Fan Fest Reason To Cheer For Collins, Pickett

Key defenders Ryan Pickett and Nick Collins were rewarded with contracts through the 2013 season on Friday. "I love playing here. I love being a part of the Packers team, an organization, that's first class," Pickett said at Fan Fest.

Nick Collins and Ryan Pickett were part of the Fan Fest festivities on Friday. And while they were in Green Bay, they signed contracts that will keep them in green and gold through the 2013 season.

The deals were a long time coming.

About a year after Collins began seeking a long-term contract extension, he was rewarded with a $26.7 million contract that will pay him $14 million in the first year. Collins would have made $3.35 million after signing his restricted free agent tender this week. The financial figures were reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and confirmed to Packer Report by a source.

Pickett said his new contract was about a year in the making. His deal came after he was named the Packers' franchise player on Feb. 24. At first, Pickett wasn't happy about the one-year, $7.003 franchise figure, but when general manager Ted Thompson told him that he had tagged Pickett as a way to continue talks, Pickett said: "‘All right, great, cool. Let's do it.' I was excited."

Pickett inked a four-year, $28 million deal that includes $10 million in the first season, a source said. That's about on par with what the Patriots gave Butch Wilfork (five years, $40 million) on March 5 and the Steelers gave Casey Hampton (three years, $21.3 million) on Feb. 25. Hampton is 32 years old, Pickett is 30 and Wilfork 28.

The Packers struck a good deal in keeping Collins when comparing him to Antrel Rolle, who the Giants signed this week for five years and $37 million. Over Collins' four years, Rolle will pocket $29 million, a source said. Rolle has 12 interceptions in five NFL seasons while Collins has 13 in the last two seasons alone. Collins has been voted to two Pro Bowls compared to Rolle's one.

Neither player expected the deal to get done on Friday. Pickett said he received a message from agent Kennard McGuire while on his way to Fan Fest late Friday morning. Collins said he got a call from his agents, Dave Butz Jr. and Alan Herman, saying that they were flying into foggy Green Bay to talk to Thompson and negotiator Russ Ball.

"We're excited about our future," Pickett said of he and Collins. "We're excited that we get another shot at just being together as a unit and going out to win a Super Bowl. That's our ultimate goal. The No. 1 goal is to hold the trophy."

After a year of talks that seemingly went nowhere, getting a deal done was a relief for Collins, whose wife, Andrea, kneeled to the side of the fourth-floor media area.

"I'm not a guy that's going to go out and blurt and shout things out about anything," he said. "I'm very patient. I come from a great family, have a lovely wife, kids. They just keep me humble. I'm happy that it's over with. I can put it behind and just focus on the team."


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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 packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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