Just sign him to a damn contract!

Johnson's experience could benefit Packers offense immediately

Keyshawn Johnson a Packer? What does Green Bay, which is banking on many young players to play key roles this season, want with an old guy like Johnson? Why sign Johnson when general manager Ted Thompson didn't try too hard to trade for Randy Moss last weekend?

At first, the thought of the Packers pursuing Johnson seemed remote and pointless. Upon further review, why not?

The Packers chose not to pursue Moss as feverishly as many fans thought they would, but it appears that Thompson and company are doing everything they can to get Johnson under contract in Green Bay. The veteran receiver was released this week by the Carolina Panthers, and at least eight teams are interested in him, with Green Bay as the front-runner, according to reports.

Johnson, who turns 35 in July, never had great speed, but he is a big target, has good hands can help the Packers as a possession receiver, much like Koren Robinson did in his short stint with the team last season. His experience will pay dividends immediately.

Since Robinson's status is up in the air until the end of September, the Packers young receiving corp probably could benefit from Johnson, who says he wants to play two more seasons in the NFL.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy feels the same way and pretty much confirmed the team's interest in Johnson.

"I think anytime you can upgrade your football team with a veteran, or with a younger player, that's something that you look at," said McCarthy after the start of the team's Rookie Orientation Camp this afternoon. "Obviously, Keyshawn has been very productive in the National Football League. I think you have to look at all of the situations, and that's what we do."

Aside from Donald Driver and the injury-prone Robert Ferguson, the Packers have a stable of receivers that have promise, led by Greg Jennings, but have one or less seasons of NFL experience. Johnson, who caught 70 or more passes in each of the last three seasons, mainly as a third receiver, appears to have enough in his tank to hold the fort until younger receivers are ready for a bigger role.

Despite the fact that he is in the twilight of his career, Johnson won't come dirt cheap. But he won't be as expensive as Moss, either. The Packers have the cap space to meet Johnson's contract demands. Brett Favre, no doubt, would welcome him.

Bottom line: The Packers should do all they can to sign Johnson because he would give the team a much-needed boost. At this point, it appears they are headed down that road.

Todd Korth

Todd Korth is managing editor of PackerReport.com and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at packrepted@aol.com.

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