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Commentary

Mike Sherman has said it often: "No risk, no reward."<p>

If some of the moves that Sherman and the Green Bay Packers have made this off-season pay off, the reward could be in the form of a Super Bowl trophy. If not, the Packers may have trouble getting into the playoffs.

With free agency and the salary cap, and a window that closes that much more every time Brett Favre steps onto the field, the Packers obviously are going for it. Sherman never did intend to rebuild when he came to the Packers in 2000, and he's not about to start now.

Glenn and Johnson could be the missing links between an NFC title and average playoff team.

But in order for the Packers to reach the NFC Championship Game this season, and get around Antonio Freeman's big contract, the Packers have to take a few risks. Sherman is taking a risk by going with Terry Glenn at wide receiver, and second-year pro Robert Ferguson. Both have great talent. If Glenn can stay out of trouble, and Ferguson can stay out of the training room, the payoff can be big. If not, Favre and the Packers are in big trouble.

The Packers also are taking somewhat of a risk with the pending signing of defensive end Joe Johnson. Like wide receiver, defensive end needed to be addressed this offseason. The Packers' run-defense suffered near the end of last season. Johnson is a definite improvement over John Thierry and Cletidus Hunt.

But signing Johnson to a big contract will leave the Packers with little room under the salary cap to pursue a middle linebacker and/or a veteran wide receiver. That's the risk.

The Packers probably will gain cap room in June if they release Freeman. But there's no guarantee that there will be any starting caliber players available at that time.

Adding Pro Bowl caliber players without giving up any Pro Bowl players are great moves. Sherman and his staff should be commended for their efforts. In the meantime, Packer fans will have to keep their fingers crossed and hope for the best from the new personnel.


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