Jamari Lattimore, one of the team's best special-teams players, should be in the inside linebacker…
Or settle on their own free agents.
Three players linked to the Packers — Arthur Jones, Lamarr Houston and Red Bryant — were off the free-agent market in the relative blink of an eye.
Houston signed with rival Chicago for what ESPN's Adam Schefter said is a five-year deal worth $35 million. Houston, a second-round pick by Oakland in 2010, is coming off his best season with 69 tackles, including six sacks and 10 tackles for losses. He led the Raiders in sacks and with 16 quarterback hits, and he added two forced fumbles. The Packers' interest in Houston was rather minimal, according to a source.
The interest was higher in Jones, who was a fifth-round pick by Baltimore in 2010. Jones, however, was snatched up by Indianapolis with a contract worth about $6 million per season, according to Schefter. In 2012, he played in 16 games (six starts) and tallied 4.5 sacks and five tackles for losses. He was even better in 2013. In 14 games (13 starts), he ranked fourth on the team with four sacks and tied for second with eight tackles for losses.
The interest was also high in Bryant, who signed with the Jaguars after being released by Seattle. Bryant told reporters in Jacksonville that he had a trip to Green Bay planned before signing his four-year, $17 million deal. A part-time player for Seattle, Bryant tallied 1.5 sacks and 4.5 tackles for losses among his 30 tackles in 2013.
In other defensive line news from the early moments of free agency:
— The Falcons signed the best pure nose tackle, Paul Soliai, away from the Dolphins and pulled defensive end Tyson Jackson away from the Chiefs.
— The Dolphins will sign Earl Mitchell away from Houston.
— The Buccaneers signed Clinton McDonald away from Seattle.
Green Bay has four defensive linemen in free agency: B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett, Johnny Jolly and C.J. Wilson. The Packers have a one-year deal on the table for Raji. Jolly's future won't be known until he recovers from offseason spinal fusion surgery.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.