The Packers have a long list of players set to become free agents in 2010. What follows is a list of the players, a brief description, and a verdict of whether Ted Thompson should re-sign them or let them go.
Chad Clifton, Tackle
Clifton has done wonders for the Packers since 2000 and he even made the Pro Bowl in 2007. However, he is now 33, has been declining, and commits many penalties. Clifton is likely close to retirement and the Packers should move on without him and groom 2009 fourth-round draft pick T.J. Lang, who had starting experience as a rookie. The Packers can also spend their 2010 first-round draft pick on a tackle to replace Clifton and add depth in case Lang isn't ready to take over the starting job or if Mark Tauscher doesn't return.
Verdict: Let Go
Daryn Colledge, Guard
Jason Spitz, Guard
Colledge, 27, struggled a lot in his contract year. While contract years usually bring out the best in a player, that wasn't the case for Colledge. He allowed many sacks and committed penalties. He was the worst lineman on the Packers other than Allen Barbre.
Jason Spitz is also a free agent and the Packers will likely only re-sign one guard. Spitz is more versatile than Colledge, thus giving Spitz the uppper hand. He played left tackle for Clifton when he was injured and he was a disaster there. Meanwhile, Spitz can play left guard, right guard, and center, providing the Packers with more depth on the offensive line. Spitz is a better guard as well.
Verdict: Let Colledge Go (Unless There's Room For Him), Re-sign Spitz
John Kuhn, Fullback
Kuhn is a solid fullback, but the Packers have two other fullbacks, Korey Hall and Quinn Johnson, on the roster. Johnson was a 2009 draft pick and will be around for quite some time. With Hall providing added depth, Kuhn is no longer needed.
Verdict: Let Go
Aaron Kampman, Outside Linebacker
Kampman was a Pro Bowl defensive end, but he didn't transition well to the Packers' 3-4 defensive scheme. After he was injured, seventh-round draft pick Brad Jones filled in very well for him and Kampman isn't worth the money next season. The Packers should've traded him before the deadline.
Verdict: Let Go
Johnny Jolly, Defensive End
Jolly had an incredible breakout year in the Packers' new 3-4 defense and he helped make their defensive line dominant. In fact, the Packers had the No. 1 rush defense in the NFL. Jolly played his best in a contract year, so giving him a hefty contract may backfire and he may slack off after his big pay day.
The Packers have nobody to fill in for him on the roster, and unless they can sign a free agent defensive end such as Julius Peppers or Elvis Dumervil, both of whom can play in a 3-4 scheme, they should re-sign Jolly if they don't have to break the bank.
Verdict: Depends on Free Agency Moves
Tramon Williams, Cornerback
Williams is an excellent nickel back and provides great depth at cornerback. While he does commit penalties, and had a terrible performance against the Cardinals, he is good in coverage and can intercept the quarterback. Williams needs to return to the Packers, as Charles Woodson, 33, and Al Harris, 35, won't be around much longer.
Will Blackmon, Cornerback/Return Specialist
Blackmon doesn't have much to offer as a cornerback, but he has a lot to offer as a return specialist. He suffered a season-ending injury in 2009 and the Packers' return game went downhill from there as Jordy Nelson is not the same.
Blackmon is a very explosive runner who would have been able to give the Packers better field position against the Cardinals. He is the best Packer return man since Allen Rossum, and if Blackmon can bounce back from his injury he would be very valuable to the Packers.
Ryan Pickett, Defensive Tackle
Like Jolly, Pickett had a breakout season and helped make the Packers' defensive line one of the most feared in the league. B.J. Raji was the Packers' first draft pick in 2009, and he may still need time to fully develop. Bringing back Pickett would provide great depth at defensive tackle for the Packers.
Atari Bigby, Safety
Bigby is an essential part of the Packers' defense. He had four interceptions this year and he has consistently produced for the Packers over the years.
The Packers have no depth at safety. They released Aaron Rouse, who continued his sub par play with the Giants. Matt Giordano was terrible when he filled in for Bigby against the Cardinals. Although Bigby is injury-prone, there's no depth and he's too valuable. He should be near the top of Ted Thompson's priority list.
Nick Collins, Safety
Collins is an even better safety than Bigby and he was selected to his second consecutive Pro Bowl. His stellar 2009 season included six interceptions. He's entering his prime and the Packers can't let him leave now. He's expensive, but he's worth every penny. Ted Thompson should have Collins at the top of his priority list. He's a restricted free agent, so there's hope that the Packers will re-sign him.