Packers Rumors

Will Packers Trade Up For LBs Roquan Smith or Tremaine Edmunds

The Packers could target an upgrade at inside linebacker in the form of Georgia’s Roquan Smith or Virginia Tech’s  Tremaine Edmunds. But as Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel points out, the team would likely have to trade up from its No. 14 overall pick to land either of the players.

A few other areas of need for the Packers include cornerback and a pass-rusher. But Silverstein notes it would be nice for the team to be able pair another three-down inside linebacker with more coverage ability than Blake Martinez.

  • Sticking with the Packers, the Milwaukee Bucks announced at their playoff game Friday that quarterback Aaron Rodgers had purchased a minority stake in the team’s ownership group. The Bucks pointed out that he’s the only active NFL with an ownership stake in an NBA team. ESPN’s Rob Demovsky goes into more detail on the motivation for Rodgers to make the move.

NFL Draft Rumors: Cowboys, Key, Bills

Wednesday marks the final day for NFL draft visits, and we have some notable ones to pass along. Here’s the latest NFL Draft news:

  • LSU linebacker/defensive end Arden Key worked out with the Cowboys on Tuesday and met with the Saints on Wednesday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
  • Alabama linebacker Rashaan Evans is visiting the Bills and Texas tackle Connor Williams is visiting the Packers, Rapoport tweets.
  • The Patriots are hosting Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley on a pre-draft visit, a source tells Rapoport (on Twitter). The Patriots aren’t known for taking receivers in the first round, but Ridley could be an exception as they look to rebuild that group. Ridley also visited the Bears on Tuesday.
  • Maryland wide receiver D.J. Moore seems to be a firm first round prospect, according to Rapoport (on Twitter). For a while, Moore appeared to be a fringe first/second round type, so his stock is improving as the draft draws near. Moore met with the Bills, who pick No. 12 and 22, on Wednesday.
  • Ohio State center Billy Price will meet with the Seahawks, Alex Marvez of SiriusXM tweets. Price is recovering from a torn pectoral muscle he suffered during the bench press at the combine. The good news is that Price is expected to be ready in time for training camp.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/17/18

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Green Bay Packers

Los Angeles Rams

New York Jets

Seattle Seahawks

Aaron Rodgers Frustrated With Packers

The Packers’ relationship with their franchise quarterback is not in a great place right now. Aaron Rodgers is upset with the organization after being left out of discussions that resulted in major changes this offseason, multiple league sources tell Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports. Specifically, Rodgers wanted to be consulted with before the team released wide receiver Jordy Nelson and parted ways with quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt

Both of those decisions [with Nelson and Van Pelt] were made without him,” one source close to Rodgers said. “In both situations, he had no influence with [the front office] before anything went down….I know he’s thinking about that stuff when it comes to the next contract because he should have earned a voice by now. In other places with [elite] quarterbacks, consideration is given to those guys. I think Aaron wants to be engaged in some decisions. But that’s just not the way it works [in Green Bay]. I think that’s obviously frustrating and it’s going to keep coming out.”

The relationship between Rodgers and the Packers “isn’t in total disrepair,” but the divide is real. One can’t help but wonder if Rodgers’ discontent could lead to real problems for the two parties in the coming years.

The good news for the Packers is that, contractually, they have significant leverage. Rodgers is slated to earn $20.5MM in 2018 and $21.1MM in 2019 – numbers that are well below market for the two-time MVP – and he can be controlled through 2021 via consecutive franchise tags.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Dez Bryant

There are four teams that “some believe could show varying levels of interest” in wideout Dez Bryant, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). This grouping includes the Cardinals, Ravens, Bills, and Packers.

The reporter notes that Arizona’s main issue is related to money, as the team is sitting with little cap room. Kent Somers of AZCentral Sports echoes that sentiment (via Twitter), saying the Cardinals won’t pursue Bryant unless he’s willing to take a lesser contract. On the flip side, Schefter observes that the Ravens still have plenty of space, even after having signed receiver Michael Crabtree. Meanwhile, the Packers could be looking for a big-play wideout to replace Jordy Nelson, while the Bills could be looking for a dynamic receiver to pair with Kelvin Benjamin.

The three-time Pro Bowler was released by Dallas yesterday. No teams have definitively been connected to the 29-year-old, although Bryant indicated that he’d like to play for one of the Cowboys’ NFC East foes.

Let’s take a look at some other notes pertaining to the NFL’s newest star free agent…

