Tuesday, March 03, 2009

OK, this is not good...

So, the Pack has $30 million in salary cap room and any attempt to bolster a thin defensive line through quality free agent help has seemingly vanished as the few available top candidates signed elsewhere. Which leaves the Pack with basically Ryan Pickett, Johnny Jolly, Cullen Jenkins, Aaron Kampman and Justin Harrell (well, he's on the roster anyway) as the defensive line. How and why the Pack didn't seriously go after help to bolster what was already the weak link in last year's defense is a mystery. Granted, both the Redskins and Giants threw a boatload of money at Albert Haynesworth and Chris Canty, respectively. And, probably to most people's way of thinking, overpaid. Certainly this was Packer GM Ted Thompson's point of view, who is never one to throw away money. That was also the case with Colin Cole, whom the Packers lost via free agency to Seattle. While Cole was starting to finally make an impact, with $6 million of guaranteed contract money, Seattle definitely overpaid.

The problem is, that established the market. And there weren't that many quality free agent defensive linemen available to begin with. Reportedly, the Pack has had some discussions with the agents for San Diego's Igor Olshansky, Baltimore's Marques Douglas and New England's Mike Wright, but nothing firm. In fact, other reports were circulating yesterday that Olshanksy had come to terms with Houston.

So where does this leave the Pack? Apparently shifting gears and looking for a safety instead. Go figure.

Check out this article in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel for more on that approach, as well as a few other free agent possibilities.

Bottom line is that unless somehow the Pack captures lightening in a bottle with one of the middle-of-the-road or over-the-hill free agents still on the market, or gets lucky with a draft pick, new defensive coordinator Dom Capers is going to have to be very creative with his schemes. Because right now, the Pack's defensive line situation is looking precarious at best.