Packers eye Couch

The Green Bay Packers are exploring the possibilities of trading for Cleveland quarterback Tim Couch. The Browns gave the Packers permission to speak with Couch and coach Mike Sherman reportedly met with him last Thursday.<p>

Cleveland signed former 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia to a four-year, $25 million contract this off-season, making Couch expendable. The Browns want to unload Couch and his salary. He is scheduled to earn $7.3 million this season, but would count $3.6 million against the Browns' salary cap if he is released or traded before June 1.

While on a scouting trip yesterday to watch quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, Packers coach Mike Sherman stopped in to see Couch, the No. 1 pick in the 1999 draft, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Obtaining Couch in a trade before the June 1 deadline would give the Packers an edge over other teams who would pursue the quarterback after he is released. Green Bay also could renegotiate the final two seasons of his contract, which call for him to earn base salaries of $7.6 million and $8 million.

The Packers might be able to obtain Couch for a mid-round selection in the upcoming draft, given Cleveland's desire to unload his salary.

Couch has been inconsistent with the Browns. He has thrown more interceptions (67) than touchdowns (64). Last year he went 3-5 as a starter while rotating with Kelly Holcomb.

The Packers are seeking a quarterback to compete against Craig Nall and to eventually step in for Brett Favre. Veteran Doug Pederson has been Favre's backup the last two seasons. He is an unrestricted free agent.

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