Restricted FA Breakdown

We look at the Packers' restricted free agents — which includes seven starters — and the four tender levels, which vary on experience. Will the Packers be a player in free agency this year? Our answer on Monday might surprise you.

Note: The deadline to offer a tender is March 4, with free agency beginning on March 5. Tendering a restricted free agent gives that team the right to match another team's offer. If the team chooses not to match the offer, it would receive a draft pick linked to the tender given. An important note is that if a former second-round draft pick is given the low tender (original draft round compensation), he would net only a third-round draft pick as compensation. Likewise, a first-round pick given the low tender would net a second-rounder as compensation. Tenders are based on experience and the round in which they were drafted.

Click here for's free agent rankings.

The Packers' restricted free agents

— S Atari Bigby: Bigby (undrafted; four seasons) received the second-round tender last year. He has his limitations but the Packers generally win when he's in the lineup and generally lose when he's injured. Problem is, he's started 17 games the last two seasons. Still, because he entered the league as an undrafted free agent, losing him would mean no compensation.

— CB Will Blackmon: Blackmon (fourth round; four seasons) returned two punts for touchdowns in 2008 but tore an ACL in Week 4 of this past season. The Packers need a good returner and they need cornerback depth.

— G Daryn Colledge: Colledge (second round; four seasons) has 60 regular-season starts but hasn't taken a step forward from a promising rookie season and strong 2008. He's been the consummate team player by filling in at left tackle and even right tackle, with that shuffling no doubt impacting his play at his customary left guard.

— S Nick Collins: Collins (second round; five seasons) has more interceptions than any safety in the NFL over the last two years. A two-time Pro Bowler, Collins will be in high demand, so expect the Packers to use the first- and third-round compensation tag in hopes that the draft picks scare away other interested teams. The tender amount of $3.26 million certainly won't bother anyone in an uncapped season.

— DE Johnny Jolly: Jolly (sixth round, four seasons) was terrific this past season in helping the Packers finish No. 1 in the league against the run. He's one of the few young big guys in free agency, but his legal troubles (alleged possession of codeine) will scare off a lot of teams. The second-round tender should be enough to ensure Jolly returns.

— FB John Kuhn: Kuhn (undrafted; four seasons) was merely OK last season. If they give him the low tender, the Packers would receive no compensation if they lose him but at least they'd get a chance to match the offer. The Packers would like to keep him and let him compete with Korey Hall and Quinn Johnson, probably for two spots this time.

— S Derrick Martin: Martin (sixth round; four seasons), acquired in a steal of trade with Baltimore for Tony Moll, was the Packers' best player on special teams. He might be more of a factor on defense with a full year in the system.

— C/G Jason Spitz: Spitz (third round; four seasons) didn't miss a snap in 2008 but started only four games this past season because of a back problem that required surgery. His ability to play guard and center will make him an attractive target, but back problems are unpredictable. Between Spitz and Colledge, they need to keep one to battle at left guard.

— CB Tramon Williams: In a league starved for good cornerbacks, Williams (undrafted; three years) no doubt will draw some interest. Williams — who is restricted, unlike what most outlets are reporting — has given up a bunch of big plays and is penalty prone, but he has nine interceptions over the last two seasons and will be only 27. Because the low tender would result in no compensation, the Packers probably will give Williams the second-round tender.

Restricted free agent tenders

Low tender (original draft pick)

Three seasons: $1.101 million.

Four seasons: $1.176 million.

Five seasons: $1.226 million.

Second-round tender

Three seasons: $1.684 million.

Four seasons: $1.759 million.

Five seasons: $1.809 million.

First-round tender

Three seasons: $2.396 million.

Four seasons: $2.521 million.

Five seasons: $2.621 million.

First- and third-round tender

Three seasons: $3.043 million.

Four seasons: $3.168 million.

Five seasons: $3.26 million.

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

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