Packers head list of suitors for Couch
Green Bay heads the list of teams that will be interested in the recently released Tim Couch.
Having courted Couch for nearly two months, but unable to close a deal with him, the Packers are clearly in a better position now to consummate an agreement.
Certainly the release of Couch removes two obstacles: The Packers, or any other team for that matter, no longer have to surrender a mid-level draft choice to secure his rights. And with no draft choice compensation involved now, Green Bay is more apt to settle on the one-year deal that Couch has preferred all along, a short-term contract that will permit the first overall choice in the 1999 draft to explore the free agent market next spring.
Given that they have come to know and to understand Couch, and that the coaching staff genuinely likes him, the Packers remain the early favorites for the services of a veteran who now moves to the top of the wish list for clubs still unsettled at the quarterback spot. But as a totally unfettered free agent, with compensation to the Browns no longer needed, it will not be surprising if the list of suitors grows.
Couch could strike a quick deal in Green Bay, since he is further along with the Packers than with other franchises, but the odds are that he will take a few days to at least explore potential other options and to see if the phone rings. Just 26 years of age, with a resume that includes 59 regular-season starts, the quick consensus of a few personnel directors contacted on Wednesday afternoon is that Couch will have some alternatives.
Sources close to Couch suggested on Wednesday that Kansas City might have some interest, but the Chiefs recently signed Damon Huard and have never demonstrated an urgency to bring in a tested veteran as Trent Green's backup. Couch would seem a good fit in San Francisco and Arizona, too, as a starter even, but both the Cardinals and the 49ers have had earlier opportunities to sign veterans this spring, and passed every time.
So here is a look, equal parts educated guess and rampant speculation, about where Couch might land:
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.
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