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McCarthy: Bigby Will Be A “Business Decision”

March 2, 2011

The Green Bay Packers have 15 players set to become free agents. With the start of free agency delayed until the player’s union and the owners can agree upon a new collective bargaining agreement, the Packers have a little extra time to make their decisions.

Aside from re-signing his own players, general manager Ted Thompson has never been a big player in free agency. So the fact that teams will be forced to use the draft as their primary resource for filling roster holes will be, as ESPN’s Kevin Seifert puts it, “business as usual” for the Packers.

Thompson loves unearthing talent in the draft, but he rarely provides any clues into his decision making process. Head coach Mike McCarthy follows in his boss’ footsteps regarding the draft but does provide a few hints as to which direction the Packers will take with the players currently on the roster.

McCarthy has not addressed defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins’ situation directly, but he has told reporters how much he likes the current linemen on the team. In addition to B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett, McCarthy added that he’s looking to his younger players and fresh faces —  Howard Green, Mike Neal, C.J. Wilson, and Jarius Wynn — to step up next season. In other words, if Jenkins would like to come back and play for a discounted rate, the Packers would welcome him back. If he chooses to play elsewhere, the Packers will follow their philosophy of “next man up.”

On the topic of defensive backs, McCarthy has said he wants to re-sign Charlie Peprah and Anthony Smith and also touted the younger players on the roster, Morgan Burnett and Anthony Levine. However, when asked about Atari Bigby, McCarthy said that would come down to a “business decision.”

A number of other players are eligible for free agency (whenever it begins), but the Packers appear to be comfortable allowing those players to shop around. I suppose that’s a luxury of being a Super Bowl champion.

Add in the inside linebacker situation, and it appears that the Packers have a lot of decisions ahead of them. But maybe by not making any decisions on those 15 players, the Packers’ front office has already made up its mind. If that’s the case, next season’s 53-man roster should look vastly different.

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