Green Bay Packers Rumors & News

Workout Notes: Hunter, Housler, Mitchell

Running back Kendall Hunter has been a busy man as of late and his most recent audition came with the Jets on Tuesday, as Brian Costello of the New York Post tweets. Hunter has also worked out for the Jaguars, Seahawks, and Patriots within the last month. Hunter, who has seen his NFL career derailed by injuries in recent years, was removed from Sam Francisco’s injured reserve list in September with a settlement, making him a free agent.

Here’s a rundown of the rest of Tuesday’s auditions:

  • Tight end Rob Housler and defensive lineman Tim Jamison also worked out for the Jets, per Costello.
  • The Bills tried out defensive tackles Kelcy Quarles and Toby Johnson on Tuesday, as Mike Rodak of tweets.
  • The Packers worked out cornerback Terrance Mitchell, a source tells Rob Demovsky of (on Twitter). The ex-Oregon player was on the Bears’ practice squad prior to his release last week.
  • The Chiefs worked out former Pats defensive back Dewey McDonald over the weekend, according to Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle (on Twitter).
  • The Raiders worked out defensive end Glenn Foster, defensive end Gerald Rivers, defensive lineman Greg Scruggs, defensive lineman Davon Walls, and linebacker Tony Washington, Wilson tweets.

NFC Notes: Martin, Packers, Caldwell

Buccaneers running back Doug Martin, the 32nd overall pick in the 2012 draft, was one of 12 first-rounders from that year to have his fifth-year option for 2016 turned down by his team earlier this year. Tampa Bay may regret that decision now, though it’s possible that, without that motivation, Martin wouldn’t be having the season he is. The fourth-year back is currently the NFL’s second-leading rusher, with his 941 yards placing him behind only Adrian Peterson.

As Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times writes, the Bucs will have a tough call to make this offseason on Martin, whom Lovie Smith calls a “priority.” Tampa Bay has the flexibility to bring back the 26-year-old, and his production certainly warrants a new deal, but the club may decide that investing heavily on a running back coming off a huge bounce-back year isn’t the best use of its cap room.

Here are a few more items from across the NFC:

  • Having been cut by the Buccaneers a week ago, free agent safety D.J. Swearinger paid a visit to the Packers on Monday, tweets Ian Rapoport of Green Bay safety Micah Hyde left Sunday’s game against the Vikings with a hip issue, so the team may be considering veteran options in case Hyde has to miss time.
  • With the Lions all but eliminated from the playoff hunt, the job security of head coach Jim Caldwell has become a popular topic of discussion and speculation in Detroit. However, Caldwell told reporters, including Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, not to “fixate” on it, adding that “I don’t think about it as much as you do.” Assuming the Lions bring in an outside candidate to fill the permanent general manager role, it seems likely Caldwell will eventually be replaced by that new GM.
  • Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks has yet to play a game during his second stint in New York, and his practice time has been limited so far, but head coach Tom Coughlin likes what he sees so far, per Fred Kerber of the New York Post. “He’s energetic, he looked good,” Coughlin said of Nicks. “Veteran experience, catcher, outstanding hands. He’ll work very hard. He’s excited about being here. He’s missed the opportunity to compete.”
  • The Talk of Fame Network spoke to former Panthers GM Marty Hurney, who is responsible for drafting a number of key contributors on this year’s 10-0 squad.

NFC Notes: Gabbert, Lions, Packers, Seahawks

Three years ago, in the midst of a run to the playoffs, the 49ers elected to replace starting quarterback Alex Smith with backup Colin Kaepernick. That decision paid major dividends for a couple of years before the 49ers’ coaching staff and roster fell apart and Kaepernick’s career went off the rails.

With Kaepernick now on injured reserve and likely done in San Francisco, new starter Blaine Gabbert has a chance to follow in Smith’s footsteps and revive his career. Long before he lost his job to Kaepernick, Smith was the No. 1 pick in the 2005 draft. He was maligned with the 49ers until 2011, when he turned his career around. Smith has since been an effective starter for both the Niners and Chiefs, and it isn’t crazy to suggest Gabbert could go down a similar road, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle opines.

Gabbert was the 10th overall pick in 2011 and had three woeful seasons in Jacksonville before joining the 49ers last year. He made his first start with the team Nov. 8 and helped lead it to a 17-16 win over the Falcons, going 15 of 25 for 185 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. As Branch writes, Gabbert has seven more starts to show 49ers brass what he’s capable of, and he could make a big statement in Seattle on Sunday. That will clearly be a tall order against the NFC’s top-ranked pass defense. Regardless, 49ers offensive coordinator Geep Chryst is hopeful Gabbert can be Smith 2.0.

