According to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com, word around this year’s scouting combine from agents and league personnel is that the Packers intend to go after more free agents than usual this offseason — especially veterans released by their previous teams, who won’t factor into the compensatory draft pick formula for next year.
“We’ll see how it shakes out,” head coach Mike McCarthy said on Thursday. “We might shock you this year.”
Green Bay, a draft-and-develop franchise, typically plays it fairly safe in free agency, making small additions here and there but mostly focusing on locking up the team’s own free agents. While a series of big splashes this year seems unlikely, it sounds like the Packers may foray into the open market in order to fill a couple holes.
Here’s more from around the NFC North:
- The Bears would like to re-sign veteran tight end Zach Miller, but will likely let him test the free agent market to get a better sense of what he’s worth, as Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com details. “What happens at this stage in the game is you understand the reality that a lot of times these guys have to hit the open market to set their value,” GM Ryan Pace said. “We like Zach, I don’t want to go through every one of our unrestricted free agents, but he’s a guy we’d want back and we’re negotiating with him.”
- Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link) hears that the Vikings want to keep offensive tackle Phil Loadholt in 2016, but would like to lower his cap number, which is currently $7.75MM. Per Wolfson, a meeting on the Loadholt front took place last night at the combine.
- As the Vikings look to retain Loadholt, they’re “torn” on tackle Matt Kalil, according to Wolfson (via Twitter). A former fourth overall pick, Kalil hasn’t necessarily lived up to his billing so far and has an $11MM cap number for 2016. But he has also never missed a regular-season start in his four NFL seasons, so Minnesota would have a hole to fill if the team were to let him go.