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Free Agent Status For Packers Under Proposed CBA

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Free Agent Status For Packers Under Proposed CBA

According to the framework of the proposed Collective Bargaining Agreement from Chris Mortenson of ESPN, free agency would return to his pre-2010 rules with four years needed to reach unrestricted free agency.

Most of the Green Bay Packers would fall into this category. For sake of reference, here is a list of players and their years of experience who would be eligible for unrestricted free agency under such a framework...

Unrestricted

  • Linebacker Matt Wilhelm, 8 years
  • Defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins, 7 years
  • Safety Atari Bigby, 5 years
  • Guard Daryn Colledge, 5 years
  • Running back John Kuhn, 5 years
  • Safety Anthony Smith, 5 years
  • Offensive lineman Jason Spitz, 5 years
  • Kicker Mason Crosby, 4 years
  • Fullback Korey Hall, 4 years
  • Running back Brandon Jackson, 4 years
  • Wide receiver James Jones, 4 years

The only players who don't meet this threshold are cornerback Josh Bell, who has three years of experience and would be a restricted free agent, and wide receiver Brett Swain and tight end Spencer Havner, both of whom have two years of experience and would be exclusive rights free agents.

The restricted free agent tenders players like Crosby, Colledge, Jones, Kuhn and Jackson were reported to have received would be void under the new CBA.

Even though the Packers aren't known to be active participants in free agency under Ted Thompson, you can see from the lengthy list that they'll at least be busy resigning some of their own players.

The return of a salary cap will make it difficult if not impossible for the Packers to sign those players who are likely to sign lucrative contracts on the open market, namely Jenkins and Jones. Could they sign these players? Yes, but they'd probably have to clear money elsewhere to do so.

While perhaps not in the same category as Jenkins and Jones, a group including Crosby, Jackson and Colledge might also generate some interest in the open market.

As for the rest of the unrestricted free agents, the Packers could probably have them back at a reasonable price, but they have to decide whether they want them back. In the case of Kuhn, the Packers will probably re-sign him. As for guys like Spitz, Smith and Hall, their futures with the Packers are a little more up in the air.

A new CBA is not guaranteed, though it's looking more and more likely all the time. Based upon the recent progress made, it's not out of the question that free agency could begin in mid-July before training camps begin.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (10) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

TedTheSledge's picture

Brian,

Under this scenario that is a huge group of guys reaching unrestricted free agency this year around the league when the CBA goes back to 4 years. You have to believe that the number of players that will be changing teams will be much higher than previous years and more teams could be qualifying for compensatory picks if the rules stay the same.

Will the league have to make a one year adjustment to the compensatory allotment if there is alot of player movement or might we see a 50 + selection 4th or 5th round?

Brian Carriveau's picture

In the past the NFL has limited compensatory selections to 32, the equivalent of one more round.

As for whether compensatory draft choices will even exist as part of the new CBA is still speculation at this point. It wasn't covered by Chris Mortenson today, but it's only one of many, many smaller details that still have to be ironed out.

It's just a wait and see game.

bomdad's picture

Its a long list, but many players arranged their last deal to expire around a new CBA. Any idea how big the whole FA market is? Are most teams looking at a similar number of players who are eligible to become unrestricted?

DaveK's picture

For the most part there is a method to TT's madness and why these 11 don't have new deals. There is reason Colledge is UFA and Desmond Bishop is not. The biggest surprise to me is Mason Crosby. They seem to like him and I don't think it would have taken a bunch to extend him. Maybe Crosby doesn't want to be back and prefers a dome or warm weather.....They could use the franchise tag on him which isn't that much for K.

I wonder if they don't start the league year a week before opening up free agency. That will give teams a week to sign their own players back and/or do rookie deals before the chaos of UFA begins.

The Bears have some key free agents who started last year: Kreutz, Maynard, Adams, and Roach. Plus Corey Graham who will make a fine nickel corner for someone. I would guess they would be interested in Jenkins and Colledge. Both would be huge upgrade for them at need positions with the added bonus of taking them away from their hated rival.

