Chad Clifton is looking more unlikely to return

We’re going to update this post throughout the day simply because there already is a lot going on and there will be a lot more in the free for all known as NFL free agency. The most recent news will be at the top.

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Safety Antrel Rolle was the last big signing of the day, agreeing to a five-year, $37 million deal with the New York Giants, which makes him the highest paid safety in the league. The Packers could have used some competition or even an upgrade over Atari Bigby, but Rolle simply isn’t worth the money the Giants paid him. Of course, New York has a tendency to overpay for guys in free agency. Remember Chris Canty?

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Chad Clifton resigned with the Packers. Aaron Wilson is saying it’s a three-year $20 million deal. Apparently, all Clifton had to do to get the Packers to sign him was visit the Redskins, which he did earlier today.

While it’s questionable whether Clifton is worth $20 million, the Packers probably didn’t have any option but to resign him. Early reports are $7.5 million is guaranteed, so if Clifton can’t make it past the 2010 season, the Packers aren’t taking a huge financial hit.

You have to wonder what impact the Bears signing of Julius Peppers had on the negotiations.

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Well, the Packers aren’t signing anyone today, so they may as well release a couple guys, right? The team announced the release of safety Matt Giordano and defensive end Michael Montgomery. Giordano was picked up in mid-2009 by the Packers. He was the guy getting torched in the playoff loss to Arizona after Atari Bigby went down. Montgomery was originally drafted by the Packers in the sixth round in 2005, but was miscast in the 3-4.

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Anquan Boldin was traded to the Baltimore Ravens along with a fifth round pick for a third and a fourth round pick, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported. That’s a steal by the Ravens, and why the Packers didn’t engage in talks with Arizona is beyond me, but then again, they had opportunities to pick up Randy Moss and Tony Gonzales in recent years and wouldn’t part with the draft picks necessary to make those deals. In Moss’ case it was a fifth rounder and in Gonzales’ case, it was a second rounder.

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The top free agent cornerback is off the market. Dunta Robinson agreed to a six-year deal with his home-state Atlanta Falcons. It isn’t currently known what the Falcons will pay him, but Robinson was a one-and-done free agent – the Falcons were the only team mentioned in connection with Robinson in recent days and it appears they were the only team he was interested in joining.

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The Bears have officially signed their No. 1 target, Julius Peppers. Peppers agreed to a six-year deal with Chicago, according to ESPN’s John Clayton. Adam Schefter, also of ESPN, says Peppers will get roughly $40 million in the first three years of the deal. That’s a lot of money, even for someone as talented as Peppers. This likely concludes the Bears free-spending ways.

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The Chicago Bears have been very aggressive on the first day of free agency and now they’ve made their first big signing – running back Chester Taylor, formerly of the Minnesota Vikings. He received a four-year deal worth $12 million, with $7 million guaranteed. Taylor was the top running back on the unrestricted free agent market and is likely to split carries with incumbent Matt Forte in 2010. Hell, if the Bears only had an offensive line, their offense might be dangerous.

On another note, Julius Peppers’ signing with the Bears is said to be imminent.

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It’s now been confirmed that Aaron Kampman will visit the Philadelphia Eagles today, his first official visit of free agency. Like Clifton, it’s looking more likely that Kampman will be playing elsewhere next season.

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have entered the fray for Aaron Kampman. The Bucs have reportedly made Kampman their No. 1 target.

And there is one team that doesn’t have a lot of money committed to players that has a lot of interest in Kampman. A league source with knowledge of the situation said that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have “huge” interest in Kampman and classified the veteran as the club’s No. 1 target in free agency.

There have also been rumors that Kampman already has a visit with the Seahawks lined up. The Lions are likely out of the picture now that they’ve signed Kyle Vanden Bosch and the Bears will be out of the picture if they sign Julius Peppers, which seems likely. That leaves the Packers, Seahawks, Eagles and Bucs who will be bidding on Kampman’s services. With that much competition, it seems unlikely Kampman will return to the Packers.

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The Chicago Bears are also busy. They began the day by signing former San Diego Chargers tight end Brandon Manumaleuna, who will serve as the blocking tight end in offensive coordinator Mike Martz’s offense. The Bears are also the current leader for defensive end Julius Peppers, with agent Carl Carey saying it’s the Bears “deal to lose.” Philadelphia is Peppers second choice. As they continue to make their push for Peppers, who will command upwards of $10 million per season, the Bears have dropped out of the race for safety Antrel Rolle. The Bears will also entertain Minnesota Vikings running back Chester Taylor today.

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Of the NFC North teams, the Detroit Lions have struck first. On Thursday, they traded for former Packers defensive tackle Corey Williams. The Lions reportedly gave a late-round draft pick to the Cleveland Browns for Williams. Today, the Lions were the first team to sign a free agent, agreeing to terms with former Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Nate Burleson on a five-year, $25 million deal. They didn’t stop there, either. The team later agreed to a four-year, $26 million deal with defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch.

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The Packers were unable to reach a deal with left tackle Chad Clifton, despite negotiating with his agent until the start of free agency. Clifton will now visit the Washington Redskins. The Packers were reportedly offering Clifton $5 million per season to stay and Clifton was seeking a three-year deal for $20 million, which is absurd. To think Clifton has a chance to play three more seasons when he couldn’t even make it through the 2009 season unscathed is preposterous. Clifton isn’t worth the kind of money he’s asking for, but unfortunately, the Packers don’t currently have another option at left tackle. If Clifton makes it to Washington, where left tackle Chris Samuels just retired, he’s likely as good as gone.

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The Packers other big name free agent, Aaron Kampman, seems to be attracting a lot of interest. One possible destination, other than Chicago, is the Philadelphia Eagles. I’ve also heard the Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks are interested. All four teams play the 4-3, where Kampman could return to defensive end.

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The competition for Arizona Cardinals free safety Antrel Rolle is heating up, meaning the Packers probably have no shot at him. Rolle’s agent was negotiating with the Chicago Bears as of last night, but the Miami Dolphins, New York Giants and Cardinals are reportedly all in the picture. Rolle wants $8 million per season, something the Packers most certainly won’t pay.

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The Packers will not be acquiring San Diego Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie. Cromartie was traded to the New York Jets for a third round pick that could escalate to a second rounder if he meets certain performance levels. That’s a nice deal for San Diego. Cromartie hasn’t played at a level that would command a third round pick for two years.

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There are some additional players that may fall into the Packers view finder other than the ones we mentioned earlier this week.

If the Packers are serious about acquiring a cornerback, the Carolina Panthers Richard Marshall is available for a second round pick. Marshall, a restricted free agent, recorded 81 tackles and four interceptions in his first season as a full-time starter in Carolina.

The Indianapolis Colts Marlin Jackson is an unrestricted free agent after the team decided not to tender him. Jackson tore his ACL last November and has played only 11 games the past two seasons, but at 26 is a somewhat intriguing prospect if he’s healthy.

Another interesting possibility is Arizona Cardinals receiver Anquan Boldin, who is available via trade for a third round pick. Receiver isn’t the Packers most pressing need, but it is a need. Donald Driver is 35 and neither Jordy Nelson or James Jones seems ready to take over as the No. 2 man behind Greg Jennings. Boldin is 29 and although he’s had injury problems he’s still managed to go over 1,000 yards in five of his seven NFL seasons. Pretty simply, when he’s on the field, Boldin is one of the best in the game.

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