No Guarantees In Green Bay

By Troy A. Sparks, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: January 17, 2010

MILWAUKEE (BASN) — Now that Green Bay has been eliminated from the playoffs, the players and coaches have left the Packers’ facility for now.

But are some of them ready to move on?

Let’s put it this way: Some of them aren’t willingly ready to leave the organization.

At this point, there’s no guarantee of how many of the coaching staff and players will return next season.

With the owners and the players union going back to the table sometime in the off-season, be ready for some arm-twisting and back-and-forth negotiating.

I heard the owners don’t like the current collective bargaining agreement and want to opt out. So that could mean no salary cap for a year. Unrestricted free agents will command big salaries on the open market.

Green Bay will have 17 players who will be free agents.

Among the five who are unrestricted — with or without the cap — are: tackle Chad Clifton, linebacker Aaron Kampman, nose tackle Ryan Pickett, running back Ahman Green and tackle Mark Tauscher.

All of the above players have injury issues and aren’t worth re-signing.

Safety Nick Collins was unhappy before training camp. He wanted a new contract, but he let his play do the talking and made the Pro Bowl again. The Packers haven’t made a decision on his status yet.

Collins will be restricted if there’s no salary cap and unrestricted if there’s a cap.

Safeties Atari Bigby and Derrick Martin, cornerback Will Blackmon, Guards Daryn Colledge and Jason Spitz, defensive end Johnny Jolly and fullback John Kuhn will be unrestricted free agents if there’s a cap. If there’s no cap, they’re still property of the Packers.

Cornerback Tramon Williams and running back DeShawn Wynn will be restricted if no cap. And if there’s a cap, the team still owns their rights.

Green Bay is free to do what they want to punter Jeremy Kapinos and tight end Spencer Havner, since the Packers own the rights to both players.

Collins could command more money than Green Bay’s willing to pay him. The remaining players, who belong to the Packers, might be used as trade bait to get veteran free agents, which will improve the team.

Head coach Mike McCarthy fired six defensive coaches after their 6-10 season in 2008. This time, it may be the special teams coach and some offensive assistants packing their bags. When the moving trucks are parked at the dock at 1265 Lombardi Avenue, you’ll know why.

Look on the bright side. After McCarthy is done changing personnel, you will see new players and coaches who share his philosophy of winning. Everyone better be on the same page because the schedule will be tougher next season.

If McCarthy doesn’t make changes to improve his football team, he’ll be the next one escorted out the door along with general manager Ted Thompson.

These will be carefully made decisions to make sure there’s no one and done in the playoffs again — if they make it in 2010.