Free agency preview: S

Chavous, Archuleta may be appealing to Packers

In's final look at each position in free agency, safety appears to be one that could benefit the Packers.

The Packers likely are looking to find a player who can compete against and/or beat out incumbent Mark Roman, or at least be a dependable backup/special teams player. Roman, who is entering his seventh season, played better in 2005 his second season with the Packers, but still fell short of making big plays.

Nick Collins is a lock to start again in 2006 after an impressive rookie season, which will leave Roman defending his position, and possibly on the waiver wire. The Packers are likely to select a safety in the NFL Draft, but they also could benefit by signing a veteran free agent, like Minnesota's Corey Chavous or St. Louis' Adam Archuleta.

Here is's breakdown of players scheduled to become free agents on Friday:

• St. Louis Rams SS Adam Archuleta was coached last season by Kurt Schottenheimer, who was hired as Green Bay's secondary coach in February. Schottenheimer's familiarity with Archuleta may be a key in Green Bay's pursuit of the veteran.

• Pittsburgh Steelers S Chris Hope is a priority for the world champions. No formal offer has been made, but keeping the two-year starter off the open market is the game plan.

• Minnesota Vikings SS Corey Chavous is an unrestricted free agent and is almost certain to walk away. Unhappy with his contract entering the season, he had two interceptions, and he took the nameplate off his locker before leaving Winter Park after the season.

• Miami Dolphins FS Lance Schulters, an unrestricted free agent, is looking to cash in after being a bargain with a $665,000 base salary in 2005.

• Tennessee Titans SS Tank Williams was not himself after an ACL reconstruction, though the team felt he improved at the end. He is heading for unrestricted free agency and should only be back at an inexpensive price.

• Baltimore Ravens S Will Demps' season ended with a knee injury. It's uncertain whether the Ravens will re-sign him.

• Tampa Bay Buccaneers S Dexter Jackson, the former Super Bowl MVP, is a free agent, leaving the starting free safety spot open for Will Allen next season.

• New England Patriots S Artrell Hawkins, a veteran cornerback who converted to strong safety after signing in mid-November, filled in well for injured Rodney Harrison. He's doesn't have ideal size (5-foot-10, 190 pounds) and really played the position like an extra cornerback. Hawkins is a free agent and signing him will likely be a priority.

• Oakland Raiders S Jarrod Cooper was pressed into full-time action at safety because of injuries and had some good moments, although his strength is as a core special teams player who can play safety as a reserve. Cooper, an unrestricted free agent, has stated his desire to return.

• Raiders S Reggie Tongue was signed Nov. 2, and his defensive role was increasing quickly, but he suffered a season-ending knee injury and was placed on injured reserve Nov. 29. He is an unrestricted free agent.

Packer Report Top Stories