Will the Packers re-sign KGB and Diggs?

Much of what will happen in the coming days regarding the status of linebacker Na'il Diggs and defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila will have a profound impact on the Packers' defense next season. Both were arguably the team's best two defensive players a year ago.<p>

Diggs, however, signed an offer sheet with the Detroit Lions this past weekend as a restricted free agent. The Packers have until Sunday to match the offer or lose him and receive the Lions' fourth-round draft pick as compensation.

Gbaja-Biamila, also restricted, returned from Philadelphia last week after negotiations with the Eagles. No contract agreement was reached, but if the Eagles decide to sign "KGB" to an offer sheet and the Packers do not match, they will receive the Eagles' first-round draft pick (30th overall).

With the Packers' tight salary cap situation, what happens to one player will likely affect the other. If the Packers choose to match the offer signed by Diggs, they will be left with a little under $3 million under the cap for 2003. That would not leave much to negotiate a cap-friendly contract for the first-year of potential long-term contract for Gbaja-Biamila, which will also likely include a chunk of a large signing bonus.

If the Packers do not match the Diggs' offer, they will have more bargaining power to retain Gbaja-Biamila, who is apparent mulling over his options of where he wants his career to head. He and his agent, Bruce Tollner, may pursue further negotiations with the Eagles in the future, but returning from Philadelphia last week without an agreement may be an indication that team "KGB" may have been asking for too much.

"He said all the right things when he was here," an Eagles source said. "We're hopeful. But we'll have to see."

Of course, losing Diggs would mean that the Packers would lose another starter from their defense, which is sure to have several new faces amongst its "front seven" next year. Linebacker Nate Wayne was released, linebacker Hardy Nickerson likely will not be re-signed, and defensive end Vonnie Holliday's future may be elsewhere as he continues his free agent tour.

The deadline to sign restricted free agents to offer sheets is April 18.

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