The Packers lost a key cog to their defense.
Colin Cole, who would have been a valuable reserve at nose tackle and defensive end in the Packers' new 3-4 defense, has agreed to a five-year contract with the Seattle Seahawks, according to NFL Network.
According to NFL.com's Adam Schefter, the Seahawks are giving Cole $21 million, including $5 million in guarantees.
The Seahawks' decision to sign Cole means they're out of the running for Dallas Cowboys defensive end Chris Canty. Canty's agent, Brad Blank, just told Packer Report that their Monday meeting with Seattle has been canceled.
Cole will be expected to replace defensive tackle Rocky Bernard, who bolted for the New York Giants on Saturday
Cole has been a career backup because he's at least OK at everything but doesn't excel at anything. He's good against the run, but even at 6-foot-1 and 330 pounds, he gets pushed around on occasion.
Cole's 3.5 sacks in five seasons isn't anything special, but he was the only member of the Packers' interior defensive line to apply pressure on a somewhat regular basis last season. He also notched a career-high four passes defensed.
The Packers wanted to bring back the intelligent and hard-working Cole because he had value as a nose tackle and a defensive end in a 3-4, and would have provided depth at all three positions.
Cole, an undrafted free agent out of Iowa in 2003, spent part of 2003 with Detroit and Minnesota but didn't play in any games. He landed in Green Bay in 2004, playing in three games. From 2005 through 2008, Cole played in 54 of a possible 64 games with seven starts. He played in all 16 games this past season, and had strong midseason performances against Indianapolis and Minnesota.
With Cole leaving Green Bay, it becomes more imperative that the Packers are able to sign Canty, draft Boston College's B.J. Raji in the first round or both.
Blank has been in contact with the Packers about Canty. No meeting has set up, but that could happen if Canty leaves the Giants without a contract today.
— Cross one possibility off the free agent list. Safety James Sanders, who makes sure everyone is on the same page in the secondary behind the Patriots' 3-4 defense, has re-signed with New England. The Patriots gained about $17 million in cap space after trading Matt Cassel and Mike Vrabel on Saturday.
What do you think about free agency?
Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Lambeau Level forum.