Packers eye Giants linebacker

The Green Bay Packers, who whiffed in an attempt to obtain Cincinnati's Armegis Spearman, may soon make an offer to restricted free agent linebacker Dhani Jones of the New York Giants, according to reports.<p>

Jones visited Green Bay on Sunday. The Packers are searching for a middle linebacker and weakside linebacker. Nate Wayne signed with the Eagles last week and veteran Hardy Nickerson is not in the Packers' plans. Green Bay signed Spearman to an offer sheet on March 13, but the Cincinnati Bengals matched the three-year, $2.6 million offer to keep Spearman as a backup linebacker.

Jones started 14 games last year for the Giants at weakside linebacker and finished with 101 tackles, four passes defensed, two fumble recoveries and one interception. It is believed the Packers want Jones to play the middle linebacker slot. If the Packers make him an offer, the Giants will have seven days to match or receive a sixth round draft pick from the Packers.

Jones (6-foot-1, 237 pounds) was a starter for three seasons at the University of Michigan and played both inside and outside linebacker positions. He missed the 2000 seasons after suffering a tear to the ACL during a practice session in training camp. In 2001, he backed up Jessie Armstead and led the Giants in special-teams tackles. The release of Armstead in February of 2002 opened up a job.

Philadephia and Carolina have shown interest in signing Jones, but the Eagles gave Wayne a four-year, $13.2 million contract on March 14.

Jones became quite a popular figure in New York when it was revealed that he spent his downtime playing the washboard base in the subways of the Big Apple, according to a report on SportsLine.com.

Other free agent linebackers the that Packers have had in for visits and are still available include Detroit's Chris Claiborne, New Orleans' Charlie Clemons, Cleveland's Dwayne Rudd and Carolina's Hannibal Navies.

Green Bay also may consider making a trade with the Bengals for backup linebacker Adrian Ross, according to one report. Ross also may be released because his base salary for 2003 is $850,000, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.


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