Before the Green Bay Packers can make a commitment to signing free agent running back Steven Jackson, they have to make sure they're getting him at the lowest price possible.

If they didn't, it would fly in the face of general manager Ted Thompson's approach to free agency.

The Packers made contact with the representatives of Jackson to express interest in the former St. Louis Ram, according to an NFL source, but it doesn't appear they are close to signing him. In fact, they may be engaging in a bit of gamesmanship in an attempt to get the best deal.

The Packers seem to be taking their usual low-key approach, refusing to be used as leverage for a bigger deal Jackson might get from Atlanta, which may be the big running back's preference. Without two teams bidding against one another, however, the price isn't going to rise to a level Jackson's representatives are seeking.

Unwilling to bid, the Packers made a curious move Tuesday when, according to, they made arrangements for free agent running back Peyton Hillis to visit. The Packers definitely have a price they're willing to pay, and the Hillis visit might have been arranged to send a message to the Jackson camp that they'll just move on if Jackson won't take their offer.

The Packers have liked Jackson for a long time, and he would fit the type of physical back coach Mike McCarthy wants to use next year. But Thompson rarely gets involved in a bidding war unless it's with one of his own.

The 6-foot-2, 250-pound Hillis may be someone the Packers have had their eye on as a power option in the running game, but it probably isn't coincidence that they arranged for him to visit right away.

There certainly is no hurry for a guy who carried 85 times for 309 yards and a touchdown last season in Kansas City.