Packers donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t delay, cut Diggs
Posted Mar. 03, 2006
[size=18px]Packers donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t delay, cut Diggs [/size]
Linebacker NaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢il Diggs, whom the Packers cut Thursday, has been hampered by injuries the last two years.
By Pete Dougherty
The NFLÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s three-day delay for the start of free agency didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t affect the Green Bay PackersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ football operations Thursday, when they cut starting linebacker NaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢il Diggs.
After the NFL owners announced Thursday theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d rejected the players unionÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s most recent proposal to extend the collective bargaining agreement, some teams were busy either cutting or preparing to cut players and also renegotiating contracts to get under the projected $94.5 million salary cap.
The Packers, though, are nearly $24 million under that cap figure and had no such concerns, so it didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t matter when the league and players union agreed to push back the start of free agency until Monday so they could continue negotiation.
The Packers cut Diggs because that was their plan, regardless of whether the CBA is extended. Diggs was due a $600,000 roster bonus on the fifth day of the new league year and a $2.3 million salary this year, but General Manager Ted Thompson and the teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s defensive coaching staff appeared to give up on the 27-year-old linebacker because of health concerns and doubts about whether he was a good match for the defensive system implemented last year.
Diggs was a starting linebacker for the Packers since they selected him in the fourth round of the 2000 draft, but injuries diminished his play the last two years. In 2004, he was dogged by a shoulder injury that didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t sideline him but bothered him most of the year, and he missed two games because of a bruised kidney. Last season, he missed seven games and never was at full strength after tearing one medial-collateral knee ligament in training camp and the other on Oct. 3 at Carolina.
Thompson wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t give specific reasons for releasing Diggs Ã¢â‚¬â€ Ã¢â‚¬Å“We just felt like it was the right thing to do at this particular time,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said Ã¢â‚¬â€ but concerns about whether he would stay healthy considering his relatively high salary had to be a factor. Also, the PackersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ defensive system last year, which new coordinator Bob Sanders will continue running, emphasizes speed at linebacker, and DiggsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ release suggests the team is looking to upgrade its talent and explosiveness at that position. Thompson, coach Mike McCarthy and Sanders appear to think DiggsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ injuries have reduced his speed.
His release leaves the Packers with only one sure starter Ã¢â‚¬â€ Nick Barnett Ã¢â‚¬â€ returning in their linebacker corps. Another possible starter, second-year pro Brady Poppinga, is returning from knee-reconstruction surgery and will have to return ahead of schedule just to be ready for the start of the regular season. Robert Thomas, Paris Lenon and Roy Manning started games at linebacker last season also but stand a good chance of being bypassed as starters by either a free agent or a rookie.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We look at everything and try to make ourselves better,Ã¢â‚¬Â Thompson said. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Certainly, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll be looking at that position as we will all our positions.Ã¢â‚¬Â
The Packers also released punter Ryan Dutton. They still have three punters on their roster: B.J. Sander, Ryan Flinn and Jon Ryan.
In the meantime, the Packers will continue to negotiate with some of their free agents while waiting for free agency to begin at 11 p.m. Sunday. TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve been working especially hard with defensive end Aaron Kampman and running back Ahman Green, though there was no indication they were close to a deal with either on Thursday. However, most years they get at least one contract done just before the start of free agency, and thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a chance theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll sign one or both of those before free agency opens.
The NFLÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s owners are expected to continue negotiations with the union today in an attempt to extend the CBA Ã¢â‚¬â€ the union has asked for 60 percent of gross revenues for player salaries, whereas the owners have offered 56.2 percent. But the agreement also is being held up because owners havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t agreed internally on a formula for sharing previously unshared revenues Ã¢â‚¬â€ mainly from stadium revenues such as luxury boxes and signage Ã¢â‚¬â€ so they presumably will be working on that as well.
At about 4 p.m. Thursday, the league notified its teams it had agreed with the union to push back the start of free agency. Several teams had begun purging their roster to make ThursdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 10 p.m. deadline to get under the $94.5 million cap, not knowing the deadline would be pushed back. After the announcement, teams were given the opportunity to rescind waivers on any player they waived.
If the CBA is extended over the weekend, the cap will go up anywhere from $10 million to $15 million.
Packers donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t delay, cut Diggs
Re: Packers donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t delay, cut Diggs
dont want this bum. i wonder who would