Packers focus on their own as legal tampering period opens

The NFL’s legal tampering period opened at noon Eastern Monday, and while a few of the more notable free agents throughout the league have reportedly agreed to deals, the Packers remained quiet throughout the day. That’s not surprising and is business as usual by Green Bay’s standards, as the team usually prefers to wait until after the first wave of free agent signings to start bringing in new players.

That doesn’t mean the Packers haven’t been busy behind the scenes, however. While there hasn’t been much talk pertaining to the team’s upcoming unrestricted free agents, we do know they plan to bring back all six of their exclusive rights free agents. Green Bay has submitted tender offers for wide receiver Jake Kumerow, tight end Robert Tonyan, offensive lineman Justin McCray and outside linebacker Reggie Gilbert, according to multiple reports from the Green Bay Press Gazette and Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Offensive guard Lucas Patrick is expected to be tendered as well, but will wait to sign until after the beginning of the new league year, according to Jim Owczarski of the Journal Sentinel. Defensive lineman Fadol Brown signed a one-year, $560,000 deal on March 6 before being tendered.

As a reminder, exclusive rights players cannot negotiate with other teams, meaning if their current team offers them the exclusive rights tender (a one-year deal normally at the veteran minimum), they must either accept it or sit out.

Of course, no new deals between free agents and new teams can actually be signed and considered official until the start of the new league year on Wednesday at 4pm Eastern, but the legal tampering period gives teams and player agents to get right to work on negotiating and fleshing out contracts that can be signed immediately at the turn of the league year. Here’s a roundup of some of the top names reported to be off the market as of Monday evening:

  • DE Trey Flowers (Detroit, 5 years/compensation pending)
  • S Landon Collins (Washington, 6 years/$84 million)
  • S Tyrann Mathieu (Kansas City, 3 years/$42 million)
  • OT Trent Brown (Oakland, 4 years/$66 million)
  • QB Nick Foles (Jacksonville, 4 years/$88 million)
  • LB Dante Fowler (LA Rams, 1 year/$14 million)
  • WR Adam Humphries (Tennessee, 4 years/$36 million)
  • WR Jamison Crowder (NY Jets, 3 years/$28.5 million)
  • CB Justin Coleman (Detroit, 4 years/$36 million)

For the last few weeks, Collins had been widely speculated as a potential target for the Packers, though no official reports confirmed any team interest. His big contract in Washington, along with Mathieu’s new deal in Kansas City, will likely set the market for other top safety options such as Earl Thomas, another popular name among Green Bay free agency speculators.

With many holes to fill on the roster, the Packers will likely need to hit on acquisitions in both free agency and the draft, meaning there should be some sense of urgency in the offices at Lambeau Field. There is still a day and a half still to go before players start putting pen to paper, so it wouldn’t be surprising if we don’t hear much out of 1265 until deals become official, but this is the time of year where waiting around can leave a team in the lurch.

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