When I started the OTS on http://packerchatters.com about five or so years ago, I never imagined that it would have led to the "Locker Room" blog. I wrote what I heard from various sources (and was cleared by them) to give the long NFL off-season some much-needed topics to discuss for Packers fans. As it's popularity grew, so did the list of teams that I got info for and here we are now.
But this OTS is all about the Packers. I want to wait for the post season to end before I blog rumors about other teams. Sorry NFL fans, but your time will be here soon.
I want to stress that the OTS are RUMORS, not facts. They are things that I was told via e-mail or conversation from anonymous sources who work for various sports teams, agents, scouts and current and former players who still has the pulse of various teams. I will not disclose who they are or who they work for.
That being said, I want to post this disclaimer to remind folks that these are rumors.
- A piece of unverified information of uncertain origin usually spread by word of mouth.
- Unverified information received from another; hearsay.
Ladies and Gentlemen, WELCOME TO THE OTS!!
I hear that Packers GM Ted Thompson is open to adding a player, either via trade or free agency, that can be an impact player. Names that have been mentioned are Josh Cribbs, Antonio Cromartie, Joey Porter and Shawne Merriman.
The Packers are one of the more aggressive teams in terms of their draft board. So while other teams are just starting theirs, the Packers are already in full-blown draft meetings and the board is nearly complete.
Last year I said that Thompson was interested in trading up for a certain player that he was "in love with" and felt that he could land him at the back-end of round one, and I got heat for that. That player was Clay Matthews III, and Thompson did trade back into the first to land him and Matthews is a Pro Bowler in his rookie year.
This year I am not hearing that, at least early on. But I am hearing that Thompson wants an "explosive playmaker that can also be a returnman". Notice that didn't specify if that player was a CB, WR or RB. If Clemson running back/returnman CJ Spiller is on the board, I wouldn't be shocked if Thompson picked him. He would be another playmaker for Mike McCarthy to use in his high powered offense.
I am hearing that Thompson and the staff feels that CB and Safety are bigger "needs" than offensive tackle and would address them before offensive tackle. After getting burnt by Pittsburgh, Arizona and Minnesota through the air, look for CB and Safety to be addressed early, and in the conerbacks case, often in the draft.
I heard that the Packers think that they can resign Chad Clifton to a 1 year deal with a mutual option. I am also hearing that he would be open to that. I will not be for top dollar, but Clifton also understands that and wants to stay with the Packers.
The likelihood of Nick Collins being franchised grows by the day. Collins agent and the Packers have talked, but are not close on a deal. Collins second consecutive Pro Bowl selection helps his cause for more money. He also has the support of safeties coach Darren Perry and the other Packers defensive backs.
The same can not be said for Atari Bigby. Bigby doesn't seem to be high on the Packers list of extension plans and looks to be on the back side of extensions and resigning efforts.
It looks as if Aaron Kampman's days wearing #74 in the Green and Gold are over. The Packers are most likely going to let Kampman walk and gamble on the compensation pick they could get for him. Best case is a 3rd rounder while the worst case is a 5th rounder.
I was told that the Packers will get a deal done with Tramon Williams. They feel he is a potential starter done the road, and one of the best nickle backs in the NFL.
Ryan Pickett's deal should be done in the very near future. I hear it is a 4 year deal (no dollar amount was disclosed).
I have also heard that the Packers may let Darryn Colledge walk and focus on resigning Jason Spitz. But I am also hearing that could change depending on the CBA situation and that the front office are still debating on whether to keep Colledge over Spitz, or even trying to keep both.
The Packers and Mark Tauscher have talked about a deal to play in 2010 and to become an assistant coach after. Tauscher is very open to that and is considering it.
Keep this name in your heads during free agency in regards to the Packers, safety Ryan Clark of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He is a gifted safety that can do it all and is underrated and mostly unknown to the casual fan.
There is a "buyer beware" with Clark though, he suffers from sickle-cell trait, which can cause complications during extreme exercise conditions and hypoxia from high altitudes. In 2007 during a game against Denver at Invesco Field at Mile High, because of the altitude he had to be rushed to the hospital in the middle of the game to have his spleen and gallbladder removed.
I am hearing that Packers like two Buccaneers offensive tackles, Donald Penn and Jeremy Trueblood, and could go hard after them in free agency.
I mentioned Josh Cribbs as a possible target at the beginning of the OTS because he fills a need at returner, but also would allow Mike McCarthy to run a couple "Wild Pack" plays per game if he chooses and would add yet another dangerous playmaker as a wide receiver in 5 wide sets.
Well, that is it for the first OTS in Joe's Lockerroom! I hope you enjoy it and I will have a mock up later this week!