Comings, goings, and what they mean

Keeping Kampman was key, but losses outweigh gains in free agency

In the last couple of days, the Packers have welcomed linebacker Ben Taylor and kicker Billy Cundiff while waving goodbye to center Mike Flanagan, running back Tony Fisher and linebacker Paris Lenon. Here is a breakdown of the Packers' moves through the first two weeks of free agency. The Packers have signed:

Safety Marquand Manuel (unrestricted free agent)

Nose tackle Ryan Pickett (UFA)

Linebacker Ben Taylor (UFA)

Kicker Billy Cundiff (UFA)

What it means: Manuel is probably better than incumbent starter Mark Roman, though neither have an ounce of playmaking ability. Pickett replaces Grady Jackson at nose tackle. He'll cost the Packers about $1.5 million less per season. Judging by dollars, common sense says the Packers are taking a step backward. Taylor probably is nothing more than a short-term fix, as evidenced by his one-year contract. Cundiff is no sure thing, either; expect Thompson to sign an undrafted rookie kicker about five minutes after the draft ends.

The Packers have lost: Kicker Ryan Longwell (UFA, to Minnesota)

Quarterback Craig Nall (UFA, to Buffalo)

Running back Tony Fisher (UFA, to St. Louis)

Linebacker Paris Lenon (UFA, to Detroit)

Center Mike Flanagan (UFA, to Houston)

Wide receiver/kick returner Antonio Chatman (restricted free agent, to Cincinnati)

What it means: Outside of losing Longwell, not much. Longwell, for all his short kickoffs and whining, is irreplaceable. He was an expert at kicking in the blustery, frigid conditions in Lambeau Field. Flanagan is past his prime, Fisher and Lenon were never anything special, and Nall only occasionally flashed enough potential to make you wonder, "What if Brett Favre retires and we have to start Craig Nall ..." It will be interesting to see if fans starting longing for Chatman should next year's punt returner cough up the ball a couple of times.

The Packers have retained: Defensive end Aaron Kampman (UFA)

Fullback William Henderson (UFA)

Tackle Kevin Barry (UFA)

Wide receiver Rod Gardner (UFA)

Defensive tackle Kenny Peterson (RFA)

Defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins (exclusive-rights free agent)

Defensive tackle Colin Cole (exclusive-rights free agent)

What it means: Re-signing Kampman is the best move Thompson has made since arriving in Green Bay. He probably overpaid, but as one of the Packers' few reliable starters, they couldn't afford not to keep him. Keeping Henderson is nice, if for no other reason than preventing yet another longtime Packer from defecting to Minnesota. Henderson would like a bigger role in the offense — especially as a pass catcher — and it will be interesting to see if he retains his starting job after being phased out of the lineup at times under the old regime. Barry and Gardner are intriguing possibilities. Keeping Jenkins and Cole were no-brainers, since they were are decent players, young and come cheap.

The Packers' remaining unrestricted free agents: Running back Najeh Davenport (UFA)

Center Grey Ruegamer (UFA)

Nose tackle Grady Jackson (UFA)

What it means: It appears neither Ruegamer nor Jackson will be back. If he could stay on the field, Davenport could be a star. But there's no reason to believe he'll shake the injury bug that has limited him to 39 of 64 career regular-season games.

Lawrence is a regular contributor to Send comments to

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