Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Pack Locks Up Barnett

The Packers today announced that they have locked up linebacker Nick Barnett essentially for the balance of his career by signing him to a six-year extension. According to reports, "an NFL source familiar with the deal" (who are these people anyway???) says Barnett will earn $35 million over the life of the contract, which includes this season and runs to 2012. According to these same sources, terms were front-loaded so that Barnett will receive close to $12 million in the first year.

The bottom line is that this contract makes Barnett one of the highest paid players on defense. And he should be. He's led the Pack in tackles three of his four seasons (only being beat out this last season by rookie LB A. J. Hawk), with 631 career tackles. He has also recorded eight sacks, seven interceptions, six fumble recoveries and 29 passes defensed. Barnett has missed only a handful of games in his first four years, infamously playing many games with a broken hand posing as a "club."

Barnett is one of the few players drafted by former GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman that has actually fulfilled many of the expectations people had of him coming into the league. This is a signing Packer fans should be happy with. It solidifies a key part of a young and upcoming linebacking corps for many years to come.