I forgot to include Barry in my QB post. Somebody in GB must know more than we do about handling this stuff. This all kind of reminds me of how GM Sherman operated. Certainly TT must have a rabbit in his hat..
The unrestricted free agent market is not the only place where the Green Bay Packers might take a hit this off-season.
The Packers informed the representatives of three of their most prominent restricted free agents - running back Najeh Davenport, tackle Kevin Barry and quarterback Craig Nall - that they would be receiving the lowest of the three tender offers before the opening bell for free agency Wednesday.
Another, quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan, is also expecting to receive the low offer.
The right of first refusal offer - worth $656,000 - allows the Packers to match any deal the player receives from another team and receive compensation at the round in which the player was drafted if they choose not to match. If the player receives no offer, he plays for the one-year, $656,000 contract.
The compensation for the Packers' free agents is affordable and could result in teams chasing them this off-season. For Davenport, the compensation is a fourth-round pick, for Nall it is a fifth-rounder and for O'Sullivan it's a sixth-rounder. Because Barry, the Packers' massive extra tight end in their "heavy" package, was not drafted, there is no compensation for his services.
"I think Najeh Davenport is a starter in this league," agent Michael Harrison said. "We will definitely see what's out there. We won't know (the interest) until March 2."
Said Russell Wittman, Barry's agent, "I think Kevin is in a great position. There's no compensation on him, so it's almost like he's an unrestricted free agent. I'm pretty excited about it. It will be interesting."
It is unclear what the Packers intend to do with starting defensive end Aaron Kampman and linebacker Paris Lenon, two other restricted free agents. Kampman probably will receive the low offer and Lenon might not be tendered at all, setting him free.
Kampman's agent was not available for comment and Lenon's agent said he had not received an offer from the Packers.
Defensive end R-Kal Truluck, who was set to become a restricted free agent, signed a one-year contract with the Packers, according to his agent, Cary Fabrikant. The deal is thought to be worth a minimum-wage salary of $455,000 and includes incentives that would allow him to make nearly as much as the low offer.
Traditionally, the restricted free agent market has not born fruit for eligible players - only 15 have changed teams over the past five years - but there are exceptions.
For anyone of the current group, the Packers could have set the compensation level at a first-round pick, but it would have cost them a one-year offer of $1.43 million. The highest level of compensation - first- and third-round picks - requires an offer of $1.9 million.
The Packers will have the right to match any offer, but if a team chooses to structure a deal in such a way that it would cripple the Packers' tight salary cap, they could lose a player.
Davenport might be the most intriguing prospect because he has showed some starting running back potential. Primarily a backup to Ahman Green and a kickoff returner, Davenport rushed for 178 yards in 19 carries in his only start last season against St. Louis.
He has a career rushing average of 5.1 yards per carry and a career kickoff return average of 25.6 yards.
His biggest obstacle will be overcoming a reputation for being injury- and fumble-prone. He has missed 14 games in three years with a variety of injuries (broken eye socket, wrist and hamstring) and played with broken ribs the final six games of the 2004 season. He has seven fumbles (two lost) in 202 career rushes and receptions.
Barry could be an intriguing prospect for a team looking for a dominant run-blocker. Wittman said Barry had hired a personal trainer to help him get back to 325 to 330 pounds and was committed to proving he can be a starter.
Kampman, who has started 40 games, could be had for a fifth-round pick if he is delivered the low tender offer. The Packers don't have much depth at the end position, but under new defensive coordinator Jim Bates they might be looking for a more dynamic pass rusher than Kampman
I just don't see how we could justify offering these guys the higher compensation tenders. No team would have given up a first round draft choice in order to sign them and we would be on the hook for $1.43M. Barry's had weight problems and Davenport can't stay healthy and has a fumbling problem. We can still match any offer they receive and if it's too much for us to afford we can bid them adieu and still get a draft choice (Davenport, not Barry). Let's see how this plays out during free agency. Hopefully with TT, there's a method to his madness.