The Green Bay Packers do not tip their toe in the veteran free agent waters very often. When they do, Packers General Manager Ted Thompson usually does pretty well.
After the Packers 4–12 season of 2005, Thompson made what turned out to be his biggest splash in veteran free agency by signing three players: safety Marquand Manuel, cornerback Charles Woodson and defensive lineman Ryan Pickett. Only Manuel didn’t work out, so Thompson went two-for-three in that attempt.
Other veteran free agent signings by Thompson are few and far between. Thompson did add one veteran free agent this offseason: tight end Matthew Mulligan, formerly of the St. Louis Rams and New York Jets. Thompson outbid the San Francisco 49ers for the rights to sign Mulligan to a one-year contract.
Mulligan is largely considered a blocking specialist at 6-foot-4, 267 pounds, and he fits right in with the Packers’ stated intentions to place more emphasis on the run game in the 2013 campaign.
Coach Mike McCarthy likes what he sees of his new tight end and isn’t ready to concede that he can only be used for blocking. A Wednesday’s press conference he had this to say:
“I think he’s off to a good start. When a veteran comes here, once he gets through the full length of the installations, you can see the comfort. From a technical and fundamental standpoint he’s exactly where we thought he was.”
About Mulligan’s role, McCarthy noted that blocking is a strength for him but the Packers train all the tight ends the same at this stage of training camp. “They’re all competing for jobs right now.”
Mulligan is one of seven tight ends currently on the roster, which includes veterans Jermichael Finley, Andrew Quarless, D.J. Williams, Ryan Taylor, and first-year player Brandon Bostick and rookie free agent Jake Stoneburner.
Matthew Mulligan fast facts:
Size: 6-foot-4, 267 pounds
Chances of making the Packers roster: Good — The Packers brought Mulligan in to fill a need.
Practice squad eligible: No.