The NFL's offseason is now well underway with most of the league's personnel staffs converging on the RCA Dome in Indianapolis this week to get a good look at the crop of players they will have to choose from in April's college draft.
However, next week will kick off another key portion of the shaping and re-shaping of teams' rosters as the free agency window will be thrown open Wednesday, March 2.
The Packers will no doubt be looking to improve their team through both of these avenues, the draft and by signing free agents. Before they can focus in on who they might be bringing in from the outside though, the Packers must address the status of their own free agents.
As the season of player movement is about to get underway, the Packers have 16 players that were on the roster at the end of the 2004 season that are scheduled to be free agents. Nine of those players will be unrestricted free agents (UFA), and will be able to sign with any team.
The other seven are scheduled to be restricted free agents (RFA), a classification that gives Green Bay the option of matching any offer the player might receive from another club, if the Packers first tender him a qualifying offer. Depending on the level of the qualifying offer, the Packers could be entitled to compensation if they choose not to match the competing team's offer for the player.
Following is a look at the players General Manager Ted Thompson and the front office will have decisions to make on in the coming weeks.
P Bryan Barker (UFA) - This veteran punter was signed as a free agent mid-way through training camp last summer and won the job over rookie B.J. Sander. In his 15th NFL season, the 40-year-old Barker did a commendable job averaging 40.1 yards on 66 punts, but perhaps made his biggest contribution as the holder for Ryan Longwell's kicks following Doug Pederson's season-ending injury.
T Kevin Barry (RFA) - Barry, a Wisconsin native, joined his home-state team as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Arizona in 2002. In three seasons with the Green and Gold, Barry has played in 43 games, making seven starts. The massive lineman has become a key player in the offense's short-yardage package, serving as an extra tight end in the "U-71" package, a formation named for the 71 on Barry's jersey.
T/G Brad Bedell (UFA) - Bedell was acquired by the Pack in a trade as the 53-man rosters were being set just before the start of the regular season in early September. The former sixth-round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2000 played in four games for Green Bay this season, seeing his most extensive action in place of Barry in the "U-71" scheme while Barry was sidelined with an injury.
RB Najeh Davenport (RFA) - In his three seasons with the Packers, Davenport has become an invaluable member of the team, both as the primary backup to Ahman Green out of the backfield and also as a kickoff returner. Despite being slowed by a variety of injuries in 2004, Davenport in 11 games rushed for 359 yards with two touchdowns and averaged 20.4 yards on 14 kickoff returns.
The former Miami Hurricane made the most of his first career start when he ran through the St. Louis Rams defense for 178 yards on 19 carries, including a 40-yard touchdown on Monday Night Football as he filled in for an injured Green.
TE Bubba Franks (UFA) - Franks was given the "transition player" distinction by the team earlier this week, a designation that guarantees the tight end will earn a one-year salary that is the average of the top 10 players at his position in the NFL. He is still able to sign with another club, but the Packers maintain the right to match any offer the five-year veteran would receive and have the capability of negotiating a long-term deal with the player.
In his five seasons in Green Bay, Franks has proven to be one of the most potent red zone weapons in the league, catching 28 touchdown passes, including seven in 2004. His size makes him a threat near the goal line and has also helped him remain durable, as the tight end has not missed any of the Packers' 80 games since he was drafted in the first round out of Miami in 2000.
S Bhawoh Jue (UFA) - Jue, a former third-round selection of the Packers in 2001, played a significant role as the backup at each safety position in 2004, where he played in all 16 games and made four starts. His outstanding performance in week eight at Washington helped to seal the Packers' win as he turned in his third career interception and alertly recovered a surprise onsides kick. He was also one of the team's top special teamers, recording 11 tackles on the year in kick coverage.
DE Aaron Kampman (RFA) - Kampman was one of the more steady performers for Green Bay's defense in 2004, tying for second on the team with 4.5 sacks and for third with 77 tackles on the campaign. The three-year player out of the University of Iowa started all 16 games at the 'Power' defensive end position, bringing his career mark to 32 starts in 40 games played.
LB Paris Lenon (RFA) - In three years with the Packers, Lenon has developed into one of the top special teams performers for the Green and Gold. An alumnus of both NFL Europe and the XFL, this linebacker has shown determination to reach this level. The top backup linebacker on the squad, Lenon made the first starts of his career in 2004, filling in for both Na'il Diggs and Hannibal Navies on occasion. He made eight stops on special teams in 2004, pushing his career tally to 46 over three seasons.
LB Torrance Marshall (UFA) - Marshall, one of the team's third-round picks in 2001, suffered through an injury-shortened season in 2004 as he was limited just nine games before being placed on injured reserve in November. Over his four seasons in Green Bay, the linebacker has been a valuable member of the special teams units, making 52 tackles in 51 games played.
TE David Martin (UFA) - Martin is another impending free agent whose 2004 season was cut short due to injury. The four-year veteran has served as a reserve tight end since coming to Green Bay as a sixth-round pick in 2001 and has caught 39 passes for 344 yards and four touchdowns in 47 career contests. The former Tennessee Volunteer has also been a stand-out performer on special teams, making 16 tackles and forcing a pair of fumbles.
QB Craig Nall (RFA) - Nall was thrust into the role of Brett Favre's primary backup early in the season and played well when given the opportunity to step onto the field. After entering the 2004 campaign without a regular season pass attempt, the former 2003 All-NFL Europe quarterback put together solid numbers in five games as he completed 23 of 33 passes for 314 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions.
LB Hannibal Navies (UFA) - Navies signed with the Packers as a free agent before the 2003 season and started 30 games at strong-side linebacker. The six-year veteran played through a shoulder injury for much of 2004 but still finished sixth on the team with 73 tackles. In 2003, he set a career-high with 118 stops as he started all 16 games in his first season in Green Bay.
QB J.T. O'Sullivan (RFA) - O'Sullivan came to Green Bay in early October as part of the trade that sent Mike McKenzie to New Orleans. Another former NFL Europe signal-caller, O'Sullivan spent most of his time in 2004 running the scout team in practice and was inactive as the third quarterback for each of the 12 games following his acquisition. He was a sixth-round pick of the Saints in the 2002 draft.
QB Doug Pederson (UFA) - Pederson, who has had two runs as a backup to Favre during his 12-year career, spent much of the 2004 season on injured reserve after taking a hit late in his 100th career game. The veteran signal-caller not only served as the number-two quarterback on the depth chart, but also as the holder for Ryan Longwell's field goals and extra points. The 37-year-old Pederson has played in 66 games as a Packer over eight seasons in Green Bay.
G Marco Rivera (UFA) - Rivera has been a key cog in the offensive line of the Packers for much of the last decade. The nine-year veteran holds the second-longest consecutive starts streak on the team only behind ironman Brett Favre with 99 straight starts, a run that dates back to December of 1998.
The former Penn State standout was named to his third consecutive Pro Bowl in 2004, and was a starter for the NFC all-star squad at right guard for the second straight season. Rivera has now played in 125 career games for the Pack, starting 111 of them, and has helped lead the way for a 1,000-yard rusher in six of his seven seasons as a starter.
DE R-Kal Truluck (RFA) - This three-year veteran defensive end was acquired by the Packers in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs just before the start of the 2004 regular season. In 14 games, Truluck made 14 tackles and tallied 2.5 sacks. This 30-year-old lineman is a veteran of both the Arena Football League and the Canadian Football League and has eight sacks over his 34-game NFL career.