FA Series Pt. 2: Anthony Smith

At some point, there will be offseason football and decisions to be made with 11 free agents. We use this multipart series to talk about the players and the issues surrounding the world champions. We continue with veteran safety Anthony Smith.

At some point, whether it's by the apparently forgotten art of negotiation or a court ruling, there will be football this year. That means there will be free agency.

The Green Bay Packers have 11 free agents — six of whom are unrestricted and five of whom may or may not be restricted, depending on the verbiage of the NFL's 2011 rules.

In this series, we look at those players and tell you who should stay and who should go.

About this series

Packer Report is examining the Packers' 11 free agents. Part 1: Bigby, Spitz, Hall

One of the six unrestricted free agents is safety Anthony Smith, a surprise release following a productive 2009 training camp and a surprise addition when acquired just hours after the Oct. 17 loss to Miami and just hours before he was expected to start to start for the Jaguars on Monday night. Smith wound up not costing the Packers a thing because he joined the list of walking wounded on injured reserve after suffering an ankle injury in his fourth game.

During his short stint on the active roster, Smith made his presence felt on special teams. Against the Jets, he stopped punter Drew Weatherford a yard short of a first down on a fake punt. A week later against Dallas, Smith recorded two tackles on special teams and got some time on defense. Against Minnesota after the bye, Smith went down with an ankle injury, and while X-rays were negative, he never played another snap as Atari Bigby was added to the roster from the physically unable to perform list.

Still, it appears a pretty safe beat that Smith will return. Before the draft, a league source said Smith was in the Packers' plans, pending what they did in the draft. As it turned out, the Packers did not add a player from what was considered a weak safety class. That means the Packers figure to go to camp with Pro Bowler Nick Collins at one spot, Morgan Burnett battling Charlie Peprah for the other spot, and practice squad players Anthony Levine and Michael Greco rounding out the group.

Bigby also is an unrestricted free agent. The Packers like Levine enough that they probably won't bring back both Bigby and Smith. But they also won't bring back just Collins, Peprah and Burnett. So, chances are the Packers will keep just one of their free agents and that will be Smith.

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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.

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