The Packers fax machine is humming as the deadline for extending offers to restricted and exclusive free agents arrives on Thursday. It's a certainty the NFL will head into an uncapped 2010 season with the free agency season opens Friday. Teams must extend contract tenders to players to retain negotiating rights, allowing them an opportunity to match offers from other teams or decline and receive draft picks as compensation. The Packers have 9 restricted or exclusive rights free agents and there are reports offers have been flying, to Tramon Williams and most recently to Will Blackmon. The oft-injured defensive back and return man was given the lowest tender of 1.17 million dollars. If the Packers don't match, they'd receive a pick in the round Blackmon was originally drafted, the 4th. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported this week that Daryn Colledge and Jason Spitz were also tendered offers, but no confirmation came from their agents. Also on the list is safety Nick Collins and Atari Bigby, fullback John Kuhn and defensive end Johnny Jolly. Running back DeShawn Wynn was not given a tender which will allow him to be signed by anyone without compensation. Kuhn might also fall into that category but expect tenders for the others by tomorrow afternoon.
The NFL combine is in the books and GM Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy had effusive praise for Florida quarterback Tim Tebow. While he didn't throw at the combine, the former Heisman winner did have a solid workout, showing his athletic ability and surprising speed. NFL teams are still treading lightly over whether he can develop into a competent professional quarterback, and they seem to have no idea where he'll be eventually drafted in April. The Packers paid close attention to offensive tackles and defensive backs, likely targets in the early rounds. There was also a slight change in coaching staff responsibilities. Mark Lovat is now the lead strength and conditiioning coach and veteran assistant Dave Redding will stay on to assist for one more season before retiring.