Longtime readers of this site know I am no Nick Collins fan. So it might surprise them to know that I think Collins deserves the new contract he's been so desperate for. All reports have indicated that working out an extension for Ryan Pickett before free agency begins in two weeks is the teams top priority. And I realize that there are many other contract situations that need to be tended to before the team can turn its attention to Collins. But the Packers would do well to get something done with Collins sooner rather than later, preferably before training camp, if not before offseason workouts begin.
The little I've seen written about it, it seems the sides are pretty far apart (shocking, I know) and that there is no real urgency from the team due to the fact that Collins is caught in the wash of the CBA and the changing rules of free agency. But Thompson and company would do well to reward Collins for his play over the last two years. While perhaps not the elite player he sees himself as, Collins was very good last year, turning in a much more consistent effort than 2008 where he started out on fire and then seemed to run out of gas as the year went on.
By no means is Collins at the level of a Ed Reed or a Troy Polamalu. Not yet. But he has proven to be a consistent playmaker and better in run support every year. (Though not always the greatest tackler. Check the 1:07 mark for the play Thompson and Russ Ball will have playing on repeat as he and Collins' team negotiate.) He's one of the better safeties in the league and he needs to be given a chance to grow in Capers' scheme, not to mention a modicum of competence across the way from him.
Yes, get Pickett done. Re-sign Clifton.
And then pay Nick.