Walker has no leverage

Receiver has to overcome injury before talking about long-term deal

Here we go again.

Apparently there are rumblings out of Indianapolis that Javon Walker wants a new contract, or be traded by Green Bay to another team. Walker's new agent, Kennard McGuire, told the media that his client's base salary of $650,000 for 2006 "is a disservice to him."

It seems like yesterday when Walker was threatening to hold out of the 2005 season, upon the advice of former agent Drew Rosenhaus. Walker, after skipping the team's off-season mini-camps, reported for training camp and put the holdout talk on the backburner.

Walker definitely deserves a better deal, but the Packers should wait to give their star receiver a new contract until they see that he is back to the form he was in prior to the injury. Walker sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament injury in the regular season opener against the Detroit Lions last season. He missed the rest of the season, but is rehabbing from the injury while attending classes at Florida State to finish his undergraduate degree.

Walker keeps himself in excellent physical condition. He said at the time of the injury that he plans to return stronger than ever for the 2006 season. He probably will. But until he shows the Packers in training camp that he has overcome the physical and mental setbacks of the injury, they should hold off on offering a major, long-term contract.

According to a report, there was a rumor floating around that either Walker or McGuire had informed team management in the last few weeks that if Walker didn't get a long-term contract he would ask to be traded. It is probably nothing more than a rumor because Walker simply does not have much leverage. Many teams would hesitate on trading for him because of the injury. Holding out of training camp won't help him either. He has to prove that he still has the ability to be a Pro Bowl receiver, like in 2004 when he led the Packers with career-high totals of 89 catches for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns.

The sooner Walker can get back on the field, the sooner the Packers will offer him the kind of contract he is dreaming of receiving. Until then, he and his agent have no reason to whine about Walker's current salary.

Todd Korth

Todd Korth is managing editor of PackerReport.com and Packer Report. E-mail him at packrepted@aol.com.

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