Packers, Clifton working on new deal
GREEN BAY the Green Bay Packers conducted serious contract negotiations with Chad Cliftons agent Thursday, but it was unclear whether the sides were getting anywhere near agreeing to a new deal that would keep the left tackle off the free-agent market.
Clifton is one of five Packers unrestricted free agents who were scheduled to hit the open market at 11 p.m. Thursday. outside linebacker Aaron Kampman, right tackle Mark Tauscher, halfback Ahman Green and nose tackle Ryan Pickett were the others, though Pickett is for all practical purposes off the market because he carries the Packers franchise tag.
The Packers in recent days have been trying to re-sign Clifton, Kampman and Tauscher, with much of the immediate interest on Clifton because the team has no other true left tackle.
Though his play is in decline because of age (33) and chronic leg injuries, Clifton remains a proven pass protector for a critical role that is among the most difficult to fill in the NFL.
Clifton has plenty of leverage in the negotiations, because he probably will be the best left tackle available in an especially thin market, and the Packers dont want to go into the draft needing to select a left tackle to play immediately.
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