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Packers defensive cornerstones Collins, Pickett locked up long term

The Green Bay Packers signed safety Nick Collins and nose tackle Ryan Pickett to long-term contract extensions Friday, securing the services of two cornerstones in their much-improved defense.

The team didn't release details of either deal, but Collins' agents, Dave Butz and Alan Herman, confirmed a report on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Web site that their client received a three-year, $23.4 million contract.

A league source told NFL Network's Jason La Canfora that Pickett agreed to a four-year, $28 million deal, with $10 million coming in the first year. Pickett was an unrestricted free agent, but the Packers placed the franchise tag on him earlier in the offseason. Collins was a restricted free agent.

The deal marks the end of a long wait for Collins, who was angling for a contract extension before last season. But if he was unhappy with his contract status, it didn't show on the field. Collins was selected to his second consecutive Pro Bowl last season, and he has 13 interceptions in the last two seasons.

"The Packers always try to be proactive in our discussions with our current players, and we are pleased we were able to come to an agreement with Nick," Packers general manager Ted Thompson said in a statement released by the team. "Nick has been an impact player for us, and we look forward to having him continue his career as a Packer."

Pickett, whom the Packers signed as a free agent before the 2006 season, was a vital part of what was one of the NFL's best run defenses under new coordinator Dom Capers and his 3-4 alignment last season.

"We have continued to talk to Ryan and his representatives and are pleased we were able to sign Ryan to this extension," Thompson said. "He has been a key part of our success on defense, and we look forward to having Ryan be a part of our future in Green Bay."

After re-signing veteran left tackle Chad Clifton -- and watching standout pass rusher Aaron Kampman sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars as a free agent -- the Packers' top remaining offseason priority is the status of veteran right tackle Mark Tauscher, who's an unrestricted free agent.

Also Friday, the Packers unveiled a throwback-style third jersey and uniform that the team will wear for selected games during this season, and perhaps beyond.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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