Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Packers signed NT Ryan Pickett and probably waived good bye to NT Grady Jackson. It is better for the long-term to bring in Pickett and replace the aging Jackson. Terms weren't disclosed, but it is probably around the $5 million Seattle guaranteed to DT Rocky Bernard. I compared St. Louis's and the Packers defensive lines last week and it isn't clear that Pickett's performance in 2005 is an upgrade over what Jackson did in 2005. The Packers have spent a lot of money to resign DE Aaron Kampman and sign Pickett but all it has done has maintained an average defensive line. These are not free agent signings that should encourage QB Brett Favre to return for another season with the Packers. Maybe these signings are trying to encourage Favre to retire.

What does Favre mean when he wants to see free agent signings to keep the team competitive? I would assume that Favre is thinking offense first. The only signing there has been RB Ahman Green. That is better than nothing, but Green's best days are probably behind him. There were two top running backs available; RB Edgerrin James and RB Shaun Alexander, and the Packers made no effort to sign either. The Packers made no effort to sign any of the top 3 offensive lineman; T Kevin Shaffer, G Steve Hutchinson, or C LeCharles Bentley. With WR Javon Walker demanding a trade, it wouldn't hurt the Packers to sign a wide receiver, but they made no effort at either WRs Antwaan Randle El or WR David Givens.

What remaining signings could get Favre's attention? The only obvious one is WR Terrell Owens, but there have been no rumors of any interest from the Packers. Plus signing Owens brings with it a new set of problems. There are a couple of big name linebackers available; LB Lavar Arrington and LB Julian Peterson, but they would demand big money and both players have issues with attitude and injuries, respectively. Would Favre care if the Packers signed K Mike Vanderjagt?

Despite the huge cap room this offseason, the Packers have done little in free agency. The two new players; S Marquand Manuel and Pickett don't add much more than S Mark Roman and Jackson provided in 2005. GM Ted Thompson has just made it one step closer to Favre's departure from the team or his retirement.

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