GB's Collins removes himself from market

Green Bay safety Nick Collins' decision to sign his restricted tender carries two important meanings:

  • He can no longer sign an offer sheet with another team, essentially removing himself from the free-agent market.

  • He can participate in the Packers’ offseason strength and conditioning program because he is now under contract.

What happens from here is not entirely predictable. According to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, agent Alan Herman considers the move a demonstration of good faith as he negotiates a long-term extension.

It never seemed likely that Collins would sign elsewhere because his new team would have been required to send the Packers first- and third-round draft picks in compensation. Still, the Packers won’t have to worry about the possibility of Collins soliciting offers for leverage purposes. If no agreement is reached, Collins will earn $3.3 million this season -- or about the same annual average in the extension Pittsburgh signed free agent Ryan Clark to on Monday.

Collins’ participation in the offseason program will be a bonus, if not a dramatic development. He skipped most of it last season while protesting the Packers’ unwillingness to negotiate an extension. The more cordial atmosphere this spring suggests Collins and the Packers could be on their way to an agreement.