Free agents worth pursuing for Packers

As the Green Bay Packers enter free agency next week, they will be about $19 million under the salary cap for 2006. The Packers are not expected to break the bank in free agency, but there are some players that could help them during the upcoming season.

It is no secret that the Packers need to build depth at a number of positions, including wide receiver, cornerback and safety. Look for the Packers to select players in this April's NFL draft at those positions, but the team could benefit immediately by signing a few free agents that could start, if needed, or at least provide experienced, reliable depth.

After wide receiver Reggie Wayne re-signed with the Colts this week (a six-year deal worth nearly $40 million), New England's David Givens became the top available wideout, according to free agent rankings. His value will not be nearly as high as Wayne because the Patriots, and likely most teams, do not see him as anything more than a No. 2 receiver.

The Packers could bolster their No. 3 receiver spot with Givens, behind Javon Walker and Donald Driver. If Walker is sidelined early in the season due to the major knee injury that he sustained last season, Givens has the ability to step in and start. Givens started in 10 of 13 games that he played last year with New England. A fourth-year pro, he caught a career-high 59 passes for 738 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The yardage and TD stats were slightly above his 2004 stats when he started 12 of 15 games.

With Walker's status in doubt and uncertainty surrounding Terrence Murphy, who sustained a serious neck injury last year, the Packers need more weapons at receiver. With money to spend, Givens can give the Packers a weapon they need.

The New York Jets released cornerback Ty Law on Wednesday. The Miami Dolphins appear to be his first choice, but aren't in great cap shape. Kansas City, where Law's former coach Herm Edwards took over, probably will make a strong push to sign Law. Cash along with being on a winner would seem to be priorities for a player that already has three Super Bowl rings. Ahmad Carroll has not lived up to expectations in Green Bay, so the Packers will be looking for a new starter. Law, 32, would give the Packers a proven veteran opposite Al Harris.

The Packers likely will select a cornerback in the NFL draft, but signing Law at a decent price will add stability and a bonafide play-maker to the secondary. Law had 10 interceptions last year, including three in the finale for the Jets against Buffalo. Carroll, Green Bay's top pick in 2004, had two interceptions last year and one as a rookie.

The Buffalo Bills designated Nate Clements with the franchise tag. The top free cornerback will receive a one-year contract for $5.9 million if he and the team are unable to reach terms on a long-term deal.

The Packers may also make a play for St. Louis safety Adam Archuleta. He spent his first five years in the league with the Rams and was coached by Kurt Schottenheimer last year. Schottenheimer was hired as Green Bay's secondary coach by head coach Mike McCarthy this year.

Nick Collins played well as a rookie last year next to veteran Mark Roman. Collins is a shoe-in to start in 2006, but Roman is not. The Packers will seek other players to push Roman, and adding Archuleta to the roster would be a good start.

Todd Korth

Todd Korth is managing editor of and Packer Report. E-mail him at

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