Still room for a Couch

The Green Bay Packers are trying to make room for Tim Couch, but they are still far from obtaining the Cleveland Browns quarterback. However, Packers coach and general manager Mike Sherman is not giving up, especially after the Packers completed their 2004 NFL draft without selecting a quarterback.<p>

"It's just a matter of whittling it away," Sherman said in his post-draft press conference. "I'm hopeful that we'll get something done, but I can't say it's a definite."

The Packers had their eye on obtaining Tulane's J.P. Losman in the first round of the NFL draft on Saturday. The Buffalo Bills, however, got to Losman ahead of the Packers by trading up from the second round with the Dallas Cowboys to the 22nd selection of the first round. The Bills gave the Cowboys a first round pick in the 2005 NFL draft, but got Losman.

If the Bills hadn't traded up to get Losman, the Packers almost certainly would have had a chance to select him. Sherman said "it would have been a tough call" between choosing Losman and Arkansas cornerback Ahmad Carroll, whom the Packers selected.

Now the focus is on Couch in an effort to find Brett Favre's eventual successor. The main sticking point is money. Couch will have to rework his contract. His current deal has two years remaining with base salaries of $7.6 million for 2004 and $8 million for 2005. The Packers prefer to pay Couch backup-type of money, but Couch reportedly is seeking a higher base salary and bonus considerations on a one-year deal. The Packers are seeking a deal of at least two years.

Sherman said that it has been difficult for the Packers to negotiate with Couch's agent, Tom Condon, this weekend because Condon has been busy working deals for other players.

Couch visited with the Packers in Green Bay on April 6-7. In late March, he dined with Sherman in Cleveland after the Packers had received permission from the Browns to meet with the five-year veteran.

Couch was the first overall pick of the 1999 NFL Draft. The Browns signed veteran quarterback Jeff Garcia this off-season to a four-year, $25 million deal. Couch has refused to take a paycut from the Browns and doesn't want to stay in Cleveland as a backup.


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