Packers Rumors

Latest On LB Blake Martinez, Packers

NFL.com’s Blake Martinez is set to get paid on the open market, but that contract might not come from the Packers. NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo reports that the linebacker may have played his final game with the organization.

There are a variety of reasons why Garafolo came to this conclusion. For starters, general manager Brian Gutekunst made it clear that they’ll “evaluate” the position, which would probably be an odd statement if the team was confident they’d retain their leading tackler. Further, Martinez was emotional following the Packers’ NFC Championship loss, and much of that could have been due to the fact that the 26-year-old had potentially played his final game with the organization.

Plus, Garafolo notes that the market for middle linebackers has exploded in recent years, with C.J. Mosley and Bobby Wagner earning lucrative, market-setting contracts. Martinez has been one of the most productive linebackers in the league over the past few years, so teams will surely be lining up for his services. Even if the Packers are focused on retaining the veteran, there’s a chance that a rival could throw him an extraordinary amount of money.

Martinez had another productive season in 2019, compiling a career-high 155 tackles to go along with three sacks, two passes defended, an interception, and one forced fumble. The linebacker has finished with at least 140 tackles the past three seasons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Packers’ Jimmy Graham Expected To Continue Playing

It sounds like Jimmy Graham will suit up in 2020. On Friday, Packers GM Brian Gutekunst said it’s his understanding that the tight end wants to play next year (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky). 

Graham is under contract with the Packers in 2020 at a $11.6MM cap figure, the final season of his three-year deal. In theory, the Packers could save $8MM by releasing the veteran, with $3.6MM in dead money.

The 33-year-old played in all 16 games in 2019 – marking his fourth straight season with perfect attendance in the regular season – plus the Packers two-game postseason. Graham no longer features as a dominant red zone threat, but he was still productive last year with 38 grabs for 447 yards and three touchdowns. In the Packers’ pair of playoff contests, he caught seven passes for 108 yards, including a (controversial) game-sealing first down against his old friends in Seattle.

In ten seasons with the Saints, Seahawks, and Packers, Graham has earned five Pro Bowl trips, plus a First-Team All-Pro nod in 2013, when he tallied a league-leading 16 touchdown receptions.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Packers To Stick With DC Mike Pettine?

While the Packers’ season came to a disappointing end in the Conference Championship, it sounds like their defensive coordinator won’t be a casualty. ESPN’s Rob Demovsky reports that Mike Pettine will return next season.

When head coach Matt LaFleur talked to reporters earlier today, he wasn’t willing to definitively commit to his defensive coordinator.

“Yeah, we’re still working through everything right now,” LaFleur said (via Grant Gordon of NFL.com). “Just trying to evaluate everything. Like you said, I think our defense did a lot of great things. Obviously the last game was really disappointing in terms of our performance. It just wasn’t good enough, especially when you get to a championship game like that. You know what’s at stake. Just all across the board, it wasn’t just the defense — our offense and special teams weren’t up to par as well.”

Apparently, LaFleur was willing to commit soon after the press conference ended. Demovsky writes that the head coach met with Pettine this afternoon, and it was decided that the defensive coordinator will stick around for the 2020 campaign.

Pettine joined the Packers organization prior to the 2018 season. Despite the Packers moving on from head coach Mike McCarthy, LaFleur decided to stick with the coordinator. Green Bay’s defense rebounded in 2019, finishing this most recent campaign in the top-10 for points allowed and takeaways.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/21/20

We’ll keep track of today’s reserve/futures deals here:

Green Bay Packers

Minnesota Vikings

Tennessee Titans

Packers' Lewis, Bulaga To Continue Playing

  • Packers tight end Marcedes Lewis says he wants to continue playing next year. “I felt like I got into a groove with my role in this offense,” said the 35-year-old (via Tom Silverstein of the Journal Sentinel). “It was really fun. I love the game. I knew I still had more football to give. Being in this offense and having [Matt] LaFleur and conceptually what he wanted and then having (former Jaguars offensive coordinator) [Nathaniel] Hackett here, it all went hand in hand. I just think it was a good situation. Mentally, you were coming to a place where guys cared about you, you know?” Lewis, who played in every regular season game, is ticketed for unrestricted free agency in March.

Kenny Clark Not Planning Holdout

Top Packers defensive lineman Kenny Clark is now in a contract year. The Packers picked up his fifth-year option — worth $7.69MM — in May of last year but have not initiated extension talks with their 2016 first-rounder yet.

While Clark did not guarantee he will be present for all Green Bay offseason workouts, he does not want to wage a holdout.

Hopefully, I don’t have to do anything like that,” Clark said, via Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I’m not that kind of guy. I don’t think it will come to that.”

The Packers made an aggressive effort to strengthen their defense this past offseason, shelling out big money for edge rushers Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith, giving Adrian Amos a $9MM-AAV contract and drafting two defenders in Round 1. Clark, however, would seemingly be a priority given his abilities up front. Clark has been extension-eligible since January 2019, but teams are often not keen on extending ex-first-rounders prior to their fifth-year option seasons.

I hope it happens sometime soon,” Clark said of extension talks. “They’re not really (at a point) where they’re actually getting into it, talking. I’m pretty sure at some point they will. Somebody will have to break the ice and talk.

After registering 12 sacks over the past two seasons, Clark has become one of the better interior defenders in the game. Although the Packers have the Smiths locked down through 2022 on major commitments, their summer release of Mike Daniels left their defensive line without a notable veteran deal. It would seem Clark is primed to fill that space, but the team has not approached this prospect yet.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Packers Activate S Raven Greene From IR

The Packers made one final transaction before Sunday’s NFC Championship matchup against the 49ers. Green Bay activated safety Raven Greene from the injured reserve, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN. Greene was placed on injured reserve after hurting his ankle in a Week 2 matchup against the Vikings. The Packers had one open spot remaining on their 53-man roster so no corresponding move was necessary.

It is unclear whether Greene will play a prominent role in his first game since Week 2, but he will give defensive coordinator Mike Pettine another option to deploy against the 49ers potent offense. Prior to the injury, Greene had played a hybrid safety/linebacker and had received starter’s reps. In fact, he did start in Green Bay’s first game of the season before coming off the bench in Week 2.

In just his second professional season, Greene has appeared in 10 games amassing 12 tackles, one for loss, two passes defended, one sack, one quarterback hit, and one forced fumble.

JK Scott Questionable For Conference Championship

An illness that has been going through the Green Bay locker room has claimed another victim. The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman tweets that Packers punter JK Scott is now questionable for tomorrow’s NFC Championship Game. Fortunately, the team has an open roster spot, so they won’t have to cut anybody to add some reinforcement.

Scott had a solid season for the Packers, averaging 44 yards on his 77 punts. He landed 29 punts inside the 20 yard line, earning him a spot on Pro Football Reference’s NFL All-Pro Second Team

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 1/15/20

Today’s reserve/futures deals:

Baltimore Ravens

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

  • DB DaShaun Amos

Houston Texans

Minnesota Vikings

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks