Packers in pursuit of middle linebacker

Armegis Spearman will either be playing for the Green Bay Packers or Cincinnati Bengals this season. The linebacker-challenged Packers today signed Spearman, a restricted free agent, to an offer sheet, Packers Vice President of Player Finance Andrew Brandt confirmed.<p>

The Bengals will have seven days to match an offer signed by Spearman. Because Spearman earned a roster spot as an undrafted free agent out of Mississippi in 2000, the Packers will not have to compensate Cincinnati wth a draft pick.

Spearman, who turns 25 on April 5, was discovered by Mark Duffner, a former defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Cincinnati before coming to Green Bay in January. The 6-foot-1, 252-pound middle linebacker has started in 11 of 22 games, but those 11 starts came in 2000 when Brian Simmons was injured. He would have a good chance to start in Green Bay but would likely have to play behind newly acquired Kevin Hardy at middle linebacker and Simmons on the weakside in Cincinnati.

Veteran Hardy Nickerson probably will not be re-signed by Green Bay. The Packers also released outside linebacker Nate Wayne in a salary cap move on Monday. The only starter currently on the roster is Na'il Diggs, a restricted free agent who is drawing attention from the Philadelphia Eagles.

"I'm hopeful that we can arrive at some numbers and have something put together (Thursday)," Levine told the Green Bay News-Chronicle Wednesday night.

Spearman was predominantly an outside linebacker at the University of Mississippi.

The Packers also have an interest in Saints linebacker Charlie Clemons. But Clemons is reportedly seeking a contract that averages about $3.5 million to $4 million a season. Spearman would not be as costly and the Packers would still have cap space to offer defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila a multiyear contract.

Packer Report Top Stories