers have been busy reconstructing their offensive line. Resigning OL Grey Ruegamer was a good start; he wanted to stay with the Packers and he was dirt cheap (around $540,000 with a "modest" signing bonus according to jsonline.com). The Packers know what they are getting with Ruegamer, but if that was so great then the Packers wouldn't have cut him in the first place. OL Adrian Klemm probably is being paid too much, but a 2 year $2.6 million contract, according to jsonline.com, is pretty cheap for the modern NFL. Klemm should have been a minimum wage signing, but a number of teams were apparently interested in what Klemm could be. Klemm's only 27 years old and could be a useful starter. The real interesting thing about Klemm is that if he could have stayed healthy over the last five seasons, he would have started at left tackle for three Super Bowl teams in New England. The big downside with Klemm is that there is a lot of what he could have been in his career. OT/TE Kevin Barry resigned with the Packers. The Packers used to have dreams of Barry at right tackle and RT Mark Tauscher at guard, but those dreams have probably died over the last two seasons. Barry is still young, healthy, and familar with the offense; so the price was right. The final signing (so far) is OL Matt O'Dwyer. O'Dwyer missed all of last season in Tampa and had been known for having quite a temper. In 1999, O'Dwyer was arrested for felony assault at a bar along with two other New York Jets linemen, including current Jets LT Jason Fabini. Thirty-one (31!) officers were called to the scene because of the size of the three men. O'Dwyer allegedly kicked out the window of a police cruiser. O'Dwyer is not the teddy bear of the NFL, which isn't necessarily a bad thing in an offensive lineman, and he has been named the starter on every team he has played for in the NFL. If O'Dwyer is healthy, then he will probably be starting at one of the guard spots next season. At the veteran's minimum, it is a pretty good deal. The Packers are probably done in free agency at offensive line, but it would be very surprising if no offensive linemen are drafted next month.

Another harmless signing was TE David Martin. Martin has managed to regress (although injuries have played a part) every season in the NFL, so he probably has ran out of chances with the Packers. Except the pass catching TE is an endangered species on the current Packers roster, and because Martin can catch the ball some, he is getting another chance.

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