GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Packers lost their first unrestricted free agent less than two hours into the free agency frenzy Tuesday, and it wasn’t wide receiver Greg Jennings.
No, the Indianapolis Colts announced that they’d signed outside linebacker Erik Walden to a multi-year deal. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Bob McGinn reported that Wladen signed a four-year, $16 million deal with the Colts.
Walden played 882 snaps including in the playoffs last season and finished with three sacks, two interceptions and 71 total tackles while playing 15 regular-season games (nine starts) after serving a one-game suspension to start the season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy in November 2011.
Walden, who signed with the Packers midway through the 2010 season and helped the team to the Super Bowl XLV title, struggled in his final game with the team, appearing lost as San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick ran for an NFL-quarterback record of 181 yards in a 45-31 loss to the 49ers.
Walden found no takers in unrestricted free agency last year and wound up coming back to the Packers for a one-year $700,000 deal that included no guaranteed money.
With Walden off the market, the Packers’ remaining unrestricted free agents are running backs Cedric Benson and Ryan Grant, inside linebacker Brad Jones and Jennings. The Packers also opted not to tender three restricted free agents – tight end Tom Crabtree, inside linebacker Robert Francois and outside linebacker Frank Zombo – who are all free to sign with any team.
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