Those are pretty strong and definitive words, but they weren’t mine. They belong to Green Bay Press-Gazette Assistant Sports Editor Tom Pelissero. In one of a series of daily chats he is holding on the Packers (position-by-position), he was asked the following question by chat participant “Geoff”:
Kampman: Rumor has it that he will be offered a contract, but it is not a priority. Lets say he on the team, do you see him making the “leap” to becoming a good OLB, or is he just a pass rusher?
Pelissero’s simple answer was: “…I can’t envision a scenario in which Kampman is back.”
Wow. Pretty strong and definitive words there. There have been plenty of Kampman rumors and speculation. Radio Host Mike Lucas claims Kampman is “furious” about how he was used last season. Brandon over at Acme Packing Company talks about that and the overall Kampman situation here. But this was the first time I had heard anyone be so definitive about the seemingly slim chances of Kampman returning to the Packers.
I had to know more, so I asked Pelissero to expand on his comment. Here was his reply:
1. Kampman is better as a 4-3 end.
2. Franchising Kampman would leave the Packers open to therisk of getting stuck paying him about $9M next season.
3. His trade value is lower because of the ACL injury.
4. The defense was slower with him.
5. He’s 30 years old.
OK Tom, how do you really feel about him?
Of the Packers’ other unrestricted free agents, offering Kampman a contract is the only move they are set to do. Thompson said he thinks Kampman can complete the transition to outside linebacker, that the team wants him back and will make an effort to re-sign Kampman. When asked if the team will definitely offer Kampman a contract, Thompson said: “I’m sure we will.” Whether that offer comes close to the market value for Kampman or anything more than the June 1 tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights once training camps start remains to be seen. Kampman is coming back from ACL surgery, and his timetable for returning to the field will factor into when an offer is made.
So here, Ted Thompson is saying the Packers will make an offer to Kampman. The question is, will it be a serious offer or a token offer just to save face? The other option is to use one of the franchise tags and then try to trade Kampman. Reporter Pete Dougherty, a colleague of Peliserro’s at the Green Bay Press-Gazette, thinks it’s unlikely the Packers will do that.
Personally, I hate losing a player and getting nothing back, especially a starter that has Pro Bowl credentials. I agree that Kampman is miscast as a 3-4 OLB in the Packers defense. And I agree that paying him $9 million for his contributions would be too much. But if I’m Ted Thompson, I look hard for a trade partner and try to work out a franchise / renegotiate deal that all parties would agree to. But there isn’t much time – the franchise tag deadline is Feb 25th.
Maybe Tom Pelissero is just being realistic…
BTW, his “State of the Packers” chats are a lot of fun and very informative. Be sure to check them out here.
Jersey Al Bracco is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com. You can find more of Jersey Al ’s articles on several sports web sites: NFL Touchdown , Packers Lounge , Packer Chatters & Bleacher Report .