Sound familiar? McKenzie did the same thing about this time in 2004, and the Packers, under then-general manager Mike Sherman, caved in and dealt him to the New Orleans Saints. Let's hope that current general manager Ted Thompson doesn't make that same mistake.
Thompson, in reply to an ESPN report that Walker has demanded a trade, has said that he has no plans to honor Walker's request. Kudos to Thompson. If he gives in to a player who has a year left on his existing deal, then there will be a long line of other guys right behind Walker demanding the same thing.
Walker's demands are ridiculous, almost laughable. What does he think he'll actually accomplish by threatening to sit out the 2006 season? If he plays fairly well this season, he'll have much more value as a free agent in 2007, and then he can pick and choose his team of the future. But if he sits out, like he says he will, will his value be higher? Especially for a player coming off a serious knee injury? Doubt it.
Walker has to play in Green Bay in 2006, and the Packers should make every effort to see that he does - with or without a new contract. Thompson simply can't make the mistake that Sherman did and let a whining player dictate a personnel decision.
If Walker is unhappy making $650,000 this season, a salary most people can only dream of earning, tough! Deal with it. He signed the contract in 2002 and has yet to turn away nearly $7 million that he's been paid to date. Oh, that's right, he said he'll return the pro-rated part of his signing bonus for this season if he is traded. Whatever. It would be silly for the Packers to give in.
Walker has to play in order to get a big payday during free agency in 2007. If, for some reason, he changes his tune and wants to play for the Packers beyond 2006, the Packers probably would sign him to an extension, providing he isn't a cancer in the locker room.
The business-side of football says Walker is under contract for another season. As long as the Packers want him to perform, it has every right to expect that he will. If he doesn't, he'll only hurt himself. That's just the way it is in the NFL.
Hopefully, Walker will wake up and smell the roses before mini-camps begin in May. He's only hurting himself with his alleged trade demands.
Todd Korth is managing editor of PackerReport.com and Packer Report. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.