Packers Free Agency: Going Into Week 2

In the first few days of free agency I've only read news regarding unrestricted free agents, the one lone restricted free agent who's getting interest is Broncos's WR Brandon Marshall. Things could change re: the Packers restricted free agents, only S Derrick Martin has official resigned so far, but it's unlikely to happen in the next few days. 

So here are the five unrestricted free agents for the Packers: NT Ryan Pickett, LB Aaron Kampman, LT Chad Clifton, RT Mark Tauscher, and RB Ahman Green. Pickett will return as the franchise player, either signing the one-year tender contract or agreeing to a NT Casey Hampton type 3 year, $21 million, $11 million guaranteed contract. Kampman has been signed by the JaguarsClifton has been resigned. Green will probably resign with the Packers or retire.

That leaves Tauscher. I've read nothing to indicate he's in talks with another team, or planning to visit one. The resigning of Clifton may have erased any doubt he'll return next season, assuming the Packers want him. I do really hope the Packers want him back because finding his replacement last season was a disaster. From Tom Silverstein:

[Clifton's] best friend, Mark Tauscher, probably will be back with the Packers. He has a home in Green Bay. He has never lived in a city bigger than Knoxville, Tenn. He is 33 years old and his goal is to play with just one team his entire career.

The one loss in free agency was Kampman, so if there was a position to target in free agency, outside linebacker would be it. The last time the Packers lost a starter as good as Kampman and attempted to replace him with a veteran free agent was in 2005, when LG Mike Wahle and RG Marco Rivera were allowed to leave and replaced with the inept duo of Matt O'Dwyer and Adrian Klemm. The other notable free agent departure in 2005 was FS Darren Sharper, and they did a good job in drafting FS Nick Collins as his replacement.

Pro Football Focus lists the Top 5 unrestricted, 3-4 defense, linebackers. LB Tully Banta-Cain was resigned by the Patriots. LB Jason Taylor will never leave Miami. LB Derrick Burgess isn't really a linebacker. LB Mike Vrabel was resigned by the Chiefs. That leaves former Dolphins LB Joey Porter, who left his previous team on very bad terms. I can't imagine Porter having interest in the Packers, or visa-versa. It looks like his first choice is the Cardinals anyway, and Kampman's replacement will be LB Brad Jones or whoever they may draft in April.

I expect we'll hear some names rumored to the Packers in the coming weeks, but they'll all be considered for backup roles. It's possible we don't hear anything because there are so many additional restricted free agents this season. Is there anyone left out there that you'd like to see the Packers pursue?

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