It's nice they took care of Ahman Green, but let's not fool ourselves. The Packers were holding all the cards. Green is a running back that's coming back from a very serious injury that happened in the last year of his contract. What real negotiating power did he have, especially when people were worrying about whether he still had it or not. The Packers did the right thing as well as the cheap thing which just happens to be great business. If Green comes back and has a great year he will get rewarded with roughly $3 million in incentives, which means both the Packers and him will win. Then in 2007 Green can demand whatever price tag he chooses and the Packers can cut ties if he doesn't return to the form that made him one of the greatest backs in Green Bay Packer history.
Green has proven his value over the test of time he's performed at the highest level. He has Pro Bowler by his name and he has proved his worth. He's had the big money pay days because he has earned it. Look at his stats, he was and hopefully still is a game breaker, but if he doesn't come back it isn't going to cost the Packers too much. They know what Ahman has done but what about Aaron Kampman?
What price tag do the Packers put on Kampman considering that they put him out on the market last year and the only team that really came calling was the Vikings. This has been a position that has cost the Packers a lot of money over the years. Look at the money that they had tied up in Cletidus Hunt who wasn't worth it at the time, but they felt they had to pay him because the defensive line was so bad and they didn't want to lose him. What about the money they paid Joe Johnson, who really didn't bring anything to the table except he was surrounded by good players while at the Saints. Now look at Kabeer. All that money for a pass rush specialist only. Please don't get me wrong I have always liked Aaron Kampman, but how much is he really worth? He's a hard working lunch pail guy, getting down and dirty, and playing to the whistle blows. He gives everything he has. He is that type of player, but is he one of the best defensive ends in the business? Let's look at his stats since he has been with the Pack. He has a total of 13.5 sacks in four years and more tackles in 2004 than he had in 2005. Trust me, I understand he has been under three defensive coordinators in the last three years but aren't the Packers getting all they can out of Aaron? Can they really expect him to be one of the best in the league and much more? Can they really afford to pay him like one? Does everyone think if he gets more money he's going to turn into Superman or something? He is what he is and that's what the Packers should offer him.
Ask yourself what does he really bring to the table that makes anyone want to say he's worth a $7 million to $8 million dollar signing bonus, which seems to be the going rate. I know he brings heart and work ethic, but let's really be honest - what else does he bring to the table? Is he an excellent pass rusher, or did he benefit from the push of Kabeer, or did teams pay more attention to what Kabeer was doing and scheme to stop him, and underestimated Kampman's intensity. Also, is Kampman strong enough and skilled enough verse the running game at the point of attack to stop opponents from running at him? Unfortunately, I don't think so because it hasn't happened.
What Kampman does do well is chase down from behind because his motor doesn't stop. He's a high-effort guy. He's the guy that studies all the films and reads tendencies to give himself the edge and that's great. That's what you are supposed to do to be the best professional you can be. But here's the problem: If you have a high motor guy with limited skills against a high motor guy with excellent skills, guess who wins?
I like Aaron Kampman and I respect everything he stands for. I love the way he plays. He reminds me of old school guys that just love the game. But unfortunately the question isn't about whether we like him or love the way he plays. The question is WHAT DO THE PACKERS PAY HIM? The answer: What's he worth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Editor's note: Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. If you have a question for Harry, e-mail it to PackerReport.com managing editor Todd Korth at firstname.lastname@example.org, and he will forward it to him.