Tracking the free agent status of Packers released this offseason, with the exception of Al Harris, who was released during the 2010 season.
S Derrick Martin: SIGNED WITH GIANTS
UPDATE: Martin and the New York Giants agreed to a one-year contract on Monday, August 15.
The Packers released Martin on March 3.
Despite being an important special teams contributor, the Packers let go of Martin early in the offseason. Injuries likely played into the decision, as Martin suffered a season-ending knee injury against the Washington Redskins.
Little has surfaced about team’s potential interest in Martin, but I’d be shocked if he didn’t find a team for 2011.
LB Brady Poppinga: SIGNED WITH ST. LOUIS RAMS
The Packers released Poppinga on July 29.
UPDATE: Poppinga has reportedly agreed to a deal with the St. Louis Rams and was observing Rams practice on Tuesday night. He should get a chance to start at outside linebacker for St. Louis.
Much like Tauscher, Poppinga had similar factors working against him.
At 32 years old and coming off an ACL injury, Poppinga was due $2.34 million in 2011. For a guy that was going to be a backup and play primarily on special teams, that price tag was way too rich for the Packers liking.
He was also miscast in the Packers 3-4 defense, and he’ll likely look to team that runs the 4-3 as his next destination. Poppinga visited the St. Louis Rams on Sunday, but there was no word if a contract had been put in place.
LB Nick Barnett: SIGNED WITH BUFFALO BILLS
The Packers released Barnett on July 29, saving $5.9 million in cap room. Barnett then signed a three-year, $12 million deal with Buffalo Bills on July 31.
The Bills got a serious upgrade at linebacker, as Barnett averaged almost 110 tackles in his first seven seasons with the Packers. He’ll bring a veteran presence to a team that needs leaders on defense.
Barnett was expendable to the Packers after Desmond Bishop had a breakout season in his absence. Green Bay signed Bishop to a four-year, $19 million contract in January, putting the writing on the wall for Barnett’s eventual release.
TE Donald Lee: SIGNED WITH PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
The Packers released Lee on March 3. On July 29, Lee signed a one-year, $850,000 contract with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Lee was the odd-man out at tight end, a position where the Packers have plenty of talented bodies. That was even the case when the Packers released him in March, before Green Bay drafted D.J. Williams and Ryan Taylor in the NFL draft.
He’ll now try to contribute for a talented Eagles team that made plenty of splashes in free agency. Lee will likely backup starting tight end Brent Celek in Philadelphia.
CB Al Harris: SIGNED WITH ST. LOUIS RAMS
The Packers released Harris on November 8, 2010, shortly after coming off the PUP list. The Rams signed Harris to an undisclosed contract on July 29.
Green Bay sent shockwaves through the fan base when they released Harris last season, but it’d be hard to argue with the decision looking back. Harris was 35-years-old and soon-to-be 36, and the Packers had an emerging Sam Shields holding down the nickel cornerback. Plus, Harris was recovering from an ACL injury that ended his season a year before.
Harris signed on with the Dolphins shortly after, registering three tackles in three games. He’ll now head to St. Louis, where Harris will once again play under Steve Spagnuolo. Harris and Spagnuolo were both a part of the Eagles before Harris came to Green Bay in 2003.
The Packers released Tauscher on July 29.
Despite being a favorite in the locker room and amongst fans, there was plenty working against Tauscher returning to the Packers in 2011. Injuries and age were major factors, as Tauscher turned 34 in June and hadn’t completed a full season since 2007.
But the emergence of other players on the roster and Tauscher’s contract were other big reasons why he won’t be back. 2010 first round pick Bryan Bulaga is the present and future answer at Tauscher’s old position at right tackle. And with a contract that called for Tauscher to make $5.6 million in 2011, there was no way the Packers could keep him.
You’d have to think the market will be dry for an oft-injured 34-year-old tackle, but you never know. Tauscher may still choose to retire as well.
The Packers released Chillar on July 29.
Like so many players on this list, injuries got the best of Chillar’s future in Green Bay. Since the Packers signed him in 2008, Chillar has missed 14 games, including eight last season after tearing up his shoulder. Then, when Chillar showed up to camp with a hamstring injury that could have potentially put his 2011 season in jeopardy, the Packers cut him loose.
He may struggle to find another team that will sign him this season with that type of injury.
The Packers released Harrell on July 29.
He’s one of Ted Thompson’s only black eyes when it comes to the draft, but Harrell was a big one. A first round pick in 2007, Harrell played in just 14 games and registered 28 total tackles in three seasons. Whether it be a chronic shoulder and back, or a torn ACL, he could never stay healthy long enough to make an impact.
It’s a sad story, really, but such is life in the NFL. Yet as a former first rounder, he might be able to latch on somewhere else down the road. Even if it’s with another NFL franchise, you’d have to hope for Harrell to have a stretch of sustained health so he can show what he can do.
Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.
You can read more of Zach's Packers articles on AllGreenBayPackers.com.Follow @zachkruse2
3 thoughts on “Free Agent Status of Former Green Bay Packers”
I thought Harris was done after he was put on IR by the Fins last year. Well I’ll be rooting for Al to make it at least one more year, especially after watching his rehab videos last year.
I still think that we could see Tauscher or Harrell back down road if a boatload of injuries would strike the Pack at some point. I don’t see either one on another roster to start this season, but I could be wrong.
Wouldn’t mind Harrell or Tauscher coming back if any injuries arose. Harrell might be able to find someone, considering he was a first rounder. There’s very little on-field evidence to say he can’t play if healthy. And something tells me Tauscher will retire because of lack of offers. Too old and injured, and he won’t play just to play, I don’t think.
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