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Upcoming Free Agency Period Draws Mixed Reactions from Packers Fans

Jadeveon Clowney Texans

Jadeveon Clowney (90) celebrates after recovering fumble against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

 

“At Least He Didn’t Make BAD Free Agent Deals”. That might someday be the epitaph on Ted Thompson’s tombstone.

Ted’s replacement, GM Brian Gutekunst, is champing at the bit to lay out gobs of money when the free agent market opens on March 13 (negotiations can begin on March 11). Green Bay is projected to have upwards of $30 million available in cap space available when Gute starts wheeling and dealing.

In an interview with Ian Rapoport at the NFL Combine, Gutekunst spoke expansively:

I think we’ll be really active – I’d like to be really active.. . .We’d like to be a part of a lot of the conversations, and when the opportunities present themselves. . .we’ll be ready to pull the trigger.. . .our team is ready to move into free agency a little bit more that we have (in the past). . .when the opportunities present themselves, we’ll be ready to go.

Depending on how much confidence you have in the Packers reconstituted front office, Gute’s comments might make you wildly excited or leave you paralyzed with fear.

Gutekunst’s Brief Track Record

In his first year at the helm, Gutekunst made two major free agent deals: he got tight end Jimmy Graham for three years for $30 million, and he signed up defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson for one year for $5 million.

The Graham deal made him the highest paid tight end in the league. In the early part of the season, he was hindered by a knee injury, and he played the final six games despite having shattered his thumb against the Seahawks. Even when healthy, however, Graham was not providing a solid return on the team’s investment in him.

Wilkerson lasted fewer than three weeks, when an ankle injury against the Redskins required surgery and ended his season.

Gutekunst recently commented that he’s had to convince player agents that Green Bay will now be a serious contender in the free agency market.

The new GM also picked up cornerback Tramon Williams, tight end Marcedes Lewis, and offensive lineman Byron Bell; Williams wound up starting all 16 games, while Bell started nine before going on IR in mid-December.

Gutekunst also demonstrated he was willing to go after high end players besides Jimmy Graham. He was one of the suitors for OLB Kahlil Macks’s services, and he actually made an offer of $56 million for four years for cornerback Kyle Fuller. In each instance, however, the Bears scuttled Gute’s attempts.

Packers’ Free Agent List

Packers players who are about to become unrestricted free agents are: OLB Clay Matthews, WR Randall Cobb, TE Lance Kendricks, TE Marcedes Lewis, OL Byron Bell; CB Bashaud Breeland, S Eddie Pleasant, DL Muhammad Wilkerson, CB Davon House, and LB Jake Ryan,
Soon-to-be restricted free agents are: WR Geronimo Allison, S Kentrell Brice, and S Ibraheim Campbell. Exclusive rights free agents will be: OL Lucas Patrick, OL Justin McCray, TE Robert Tonyan, WR Jake Kumerow, OLB Reggie Gilbert, OL Adam Pankey, DL Fadol Brown, and RB Lavon Coleman.
For Green Bay to have the money to be a serious player in the free agent market, they will likely have to forego re-signing some high-contract players – most notably Matthews and Cobb.

Key Rumored Prospects

Lombardi Ave: S Landon Collins (Giants), OLB Jadeveon Clowney (Texans), WR Golden Tate (Lions), G Rodger Saffold (Rams), and TE Maxx Williams (Ravens).

Dairyland Express: Collins, Clowney, and OLB Dee Ford (Chiefs)

The Draft Network: S Earl Thomas (Seahawks)

Cheesehead TV: OLBs DeMarcus Lawrence (Cowboys), DE Ezekiel Ansah (Lions) and Clowney; Safeties Tyrann Mathieu (Texans), Collins, and Thomas; Guard Saffold; and WR DeSean Jackson (Bucs)

Pro Football Focus: Thomas

Clutch Points: Ford, Lawrence, or Clowney

ESPN/Rob Demovsky: WR Devin Smith (Cowboys)

Peter Bukowski: Anthony Barr (Vikings)

TP’s Ed Rooney: Lawrence, Thomas, and DE Brandon Graham (Eagles)

Laugh for the Day

This is from Joe Kipp of NFL Spin Zone:

Free Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Washington Redskins: That’s right, after trading him away in the middle of last season for a 2019 fourth-rounder, the Packers may have the opportunity to bring back Clinton-Dix this offseason. That said, the former first-round pick has had an up-and-down career and may not be worth bringing back at any price point.

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Rob Born

Someone else said it first but I popularized it: “Athleticism is important in athletic pursuits.” It took three years, but the Packers finally listened. My new mantra: “Trading down is fine, but never trade up.”

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33 Comments

  1. stiggy March 4, 2019

    This FA class is for depth signings and possibly rolling the dice on Bell. But I don’t see the true game changers moving teams.

    All of the premier pass rushers will be retained by their current teams or traded (Brandon Graham already resigned with philly) with the possible exception of Joe joh… I mean Demarcus Lawrence from the Cowboys who is demanding his massive contract before undergoing shoulder surgery.. yes that one scares me.

    Landon Collins or Earl Thomas are both players I would be happy with.

    Cole Beasley could be a nice target depending on his market.

    Other than that the market is a bit blah IMO.

    1. Jason Parker March 4, 2019

      Earl Thomas would be really nice

      1. PF4L March 4, 2019

        …..n hugely expensive. If your going to go down that road, should have signed a younger Mack last year. Games are won and lost at the line.

        1. Jason Parker March 4, 2019

          At least this year our coaching staff no longer resembles a retirement home bingo parlor.

          1. PF4L March 4, 2019

            Earl Thomas at his age is a good sign, if you’re a player or two away.

        2. Stiggy March 4, 2019

          You dont overpay for him most certainly but even a 85% earl Thomas is one of the best safeties in the league..and has a window that mirrors Rodgers.

          1. PF4L March 4, 2019

            No one is questioning his talent, but unless your window is the next year or two, he’s a bad sign, an expensive short term band aid.

            If anyone thinks this team is going to the dance in the next year or two….com on wid it.

            Gute should be on a 3-5 year plan when he took the job. Year one already basically wasted.

            I don’t mean to rain on anyone’s dreams but………reality.

            Now on the radio they are debating whether to dump Graham and go after Cook. Lol….talk about running a team ass backwards, holy shit.

          2. Stiggy March 4, 2019

            If they are on a 3-5 year rebuild then they should have traded Rodgers. No joke.

            You may be right and I dont pretend earl Thomas would move the needle himself.. but assume a good draft (3 contributors)… and 2 contributors in fa… and things are right back on track.

            The nfl is a game of inches… the pack had a down couple years no question…but with a supposed new innovative scheme…cap room to work with… and 2 first round picks… they should be a 1-2 year rebuild if gute is doing his job.

            This season they should contend for wild card… next year they should contend for division/super bowl. Otherwise they will have officially wasted rodgers.

          3. PF4L March 4, 2019

            I don’t know where to start Stiggy…..

            Our rebuild started with Gute brought on as GM, and Pettine brought on as D. C. along with a power structure shake up. Year #2 McCarthy is shown the door and Lefeur brought in.

            So we should “assume” we can draft 3 contributors and 2 solid free agents? In what world do you live? Gute didn’t come close to that last year, but we should assume it? Maybe you meant “dream it” i’m not sure. When was the last time we had that kind of off season success?

            We are also still at the point where we are relying on draft picks to dictate the success of our team each season. Good teams don’t need to do that. Good organizations don’t put themselves in that position.

            You can tell me (IF) Alexander continues to develop, you can tell me (IF) King can stay healthy and play better. you can go through the scenario of 10 more IF’S but that does not show me a Division leading team.

            If you have to base the Packers success in upcoming drafts and free agency, you just might realize that the way things sit right now, the Packers are not a very good team. They also might be worse as far as how the team is being run.

            Ok…now lets buckle up….and hope for that wild card!!

            Then next season the Division/SuperBowl!!

            I’ll take whatever Stiggy is drinking…and make it a double.

          4. Stiggy March 4, 2019

            Reality is a tasty drink. The nfl is a league of massive turnarounds in the blink of an eye.

            I didnt say they are guaranteed success… I said it’s possible given the assets they have at their disposal and this will certainly be gutes make or break year.

            You act as if this is a roster devoid of talent… yet the roster contains a hall of fame qb.. the best blind side protector in the game… a game changing wideout… a nose tackle ready to go from pro bowler to stud… and a a host of young promising players entering their second year.

            You act if it is unrealistic to expect players to make their second year leaps… it isnt in the case of jaire and 1/2 of our young wideouts.. nor is it unrealistic to expect Jones to do more with a scheme designed to get him the ball in space. I must really be drinking the koolaid if I think young players could possibly improve with an additional nfl offseasons of weight training and a year of experience!!

            So yes this team is a 500 team as stands… and adding a little bit of depth and hitting on some real contributors changes that….. the same way screwing the pooch could ultimately torpedo the franchise for 5 more years.

          5. PF4L March 5, 2019

            Lol…Well, that blink of an eye turnaround surely didn’t happen last season, maybe it’s easier said than done huh. I’m not the smartest guy in the room, but didn’t the team go backwards last season as far as their record? I just don’t understand how you view this team trending upward. Oops…i forgot, that’s your assumption right?

            I never said 2nd year players can’t make a leap, i only have history to go by. I’m not going to “assume ” they will make a leap. when it comes to this team, i’m not assuming shit. I want to see it.

            I noticed you said nothing about assuming they have a great draft and free agency. Maybe you sobered up, idk.

            So no…..this is not a .500 team. this hasn’t been a .500 team since 2016. But i guess there is no law against embellishing the truth. I’m a bit different, i go by reality. reality isn’t a drink, it’s the truth.

            Stiggy….i don’t know how long you have been a Packer fan, but you should have been around to watch Favre play, the boy had a hell of an arm.

            In other News: To ensure the future success of the team, financial guru Mark Murphy has raised ticket prices for what now is, the 10th year in a row. So we have that going for us.

          6. Stiggy March 5, 2019

            I became a football fan right when Favre was rising… so I’ve witnessed both of their careers first hand.. but I’ve always spent a lot of time following the league and trends in general.

            I never said the packers are on an upward trend… I pointed out that they have significant assets to spur a quick turnaround and corner stone players at cornerstone positions other teams would be envious of. I pointed out they are a 500 team who is in the midst of a make or break off season. I’m willing to wait and see what happens rather than get upset over who the packers spent their money on last year when it had absolutely no long term ramification on their roster… last I checked the packers have 35 mill in cap room… plenty to work with on the market.

            I’m willing to use a wait and see approach with a new coach who may in fact hold players accountable.

            Other than the unicorn Patriots the packers are in a pretty standard cycle of nfl teams.

            Just 2 seasons ago the saints, chargers, rams and bears were jokes… and the falcons, steelers and packers were playoff teams. How quickly things change in the nfl.

            As far as your comment on Murphy… he could have raised those ticket prices more and a 100 thousand person line would still be drooling at the opportunity to pay for them.

            He must have learned a thing or two about supply and demand curves while completing his mba at one of the most prestigious business schools in the world.

          7. PF4L March 5, 2019

            Ok tiger :)

            Let’s see what happens when the Packers don’t have 30 years of two HOF QB’s and it’s a struggle reaching the playoffs. That’s how it was before you became a Packer fan. That will be a whole new world to a lot of Packer Nation.

            It cost nothing to put your name on a waiting list. It takes $2,100.00 in license fee (per seat) just for the privilege of buying them. Call it a cover charge. You have to remember, the old (60’s Glory Day) fans were highly loyal vs. Gen X or fickle millennium fans.

            Now, it’s possible that the Packers could land themselves a 3rd HOF QB in a row. But then again i wouldn’t “assume” that will happen, as it hasn’t happened ever in the NFL.

            It may be true that Murphy is highly educated (good for him). but i wish that highly prestigious School would have taught him “how to stop the bleeding” when things are going backwards instead of…..doing nothing.

            Maybe that high intelligence will help improve the Packers record, instead of making it worse. As was the case under his guidance and first full year of giving himself ultimate power.

            But…..were all Packer fans so…….

            Keep the Faith brother.

        3. Deepsky March 5, 2019

          Do you want to spend a couple butt loads of money on an aging safety?

      2. Thomas E Lind March 11, 2019

        Thomas wants to be the highest paid safety in the league. Landon Collins just agreed to $ 84 Mill., 45 guaranteed with Washington. It would be great to get Thomas, but that’s a lot of cash.

    2. Deepsky March 5, 2019

      I thought Beasley would fill a great hole in the Packers offense that Cobb vacated a couple years ago, but reports are that Beasley wants to be paid the highest receiver pay in the league – for a guy who never had a 1000 yard season.

      1. Howard March 5, 2019

        Adam Humphries may be a cheaper option IF the team is looking for a slot receiver.

  2. Andrew Lloyd Peth March 4, 2019

    Apparently, last year’s “Go all in and SPEND!” disaster has taught this fan base…nothing.

    It just never occurs to people we blew over $50 million in critical cap space last Spring by keeping Matthews and Cobb and signing Graham, Williams, and Lewis.

    All for a team that had no chance of competing. None.

    All that gorgeous, beautiful cap space burned up FOR NOTHING! We could have moved it forward forextensions, but NOW IT’S ALL GONE.

    And this idiotic fan base wants Gute to do it again???

    1. PF4L March 4, 2019

      “It just never occurs to people…….” <—– Is it wrong to love this dude of superior knowledge?

      Jason….Send this man a T-shirt asap!!

      Last years cap space is gone and it gave us next to nothing, now we have even more cap space this season.

      The question is, will the results be any different.

      A lot of jobs depend on it.

      I'll predict this….we should have hired outside the tree.

    2. Kato March 4, 2019

      Noah Fant ran a nice 40. Could be in the mix at pick 30. Speed in the middle of the field would be nice. It seems as if they will end up with a nice pass rush prospect at 12. Especially if teams do what they do every year and trade up into the top 10 to reach for a QB

      1. Mitch Anthony March 4, 2019

        One mock (yeah, I know,..mocks) had Sweat available at 12 and Fant at 30. Seriously that would be great if that would happen. Both had some great undi-lympics numbers and Sweat looks like the second coming of Julius Peppers. Too good to be true probably.

        On that laugh of the day bit up above regarding HHCD, I looked up Joe Kipp’s body of work and viewed his photos. He sure did not seem like a meth addled substance abuser prone to hallucinations but he did make that supposition about Dix being available to return. Now that’s,…out there.

  3. Larry Polte March 4, 2019

    Gotta fix the safety position this time. No excuses and to not do so would be an out right failure on Gute’s part. Anything is better than watching a clueless Brice give up TD after TD.

    1. PF4L March 4, 2019

      The problem is, there are so many need positions, they might as well throw darts at the draft board.

      If you….A) have trouble filling needs on your team in successive years…and B) create additional needs with personnel moves (need a veteran receiver?). You may…..C) find yourself not making the playoffs, no matter who is QB.

      1. Stiggy March 4, 2019

        I agree there are a ton of needs. Pack needs to focus on excelling in one area outside of qb. All teams have needs… the best have areas they dominate in. Pack is mediocre/below average in all departments.

      2. Ferris March 4, 2019

        They only have a few need positions…. Every position except QB, CB, punter, Center and LT. Actually they need to re-sign Breeland for CB to be OK. Everywhere else there is at least one player needed. Martinez is good but nobody else. Daniels is OK (overrated) but can play sometimes. Anyone who thinks this team will be fixed in one year is high. Not just high on weed either…meth high. If they sign Anthony Barr I’m going to throw up.

        1. Kato March 4, 2019

          Tbh they need to look into depth at the tackle position. There is no one on the roster that could fill in and be even mediocre at LT

          1. PF4L March 4, 2019

            So it’s every position except QB, punter,center, and LT? There is more than a few positions left. Not to mention the need for depth.

            Plus i wouldn’t assume all is well at corner quite yet. Can we at least see our two starting corners, on the field…..together?

      3. Deepsky March 5, 2019

        I don’t see this team rebuilding. Too many holes to plug and Gute has not shown a good eye for free agents. Jimmy Graham is the top paid tight end in the league and the Packers will be lucky if he’s above average next year.

        Might as well draft a QB and rebuild. Rodgers is about the same age as Favre when Rodgers was drafted and Rodgers is showing a lot more signs of age than Favre was showing in 2005.

        It wouldn’t surprise me if Gute thinks he needs to start targeting 3-5 years down the road rather than today beginning with spending a first round pick on the QB of the future.

        1. PF4L March 5, 2019

          idk man…..Looks like a rebuild to me. just because you keep 3 core players in Rodgers Bakhtiari, and Adams, doesn’t mean you aren’t rebuilding.

          If you get a new GM and Def.Coordinator, then you fire your head coach and hire a new coach and fire your Special teams coach within a year. to me that’s rebuilding.

          As far as a 3-5 year plan…..I agree, but only because i’m not in the camp of this team turning into a Championship caliber team in a year or two, or three.

          I’m not saying it would be impossible to get to a Super Bowl with Rodgers as this teams is. But make no mistake about, almost EVERY move you make would have to be the right move, for at least a couple years straight. And that job gets tougher when your team actually regresses, again.

          Not purposely trying to dis the Kool Aid drinkers, but i wouldn’t hold your breath.

          Championship teams are built from the top down.

          1. Deepsky March 6, 2019

            I agree with what you say here, especially the top down thing. When I said the Packers aren’t rebuilding I meant I don’t see this team being able to rebuild, not that they haven’t been trying. Murphy is making the same mistakes as Parins and Olejniczak. By the late 70s Olejniczak, a full time real estate agent and part time Packer president, was too old to run the team, though he brought in Lombardi. For the few years I lived in Green Bay, Olejniczak went to the same church as my family and in the early 80s he was almost too old to walk but still ran the team. Parins was a full time judge and part time Packer president yet still he tried to control every decision.

            Harlan, who often sat with the scouts on draft day, watching Bart Starr pass over Joe Montana, etc, scouts who very much knew their stuff, scouts who actually trained guys like Dorsey, Schneider and Thompson, realized he needed to leave football operations to guys who could judge football talent.

            Now Murphy is controlling everything even to a much greater extent than Parins or Olejniczak. I don’t think he can judge football talent.

            Most of the Packers fans will be gone within 10 years. I don’t think the Packers are going back to the playoffs for a long, long time.

          2. PF4L March 7, 2019

            Here’s what i know about Parins…..

            When/after he stepped down. He admitted he didn’t know a damn thing about football. I then understood what happened in the 70’s and 80’s. All decisions had to go through him. Much like the current leadership.

            As far as Packer fans leaving (dying). that is very true as i wrote recently, But i’m talking about those 50, 60’s loyal fans. Today’s fans don’t have that same bond because they don’t know anything other than winning. There is some great song lyrics that remind me of modern Packer fans….”You’ve got to pay your dues if you want to sing the blue’s.” Well…..Modern day Packer fans think they are loyal, but they don’t have the scars of battle. But they might before to soon, it’s not 1996 or 2010 anymore. Gonna be a new world for Packer fans soon.

            We differ on the playoffs…with a little more experienced receivers, i think Rodgers can eek this team into the playoffs 2-4 more years. After Rodgers is gone, only God knows.

            Thanks again Deep…..I enjoy the next level comments some of you are making these days. It may not be pretty, but sometimes the truth isn’t.

  4. Ferris March 4, 2019

    Yeah PF4L… sarcasm on my they only have a few positions of need. I guess it’s hard to write sarcasm. They need a new roster pretty much.

    1. PF4L March 4, 2019

      Yea…i hear that my man. Probably 60-70% of things i write are dripping with sarcasm, but maybe 30% is read as sarcasm.

      But it tells me you have some personality so in the future maybe i’ll be quicker to catch on.

      My bad.