  • ESPN’s Mike Triplett believes the Saints could be a “dark horse contender” for Bryant. New Orleans has focused on improving their receiving core, but they missed out on offseason targets like Nelson and tight end Jimmy Graham. The Saints aren’t armed with a lot of salary cap space, so they’re presumably in a similar situation to the Cardinals. However, there’s no denying that Bryant would provide Drew Brees with another impressive target.
  • Bryant was under the impression that some of his teammates and coaches had it out for him, and he believes the lack of support ultimately played a role in his release. “I’m not here to bash anybody, but they know, man,” Bryant told Jane Slater of NFL Network (via Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com). “They know. They know. The way this whole situation got handled, I felt like I asked some of them to be a man about some of the situations a long time ago, and they couldn’t…I won’t put no names out, but they know, and I want them to know on this air I know. I’ll shoot them a text message and let them know. Little do they know is they can wear that ‘C’ [for captain] all they want to, but in that locker room, they know who they run and they talk to. They know who they communicate with. Everybody know where the real love is at, and I’m not throwing anybody under the bus, but that’s the difference between me and them.” Williams notes that last season’s captains were Jason WittenDak PrescottDan BaileyTyrone CrawfordSean Lee and Orlando Scandrick.
  • Meanwhile, ESPN.com’s Todd Archer attributes Bryant’s release to “his falling production and “fiery” personality.” As the reporter notes, the “cracks in the relationship” started earlier this offseason, when Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones criticized the receiver’s sideline outbursts. When you couple the attitude with a drop in production, Archer says organizations will have “a difficult time looking the other way.”

Packers To Re-Sign CB Davon House

The Packers may be on the verge of re-signing cornerback Davon House. Tom Silverstein of the Journal Sentinel (on Twitter) hears that House has agreed to a new one-year deal. Meanwhile, House tells Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com (on Twitter) that that he has a visit scheduled with the Packers for Friday, provided that he can make it in time from his home in Hawaii. He expects to re-sign, but says that no deal is done just yet.

Demovsky reported later a deal to keep House in Green Bay is expected to be finalized soon. The only thing that’s holding this deal up is House passing a physical on his visit, Demovsky reports.

[RELATED: Packers WR Trevor Davis Arrested]

House started in all 12 of his games last year but missed time due to an injury early in the year and a late-season transverse process fracture in his back. He recorded 44 total tackles, six passes defensed, one interception, and one sack on the year, but he struggled in coverage. For the second straight year, he earned a poor grade from Pro Football Focus.

This offseason, the Packers added Tramon Williams in free agency, so House won’t necessarily be in line for a starting role if he returns.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Trevor Davis Arrested

  • Packers wideout Trevor Davis was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday after making a joke about carrying a bomb, according to a report from TMZ Sports. Davis was reportedly checking in when he facetiously asked his girlfriend if she remembered to “pack the explosives,” a question which unsurprisingly wasn’t met with laughter by airport staff. The 24-year-old Davis was subsequently arrested and charged with a misdemeanor of making a bomb threat, and is now facing a May 3 court date, per Tom Schad of USA Today. Davis, a fifth-round pick in the 2016 draft, will compete to earn a spot on the back end of Green Bay’s wide receiver depth chart.

Gutekunst On Rodgers Extension Status

Top Packers decision-makers continue to expect an Aaron Rodgers extension to be finalized this offseason. Brian Gutekunst continued to express that sentiment recently. And the new GM addressed some other components of this process as well.

Rodgers is set to have a cap number of $20.562MM this season, which is the penultimate year of his current contract. Gutekunst said lowering that may be an option.

Obviously, the way the contract could be structured could help lower the cap number, give us a little bit more flexibility,” Gutekunst said, via Jason Wilde in a Wisconsin State Journal story. “But at the same time, when you have a player of Aaron’s ability and what he’s done for this organization and what we expect him to do moving forward, I think you just kind of want to get that taken care of. From our standpoint, he’s obviously very important to where we’re trying to go. It just makes sense for everybody.”

The 34-year-old quarterback signed a five-year, $110MM deal in April 2013. That contract, then atop the quarterback spectrum, has been surpassed by many in the past five years. Most recently, the Kirk Cousins/Vikings pact — three years for a fully guaranteed $84MM — changed the market.

The prospect of a $30MM-plus AAV agreement for Rodgers has been posited by some outside the organization, and the Packers as of now have no intentions on convincing their centerpiece player to accept a team-friendly deal.

I don’t think there’s really been any discussions about that,” Gutekunst said. “He’ll be under contract for two more years, and we expect him to be a Packer for the rest of his career. Those discussions haven’t gotten to that point yet.

Wilde writes that the Packers want to move forward with these negotiations soon to avoid any animosity between the team and Rodgers. And Gutekunst said top Green Bay negotiator Russ Ball and David Dunn, Rodgers’ agent, are in the beginning stages of these talks.

… It would be nice. Again, the sooner the better,” Gutekunst said of the Rodgers contract being completed before the season. “But at the same time, I don’t think there’s any stress in that one as far as what both sides want to do. It’s just a matter of getting to the right agreement.”

Rodgers would obviously be justified in asking for $30MM fully guaranteed per season, or north of that, based on his accomplishments compared to Cousins’. The Packers’ performance with and without Rodgers during the seasons that have seen him miss time due to injuries would justify this as well. But Gutekunst does not expect the Cousins contract to impact the Packers’ proceedings just yet.

Obviously, that was a pretty significant contract, and Aaron is a very significant player to us,” Gutekunst said. “Our thought process hasn’t changed because of that contract. Where we’re headed will still be the same.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Packers Changing Up Playbook

  • The Packers shook up their offensive coaching staff this offseason, and it sounds like their playbook will reflect that. While refusing to divulge specifics, Mike McCarthy said recently (via Pete Daugherty of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) the team will “go back to Page 1” of the playbook. Joe Philbin, Jim Hostler and Frank Cignetti are now key offensive assistants, so their input may well be reflected in these changes.