“There were some similarities to what we felt Alex Smith went through,” said Chryst, who was the 49ers’ quarterbacks coach from 2011-12. “And we felt like Blaine had all this talent and, as a young player, maybe a change of scenery would be good for him.”

More on the 49ers and some other NFC teams:

  • In a scathing piece, Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News refers to 49ers brass as “bizarre and mindlessly cryptic” for how it handled Kaepernick’s injury. Kawakami likens the end of Kaepernick’s time in San Francisco to that of former 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, whose battle with the front office led to his departure after last season.
  • Though the Lions are sitting near the bottom of the league at 2-7, their general manager opening is highly appealing, Kyle Meinke of submits. The reasons: Detroit’s abundance of draft picks, positive salary cap situation, the return of injured linebacker DeAndre Levy in 2016, and the likelihood of the new GM having full autonomy over the football department.
  • The 6-3 Packers might play Sunday’s crucial game against NFC North rival Minnesota (7-2) with only four receivers, as Jared Abbrederis is out, Ty Montgomery is doubtful and, per ESPN’s Rob Demovsky (Twitter link), the team won’t call up Ed Williams from the practice squad. Green Bay is on a three-game losing streak and one contributing factor has been a decline in the passing game, so having a minimal amount of targets probably won’t help Aaron Rodgers‘ cause against the Vikings – who have been stingy against quarterbacks this year. Their defense ranks eighth in the league in aerial yardage allowed, ninth in yards per attempt and 12th in passer rating.
  • The Seahawks will wait another week to activate cornerback Jeremy Lane, according to Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times. Lane, who suffered ACL and wrist injuries in the Super Bowl last February, came off the physically unable to perform list two weeks ago and has been practicing since. If the Seahawks don’t activate him for their Nov. 29 game against the Steelers, they’ll have to place him on season-ending IR.

NFC North Notes: Lions, Forte, Ringo

Earlier today, we rounded up several Lions-related items, which focused on the hiring of new team president Rod Wood. Many of the reactions to that move have been been skeptical, calling into question Wood’s lack of football-related experience and his close relationship with the Ford family. However, Kyle Meinke of argues that while Wood’s hiring may not be a popular decision among Lions fans, that doesn’t mean it’ll be a bad move.

Here’s more from around the NFC North:

  • Bears running back Jeremy Langford has looked good in an increased role with Matt Forte injured in recent weeks, raising more questions about Forte’s future in Chicago beyond 2015, as Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes. While Forte says he’s willing to share the load in the Bears’ backfield, he acknowledges that there’s no guarantee he’ll still be with the team in 2016. “Chicago is kind of like that: ‘Well, see ya later, Matt,'” Forte said, referring to some narratives from the local media. “I’m like, ‘Man, I’ve been here going on eight years, y’all just going to throw me to the side like that?’ But that’s the nature of the NFL. And I don’t mind. I will play wherever I end up.”
  • Packers defensive lineman Christian Ringo is on the team’s practice squad, but as of last week, he’s earning active-roster money, tweets Field Yates of According to Yates, Ringo is one of several practice squad players around the NFL who is earning $25,588 per week, which is equivalent to the minimum salary for a rookie on the 53-man roster.
  • Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has no interest in revisiting his time in Denver as Chicago prepares to host the Broncos this week, per Jeff Dickerson of “It’s so far removed,” Cutler said. “Coaching staff has changed. The only player I can really think of that was on the team is maybe Ryan Clady. I don’t know if there’s anybody else on that team at this point.”

Latest On Lions’ GM Search

The Lions announced on Thursday that they’ve established an advisory board to lead the search for a new general manager, while continuing to consult with the league’s career development advisory panel. That panel has met twice already and will meet twice more before the end of the season, but Tom Pelissero of USA Today has already learned the identities of five of the leading candidates.

According to Pelissero, some of the early frontrunners are Chiefs director of football operations Chris Ballard, Ravens assistant GM Eric DeCosta, Vikings assistant GM George Paton, Jaguars director of player personnel Chris Polian, and Packers director of player personnel Eliot Wolf. All five executives have been linked to the job in one fashion or another, though many have speculated that the Lions will not be able to lure Wolf away from Green Bay, where he is thought to be the heir apparent to the GM job. Ballard and DeCosta, two highly-respected NFL execs, were on last year’s list cultivated by the panel. The Jets used the panel last year to make their hire of Mike Maccagnan, who was then the Texans’ director of college scouting.

