Packers eye Edwards


Nov 23, 2005
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Fontana, CA
Productive veteran linebacker has ties to McCarthy
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Posted: March 9, 2007

The Green Bay Packers have three starting linebackers with whom they're perfectly comfortable and could easily come to camp with the same group they had a year ago.

The Packers appear to be interested in free agent linebacker Donnie Edwards.

But the opportunity to add a well-respected veteran who long has been among the top producing linebackers in the National Football League appears too much to pass up, especially one who has ties to Packers coach Mike McCarthy.

Donnie Edwards, an 11-year veteran who has led the San Diego Chargers in tackles all five seasons he has been there, is on the Packers' radar and could wind up visiting soon, according to an NFL source. Various media reports have indicated that the Packers are involved along with the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles.

The 33-year-old Edwards began his career with the Chiefs in 1996. McCarthy was an assistant with Kansas City during Edwards' time there.

Kansas City appears to be the front-runner for Edwards, and is thought to be offering the most money. However, the Chiefs spent a lot of money on free agent linebacker Napoleon Harris (six years, $24 million) and might re-sign starter Kawika Mitchell, so they might not have enough for Edwards.

The Packers' interest in Edwards is somewhat curious given they like their starting trio of Nick Barnett, A.J. Hawk and Brady Poppinga. The 6-foot-2, 227-pound Edwards has mostly been a middle linebacker in a 3-4 defense and an outside linebacker in a 4-3, so it's unclear where he would fit in.

The most likely choice would be for him to play Poppinga's strong-side position, although Edwards is small for that spot. His outstanding coverage skills (27 career interceptions) would make him a better option than the raw Poppinga, who is still making the transition from defensive end to linebacker.

Another reason for signing Edwards could be the expectation of a Barnett holdout. Though Barnett has not publicly threatened to hold out, he has been vocal about wanting a contract extension and apparently is asking for a great deal of money going into the final year of his contract.

The Packers have been forced into trading unhappy Mike McKenzie and Javon Walker, both of whom had years left on their respective contracts, and could be protecting themselves in case that happens again. Regardless, Edwards would add leadership and playmaking ability to a defense in need of both.

The Chargers have said they won't re-sign Edwards.

Corner market: The Packers welcomed Cincinnati free-agent cornerback Tory James on an official visit Friday and were set to welcome New York Giants free-agent cornerback Frank Walker this weekend, their agents said.

The 33-year-old James started all 16 games for the Bengals last season and had four interceptions, raising his career total to 39. However, the Bengals have absolutely no interest in bringing him back because of age and performance reasons.

Walker, 26, has been on the Packers' radar since the start of free agency. A sixth-round pick from Tuskegee, Walker has been a backup and special teams player during his four years in New York.

The Packers are interested in adding a veteran nickel back to join Al Harris and Charles Woodson in the secondary. All of their reserve cornerbacks are young and unproven and it showed last year on third downs, when they were often unable to get off the field.

Vested interest: The Packers might not be heavily pursuing Oakland wide receiver Randy Moss for now, but there's one guy who thinks they should.

Agent James "Bus" Cook said he was pretty certain Moss wouldn't hesitate to come to Green Bay for a chance to play with quarterback Brett Favre. At one time, Cook represented both players, and so he knows firsthand that they have thought about playing with one another.

"He's always wanted to play with Brett," said Cook, who isn't listed anymore as Moss' agent but is thought to still have a connection with him. "Brett thinks he's as good as there is. He was born to be a football player.

"For once in his career, Brett would have a deep threat. Not that Donald Driver isn't a great player, because he is. Sterling Sharpe was very good and Antonio Freeman was very good, but they weren't speedsters, they weren't 4.3 (seconds in the 40-yard dash) or faster. Randy still does have that speed."

Cook said he had no idea whether the Raiders intended on trading or releasing Moss. The Packers don't seem interested in trading for Moss and might be waiting to see if he is released. They would then be able to negotiate a contract with him. Moss is scheduled to make $10 million this season.

Cook also represents San Diego restricted free-agent running back Michael Turner, and insisted he is better than any back in the draft. The Chargers put the highest qualifying offer on him, which means any team that signs him would have to give up first- and third-round draft picks.

However, the Chargers are probably willing to trade him because if they don't, they won't get anything for him next year when he becomes an unrestricted free agent. Whoever does trade for him would probably have to sign him to a huge contract.

No deal: The Packers welcomed Atlanta free-agent fullback Justin Griffith for a visit on Wednesday and lost him to the Raiders on Friday.

According to, Griffith signed a three-year, $3.8 million deal.

Greg C.

Jun 1, 2005
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Marquette, Michigan
I don't understand why Thompson would be interested in Donnie Edwards. Poppinga is young and improving. And I sure don't see the sense in signing a high-priced free agent just because you're afraid one of your starters (Barnett) is going to hold out. That's a defeatist strategy if I ever heard one.

I'm inclined to think that this is just a rumor, based on Thompson's familiarity with Edwards.


Jul 25, 2005
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Sidney, MT
If nothing else, it would improve our depth. Even though Brady ended better, he still has work to do.


Apr 23, 2005
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Allentown, PA
Yared-Yam said:
Barnett said flat out he wouldn't hold out. I think he said something like, "I won't hold out."

Source: The department of redundancy department

Donnie Edwards is exceptional in pass coverage for a linebacker and simply makes plays, I'd love to have him, that would give our defense some depth

I can honestly see where Ted is going with this move, we're the youngest team in the league, to acquire a veteran presence would be a better move than a lot of us are giving credit for