Ryan Grant testing the free-agent waters

We spent some time this spring noting the Green Bay Packers' relatively thin depth in the backfield. This week, we wondered how much it really matters to have an established No. 1 running back in the NFC North.

Perhaps that explains why veteran Ryan Grant remains available on the market more than a month after his contract expired. Grant said last month that his "ideal situation" was to return to the Packers, and seemed satisfied with whatever role they had in mind for him. On Friday, however, he visited the New England Patriots along with veteran Tim Hightower, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Sometimes a visit can jump-start negotiations with the original team, and other times it means the sides have agreed to go their separate ways. In this case, the Packers might want to sit tight and see how they do in the draft before deciding whether to bring back Grant for another season alongside James Starks.

It's also worth noting that 2011 third-round pick Alex Green told the Packers' web site this week that his rehabilitation from a serious knee injury is progressing, and that he'll be ready for training camp. Stay tuned on that front.