Packers Target Defensive Line

They've at least explored making a move on a few of the bigger names on the free-agent market.

The Green Bay Packers, with four of their defensive linemen heading toward unrestricted free agency on Tuesday, have at least explored upgrading that position through free agency.

Packer Report confirmed the Packers' interest in Baltimore's Arthur Jones, a fifth-round pick in 2010. What isn't known is the strength of that interest and whether the Packers would be willing to open the vault. Minnesota gave Everett Griffen a deal worth more than $8 million per season.

The Packers also have been linked to Oakland's Lamarr Houston, a second-round pick in 2010. He's coming off his best season with 69 tackles, including six sacks and 10 tackles for losses. He led the Raiders in sacks and with 16 quarterback hits, and he added two forced fumbles. The interest, at this point, at least, doesn't appear to be intense, according to a source.

When Seattle released Red Bryant, the Packers expressed interest, as Packer Report reported last week. That interest went beyond the casual, as Bryant told reporters in Jacksonville after signing a four-year deal worth $17 million with the Jaguars.

"I had conversations with several teams," Bryant said on Monday. "I was actually supposed to be going to Green Bay Sunday, and I was going to Kansas City on Monday and the Washington Redskins was interested, as well."

Green Bay's interest in Houston — and perhaps Jones — might strengthen if those players are still available after the opening frenzy. While teams have been allowed to talk to free agents since Saturday, the signing period doesn't begin until 3 p.m. Tuesday.

At about $29 million under the cap, the Packers have some money to spend, but they also have their own free agents to retain, a draft class to sign and contracts to extend with Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.

Of the Packers' eight defensive linemen, B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett, Johnny Jolly and C.J. Wilson will be free agents. Raji, not surprisingly, has decided to see what the free-agent market has to offer before going back to Green Bay on a reported one-year deal. The camps of Pickett, Jolly and Wilson have remained quiet.

That leaves only Datone Jones, Jerel Worthy, Mike Daniels and Josh Boyd under contract. Whether it's a big name or role player, the Packers will have to sign or re-sign at least two or three defensive linemen.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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