Decisions, decisions

Wide receiver Antonio Freeman is under contract with the Green Bay Packers, but he seems destined to be playing for another team next year unless he renegotiates his contract with the team. Besides Freeman, there are a number of other Packers who probably will not be back for the 2002 season.<p>

Players that are schedule to become unrestricted free agents for the Packers include: QB Doug Pederson, FB William Henderson, WRs Bill Schroeder and Corey Bradford, TE Tyrone Davis, OTs Earl Dotson and Barry Stokes, G Mike Wahle, DTs Jim Flanigan and Gilbert Brown, LS Rob Davis, and DB Allen Rossum. They will be free to negotiate with the Packers and any other NFL team when the free agency signing period begins at midnight Feb. 23.

Green Bay's restricted free agents include: WR Donald Driver, DT Cletidus Hunt, LB K.D. Williams, and DB Tod McBride. Players with three years of free agency credit; may negotiate and sign with any team from Feb. 23 through April 15 for draft-choice compensation, but Packers retain right to match any offer.

The Packers also will have to deal with Freeman who almost certainly will have to renegotiate the seven-year, $42 million contract that he signed prior to the 1999 season if he is going to remain with the Packers. He is scheduled to count at least $4.3 million against the Packers' salary cap next year.

Plus, defensive tackle Vonnie Holliday, the team's top draft pick in 1998 who had his best season with 81 tackles, seven sacks and three fumble recoveries, can void the final year of the five-year deal he signed as a rookie and negotiate with another team.

"We're going to see what happens," he said. "I know the Packers, they seem to be expressing interest in going ahead and getting this out of the way, so we don't have to worry about it, (so) it's not a problem down the line. And I certainly want to do the same."

Freeman feels that he can still play, but the Packers are in need of a bonafide weapon for Brett Favre. Because he is the slowest receiver on the team and his high salary cap number, Freeman likely will be playing elsewhere next season. And he hasn't hinted at renegotiating with the Packers.

"I showed today, last week and all year that I still got it," said Freeman after he caught two touchdowns Sunday in Green Bay's 45-17 loss to the St. Louis Rams. "If you want to say I lost a step, that's fine with me. I've got a lot of football left in me. My future's still bright. As bright as it's ever been."

A reporter then asked if he will remain in Green Bay?

"It's as bright as it's ever been," Freeman said.

The reporter again asked, ‘Will you remain in Green Bay?

"It's as bright as it's ever been (smiling)," Freeman said. "Let's leave it at that."

Freeman's attitude has changed for the better. He has realized that he can help the team in other ways besides catching the football. But he finished third on the team with 52 catches for 818 yards, his lowest totals since his rookie season in 1995.


Packer Report Top Stories