ProFootballWeekly.com asks associate editor Jeff Reynolds for his thoughts on the hottest topics in the NFL.
Packers cornerback drawing interest, no offers
Mike McKenzie remains a no-show for the Packers’ offseason activities as his fifth agent in as many years, Drew Rosenhaus, works to consummate a trade between the Packers and interested teams. Rosenhaus sent a memorandum to all 31 teams stating the Packers’ asking price and contract parameters for a potential extension, which McKenzie has all but demanded despite having three years left on his current deal.
PFW: What is the likely timetable and outcome of the McKenzie-Packers standoff?
Reynolds: McKenzie has been steadfast in claims he will not return to Green Bay. But even though superagent Drew Rosenhaus has been successful brokering trades for unhappy clients in the past (see Clinton Portis), McKenzie is at the mercy of the Packers. Sources revealed Monday that the Packers have not received any serious trade offers for the cornerback and claim interest in McKenzie is “minimal” in what appears to be a dormant valley rather than an active peak of personnel movement at this point in the offseason.
Green Bay understands it may not get what it wants in return for McKenzie, who was a third-round pick out of Memphis in 1999. But the Packers hold the trump card — McKenzie’s contract — and could ultimately resolve to play hardball until injury or circumstance (such as a holdout by the Ravens’ Chris McAlister or the Raiders’ Charles Woodson) would force Dallas, Houston, Pittsburgh or Indianapolis to up the ante. The Cowboys were a target of Rosenhaus, who studied the needs of every team and earmarked Dallas as a CB-needy club. The Cowboys, who have two first-round picks in 2005, could start Pete Hunter at right cornerback and have looked to upgrade this offseason without succumbing to the “new” price tag for elite cornerbacks. The fresh ink on contracts for CBs like Antoine Winfield (six years, $34.8 million, $10.8 million roster bonus) and Ahmed Plummer (five years, $25 million, $11 million signing bonus) helped drive McKenzie to ask for a new contract.
McKenzie had a cap number of $1,668,700 in 2003, very reasonable for any team hoping to add him to its roster. But McKenzie is hopeful any team acquiring his services would also increase his salary, including a considerable signing bonus. In order for a trade to occur, McKenzie or the Packers must lower their demands. The Packers are likely to get no better than a second-round pick and McKenzie nothing more than a two- or three-year extension with a signing bonus of less than $10 million.