Packers still wary of Eagles next move

Although the Green Bay Packers say they intend to match Detroit's offer to restricted free-agent Na'il Diggs, Philadelphia could indirectly determine Diggs' fate. More info from Lions' insider Mike Fowler, plus diversity update; A slap on the wrist for Detroit and Matt Millen?

(ALLEN PARK) - Despite declarations by both the Philadelphia Eagles and the Green Bay Packers, Na'il Diggs could still end up with the Detroit Lions. It all depends on the Eagles negotiations with restricted free agent Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila.

Yesterday, Green Bay declared it would match the Lions offer sheet to restricted free agent Na'il Diggs. Detroit's offer was so benign that it would almost be a no-brainer that the Pack would do so.

Especially would that be the case when you consider that Philadelphia head coach and vice president of football operations Andy Reid's declaration that negotiations with Gbaja-Biamila were "dead." Well, if that's the true, how to you explain the breakfast meeting between Gbaja-Biamila's agent, Bruce Tollner, and Eagles chief negotiator Joe Banner in Phoenix at the NFL owners meetings?

Neither man would comment to reporters and word is that two things are keeping the Eagles from offering Gbaja-Biamila. One is his indecision on whether to sign an offer sheet or play out a one-year tender in Green Bay and become an unrestricted free agent next season. Also figuring into Philly's equation is Green Bay's ability and willingness to match any offer sheet delivered for Gbaja-Biamila.

If the restricted free agent elects to play out the one-year tender, he also has to consider whether Green Bay might slap him with the franchise or transition tags that would limit his ability to move next season.

Despite Green Bay and Philadelphia's public statements, it still all hinges on whether Philadelphia is able to induce Gbaja-Biamila to sign an offer sheet. If they do, Green Bay will need to create room to match it and will likely allow Diggs to walk. Philly wants Green Bay to match Detroit's offer first, lose an extra $1.5 in cap space and then present them with a sheet for Gbaja-Biamila.

That would mean the Pack would have to either hastily re-negotiate enough contracts to create cap room or start cutting players like they did earlier with linebacker Nate Wayne.

Philly hopes that would create so much havoc; a situation similar to what Washington did when they signed New York Jets restricted free agent wide reciever Lavernaeus Coles to a $35 million offer with a $13 million signing bonus; that Green Bay that they would give up on matching the offer.

In short, it's a chess match. Detroit has nothing to lose and everything to gain. Stay tuned.

DIVERSITY COMMITTEE: Despite published reports that the Detroit Lions would be heavily penalized by the NFL for "falling short" of the NFL's diversity mandate, it's looking more an more like the Lions will only be slapped on the wrist. Detroit will definitely not lose draft picks and are likely only to be fined with some kind of suspension possible for Lions president and GM Matt Millen.

Rumors of the slap-on-the-wrist type penalty have incensed civil rights attorney's Johnnie Cochran and Cyrus Mehri and Fritz Pollard Alliance co-chair Kellen Winslow. All three want the Lions and in particular, Millen, to be heavily penalized.


Lions Report Top Stories