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Packers Free Agent Needs: Defensive Line

I was planning to discuss the Green Bay Packers defensive line anyway, and the timing worked out with the report from Jason La Canfora at that NT Ryan Pickett expects to receive the franchise tag. I'm a big fan of his, but the idea of paying a part-time player who provides no pass rush $7 million next season seems out of line. But that's the way it's going this offseason. Also, I'm not discussing most defensive ends because they are likely undersized for the 3-4 defense or better suited as an outside linebacker.

From Walter Football is the list of the top free agent defensive tackles. From that list, Vince Wilfork has already gotten the franchise tag. And it's going to happen to Casey Hampton soon. It just happened to Aubrayo Franklin. Oakland will place the franchise tag on Richard Seymour. Those franchise tags will take the top 5 unrestricted free agent tackles off the market. And it wouldn't look good if those 4 teams made sure to keep their free agents while the Packers let Pickett test the market.

After the top 5 unrestricted free agent tackles are gone, the pickings are slim. DE/DT Dwan Edwards is the best one left, but there might be a good reason he's only started 23 games in his first 5 NFL seasons. After Edwards are only more question marks like Cory Redding, Jimmy Kennedy, and Tank Williams.

Knowing all that it makes sense to place the franchise tag on Pickett and keep their solid defensive line intact for 2010.