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