On Thursday afternoon, the Lions hired Rod Wood as the team’s new president, taking over the position previously held by Tom Lewand. Wood, of course, will be an integral part of the team’s advisory board to find its next GM. That group also includes owner Martha Firestone Ford and the team’s board of directors and vice chairmen, all of whom are members of the Ford family.

NFL Expected To Allow Comp Pick Trades

Beginning in 2016, the NFL is expected to start allowing teams to trade compensatory draft picks for the first time, reports Adam Schefter of (via Twitter). These selections, which begin at the end of the third round, have traditionally not been movable.

[Related: Click here for the full list of the 2016 draft picks that have already been traded.]

Compensatory draft picks are rewarded to teams that had the most significant losses in free agency the previous year, with a formula determining how the 32 available selections are divvied up. Typically, teams like the Ravens have taken advantage of the system by allowing players to walk in free agency and collecting multiple compensatory picks, often using those picks to draft inexpensive potential replacements.

Now, it appears teams like Baltimore will be able to use those picks in trades going forward. Because there are no compensatory picks until the draft begins approaching the 100th overall pick, these selections may not be centerpieces of major deals, but being able to move them will give teams extra flexibility when making moves. As I noted when I took a closer look at all the trades made in the NFL in 2015, 64 of the 69 deals completed this year included at least one draft pick.

According to projections by Over the Cap, the Browns, 49ers, Cowboys, and Patriots are all in line to potentially land four compensatory picks for 2016, the maximum allowed for a single team. The Ravens, Broncos, Seahawks, Packers, and Lions are also projected to land multiple picks, though that’s not set in stone yet.

As Brian McIntyre notes (via Twitter), there’s a case to be made that any changes to the compensatory picks should be postponed until the 2017 draft, since changes for 2016 favor teams that attempted to stockpile those selections for the coming year. However, for now, it seems the league is ready to institute those changes sooner rather than later.

North Notes: Bengals, Lions, Mathis

Four years after the Bengals traded Carson Palmer, the veteran quarterback is thriving as the Cardinals’ starter. That might be a surprise to some, but not Bengals owner Mike Brown.

I have an odd feeling for Carson Palmer,” Brown told Alex Marvez of FOX Sports. “I like Carson Palmer personally. I did when he was here. I regret it broke apart the way it did. I don’t want him to beat us any more than he wants us to beat him. I’m sure that will be in the back of his mind. But other than that, I wish him well. I think he is a great passer. He really is. He’s a special passer, very accurate. I look at him play and I see the player that we had when he was here. When he’s on and playing the way he can play, he is a big-time winning quarterback.

Here’s more out of the North divisions:

  • Marvez also asked Brown about offensive coordinator Hue Jackson‘s candidacy as a head coach for next season. It sounds like Bengals owner is expecting the former Raiders head coach to field some interest. “Hue is a very qualified coach. We think the world of Hue…We’ve had (Jay) Gruden and (Mike) Zimmer leave, and I’m sure after this year Hue will be a candidate. It is a compliment to Marvin and maybe some others here as well. I like to see it when they achieve. It’s flattering when that happens. It works against our best interest because we have to regroup and reestablish ourselves but it’s also heartwarming to see your people achieve their ambitions,” Brown said.
  • After suffering what is at least the second concussion of his NFL career, Lions cornerback Rashean Mathis admitted to reporters today that he’ll take the injury into consideration when deciding whether to continue playing in 2016. “When something like this happens, as a professional, I’d be naïve not to think about those types of things,” Mathis said, per Tim Twentyman of “Like I said, there’s life after football and you have to think about those things. When that time comes a decision will be made.”
  • Packers wide receiver Jared Abbrederis, who got his first extended look on offense last Sunday and caught four balls on seven targets, will be out for “several weeks” with a rib injury, tweets Rob Demovsky of It’s the latest injury for a group of Green Bay receivers that has been plagued by them all year.
  • The Bears will have until next Tuesday to make a decision on whether or not to activate rookie receiver Kevin White from the PUP list, as Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune explains. If the team determines White isn’t ready to be added to the 53-man roster, he’d have to be placed on season-ending IR.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/17/15

Here are Tuesday’s practice squad moves from around the NFL:

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

  • Signed: DE B.J. McBryde (Twitter link via Rob Demovsky of
  • Cut: DT Eric Crume

Kansas City Chiefs

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

Oakland Raiders

San Diego Chargers

Seattle Seahawks

  • Signed: DT Justin Hamilton, DB Trovon Reed (Twitter link via Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times)

St. Louis Rams

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

NFC Notes: Packers, Saints, Eagles

A look around the NFC. . .

  • Although the Packers’ offense is slumping, head coach Mike McCarthy said after Sunday’s 18-16 loss to Detroit that he won’t take play-calling duties away from coordinator Tom Clements. “I like the way our staff works, and I like the way they work with our players,” McCarthy stated, per ESPN’s Jason Wilde. McCarthy called Green Bay’s offensive plays from 2006-14 before deciding to give the role to Clements this year.
  • The 4-6 Saints are entering their bye week, and Larry Holder of writes that it’s the perfect time for head coach Sean Payton to fire defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and give Ryan’s job to defensive assistant Dennis Allen. Payton brought in Allen after Ryan’s defense finished 31st in the league last season. Led by Ryan, the Saints have allowed 130 points over the last three weeks – including 47 in an embarrassing defeat in Washington on Sunday. Afterward, Payton said that “we’re not going to discuss any of those types of changes, certainly not right now.”
  • While Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford hasn’t been particularly good this year, Mike Sielski of the Philadelphia Inquirer submits that Sunday’s output by backup Mark Sanchez was a prime example of why nobody should call for Sanchez to take over the starting job. After an injured Bradford left the Eagles’ game against Miami with Philadelphia leading 16-13, Sanchez came in and failed to help the team to victory – even throwing a costly interception – in a 20-19 defeat. The season’s on the brink for the 4-5 Eagles, and Sielski doesn’t expect their playoff chances to stay alive for long if Bradford misses time and Sanchez has to be the No. 1 signal caller.
  • Jeff McLane of the Inquirer believes that Eagles head coach and football czar Chip Kelly‘s decision to trade for Bradford in the offseason was a worthy gamble. However, Kelly could be done in by his failure to surround Bradford with a sturdier offensive line and better receivers, McLane opines.

Sunday Roundup: O’Brien, Harbaugh, Lacy

As the early Week 10 games get underway, let’s take a look at some notes from around the league:

  • Texans owner Bob McNair is understandably disappointed with his club’s performance this year under second-year head coach Bill O’Brien, and rumors persist that O’Brien could be on his way out at the end of the season while GM Rick Smith, long a McNair favorite, could stay in Houston. If that happens, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that O’Brien is “very intrigued” by the head coaching job at the University of Maryland, which is a more attractive position than some outsiders may realize. O’Brien fits Maryland’s criteria–a relatively young offensive mind who can run a quality pro-style offense–and he previously served as an assistant coach with the Terrapins. Current Chargers offensive coordinator Frank Reich is also reportedly interested in the job.
  • Although it was expected that Texans TE Ryan Griffin would play this week, Aaron Wilson of The Houston Chronicle reports that the team did not activate Griffin from the Injured Reserve-Designated To Return list before a Saturday afternoon deadline, meaning he will have to wait until next week to get back into game action. As Wilson writes, Griffin has recovered from a sprained MCL suffered during the season-opener against Kansas City, but he is still working his way back into football shape.
  • After Michigan’s narrow win over Indiana last night, an Indiana-based reporter began to ask Wolverines head coach–and former Colts quarterback–Jim Harbaugh if he would have any interest in the Colts head coaching position should it become available at the end of the season, as is widely expected. Per Nick Baumgardner of, Harbaugh did not allow the reporter to finish the question, saying simply, “Stop. Just stop yourself. No comment.” 
  • Eddie Lacy was a surprise entry on the Packers‘ inactive list today, but he has disappointed all season. Some of Lacy’s struggles can be attributed to injury, some to poor blocking, and some to Lacy’s physical condition (he is noticeably heavier than last year). As Rob Demovksy of writes, Lacy is facing a crossroads in his young career, and Green Bay hopes that the emergence of James Starks, coupled with Lacy’s difficulties, will spur the latter back to his previous level of success.
  • Mark Kiszla and Troy Renck of The Denver Post debate whether the Broncos should give backup quarterback Brock Osweiler some snaps down the stretch in order to preserve Peyton Manning for what will likely be his last playoff run. As long as a first-round bye is at stake, Osweiler will remain on the sidelines, unless the outcome of a particular game is no longer in doubt.
  • Jason Fitzgerald of breaks down the upcoming free agent and trade markets for quarterbacks.