Packers' RFAs Will Draw Interest

Nick Collins headlines the Packers' eight restricted free agents — a group that includes seven players with considerable starting experience. Because restricted free agency will be where the action is starting March 5, this group will be worth watching.

Of the Packers' 13 free agents, eight of them will be restricted. Considering the weakness of unrestricted free agency, many of them figure to be pursued.

For more on restricted free agency and the tender definitions, click here.


Atari Bigby

Bigby played in 13 games with 11 starts. Among those 11 starts, the Packers finished 10-1. In the three games he missed, the Packers went 1-2. Not only does he make a difference through his play but with his ability to keep the defense organized. Three of his four interceptions came in the final two games. The hard-hitting Bigby received the second-round tender last season and probably will get the same again. As an undrafted rookie, the original-round tender would result in no compensation should he sign elsewhere.

Daryn Colledge

Colledge, Caplan's 16th-ranked guard, is an interesting case. He's played inconsistently and is coming off of his worst season as a pro, with 8.75 sacks allowed this season compared to 12 in his first three years combined, according to STATS. But some teams will like his experience (60 regular-season starts), versatility (he bombed at left tackle but might make a good right tackle), athleticism, durability and attitude. Because Colledge was a second-round pick, by rule, the original-round compensation tag would net a third-rounder rather than a second in return.

"When you've been in a league four years and you've started (60) games, you should be semi-, fairly proficient at what you're doing," offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said. "And so the sacks at guard would bother me, the holding penalty bothers you (in overtime against Arizona). But I can't sit here and say, ‘Hey, he regressed this year, he had a bad year.' I don't really know."

Nick Collins

As a two-time Pro Bowler whose 13 interceptions over the last two seasons are more than any safety in the NFL, Collins will generate a lot of interest. Thompson and Collins' agent, Dave Butz Jr., apparently have not engaged in any talks. If a long-term extension is not hammered out before March 5, there's a chance that even the first- and third-round compensation tender would not be enough to dissuade teams from going after Collins. Because Collins was a second-round pick, original-round compensation would net only a third-rounder in return.

"Last year, I didn't think he had a great year, to be honest with you, after talking with people in the league," Scout.com senior NFL reporter Adam Caplan said. "This year, he played much better. HIs coverage skills, he really got better in coverage. I'm not sure if it's the scheme or if that helped him, but the fact of that matter is, he really improved. I think he's got a chance to get some interest out there, depending on how they tag him."

Johnny Jolly

Jolly is Caplan's ninth-ranked defensive end. He offers almost nothing as a pass rusher and has off-the-field issues with his codeine case pending in Houston, but he's a big body with a good motor, passion for the game and nose for the ball. Original-round compensation would net a sixth-round draft pick.

John Kuhn

Kuhn is not one of the top free agent fullbacks. He does everything well but nothing great, though coach Mike McCarthy loves to give him the ball in goal-line situations. Kuhn re-signed last offseason with the original-round tender, though he did attract interest from a couple AFC teams.

Derrick Martin

Martin, Caplan's 22nd-ranked cornerback, spent most of his season in Green Bay playing safety and was a core special-teams player with 21 tackles. Considering the Titans went after defense-impaired cornerback Jarrett Bush because of his special-teams abilities, the defense-impaired Martin could find some interest.

Jason Spitz

Spitz, Caplan's fifth-ranked center, offers experience (45 regular-season starts) and versatility (can play guard). The low-back problem that cost Spitz most of this season is an issue, but like Colledge, he played every snap in 2008. In a poor class of centers, Spitz could offer some value. Original-round compensation would net a third-round draft pick.

Tramon Williams

Williams is Caplan's 17th-ranked cornerback, but in a league starved for guys who can cover and with Williams seen as an ascending player, he'll garner some interest. How much interest, though, for a player who has given up a bunch of big plays and is a poor tackler? Since Williams went undrafted, original-round compensation would net nothing in return.


Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum.


Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.


Packer Report Top Stories