Vikings have Sidney Rice, Chad Greenway, and Ray Edwards. All three are important starters. Not to mention Longwell and Ben Leber. Plus, they have a rookie QB who gets all of a month to learn a NFL west coast offense and teammates. Good luck with that!

Lions only have one starter set to be a UFA and that is an important one in Chris Houstan, CB. Lions will be a contender this year more then the Bears!

Projected cap numbers each team has committed for 2011:

Lions: $113.8 million
Packers: $129.8 million
Vikings: $108.4 million
Bears: $104.9 million.

Packers would gain about $10 million if Tauscher and Barnett are not back.

packeraaron's picture

It seems like a lot - until you look at teams like the Saints who have 30+ guys set to hit free agency.

FITZCORE1252's picture

"A new CBA is not guaranteed, though it's looking more and more likely all the time."

Good news, my sources tell me a deal is imminent.

My ALL CAPS take on the possible goners...

Linebacker Matt Wilhelm, 8 years = BEAT IT

Defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins, 7 years = LOVE TO HAVE HIM BACK, NOT GONNA HAPPEN

Safety Atari Bigby, 5 years = DON'T GET YOUR DREADS CAUGHT IN THE DOOR CHINA DOLL

Guard Daryn Colledge, 5 years = BEAT IT, IT'S TJ'S TURN. BTW, SHUT YOUR WANGSUCKER, NOBODY CARES WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY... THAT GOES FOR THE MRS TOO

Running back John Kuhn, 5 years = MY SOURCES TELL ME HE'LL BE BACK... KOOL

Safety Anthony Smith, 5 years = WOULDN'T MIND RE-SIGNING HIM FOR DEPTH, HE PROVED SERVICEABLE

Offensive lineman Jason Spitz, 5 years = PEACE

Kicker Mason Crosby, 4 years = BRING HIM AND HIS SUB 80% LEG BACK... I GUESS

Fullback Korey Hall, 4 years = LIKE THE DUDE, HOPE TO GET HIM BACK IF FOR NOTHING OTHER THATN ST'S

Running back Brandon Jackson, 4 years = PLAYS A VALUEABLE ROLE, LIKE TO HAVE HIM BACK, BUT 4 RB'S??? HOW'S TED GONNA KEEP 6 FB'S?

Wide receiver James Jones, 4 years = LIKE TO HAVE HIM BACK, BUT HE'LL SIGN FOR MORE SCRILLA AND COBB WILL SOON MAKE US FORGET JONES AND HIS GRANITE MITS

GBP 4 LIFE

Cole's picture

I just hope Jenkins and Jones go somewhere outside the division.

retiredgrampa's picture

So much depends on Mike Neal returning with good health. That would soften the blow of losing Jenkins, one of my favorites. Too bad Jolly didn't understand his situation. Bad friends.

PkrNboro's picture

I wouldn't be surprised if Kuhn and Crosby are the only players pursued.

If you believe that BJAX's pass-protection/3rd-down-back utility offsets his tendency to run into an OL's butt, then his return is a possibility -- assuming that his open-market reception is lukewarm.

But with Rosenhaus as an agent, it might be more likely we get the generic GB statement: "We'd like to thank Brandon for his hard work...wish him the best...etc"

DaveK's picture

I think the Packers would like to retain Jackson. He is good 3rd down back that made some BIG plays for the Packers last year. Assignment sure blocker with good hands that does well in space on the dump pass. I think the problem is that BJAX wants a chance to be a feature back and be not 3rd or 4th on the depth chart. I know it's delusional given his performance last year as the feature back (replaced by Kuhn!!) but in May he said wants "the opportunity to be a starter". Jackson may end up back with the Packers as he might have more value to them (and thus a better offer) then most other teams. It's just going to take a few weeks of FA to get him to see that no one is going to make him a feature back. He better hope the Packers haven't moved on without him by then.

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