Lock 'em Up: Packers Get Their Guys

Matt Wells@@matt_wells16Correspondent IMarch 13, 2010

GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 18: Nick Collins #36 of the Green Bay Packers encourages the crowd during player introductions before a game against Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field on October 18, 2009 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Lions 26-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

After inking Chad Clifton to an extension to a three-year extension, the Packers proved they weren't done. Despite having Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins and starting nose tackle Ryan Pickett signed to one-year deals, getting those two signed long-term was considered the offseason's highest priority.

Packer fans can breathe a little easier now.

Ted Thompson has always been known for focusing on drafting and retaining players, rather than makingย splashes in FA, and here, he stuck to his roots. There was some question about deals getting done, as many expected Collins' deal to be finalized by training camp, but nothing materialized.

On Friday, Collins signed a three-year extension (in addition to the upcoming season) worth $23.4 million. Including this season's $3.3 million tender he signed as a restricted free agent, the deal is four years and worth $26.7 million, including $14 million this season. Whether he's worth that much as a safety is another discussion. For now, let us rejoice that the two-time Pro-Bowler is locked up through 2013.

Pickett's deal, according to an NFL source, was worth $28 million over four years, including $10 million in the first year. He is also locked up until 2013.

These three signings (Collins, Pickett, and Clifton) have a combined worth of $75 million, with $31 million of it this year. In a capped year, that would be huge; however, because the deals are front-heavy, most of the money will be payed while the league is uncapped, and if a new CBA is reached before the 2011 season, the cap numbers will be much smaller.

And yet, the Packers may not be done. Head Coach Mike McCarthy is optimistic about signing veteran RT Mark Tauscher, whose midseason signing last year may have saved the Packers' season. The offensive line allowed only 14 sacks in the eight games Tauscher started, compared to the 36 allowed previously. Keeping Tauscher would keep the pressure off finding a starting-caliber OT in the draft.

McCarthy is also confident play will improve from the two veterans, Clifton in particular. Since Clifton isn't coming off surgery or rehab, he'll be healthier, in better shape, and more productive.

These moves are great for the Packers, as pressure on nailing draft picks slightly lessens, especially if Tauscher is resigned. Things are looking good in Green Bay.


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