Packers Rumors

Packers Notes: TE, Little

The Packers will bring back veteran tight ends Jimmy Graham and Marcedes Lewis in 2019, but that given that both players are over the age of 30, tight end must be a priority for Green Bay in next weekend’s draft, opines Jim Owczarski of PackersNews.com. Given that they own 10 picks and possess the fourth-most draft capital, the Packers will certainly have an opportunity to find a youthful tight end. With the 12th overall selection, Green Bay could theoretically target Iowa’s T.J. Hockenson, while fellow Hawkeye Noah Fant or Alabama’s Irv Smith Jr. could be in play with pick No. 30. The 2019 draft class is exceptionally deep at tight end, so the Packers should have plenty of chances to add to the position throughout the weekend.

  • Speaking of the Packers‘ draft, Green Bay recently hosted Ole Miss offensive tackle Greg Little, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link). Not to be confused with the former Browns receiver of the same name, this Little is anything but at 6’6″, 325 pounds. Viewed as a potential Day 2 selection, Little could help reinforce a Packers offensive line that took a step back in 2018. While left tackle should be manned by David Bakhtiari for the foreseeable future, right tackle Bryan Bulaga is entering the final year of his contract.

Packers Claim K Sam Ficken

The Packers have claimed kicker Sam Ficken off of waivers from the Seahawks, a source tells Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Ficken now appears poised to compete for the club’s kicking job alongside Mason Crosby

Ficken served as Greg Zuerlein‘s injury replacement, but the Rams cut him prior to Zuerlein recovering. Ficken’s brief trial period ended after he missed two of three field goal tries between Weeks 3 and 4.

Crosby, meanwhile, has been the Packers’ kicker since entering the league in 2007. On the whole, Crosby has been very solid, but he had some shaky moments last year, including four missed field goals in a 31-23 loss to the Lions in October.

For his career, Crosby has converted on 80.4% of his field goal tries and 98% of his extra point attempts.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Draft Notes: Packers, Dillard, White, Fins

Midway through a rather notable offseason, given the recent behind-the-curtain look at their previous power structure, the Packers are investigating some high-end quarterback prospects. They are obviously set at sports’ marquee position, but with Aaron Rodgers set to turn 36 by season’s end, Green Bay is at a similar point compared to when it last made a major quarterback investment. The Packers will host Drew Lock on a visit Tuesday, Terez Paylor of Yahoo.com reports (on Twitter). They also tried to set up a summit with Daniel Jones, but the parties’ schedules did not line up, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com adds (via Twitter). The Packers took Rodgers when Brett Favre was 36 and sat him for three years. While Green Bay pulling the trigger on a passer would be rather surprising, especially given Rodgers’ contract status, the team does have two first-round picks this year.

Here is the latest from the draft world, staying on the subject of quarterbacks:

  • Lock will also meet with the Chargers, per Charles Robinson of Yahoo.com (on Twitter). Teams have ramped up their signal-caller-related preparation, in the event Kyler Murray does not go No. 1, according to Robinson, who notes some teams believe this year’s passers could slide a bit should Murray not be the Cardinals’ choice atop the draft. Some modest steam picked up on this notion earlier Monday.
  • The Dolphins, who already met with Jones, will head to the Duke campus to work out the former Blue Devil starter, Rapoport reports (on Twitter). Teams only have a few more days to host prospects on “30” visits but can still work them out after that deadline passes. Miami will also host Michigan linebacker Devin Bush and Florida tackle Jawaan Taylor, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.
  • Devin White‘s stock has risen during the pre-draft process, to the point he may be the rare off-ball linebacker to be picked in the top five. One of the teams holding such a selection, the Raiders, brought in White for a visit, Rapoport tweets. The Buccaneers, who hold pick No. 5, have been closely connected to the LSU ‘backer. The Raiders have the No. 4 overall pick. Oakland, which also holds the Nos. 24 and 27 selections, will meet with tight end Noah Fant, on Monday as well, Rapoport tweets. The Raiders lost their starting tight end of the past two seasons, Jared Cook, in free agency.
  • For weeks, the Jets have been viewed as a team that would love to trade down. They are meeting with a prospect Tuesday that would support the fact this is a consideration. Ed Oliver will visit the Jets, per Schefter (on Twitter). While the defensive tackle is a surefire first-round talent, he has not been mocked as a player who would be a consideration at No. 3 overall.
  • The Titans are visiting with defensive tackle Jerry Tillery, per Rapoport (on Twitter). This is the Notre Dame-developed defender’s second known visit, the first having come with the Saints recently. Tillery remains in rehab after surgery to repair a torn shoulder labrum.
  • Not much has surfaced about which teams are researching an Andre Dillard pick. That has changed. The Washington State tackle prospect is visiting the Falcons on Monday and will meet with the Chargers later this week, Schefter tweets. Additionally, Schefter adds the first-round offensive line hopeful has already visited or worked out for a host of teams — the Giants, Jets, Dolphins, Ravens, Titans, Panthers, Vikings, Jaguars, Bills, Texans, Bengals, Packers, Redskins.

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/10/19

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

  • Waived: G Parker Ehinger, DT Aziz Shittu

Green Bay Packers

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

New York Jets

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Packers Reinstate OL Cole Madison

A Packers fifth-round draft pick last year, Cole Madison did not play during the 2018 season. The guard prospect wound up on the reserve/did-not-report list.

As the Packers begin their offseason program, they reinstated Madison to their active roster, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. He has not been with the team since its 2018 minicamp. Madison was at Lambeau Field on Monday for the start of the Packers’ workouts, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com tweets.

