With Lockout Lifted, Where Do the Packers Free Agents Stand?

Judge Susan Richard Nelson put an end to what has been a tumultuous three months of labor negotiations on Monday, as the court ruled in favor of the players -- officially ending the NFL lockout despite ongoing obligations.

What all this means, is their may be football come August. The NFL is far from out of the woods just yet, but with the owners losing out, things look to be on the right track.

What it also means, is that the Green Bay Packers free agency can now get back to business.

Prior to Monday's turn of events, players were barred from negotiating with other teams due to the leagues ongoing labor negotiations. While free agents were offered tenders during the early months of the offseason, many players were left in the dark -- the Packers being no exception.

Green Bay played the smart card earlier in the year by issuing contracts to several key players. A.J. Hawk flirted with free agency earlier in March before reaching a new deal, although the same can't be said for other key players.

Firstly, fresh in everyone's mind is wide receiver James Jones. The urgency to resign one of the teams most promising young receivers has been non-existent recently, although Jones was reportedly offered a tender but refused to sign.

Signing Jones isn't exactly pivotal for the Packers right now. General manager Ted Thompson isn't likely to allow the teams check book to do the talking, and nor is Jones likely to settle for a small offer while still remaining the third receiver behind Donald Driver and Greg Jennings.

Perhaps that is an issue for another day, though.

Second on the list is defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins. On the opposite end to Jones, Jenkins is pivotal to the Packers, although judging by reports, he remains likely to play elsewhere in 2011.

Again, the draft is the likely answer for Thompson. The troublesome Johnny Jolly is no longer a viable solution since pleading guilty to codeine chargers late last week, so don't be surprised to see the Packers select a defensive end with their first round pick.

Thirdly, tendered free agents Mason Crosby, Daryn Colledge, John Kuhn and Jason Spitz are all up for debate. The recent lockout situation is good news for unrestricted free agents, but for players who previously received a tender, things are still up in the air with no new Collective Bargaining Agreement signed as of yet.

Before Monday's proceedings, the tenders offered to Crosby, Colledge, Kuhn and Spitz protected the Packers should either player be made an offer. As the lockout continues to unwind, however, either player could negotiate with another team should he feel fit.

As for other players, it's a game of Guess Who.

Running back Brandon Jackson failed to sign a tender despite being offered one. Safety Atari Bigby also went unnoticed, and is likely to move elsewhere. While fullback Korey Hall's status is unknown for the time being.

A busy 42 hours of lockout lunacy. For the Packers free agents, it is both good news and bad.

But hey, at least the wheels are in motion. Sort of.

 

Follow Ryan Cook on Twitter or send him an email: ryan.cook392@gmail.com.

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