Packers sign LB Taylor, K Cundiff

Check off two positions on the Green Bay Packers' wish list.

But instead of signing a big-name free agent such as linebacker LaVar Arrington or kicker Mike Vanderjagt, the Packers signed linebacker Ben Taylor away from the Cleveland Browns and kicker Billy Cundiff away from the Dallas Cowboys for bargain prices.

Taylor, who started at inside linebacker in Cleveland's 3-4 defense last season, likely will fill the strong-side spot in the Packers' 4-3 defense. He reportedly signed a one-year contract worth less than $1 million per season.

Of's list of free-agent middle and inside linebackers, Taylor was rated 17th. Last year for Cleveland, he ranked second on the team with 113 tackles. He neither sacked the quarterback, intercepted a pass, forced a fumble or recovered a fumble while starting all 16 games.

In fact, in four seasons, he has one interception and no sacks, forced fumbles or fumble recoveries. He's been limited to a mere 39 games in those seasons, however. His rookie season was limited to seven games by a hamstring injury, followed by 13 games in 2003 and just three games in 2004 because of a torn chest muscle.

The 6-foot-2, 240-pounder played collegiately at Virginia Tech and was drafted in the fourth round.

Cundiff became available when he was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier this week. The Packers pounced, especially after Adam Vinatieri joined the Indianapolis Colts and Vanderjagt chose the Dallas Cowboys.

Cundiff was signed by Tampa Bay this off-season but spent all four seasons with the Cowboys. For his career, he is 60 of 82 (73.2 percent) on field goals. His best season came in 2003, his second season, when he made 23 of 29 attempts (79.3 percent), including 3 of 5 from 50 yards and beyond.

Last year, however, he injured a hip flexor during training camp, was released, then re-signed at midseason. He made 5 of 8 attempts, including from 56 yards, but was cut late in the season after a field-goal attempt was blocked by Carolina.

While Cundiff isn't in former kicker Ryan Longwell's department when it comes to accuracy, he is one of the better kickoff men in the league. Last year, his average kickoff got inside the 7-yard line.

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