While never being ones to push hard for free agency signings, the Green Bay Packers have made quiet inquiries into the signings of several defensive linemen this off-season, not really succeeding in bringing anyone new into the fold. One player who might eventually they’ll be able to land is Casey Hampton, who won’t be returning to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Hampton, a 12 year veteran who has won two Super Bowls with the Steelers started in all 16 games for the team last season, recording 26 tackles and playing a bit better than his declining 2010 and 2011 seasons. Hampton has been one of the more effective nose tackles in a 3-4 formation around the NFL for quite a long time, earning five Pro Bowl selections, also recording nine sacks during his career.
At 35, Hampton was deemed a bit too old for the Steelers, who designated Steve McLendon to be his successor as the anchor of his defense, leaving the veteran to try and find himself a team that needs someone to anchor a 3-4 defense, or at least allow certain players to take a rest when necessary, adding depth to a unit that hasn’t been one of the NFL’s best over the last couple of years.
The Packers still might be looking to improve their defensive line through the draft, but most are predicting they pick a Safety in the first round and a wide receiver to replace Greg Jennings in the second, not giving a very NFL-ready DL to pick in the third round.
Another option is signing another veteran who can play all along the defensive line – Richard Seymour, who has played with the Oakland Raiders for the last four seasons, and would be willing to become a useful backup at this stage of his career.