Thus, the Green Bay Packers' Ted Thompson and his fellow general managers have no idea what to expect for players like offensive lineman Daryn Colledge (five years), running back Brandon Jackson, wide receiver James Jones and kicker Mason Crosby (all four years). All were given restricted free-agent tenders even though all may wind up being unrestricted.
"It's very disconcerting for a person like me," Thompson said after last month's draft, "because I like to have a piece of paper in front of me that says, ‘These are the rules, now go get ‘em, compete just like anybody else.' I imagine all 31 other teams are thinking the same thing. It's confusing and it's exacerbating."
What is certain is the Packers have six unrestricted free agents, headlined by defensive end Cullen Jenkins. Age (30), injuries (missed five games last season) and depth at the position (2010 second-rounder Mike Neal returns from injured reserve) mean the Packers likely will let Jenkins go. He figures to get a huge contract after posting a career-high seven sacks in only 11 games last year, but the Packers already rank second in the NFL in 2011 salary commitments.
For more, read Bill's story and free-agent thumbnails at FoxSportsWisconsin.com.
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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 email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport.