GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -- Nick Barnett says the chance to stay a Green Bay Packer for life figured in his decision to take a multiyear contract extension instead of pursuing more money on the free agent market a year from now.
The team announced it signed the starting middle linebacker to the extension, which carries him through 2012.
He could have become a free agent after the 2007 season.
Barnett says he definitely had the option of hitting the market, but being a Packer for life is something few players have a chance to do for their whole career.
He says he's blessed to have that opportunity.
The Packers have taken a conservative approach to free agency this offseason.
Their only significant signing has been nickel cornerback Frank Walker.
But with the signing of Barnett, general manager Ted Thompson has moved to make sure that three key defensive players will stay with the Packers: Barnett, cornerback Al Harris and defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins.