Packers Have 12 Unrestricted FAs

The fate of those free agents - a list that includes 10 players with significant starting experience - probably will not be determined until a new collective bargaining agreement is struck.

The Green Bay Packers have a lot of work to do if they want to bring back their Super Bowl-championship team intact. They have a dozen players who are set to become unrestricted free agents, including 10 with starting experience.

The Packers maintain exclusive negotiating rights with their free agents until the end of March 3. Then, they'll hit the free agent market – assuming a collective bargaining agreement is struck, which seems highly unlikely. Without a new CBA at 12:01 a.m. on March 4, there will be a lockout, meaning all business will be put on hold until the owners and players strike a deal.

"There are just so many unknowns in front of us and we'll just deal with them as they come," coach Mike McCarthy said.

Unrestricted free agents

This list is based on the old free agency rules returning when a new collective bargaining agreement is struck. That means all players with four years of experience will be unrestricted.

S Atari Bigby: Played in just four regular-season games due to injuries and has played in only 46 in his six seasons.

OG Daryn Colledge: Was good but hardly exceptional. But, there's something to be said about making 49 consecutive starts.

K Mason Crosby: See our story on Crosby.

FB Korey Hall: Played in 12 games and led team with 15 special-teams tackles.

RB Brandon Jackson: He wasn't up to the task of being the featured back but remains exceptional in a third-down role.

DE Cullen Jenkins: Figures to get a huge contract offer elsewhere after posting seven sacks in 11 games. The franchise figure of perhaps $13 million will be far too much to swallow, especially with Mike Neal waiting in the wings.

WR James Jones: Set career highs with 50 catches for 679 yards and tied his career high with five touchdowns. Might have scored 10 touchdowns if not for his inconsistent hands.

RB John Kuhn: Kuhn did it all, including a second-ranked six touchdowns.

S Charlie Peprah: Plan C at safety after injuries to rookie Morgan Burnett and Bigby, Peprah started the final 11 regular-season games and had two interceptions.

S Anthony Smith: Played in just four games after being acquired from Jacksonville on Oct. 19. Was put on IR with ankle injury; Packers don't owe Jacksonville the conditional seventh-round draft pick.

OL Jason Spitz: The former starter replaced an injured Colledge at Detroit in December but was benched in favor of T.J. Lang.

LB Matt Wilhelm: Played a half-dozen games on special teams after being added at midseason, chipping in four tackles.

Restricted free agents

The Packers have no players with expiring contracts with three years of experience.

Exclusive-rights free agents

These aren't free agents at all. The Packers automatically retain their rights by offering them a one-year, minimum-salary tender.

TE Spencer Havner: Played in just one game after being re-signed on Nov. 12 before being placed on IR after aggravating injured hamstring.

WR Brett Swain: A seventh-round pick in 2008, he caught first six passes of career for 72 yards. Was a staple on special teams, contributing seven tackles.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.


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