The Patriots made Vinatieri, 33, their franchise player in each of the last two seasons, paying him base salaries equal to the average of the five highest-paid kickers in the league the previous year.
In 2005, he was paid a base salary of $2.5 million. If the Patriots would have used the franchise tag on him again this year, his salary would have risen to $3 million.
Green Bay, which also has talked with Indianapolis kicker Mike Vanderjagt, an unrestricted free agent, will have to pay more for Vinatieri than the Minnesota Vikings paid Longwell. The ex-Packer kicker signed a five-year deal that averages $2 million a year, including a $3 million signing bonus.
The Packers, along with Dallas, Miami, Atlanta and New England, are seeking kickers.
Like Longwell who made the Packers roster in 1997, Vinatieri broke into the league as a rookie free agent in 1996 with the Patriots. Since then, he was named to two Pro Bowls and has had 19 winning field goals with less than a minute left (including playoffs), missing just one. He made two last-minute kicks to win Super Bowls XXXVI and XXXVIII. His career 81.9% field goal accuracy ranks fifth in NFL history.
In 2005, Vinatieri made 20 of 25 field goal attempts and 40 of 41 extra point attempts.