The Packers placed the franchise tag on nose tackle Ryan Pickett, general manager Ted Thompson announced in a statement released by the tea on Wednesday afternoon.
“Ryan has been a good teammate and productive player for us on the field and also a good representative of the Packers in the community,” Thompson said, alluding to Pickett’s work with his Tackle a Tower program, in which Pickett donates $1,000 for every 10 tackles to build water towers in Africa. “We look forward to having him be a part of our future.”
The franchise figure for a defensive tackle is $7.003 million. The tag essentially guarantees Pickett will play the 2010 season in Green Bay. Another team would have to give the Packers two first-round draft picks to steal the 6-foot-2, 340-pounder.
Pickett, who turned 30 in October, led the Packers’ defensive linemen in tackles per snap. Compare Pickett’s 47 tackles (by the Packers’ count) in 368 snaps (7.8 snaps per tackle) to Cullen Jenkins’ 50 in 844 snaps (16.9), Johnny Jolly’s 75 in 858 snaps (11.4) and B.J. Raji’s 36 in 380 snaps (10.6). With Jolly in free-agent and legal limbo, keeping Pickett allows the Packers to at least have three starting-caliber defensive linemen and hopefully maintain their quality four-man rotation.
Pickett is the Packers’ fifth franchise player, following running back Dorsey Levens in 1998, wide receiver Antonio Freeman in 1999, tackle Chad Clifton in 2004 and defensive tackle Corey Williams in 2008.
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