As it turns out, there were two suitors for the services of cornerback Mike McKenzie, one of the unlikely heroes of Monday night’s game for the ages between the Saints and the Patriots.
Per a league source, the Packers were chasing McKenzie, too.
The need was obvious — the Packers recently lost cornerback Al Harris for the year with a torn ACL.
In the end, McKenzie selected the Saints, in part because the Saints were willing to omit from his contract any language protecting the team against further salary obligation if a knee injury were to land McKenzie on injured reserve.
That said, it’s unknown whether the Packers ever had an option to match the contract that the Saints gave to McKenzie. The 10-year veteran worked out for the Saints and signed there without visiting Green Bay.
McKenzie entered the league as part of a 1999 Packers draft class that obviously was aimed at dealing with Vikings receiver Randy Moss, who had made good on his promise to “rip up” the league as a rookie the prior season. In round one, Green Bay drafted cornerback Antuan Edwards. In round two, the Packers added cornerback Fred Vinson. McKenzie arrived in round three, and defensive back Chris Akins was picked in round seven.
Edwards, who was moved to safety, ultimately became a bust. McKenzie far and away emerged as the best of the bunch.