Packers Rumors

This Date In Transactions History: Tim Couch

One of the most notorious draft busts in NFL history, not many remember Tim Couch‘s time with any team other than the Browns. But on this date 14 years ago, Couch signed a one-year deal with the Packers. After being selected first overall by the Browns in the 1999 draft, Couch started parts of five seasons in Cleveland. The team finally threw in the towel on him by releasing him in June of 2004. A week later, he signed with Green Bay.

Couch was already being hailed as the next great quarterback before he even entered college. ESPN once ranked him as the sixth-greatest high school player of all time. The heavily recruited Couch ultimately chose to play at Kentucky, where he went on to be a star. After three seasons at Kentucky where he set numerous records, Couch declared early for the NFL draft.

The Browns were preparing for their first season in the league as an expansion team after the original team left for Baltimore in 1996. They were looking for a quarterback to guide them as they started over and ultimately decided on Couch. Although Couch had his moments and even led the Browns to a playoff appearance in 2002, he mostly struggled. He threw for more interceptions than touchdowns and a sub-60% completion rate during his time in Cleveland. He was benched for Kelly Holcomb before ultimately being cut.

Couch’s time with the Packers ended up being brief. He struggled during camp and the preseason, in which he was often booed by the Lambeau Field fans, and suffered a shoulder injury. Just before the season was set to start, he was released by the team, effectively ending his NFL career.

His short run with the Packers was far from a glorious end to the career of one of the most high profile draft picks of his generation. The mention of Couch’s name is still enough to elicit shudders from Browns fans everywhere. It’s nearly impossible to find a list of the league’s biggest draft failures that doesn’t have Couch’s name on it, and his name will forever live on in infamy.

Packers GM Discusses Offseason, Bulaga, Lewis

Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst has been a busy man since being promoted to the gig in January. After having previously served as the team’s director of college scouting and director of player personnel, the executive is now hands-on with every aspect of the organization.

The 44-year-old recently appeared on a pair of Packers-centric podcasts, “Nagler’s Never Right” and PackersNews.com, to discuss some of his team’s offseason additions and his role as general manager (via Aaron Nagler of JSOnline.com and Jason B. Hirschhorn of NFL.com)…

On the signing of offensive lineman Byron Bell, and whether the addition was an indication that the Packers weren’t optimistic about starting tight tackle Bryan Bulaga‘s recovery from a torn ACL:

“I think moreso for us, we had an opportunity to add a guy who not only has started and played tackle, but guard as well. Having a guy that’s going to be able to compete with our group that has 40-some starts under his belt, I think that was something that was attractive to us…It was one of those things that as we moved on, we felt it would improve the entire group.”

On the addition of free agent tight end Marcedes Lewis:

“I don’t think that’s something we expected, for him to come loose. Obviously he had not only been a really good player for (the Jaguars) but an exceptional leader and teammate there.

“For us, I just think that we’re tickled to be able to get him. The amount of experience he has at that position, I think it’s really going to be valuable to us. The tight end position is one of those positions that it’s really tough for young players to come in and make an impact. Obviously, as much experience he has not only in the passing game, but as a blocker as well, I think it’s something that will hopefully provide a lot of positive things for us coming forward.”

On the fact that team president Mark Murphy retained the power to fire and hire head coaches (as opposed to the GM making the decision):

“It was certainly different than what I’ve been exposed to here in Green Bay. I needed some time to kind of process it. I think the thing to me that made it OK with me was the people. The relationships I already had with Mark [Murphy] and Mike McCarthy and Russ Ball. I think that’s what made it OK and made it easier for me. But it was certainly something I hadn’t seen or been a part of in my professional career.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Brett Hundley, DeShone Kizer To Battle It Out, Clinton-Dix Reports

Like most years, the success of the 2018 Packers will depend on the health of Aaron Rodgers. But unlike last year, who the Packers might turn to if Rodgers were to go down isn’t clear. The team was reportedly high on Brett Hundley, and was seen by most around the league as having some trade value before he was forced into action when Rodgers broke his collarbone last year. Hundley struggled mightily across nine starts, throwing for just nine touchdowns and 12 interceptions with a dismal 5.8 yards per attempt.

The Packers showed their dissatisfaction with Hundley by trading for DeShone Kizer this offseason. Now the once hot commodity finds himself in a battle just for his roster spot. The Packers’ upcoming three day minicamp is expected to be a big development in the battle for the backup quarterback spot, according to Michael Cohen of Packers News. Cohen notes that Hundley is heading into the final year of his rookie contract, and will have to show out this summer in order for the Packers to bring him back next year, especially with Kizer waiting in the wings.

  • Cohen reports that Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is expected to be in attendance for the mandatory minicamp. The 2014 first-rounder is heading into the final year of his rookie contract after the Packers exercised his fifth-year option last year. Clinton-Dix has missed all of OTAs for undisclosed reasons.

Latest On Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

Packers safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has yet to show for OTAs, but his absence is apparently not related to his contract. Clinton-Dix has been away from the team due to personal reasons, Jason Wilde of ESPN Wisconsin reports (on Twitter), and he will be with the team during the mandatory minicamp. 

At first, it seemed that Clinton-Dix might have been angling for a better deal. The 2016 Pro Bowler is entering his walk year and is slated to earn $5.96MM. After playing out the fifth-year option season, he’ll be eligible for unrestricted free agency.

Clinton-Dix has yet to miss a game in his four-year career, and has started every game in each of the last three seasons. He enjoyed his best season in 2016, when he earned Second Team All-Pro honors after snagging a team-best five interceptions. Though he logged three picks in 2017, the Packers also allowed the fourth-most passing touchdowns and ranked in the bottom ten in passing yards allowed.

Last year, Clinton-Dix graded out as the No. 40 ranked safety in the NFL, per Pro Football Focus. His 79.1 overall score put him ahead of notables such as George Iloka, Bradley McDougald, Malik Hooker, and Morgan Burnett. Though it was a decent year, the advanced metrics indicate that he had better efforts in 2015 and ’16.

Dix will return as the Packers’ starting free safety this year with 2017 second-round pick Josh Jones at strong safety. They’ll be flanked first-round cornerback Jaire Alexander and free agent addition Tramon Williams.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Aaron Rodgers Calls Contract Rumors "Conjecture"

  • Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said that reports of him seeking out-clauses and options on his contract to stay in control of his deal are just “conjecture,” per Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “It’s kind of a slow period for football right now and we’re heading into the summer, and there’s not much to talk about unless somebody gets arrested or injured in the offseason or something happens on the Fourth of July,” Rodgers said, via Silverstein. “That’s usually the stories we get now until training camp. I don’t have anything to report at this point.”

Clay Matthews Suffers Broken Nose

  • Packers linebacker Clay Matthews suffered a broken nose during a charity softball game and had to be transported to the hospital (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL Network). Matthews has already missed time during OTAs due to a knee injury, so the broken nose shouldn’t effect things too much.

Rodgers Wants Multiple Player Options In Next Deal

It was reported by Mike Garafolo of NFL Network on Thursday that Aaron Rodgers was looking to have more control over his future, perhaps in the form of an out clause in his next contract with the Packers. Now more information has been revealed by Garafolo and his colleague Ian Rapoport (Twitter links).

Packers Notes: Lewis, Bell, McCarthy

Not every late offseason signing makes the cut, but it sounds like Marcedes Lewis will probably be a keeper for Green Bay. The veteran tight end’s one-year, $2.1MM deal includes a $500K signing bonus, according to ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky. Lewis will also earn another $500K bonus if he’s on the team’s opening day roster.

Lewis, a powerful run blocker, figures to do the dirty work while Jimmy Graham racks up yards in Aaron Rodgers‘ offense. The 34-year-old wasn’t expecting to be released by the Jaguars this year, but he did manage to find a landing spot with another contender.

Here’s more from Green Bay:

  • Offensive tackle Byron Bell also seems fairly likely to make the final cut given the terms of his contract. Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets that Bell will earn a $500K signing bonus on his one-year deal. He’ll see $850K in base salary with an overall cap charge of $1.712MM. The Packers signed Bell earlier this week, which could signal that right tackle Bryan Bulaga is behind schedule in his recovery.
  • Historically, the Packers have been shy in free agency. Under the watch of GM Brian Gutekunst, the team appears to be more willing to make outside additions. Head coach Mike McCarthy is in favor of the change in philosophy. “I think it goes back to Brian’s comments and just the conversations we had,” McCarthy said (via Ryan Wood of USA Today). “Player acquisition is a 12-month process, and there’s definitely a pool of players that come available at this time of year.”
  • Rodgers may seek a player option in his next contract with the Packers.