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Strategy And Personnel

The Sports Xchange
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As general manager Ted Thompson predictably sat out the big run on signing free agents in the first week of the new league year, no movement had occurred with any of Green Bay's players who are free to leave.

Pro Bowl center Scott Wells, who wasn't expected to return to the Packers, signed with St. Louis.

Matt Flynn, the most attractive quarterback on the open market behind Peyton Manning, scheduled a visit with the Seattle Seahawks for Thursday and Friday and was expected to visit Miami.

Green Bay's other unrestricted free agents are running back Ryan Grant, defensive lineman Howard Green, linebacker Erik Walden and cornerbacks Jarrett Bush and Pat Lee. The St. Louis Rams reportedly had interest in Bush, an integral special-teams contributor with versatility as a fill-in defensive back.

TEAM NEEDS

1. Defensive end/outside linebacker: In the wake of having the league's worst-ranked defense last season, it was going to be imperative the Packers upgraded their paltry pass rush and give left-side linebacker Clay Matthews some help. The need is greater now that defensive end Mike Neal has been suspended the first four games of next season for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

2. Center: The explosive offense lost Scott Wells, the veteran anchor of the offensive line and a first-time Pro Bowl selection last season, in free agency. Fortunately for general manager Ted Thompson, the free-agent market for the position is teeming with potential replacements.

3. Safety: It's up in the air whether standout free safety Nick Collins will be medically cleared to play again after suffering a severe neck injury early last season. An answer is expected by the end of the month.

MEDICAL WATCH
No updates.

FRANCHISE PLAYER
None.

TRANSITION PLAYER
None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

--CB Jarrett Bush is a core special-teams contributor, tying for the team lead in tackles (12) last season, and a capable situational cover man in the slot. The Packers would like to retain him, but the decision will hinge on the market and what interest Bush gets elsewhere.

--QB Matt Flynn is free to shop for a team that will give him his long-awaited opportunity to be an NFL starter after the Packers didn't use the franchise tag on him. Depending on where Peyton Manning lands, Flynn may be a sought-after commodity for a number of teams.

--RB Ryan Grant has rushed for a meager total of 604 yards the last two injury-marred seasons and is 29. Yet, Packers haven't ruled out bringing him back to remain the veteran presence in a stable of young backs.

--DL Howard Green takes up a lot of space with his roughly 350-pound frame but wasn't much of a factor as a role player in his first full season with Green Bay. The well-traveled 33-year-old could be moving on again.

--CB Pat Lee has been a nonfactor on defense since the team took him in the second round of the 2008 draft. Lee, though, has value on special teams and tied Bush for the top spot in tackles.

--LB Erik Walden wasn't the playmaker the Packers need to complement left-side standout Clay Matthews and lost his starting job on the right side late in the season. The team still may re-sign him.

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS
None.

EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS
None.

PLAYERS RE-SIGNED

--TE Jermichael Finley: UFA; $14M/2 yrs, $1M SB/$7M RB.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED
None.

PLAYERS LOST

--C Scott Wells: UFA Rams; $24M/4 yrs, $13M guaranteed.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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