Black and Blue all over: Green Bay spree

From an NFC North perspective, the second weekend of NFL free agency was notable in large part by a spending spree in Green Bay that netted contact extensions for three veteran players: Nose tackle Ryan Pickett, safety Nick Collins and right tackle Mark Tauscher.

When considered with the week-old extension for left tackle Chad Clifton, the Packers have spent upwards of $80 million in a little over a week. Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette termed that sum "staggering" and added: "General Manager Ted Thompson clearly believes his team is capable of great success, and he's putting up the money to prove it."

Yes, this was a bonanza relative to Thompson's historical trends. I'll get into this more later on the blog, but it's clear Thompson wasn't prepared to overhaul the offensive line after coaches spent much of 2009 trying to find a suitable combination of players. He also wanted to maintain depth for his run defense, even after selecting nose tackle B.J. Raji at the top of the 2009 draft, and he needed to do something eventually for Collins.

Continuing around the NFC North:

  • Tauscher confirmed he has agreed to a two-year deal, according to Pete Dougherty of the Press-Gazette.

  • Minnesota offered free-agent running back LaDainian Tomlinson a deal similar to the one he signed with the New York Jets, according to Mark Craig of the Star Tribune. But as we discussed Sunday, Tomlinson preferred the Jets in large part because he'll have more opportunities to carry the ball, agent Tom Condon told the Associated Press.

  • In his weekly mailbag, Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune notes it could be awkward that tight end Greg Olsen is making $550,000 this season while new blocking tight end Brandon Manumaleuna will pull in $6.105 million in the first year of his new contract.

  • Don't overlook Josh Bullocks in the Bears' safety mix, writes Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com.

  • As Detroit appears on the verge of acquiring backup quarterback Shaun Hill, John Niyo of the Detroit News notes the Lions haven't had a backup quarterback win a game for them in five years.