The Packers signed LB Nick Barnett to a 6 year contract extension worth $35 million. PackerChatters.com said Barnett will receive a $10 million signing bonus, but Tom Silverstein said it won't be a traditional signing bonus and Barnett will be paid $12 million in 2007. It makes sense that the Packers will try and have the extension eat up as much of their unused 2007 cap space as possible. The amount of guaranteed money is less than LB Adalius Thomas ($20 million) but a bit more than LB Napoleon Harris ($7.5 million). No hometown discount, but a market value contract.
Talent wise this makes sense too. Barnett is young, 25, posted over 100 tackles every season, pretty good in pass coverage, and has been healthy. He broke his hand in 2006 and played the last few games in a cast, but that is that's the only blemish. He would have gotten more in free agency next year. Tackle stats aren't the perfect measure of a player's worth, as Mike Tanier says:
PackerChatters.com speculated this is a sign that LB Abdul Hodge is the odd man out. The linebacking core is pretty young and cheap at the moment, so having too much depth doesn't crunch the cap at the moment, it gives Hodge more time to learn (if necessary), and I'm still not sold on LB Brady Poppinga.