Brian Gutekunst said last year a personal issue kept Madison away from the team. It was later revealed that issue may well have been the death of former college teammate Tyler Hilinski. The former Washington State quarterback’s suicide affected Madison, who was a close friend of his, according to Michael Cohen of The Athletic.

Green Bay stuck with the embattled lineman, who is in line to participate in the team’s offseason program. Before this issue intervened, Madison was expected to compete for a starting job. But not reporting to training camp altered those plans, though the Packers kept in touch with their recent draft choice, per Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (on Twitter). Madison may now have a tougher road to that role, but it is certainly good news he is back with the team.

NFL Draft Rumors: Metcalf, Bills, Bucs

Ole Miss wide receiver D.K. Metcalf will take a Top 30 visit with the Bills on Monday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Metcalf, who boasts the most impressive physical tools of any wide receiver in this year’s class, could be an option for Buffalo with the No. 9 overall pick.

Some have knocked Metcalf for his lack of natural catching ability, but he had no trouble reeling in the ball in 2017 when he averaged 16.6 yards per catch and scored seven touchdowns for Ole Miss. There’s also some concern about Metcalf’s health, but he was cleared for all football activities in January following his October neck surgery.

Here’s a look at the latest NFL Draft buzz:

  • Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown will visit the Buccaneers on Monday, a source tells Rapoport (on Twitter). The Bucs could use another wide receiver after losing DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries, but it’s not clear whether they’d be willing to use the No. 5 overall pick at that position.
  • Iowa tight end Noah Fant will visit with the Lions on Monday, Rapoport reports. Fant registered 518 receiving yards and a team-high seven touchdowns in his final campaign with the Hawkeyes. The Lions could use a player like Fant after Levine Toilolo, Luke Willson, and Michael Roberts underwhelmed last year. Recently, the Lions strengthened the TE group by adding Jesse James, but there’s still room for improvement.
  • Georgia cornerback Deandre Baker will get together with the Steelers, per RapSheet. Last year, Baker captured the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation’s best defensive back. But, at 5’11 and 193 pounds, Baker doesn’t offer ideal size for the position.
  • Washington tackle Kaleb McGary will visit with the Patriots on Monday and the Packers on Tuesday, Rapoport hears. There has been some speculation that McGary could be employed as a guard at the pro level.
  • The Giants are hosting Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell and Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver, Rapoport hears. The Giants are armed with picks at No. 6 and 17, though one of those selections may be spent on drafting Eli Manning‘s successor.
  • Charlotte guard Nate Davis will take a Top 30 visit with the Bills, Rapoport hears.

Morrison Was Cited Just Before Release From Packers

  • The Packers cut inside linebacker Antonio Morrison last month, and now we have more clarity on why. A week before his release, Morrison was cited for interfering with a flight, according to Michael Cohen of The Athletic. Morrison, who was traded from the Colts to the Packers before last season, was removed from the flight for “exhibiting hostile behavior” toward a member of the crew, and fined by police. Morrison played in all 16 games for the Packers and started eight of them last season, so his sudden release was somewhat surprising. It’s unclear if the incident actually led to his release, but it’s notable. It was minor enough that he probably won’t face discipline from the league. We haven’t heard of any interest on the open market since his release. He received average marks from Pro Football Focus last year, grading out as their 74th-best linebacker.

McCarthy Dishes On Firing

After surprisingly getting canned by the Packers midseason, Mike McCarthy had remained conspicuously quiet. Until now. If you haven’t read it yet, you should check out Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com‘s recent interview with McCarthy. McCarthy finally dished on everything related to his firing, and expressed his displeasure with how it was handled. McCarthy was apparently blindsided by the decision to fire him midseason, and said it “couldn’t have been handled any worse” by Green Bay’s management.

Notably published just one day before the explosive reports of dysfunction within the organization from Bleacher Report, McCarthy downplayed any tension between him and Aaron Rodgers. All McCarthy did to acknowledge a potential strain in their relationship was saying “to think you can be in a relationship that long and not have any frustrations, that’s unrealistic.” McCarthy also told Demovsky that he 100 percent plans to continue coaching in 2020. The longtime Packers coach was reportedly a candidate for the Jets and Browns openings, and it’s still unclear if he pulled himself out of the running or if he just wasn’t able to land a job.

Josh Sitton Retires From NFL

Josh Sitton is calling it a career. On Thursday, the four-time Pro Bowl guard announced his retirement from the NFL. 

In an interview on ESPN Wisconsin, Sitton dropped a double dose of major news. First, he announced the birth of his son. Then, he told the radio hosts that he was done with football.

Sitton, an 11-year vet, spent the first eight years of his career with the Packers. That run came to an end just before the 2016 season when the Packers made the surprising decision to release him. The next day, he inked a three-year, $21.75MM deal with the rival Bears. That deal was terminated after two seasons, leading to him signing with the Dolphins last year as a free agent.

Throughout his Packers tenure, Sitton was known for his toughness and durability. However, injuries have held him back in recent seasons. With the Bears, he still managed to play at a high level, but he missed six games across his two seasons in Chicago. Then, last year, he suffered a shoulder injury in Week 1 that sidelined him for the rest of the year.

Sitton is the fourth former Packers Pro Bowler to retire this offseason, joining fellow guard T.J. Lang, receiver Jordy Nelson and fullback John Kuhn. We here at PFR wish Sitton the best in retirement.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.