Two items of interest in this article. The Packers had NT Ryan Pickett in town. The personnel director quoted in the article prefers Pickett over NT Grady Jackson, which isn't a big surprise since Pickett is a young tackle and Jackson isn't. It doesn't seem likely that Jackson's body will hold up for too many more seasons. Although Football Outsiders ranked the St. Louis defensive line 21st last season, 3 spots better than the Packers. St. Louis had an odd season because they had the 3rd best rank at stuffing running plays for a loss but were 30th vs. runs on 3rd or 4th down with less than 2 yards to go. The Packers need to replace Jackson because he can't be trusted with a long-term deal at this point in his career. Pickett appears to be a modest upgrade with better potential to make it through to the end of a long term deal.
The second item was the $3 million signing bonus Minnesota gave to K Ryan Longwell. That is a stunning amount to give to a kicker, especially a kicker who was awful in 2005. That signing bonus appears to be the blessing and the curse of having a lot of salary cap room.
It was reported that DE Aaron Kampman received a 4 year, $21 million deal and $12 million of it is guaranteed. That is a really big number. For example, RB Edgerrin James received $11.5 million guaranteed in a 4 year, $30 million deal. The size of the guaranteed money isn't surprising since it was enough to keep Kampman from entering the free agent market.
For the second season in a row, Minnesota trades away a superstar. Anything that weakens Minnesota sounds like a good idea. It will now be interesting to see if Minnesota moves up to draft QB Matt Leinert or QB Vince Young since New Orleans's 2nd overall pick is apparently available in trade and Minnesota has an extra 2nd round pick to offer in return. It would seem unlikely that QB Duante Culpepper will ever play as well as he did during the 2004 season again, but it is better to avoid the chance of it happening in Minnesota.
In other NFC North quarterback news, Detroit signed QB Jon Kitna. It would seem that Kitna's best games are behind the 33 year old quarterback, but Prez. Matt Millen can't let GM Ted Thompson upstage him with his crappy S Marquand Manuel signing and Millen signed Kitna plus ex-Packer WR Corey Bradford. QB Joey Harrington is not a great player, but Kitna isn't much of an upgrade.