After signing four of their own free agents and doling out somewhere in the neighborhood of $80 million to do so, the Green Bay Packers have done quite a bit to solidify their team for 2010 and beyond.
Besides getting Nick Collins, Ryan Pickett, Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher back into the fold, the Packers still have some work to do. The team has eight remaining restricted free agents, most notably cornerback Tramon Williams and defensive end Johnny Jolly, who are important cogs in the Packers defense.
Williams will receive at least $3 million per season and Jolly will receive at least $2.5 million per season, although he will probably get more, because of the levels they were tendered at. That says nothing of Atari Bigby, Jason Spitz and the rest of the Packers restricted free agents.
In short, the Packers still have to spend quite a bit of money to finish resigning their own guys, something they’ve made a priority. Fortunately, because of the nature of restricted free agency and the tenders they used, the Packers don’t have to worry much about another team signing one of their players.
As for unrestricted free agents, Green Bay has only remaining – running back Ahman Green. There isn’t much of a market for a 32-year-old running back and while Green expects to return to Green Bay, the Packers have to decide if they want him back.
All of this makes it unlikely the Packers are going to pursue any outside free agents. I know, we all had delusions of grandeur when free agency started – this is the year Ted Thompson will finally sign someone who’s worth more than a cup of coffee – but as the signing period gets older that becomes less likely.
First, all of the top-tier free agents are gone. Most of the second-tier free agents are now gone as well. Guys like Ryan Clark, LaDainian Tomlinson and Marlin Jackson – players who may have helped the Packers, but aren’t Pro Bowlers or in some cases, even starters, are largely off the market.
What’s left? Largely backups and restricted free agents.
So Thompson will continue working on signing the rest of his own players and he may pick up a bargain-basement backup on the free agent market in a few weeks, but other than that, it’s time to impatiently begin waiting for the NFL Draft.