Tuesday, July 26, 2011

...And on the first day of the new CBA...

Day One of the new NFL collective bargaining agreement saw many players arriving at team facilities, many others in transit and teams beginning the frenzy of signing, trading and releasing players.

The Green Bay Packers made a number of moves today. The most important from a personnel and budget cap standpoint is the pending trade or -- more likely -- release of eight-year veteran LB Nick Barnett. GM Ted Thompson met with Barnett early this morning and told him of the team's plans. Certainly had to hurt, but just as certainly Barnett couldn't have been too surprised. Given the Packers' cap situation, the fact that Barnett would have been due more than $5 million in salary, the fact that Barnett has been injured two of the last three seasons, and the fact that the Packers made their successful end-of-season/playoff/Super Bowl run without him, the writing was on the wall.

Farewell, Mr. Barnett, thank you for your service and for being a great Packer. Good luck wherever you land next.

There is no word at the time of this posting as to the status of Cullen Jenkins, James Jones, Mason Crosby or John Kuhn, all unrestricted free agents. Speculation is that Jenkins will take a bigger deal elsewhere, while Crosby is expected to be re-signed; there are reportedly 12 free agent kickers on the market. Kuhn indicated that he would test the market. As for Jones, QB Aaron Rodgers was reported to have stated that re-signing him was "priority number one," at least as he saw it. So, stay tuned. These will be interesting days ahead, full of roster activity.

Undrafted free agent signings

Teams across the league were busy today signing undrafted free agents. The Packers were no different, adding 16 players according to various sources. They are:
  • WR/KR Antoine “Shaky” Smithson, Utah
  • WR Tori Gurley, South Carolina
  • LB Jamari Lattimore, Middle Tennessee State
  • C Sampson Genus, South Florida
  • S M.D. Jennings, Arkansas State
  • DE Vic So’oto, BYU
  • QB Diondre Borel, Utah State (possible WR in the NFL)
  • OL Theo Sherman, James Madison
  • OL Ray Dominguez, Arkansas
  • WR Kerry Taylor, Arizona State
  • NT Eli Joseph, Temple
  • LB Peanut Joseph, Temple
  • S Anthony Bratton, Delaware
  • FB Jon Hoese, Minnesota
  • DB Brandian Ross, Youngstown State
  • RB Brandon Saine, Ohio State
Among the most intriguing, at least on paper and/or video seem to be Shaky Smithson and Tori Gurley. Smithson in particular could finally be the punt and kick returner the Pack hasn't had since the days of Desmond Howard. He will no doubt be given every chance to secure that role. As for Gurley, the length of his arms is apparently sasquatch-like and that makes him attractive as a receiving target...along with his 6'4" height and 4.53 40 speed, of course. And let's not forget the Joseph twins, Eli and Peanut, from Temple. Whether they make the final roster or not, it's at least a bit of future trivia that there was once a player in camp named "Peanut" AND his twin brother was in camp at the same time.