Black and Blue all over: Fixated on safeties

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
Assuming the good health of all involved, Green Bay would seem to be set at safety in 2009. Pro Bowler Nick Collins would start at one spot and Atari Bigby would start at the other, with Aaron Rouse in reserve. So why are the Packers so focused on the position in free agency?

Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel explains why free agents Mike Adams and Anthony Smith visited this week: The Packers want a safety with experience in the 3-4 and also know that both Collins and Bigby could be unrestricted free agents after the 2009 season. (Bigby is currently a restricted free agent but hasn't signed an offer sheet.)

Smith had not reached a contract agreement as of Thursday evening, and Adams is making other visits. (UPDATE: Adams returned to Cleveland and signed a three-year contract, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.) The Packers also have interest in free-agent linebacker Kevin Burnett, but thus far safety has been the primary focus of their activity.

Continuing around the NFC North:

  • Burnett could visit Green Bay this weekend, reports Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, if he does not strike a deal elsewhere before then.

  • How unlikely is it that Chicago pursues receiver Terrell Owens? Writes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times: "The Bears would bring back the Honey Bears before they would consider signing Terrell Owens."

  • David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune agrees that the Bears' free-agent approach all but rules out a run at Owens or another other veteran receiver: "A team that decides to stay out of the bidding for veteran, quick-fix free-agent offensive help such as Kurt Warner or T.J. Houshmandzadeh doesn't wake up one day and think signing a 35-year-old playmaker is a good idea."

  • Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reviews the Minnesota's remaining options for free agency.

  • A Minnesota legislator has introduced a bill that would use revenues from a new casino to pay for a new Vikings stadium, according to Mike Kaszuba of the Star Tribune. The bill is considered a long shot.

  • Detroit is looking for another option at backup quarterback, according to John Niyo of the Detroit News. Currently the depth chart has three players: Daunte Culpepper, Drew Stanton and Drew Henson.