The Packers named Hunt, 27, as a "transition player" last week than included a $4.689 salary cap charge for 2003. By agreeing to a deal, the Packers likely lowered Hunt's cap number by half of the transition player amount. The Packers also regain the use of the transition tag for the future.
Packers Vice President of Player Finance Andrew Brandt announced Thursday afternoon that the team is in compliance with the $75 million salary cap. Brandt and Sexton have had steady negotiations for the past couple of weeks.
Hunt's value rose this season with consistent play from his starting defensive tackle spot, his first season as a starter after veteran Santana Dotson was released. Hunt, a fifth-year pro, appeared in 14 games and had 48 tackles and 5.5 sacks, and was arguably the Packers best all-around defensive lineman. He also had a fumble recovery and a blocked kick. But prior to 2002, Hunt started just 16 games over the first three seasons.
With Vonnie Holliday expected to sign with another team this off-season, the Packers had to make Hunt (6-4, 303 pounds) their top priority in free agency because the run-defense was below average last year.
The Packers selected Hunt in the third round of the 1999 NFL draft out of Kentucky State. He would have been one of the most coveted defensive tackles in free agency, which began today, next to Washington's Daryl Gardener. Gardener and the Redskins have been working on a long-term extension.