Who does Thompson have in mind?

Top suspects that Packers' general manager Ted Thompson may pursue this summer

George Koonce sure knows how to make Green Bay Packer fans to behave like Pavlov's dog. With his recent statements during a Milwaukee radio show, he sure had everyone drooling.

Koonce, who recently resigned his position as the Packers' director of player development to accept a job with Marquette University, caused quite an uproar with his comments earlier in the week. Koonce said, "the off-season's not over with quite yet, so don't be surprised if ... a big name (comes) in before training camp." Koonce wouldn't elaborate anymore except that the player would be on offense, but the bait has been taken by most Packer fans. So, who might the player be? Here are some suspects...

RB Larry Johnson (Kansas City Chiefs)
TE Tony Gonzalez (Kansas City Chiefs)
RB Corey Dillon (Free Agent)
RB Michael Turner (San Diego Chargers)

I put Johnson and Gonzalez as suspects because of the state of the Chiefs. The Chiefs just traded QB Trent Green to the Miami Dolphins. The Chiefs are also playing the negotiation game with Johnson, although they did give Gonzalez a new contract after last season. Are the Chiefs rebuilding after the trade of Green? Or was QB Damon Huard good enough in 2006 to be an everyday starter? Is Brodie Croyle the heir apparent at QB? Will the Chiefs give Johnson a Tomlinson type contract? Is Gonzalez finally running out of gas as a tight end? These are questions that General Manager Carl Peterson must answer. If Peterson has any doubts about these questions, then there may be a possibility he may talk to the Packers.

Dillon is recently retired from the New England Patriots. He is a veteran back that could give the Packers some needed experience at RB. Right now, the Packers are looking at Vernand Morency, Brandon Jackson and Noah Herron as their running backs by committee. Dillon would add stability to that.

Dillon would still bring something to the table. He didn't get a lot of carries the last couple of years. He has won a Super Bowl ring. He also knows how to find the end zone. Also, the Patriots were already giving his job as starter to Laurence Maroney. With the stable of young running backs the Packers have, Dillon wouldn't need a lot of carries. Dillon would also be a steady influence on the young Packer backs in terms of how to play and how to win. A one year deal might also be all it would take to get Dillon in camp.

The Chargers signed Turner to a contract this off season saying that Turner would not be traded. But Turner will be a unrestricted free agent next year. Turner is an excellent RB. He has a 6.0 yard average in rushes while he subs for LaDainian Tomlinson. Turner also is young, being just a four year veteran.

If the Packers are looking for a RB, both Johnson and Turner would be big time additions. Johnson is probably the best back in football, except for Tomlinson. Turner is just waiting for his chance. Dillon could help as well, as stated earlier. Gonzalez would definitely be a plus if he is at all available. Gonzalez would give the Packers the first legitimate field stretching tight end since Keith Jackson. The Packers desperately need to upgrade at the TE position. Right now the hope is that Bubba Franks bounces back, or that someone steps up. Like Johnson, Gonzales would be a big time addition. Brett Favre would be like Pavlov's dog with Gonzalez in the lineup. Still, it is speculation as to who the big time player will be, if any. But then again, hardly anyone expected free agent CB Charles Woodson to become a Packers in 2006. If the newest Packer has any of the success that Woodson had in 2006, then the 2007 season should be interesting.

Bob Fox is a frequent contributor to PackerReport.com. E-mail him at greenbaybob@hotmail.com.

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