Packers retain Kampman

Aaron Kampman will remain in Green Bay, at least for the 2005 season. The Packers today matched the one-year, $1.2 million offer sheet that the restricted free agent defensive end received from the Minnesota Vikings last Wednesday.<p>

The Packers, who have been reportedly negotiating a long-term contract with Kampman's agent, decided to match the Vikings' offer. If the Packers would have elected not match the Vikings' offer, Minnesota would have had to compensate Green Bay with a fifth-round pick in this year's draft – the round in which Kampman was selected in 2002 out of the University of Iowa.

Matching the Vikings' offer marks the second time in three years a division rival has upped the ante with the Packers with one of their restricted free agents. Detroit signed starting linebacker Na'il Diggs to a four-year, $10.4 million offer sheet in 2003. The Packers, who would have received only a fourth-round draft pick as compensation for losing Diggs, matched the offer.

"Aaron is very happy to continue with a great organization like the Green Bay Packers, and he would have been happy to have had the opportunity to join an outstanding defensive front four with the Minnesota Vikings," Kampman's agent Neil Cornrich told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "He was in a very enviable position and is appreciative of the recognition he received from the Minnesota Vikings as well as other teams during the restricted free agency process."

Kampman, 25, will become an unrestricted free agent after the 2005 season. The 6-foot-4, 284-pound Kampman led the Packers' defensive linemen with 77 tackles (53 solo) last season and was second on the team with 4.5 sacks. He started all 16 games for the Packers and also started the team's one playoff game.

The Packers gave Kampman the lowest possible tender of $656,000 before the start of free agency on March 2.

Though the Vikings forced the Packers to pay more for Kampman than they intended this season, the Packers probably didn't want to lose him to their arch-rival. Plus, ex-Packers safety Darren Sharper signed with the Vikings after getting released by the Packers in a salary cap move in mid-March.

The Packers reportedly are about $6 million under the $85.5 million salary cap.

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