Packers' 5 best, worst free agency signings

As the NFL's free agency period kicks into high gear,'s Bob Fox ranks the Green Bay Packers' five best and worst free agency signings since 1993.

The five best signings

1) DE Reggie White (1993)
This without a doubt is the best ever. White was not only perhaps the best ever to play his position, but he also transformed the Packers into a complete team that would win the Super Bowl. With Brett Favre on offense and White on defense, the Packers were a scary bunch to play. White also helped dispel the myth that Green Bay was not an attractive place for free agents, especially African American players.

2) C Frank Winters (1992)
Frankie "Bag of Donuts" was a Plan B free agent. Winters was also a fixture and the leader of the Packer offensive line for a decade. He was Favre's bodyguard on and off the field. No lineman ever played with more grit and Winters played hard until he heard the whistle. And sometimes a bit longer.

3) The class of 1996 (WR Don Beebe, LB Ron Cox, DT Santana Dotson, WR/KR Desmond Howard)
All of these players played a key role in the Packers winning Super Bowl XXXI. Beebe was the third leading receiver on the team, and he also returned kicks effectively. Cox became the starting MLB down the stretch because of injury. Dotson was an effective inside pass rusher who was part of an awesome defensive line with Reggie White, Sean Jones and Gilbert Brown. Howard was more of a returner than a receiver, but he was electrifying, returning three punts for touchdowns in the regular season. Howard added another punt return TD in the postseason, along with a kick return for a TD in Super Bowl XXXI that helped garner him the game MVP trophy.

4) DE Sean Jones (1994)
Jones was the bookend to White from 1994-1996. Jones averaged more than 8 sacks a year in with the Packers. He was also effective playing the run and was an emotional leader in the locker room.

5) CB Charles Woodson (2006)
Woodson has only played in Green Bay one year, but it was a stellar performance. Woodson had a career high eight interceptions, including one for a TD as he anchored the cornerback position opposite Al Harris. Woodson also was fearless retuning punts as he averaged 8.9 yards a return in 41 attempts and only two fair catches.

The five worst signings

1) DE Joe Johnson (2002)
Johnson was brought in to help the Green Bay pass rush, but was a colossal bust. He was an aging and often injured player that only registered two sacks in two seasons. Johnson also wreaked havoc on the Packer salary cap situation because of his $6 million signing bonus and $36 million contract.

2) The class of 2005 (G Adrian Klemm and G Matt O'Dwyer)
Both guards were brought in to replace two very good guards in Mike Wahle and Marco Rivera, who left Green Bay as free agents. Both Wahle and Rivera had Pro Bowl talent and Klemm and O'Dwyer were less than mediocre. O'Dwyer didn't even make the roster, while Klemm was never consistent at the LG position. The Packers drafted three offensive linemen in 2006 because of this sorry situation.

3) S Mark Roman (2004)
Roman was brought in to solidify the safety position. He did exactly the opposite. Roman looked lost in coverage way too often and he missed a lot of tackles as well.

4) FB Nick Luchey (2003)
Luchey was brought in as the heir apparent to replace FB William Henderson. Luchey could never really beat out Henderson and although effective at times, was inconsistent. He lasted two seasons in Green Bay while Henderson is STILL on the roster.

5) LB Hannibal Navies (2003)
Navies also lasted just two years in Green Bay. Navies was sometimes okay, but never made the big plays needed at the LB position. He had 1.5 sacks in his time as a Packer and had 0 interceptions.

Some would expect to see S Marquand Manuel on this list, but I will give him the benefit of the doubt since he has played only one year in Green Bay. Manuel was held back by a calf injury during training camp and this definitely affected the chemistry of the defensive backs as he finally was able to play. Manuel allowed too many big plays over the top, but also was an extremely aggressive tackler. The 2007 season will be a make or break year for him.

Bob Fox is a frequent contributor to E-mail him at

Packer Report Top Stories