Analysis: Five that slipped away

With speculation swirling that Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila may get a contract offer from the Philadelphia Eagles in the near future, he could end up as one of a number of notable free agents that have gotten away from the Packers over the last ten years.<p>

The inception of the modern free agency system began in 1993, and with it, big-name players have been moving from team-to-team with higher frequency than ever before. The Packers know they cannot keep everyone, but here are five players in particular that escaped to other teams when they could or should have been long-term Packers:

5. Allen Rossum (2002) - He bolted to the Atlanta Falcons almost as fast as he heads up-field on a punt return. An apparent miscommunication between he and the Packers led to him signing a contract with the Falcons shortly after the 2001 season. He was a force for the Packers as a return specialist and part-time offensive and defensive player, and his departure hurt the Packers' special teams explosiveness in 2002.

4. Craig Hentrich (1998) - The current Tennessee Titans' punter is still regarded as one of the best in the game. Possibly wanting to avoid overpaying a punter, the Packers did not really compete with the five-year, $5.5 million contract that he received from the Titans. His value was also multiplied because of his ability to place kick as well. He made three field goals and five PAT's with the Packers from 1994-97.

3. Chuck Cecil (1993) - The fearless safety should have been a Packer for life, but with the Packers courting Reggie White, he signed with the Phoenix Cardinals (three years, $5.25 million). Though he stated he would have stayed in Green Bay for less money, the two sides could not come to an agreement. After he left Green Bay, he saw his career take a negative turn as he was all but forced out of the league for his "controversial" hard-hitting style. He currently is an assistant coach with the Titans.

2. Doug Evans (1998) - Not many will forget the contribution he made to the Packers' Super Bowl runs in 1996 and 1997. He turned around the Packers' season in 1996, coming off a two-game losing streak, with an interception return for a touchdown against the St. Louis Rams. Evans was at his prime as a cover corner when he left Green Bay to sign with the Carolina Panthers for $12 million over five years, making him the second highest paid cornerback in the league at the time.

Evans wanted to stay in Green Bay, and the Packers offered him a contract in the neighborhood of $2 million a year, but he found the Carolina deal to good to be true. He now plays for the Seattle Seahawks.

1. Bryce Paup (1995) - A long-time resident of the Green Bay area even after his departure, he signed for big bucks with the Buffalo Bills. In his first season there, he earned NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors with a career-high 89 tackles and 17.5 sacks. He was a star on the rise when he left Green Bay in 1995 and wanted to return in 2000, but it never did work out. His career ended with two years in Jacksonville and one in Minnesota.


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