Free agency preview: DTs, DEs

With five defensive linemen scheduled to become free agents on Friday and Cletidus Hunt transition-tagged, the Packers can expect to lose part of what was the deepest position on the team last season. The list of potential free agents from around the league may help them replenish some of those losses.<p>

Defensive coordinator Ed Donatell likes to play a system that rotates ends and tackles throughout a game. The Packers' roster at the end of the regular season consisted of 10 defensive linemen. Nine defensive linemen were credited by seasons' end with at least 17 tackles and eight contributed to the team's sack total of 43.

Thus, the number of quality players along the defensive line may become an area of need as training camp approaches.

The Eagles' Hugh Douglas and the Redskins' Daryl Gardener are arguably the top two unrestricted free agent defensive lineman from around the league, but the Packers will likely have to find a lower-priced contributor - a player who does not necessarily need to start.

Other notable defensive linemen scheduled to become unrestricted free agents are Chidi Ahanotu (Bills), David Bowens (Dolphins), Lance Johnstone (Vikings), Brandon Noble (Cowboys), Chike Okeafor (49ers), and Talance Sawyer (Vikings). Bowens played for the Packers during head coach Mike Sherman's first year in Green Bay (2000).

If the Packers cannot find suitable talent from the free agent pool or the draft in April, they could also wait to see if any players of interest become available later in the year when teams make cuts for salary cap reasons. A talented group of defensive linemen could potentially fall into that category including Sam Adams (Raiders), Tony Brackens (Jaguars), Norman H and (Saints), Willie McGinest (Patriots), Chester McGlockton (Broncos), Robert Porcher (Lions), and Dana Stubblefield (49ers).


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