Broncos get WR Walker for second-round pick
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Javon Walker got what he wanted on Saturday -- a ticket out of Green Bay and the groundwork for a new contract.
The Packers traded Walker, who had threatened to retire rather than play for the team in 2006, to the Denver Broncos for a second-round pick.
The Broncos and Walker agreed to parameters for a six-year contract extension, Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said.
"He's a great competitor," Shanahan said. "He has great speed, great size, very physical. He can turn a short gain into a big play. Very good blocker in the running game. That's one of the guys that I look at and call a complete receiver."
Walker, coming off a serious knee injury as he enters the final year of his contract, said last month that he wanted to be traded.
"It was a situation that was created some time ago, and it needed to end," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "And it ended today."
McCarthy said he spoke with Walker once since taking over as the Packers' coach in January, but wasn't entirely clear about what caused him to demand a trade.
"I think we got fair market value for the young man, and best of luck to him as he goes on to Denver," McCarthy said. "Those types of situations can not occur."
But by giving Walker his wish, are the Packers encouraging future disgruntled players to demand trades as well?
"I guess time will tell ... But I'll just say this: Life is full of experiences, and this has given us some knowledge of how we would deal with this in the future," McCarthy said.
Walker had a breakout season in 2004, catching 89 passes for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns, leading to his request for a big payday. But Green Bay refused to redo Walker's deal, leading to friction with Brett Favre. Walker played, only to tear up his knee in the season opener.
"No one knows what really happened between Javon and the Packers," said Packers receiver Donald Driver, who denied a recent ESPN report that he also had asked to be traded. "It's just something that happens sometimes and we can't let it impact the team."
Packers defensive lineman Aaron Kampman, who was drafted in the same class as Walker in 2002, said he was disappointed the talented receiver couldn't work out his differences with the team.
But, Kampman said, at least the team got something in return for Walker, who had threatened to retire rather than play for the Packers in 2006.
"In the end, he was definitely sure he didn't want to come back," Kampman said.
And Kampman said he was glad the Walker situation wouldn't be a distraction heading into upcoming minicamps and training camp.
"Things get really hairy at that point," Kampman said.
Things certainly got hairy last offseason, as Favre criticized Walker's threat to hold out in 2005.
Earlier on Saturday, Packers general manager Ted Thompson said the team was exploring potential trades involving Walker, but wasn't going to move him unless they got enough in return. The Packers wanted a first-round pick, but settled for a second-rounder.
"They got some good value with a player that didn't seem like he was going to come back," Shanahan said. "So, I think it was the right time to make a trade for Green Bay and I think it was the right time for us to step into that position. So, I think it was a win-win for both sides.
With a flurry of second-round trades -- Green Bay completed deals with New England, Denver and Atlanta in the space of a few minutes -- Thompson is trying to refresh the team's roster after a 4-12 finish -- the Packers' first losing season of the Favre era.
The Packers acquired the Broncos' 37th overall pick for Walker, and immediately sent it to the Atlanta Falcons for three picks -- a second-rounder (47th overall), third rounder (93rd) and fifth-rounder (148th).
Minutes before trading Walker, the Packers dealt their original second-round pick, the No. 36 overall selection, to New England for the Patriots' No. 52 overall pick and a third-round selection, the No. 75 overall pick.
Shanahan said he was optimistic about Walker's recovery.
"Our doctors felt very good in looking at his knee," Shanahan said. "He looks right on pace to recovery and should be ready to go."
The Broncos have their own unhappy wideout in Ashley Lelie, who wasn't pleased with the Broncos' interest in Terrell Owens and has declined to attend the club's offseason conditioning program, forgoing a $100,000 contract incentive to work out instead in Tempe, Ariz.
Owens eventually signed with Dallas.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press