“…I can’t envision a scenario in which Kampman is back”

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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?

Conversely, Greg Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal managed to squeak this information out of Ted Thompson in a recent interview.

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.


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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 .

16 thoughts on ““…I can’t envision a scenario in which Kampman is back”

  1. Interesting Al! I’m torn. There is no other player on the GB roster today that exemplifies what a Packer should be than Kampman. I absolutely love the guy.

    That said, his injury sure screwed things up for his future. First Matthews would not have gotten to play as much and show what he had. Second Jones would never have played and would still be a question mark instead of a player with potential. Third, the injury has reduced his value to other teams. His best option would be for the Packers to let him go to FA. Then he could try and hook up with a 4-3 team. Unfortunately, that probably would mean the Queens or Bears. I would hate that.

    I hope there is a way for the Packers and Kampman can get together. I would be very happy to keep him until he retires.

  2. I think Kampman holds all the cards here worth playing, if he wants to be apart of the Packers he will, but I think Kampman’s priorities are playing DE first. If the Packers needed a DE, then he would with no hesitation sign and play for Green Bay. Unfortunately the Packers do not have a DE position on defense. Thats the hard truth.

  3. Agreed. Kampman is certainly Packer People, but the reality is, his best position on the filed no longer exists. In pre-season, Capers was saying we would see a mix of 3-4 and 4-3, so I was hoping Kampman could be in his old spot at least part of the time, but that never materialized.

  4. From what I’ve seen, Kampman has never represented himself as anything less than a class act and absolute professional. To say he’s “furious” with his treatment last season just doesn’t sound right to me. We all know there’s more than a few media types who invent drama on a daily basis, so I’ll take that quote with a grain of salt.
    That being said, I’ll have to agree that he was an ill fit in the 3-4, excepting the few times he put his hand down. That coupled with the uncertainty involving his return from injury will most likely send him to another roster. I’ll wish him the best in his new home (hopefully in the AFC!).

  5. To me it was painful to watch Kampman last season until he started putting his hand on the ground. He looked uncomfortable in his new role, and his preseason shift in attitude towards the media may have tipped his cap as to how he felt about the change.

    Did everyone see the reports from a Chicago paper that Alex Brown said he would like to see the Bears sign Kampman? Aaron-avoid Chicago at all costs! The Bears are a mess, and you are too good a person and player to have to deal with that disaster.

  6. Do you think Kampman will stay with GB at a reduced salary? I can’t help but agree with Pelissero. Can’t see a realistic scenario where he stays. He’s a 4-3 DE and that his talent. Coming off an ACL he would be even further behind in learning how to cover etc. So if he goes we’re either left hoping Brad Jones gets good, a Drafted rookie gets good real quick, or TT does what he’s so rarely ever done… And I can’t see that one happening. But as you say we desperately need better pass rushers.

  7. I’m sure this depends upon two things: First, the interest that Kampman’s agent is finding from the other teams. I’m sure he’s definitely been calling everybody. We need pass rush SO badly from that side of the field, to complement CM3 on the other side. Yes, he is better as a DE. But he’s a good pass rusher. It’s almost hard for me to think the Packers would let a good pass rusher get away, especially given the need on that side of the field.

    Secondly and possibly more importantly, it’s how much he hates or doesn’t hate playing OLB compared to DE. I don’t see a franchise tag happening (unless it leaks out that he’s getting a TON of interest). If he does come back, I think the Pack will let him test free agency, and hopefully he’ll let the Packers counter with a comparable deal (if they can afford it).

  8. I see him back, for whatever the price (at least for one more year), but I also see us getting an OLB early in the draft, for insurance policy.

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