Via Twitter, @MikeDavis2544 voiced a question many Green Bay fans are asking Sunday morning: Will the Packers get anything in return if they lose linebacker/defensive end Aaron Kampman?
Kampman, as you might know by now, reportedly agreed to terms on a multiyear contract with Jacksonville late Saturday night. The direct answer to the question is no: The Packers will get no direct compensation because Kampman was an unrestricted free agent. However, many of you are wondering why the Packers didn't position themselves to receive something considering how inevitable his departure was.
First, as @PackerPapaPete and others pointed out in response, Kampman's departure could help the Packers receive a compensatory pick in the 2011 draft. It's impossible to know what round that pick will be in -- the compensatory formula takes into account the comings and goings of all free agents and their performances the following season -- but it could be anywhere from the third to seventh round.
That will satisfy some of you. Others will note that the Packers could have made an effort to trade Kampman last offseason or at least before the 2009 trade deadline, ensuring something in return. (The compensatory system only makes it more likely.) Some of you are wondering if the Packers should have placed the franchise tag on Kampman instead of nose tackle Ryan Pickett, and then use that leverage to trade Kampman to a team for an assured draft pick.
There was no perfect answer here, in my opinion. Trading Kampman at midseason might have sent an unintended message that Packers officials had given up on the season. Kampman, after all, was a starter whose production was improving on a weekly basis. Franchising him with the intent of finding a trade partner would have risked losing Pickett, not to mention being a cold way to treat one of the franchise's most honorable players.
Ultimately, Kampman's time in Green Bay simply ran its course. We can debate whether the Packers maximized his skills last season or his value this offseason. But to paraphrase Benjamin Linus, what's done is done. It's likely, but not certain, that they'll get something in return.