Gardner, entering his sixth season in the National Football League, was obtained on waivers from Carolina last season and played in Green Bay's final two games. He caught four passes for 67 yards (16.8 yards per catch).
At 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, Gardner has the size that new Packers coach Mike McCarthy likes in his receivers.
"I like big guys," McCarthy told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I've followed him for awhile and he's a guy I really liked coming out. He's part of that first three or four guys."
Gardner was selected in the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft (15th overall) by the Washington Redskins. He played four seasons with the Redskins, then was traded to Carolina during the off-season of 2005. He played in 10 games with the Panthers with no starts before getting released. Overall, Gardner has started 62 of 76 games and has 240 catches for 3,148 yards (13.1 yards per catch).
With uncertainty at the receiver position, Gardner will have as good a shot as anybody at being one of Green Bay's top three receivers in 2006. Javon Walker is unhappy and wants to be traded, and Terrence Murphy is coming off a serious neck injury. He may be forced to retire from football. Robert Ferguson has underperformed and is injury prone, and due a large salary for 2006, making him a candidate to be released. Donald Driver, coming off his best season as a pro, is the only sure-fire starter for next season.
Minimum wage in the NFL for a sixth-year pro, like Gardner, is $545,000. It is likely his deal included a signing bonus as part of the contract.