"It's time to move on," Green Bay Packers coach/general manager Mike
Since ending his holdout without retracting his trade request three weeks ago, McKenzie has been paid more than $485,000 but has played just nine snaps, all against Chicago. That has led fans -- and teammates -- to wonder whether he was still holding out but getting paid anyway.
The recalcitrant cornerback sat out the last two games with a
mysterious hamstring injury. He was left home when the Packers
traveled to Indianapolis two weeks ago and wasn't on the sideline
Sunday when the Packers lost to the New York Giants at home.
"Mission accomplished," McKenzie's agent, Drew Rosenhaus told
The Associated Press. "It's important to relay that there's no
hard feelings on Mike's behalf. He's obviously grateful they were
able to work out a deal, and there's certainly not going to be any
backbiting or any negativity on our behalf."
Rosenhaus said McKenzie will play under the terms of his current
contract, but he hopes to have talks with Saints general manager
Mickey Loomis soon about an upgrade.
"[Loomis] understands the dynamics that went into Mike's
situation: His contract was obviously an issue," Rosenhaus said.
"We hope to get that resolved; whether that happens this season or
in the winter, I'm not going to make that an issue. We are
certainly not going to try to squeeze the Saints right now in
regard to the contract."
The Packers acquired quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan, 25, and the
second-round selection in the 2005 draft in return for McKenzie,
28, and a future conditional draft choice. The Packers have been
interested in O'Sullivan since the Saints took him in the sixth
round of the 2002 draft out of Cal-Davis.
Their interest was heightened when Brett Favre and backup Doug Pederson were injured Sunday. Favre has a mild concussion and is
expected to practice this week and extend his record starting
streak to 213 games, counting playoffs, against Tennessee next
week. But Pederson was undergoing further tests Monday on his ribs
The deal is the Packers' first midseason trade in 23 years
involving active players from both teams.
McKenzie, who is earning $2.75 million this year in the middle
season of a five-year, $17.1 million deal he signed in January
2002, became upset when several cornerbacks of lesser talent
surpassed him in compensation this offseason.
McKenzie instructed agent Brian Parker to seek a contract
renegotiation in February, converting a $200,000 workout bonus into
two $100,000 roster bonuses due in April and June and removing a
de-escalator clause from the contract he signed in 2002.
As the Packers worked to comply with the request, McKenzie said
he wanted to be traded instead. Green Bay denied his plea on April 6 and two weeks later drafted cornerbacks Ahmad Carroll and Joey Thomas with their first two selections.
Parker terminated his working relationship with McKenzie in May,
and the cornerback hired Rosenhaus, his fifth representative in his six-year NFL career.
McKenzie, a starter for Green Bay since his rookie year, has 15 career interceptions. He comes off one of his most productive seasons with four interceptions, 58 tackles (55 solo) and 20 passes broken up.
He was Green Bay's best defender last year and Sherman could
have kept him beyond the Oct. 19 trade deadline to get one more
year out of him. But McKenzie had become even more of a loner in
the locker room and Sherman decided to cut ties now.
How are the Packers (1-3) better off without their best cover
"Well, I just think from having things cleaned up," Sherman
said. "As I said, from the outside in, the focus that's been put
on that, everything that Mike did or didn't do was well-documented
every day. And we don't have to deal with that anymore."