Hand injury ends Vince Biegel’s day early

GREEN BAY — Vince Biegel’s first practice as a member of the Green Bay Packers came to end early on Friday, as the former Wisconsin outside linebacker left midway through the session with what turned out to be a minor injury to a finger on his left hand.

“It’s not too much of a concern. It’s not a season-ending injury by any means,” said Biegel, who underwent X-rays and was still being evaluated by the team’s medical staff. “This is a finger here. My whole body is ready to go. This is football. You get nicks and bruises. I’m not concerned at all about this moving forward.”

Being forced out of practice early was frustrating for Biegel, but he remained upbeat.

“[I’m] disappointed, obviously, that I didn’t get to finish my first practice as a Green Bay Packer,” Biegel said. “Obviously, I was really looking forward to this moment. [But]listen, this is going to be a bumpy road. There’s ups and downs in this journey.”

The injury has been the lone negative for the Wisconsin Rapids native since being selected with the first pick of the fourth round of the NFL draft on Saturday. A fan of the Packers for his entire life, the week has been one memorable moment after another.

“Given my situation, being from Wisconsin, it was really kind of a surreal moment to check out the locker room…check out the indoor facility, the weight room, the training tables [and the] training room,” Biegel said. “It was a really cool experience. I’m extremely blessed.”

When Biegel walked into the locker room, he found his nameplate and quickly noticed the two players on either side of him in veterans Nick Perry and Clay Matthews, the latter of which has been an inspiration for Biegel throughout his football life and stopped by to welcome him to the team.

“Clay approached me, and it was kind of fun to shake hands with Clay, see him, talk with him,” Biegel said. “It was a guy I looked up to. I’ve taken parts of his game and tried to include it in mine.”

Biegel felt that his locker placement was intentional, placing him between the team’s two best pass rushers and that it meant the coaching staff has high expectations for him. Though the three-year starter for the Badgers is likely reading too much into it, he’ll chase those perceived expectations anyways, and do so with a passion few others possess. That intensity won’t be reserved for the field either, as coach Mike McCarthy and the rest of the staff have learned in just a few days of being around him.

“He drove here. He was the first one here. He sat in the front row [in the first team meeting],” McCarthy said. “He’s off to a great start.”

Packers announce they’ve re-signed OLB Nick Perry

The Green Bay Packers will be keeping at least one of their own.

The team announced Thursday afternoon that they had re-signed outside linebacker Nick Perry. Multiple outlets are reporting it’s a five-year deal worth $60 million, including $18.5 million guaranteed.

Perry is the only one of the Packers 11 unrestricted free agents that re-signed before the 3 p.m. start of the new league year and the ability for players to sign with any other team.

A first-round pick out of USC in 2012, Perry’s first four years were injury plagued and consisted of more missed games (18) than sacks (12.5). But 2016 was different. Playing on a one-year contract, the 26-year-old started a career-high 12 games and led the Packers in sacks with 11. He missed two games with an arm injury, but returned earlier than expected and played with a cast yet remained productive.

Perry solidifies an outside linebacker group that is light on experience, considering the only other player under contract with more than one season in the NFL is Clay Matthews.

NFL Free Agency: Packers updates

NFL free agency got underway Thursday with a myriad of big and surprising deals around the league, but in Green Bay it was the status quo for what fans have come to expect of Packers general manager Ted Thompson. Negotiate (T.J. Lang, Jared Cook) and sign (Nick Perry) guys you want to keep and let the others (Micah Hyde, J.C. Tretter) walk.

There will likely be more of that Friday and into the weekend, and we’ll be following all the movements right here.

Packers announce they’ve re-signed outside linebacker Nick Perry

Report: Center J.C. Tretter will sign with the Cleveland Browns

Safety Micah Hyde leaves Green Bay after four seasons, signs with the Buffalo Bills

(note: newest updates are at the top)

Friday 3/10

11:42 a.m. — Julius Peppers’ agent tweets that his client is headed back to Carolina where he played the first eight years of his career.

10:26 a.m. — NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweets that the Carolina Panthers are working to sign pass rusher Julius Pepper, who spent the last three seasons in Green Bay.

8:19 a.m. — ESPN’s Adam Shefter tweets that negotiations between the Packers and free agent tight end Jared Cook have broken off and that he’s expected to visit other teams.

Thursday 3/9

7:10 p.m. — The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Michael Cohen reports that the Packers have re-signed guard/tackle Don Barclay to a one-year deal.

6:35 p.m. — Jordan Schultz of the Huffington Post tweets that the Seahawks have made guard T.J. Lang a priority and want to get a deal done.

4:52 p.m. — Safety Micah Hyde tweets a thank you to Packers fans, while also revealing the team didn’t even make him an offer to stay in Green Bay.

4:10 p.m. — ESPN’s Adam Shefter reports that running back Eddie Lacy will visit the Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings, in addition to meeting with the Packers.

3:48 p.m. — The Packers announce they’ve officially re-signed outside linebacker Nick Perry.

3:47 p.m. — The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweets that running back Eddie Lacy doesn’t have an offer from Green Bay and will visit other teams.

3:45 p.m. — Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that safety Micah Hyde signed with the Buffalo Bills on a five-year, $30.5 million contract.

3:17 p.m. — ESPN’s Rob Demovsky tweets that guard T.J. Lang will visit the Detroit Lions tomorrow and the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday.

3:15 p.m. — CBS Sports Jason La Canfora reports that center J.C. Tretter’s deal with Cleveland is for three years and $16.8 million.

12:11 p.m. — ESPN Rob Demovsky reports that outside linebacker Nick Perry’s contract is a 5-year, $60 million deal that includes an $18.5 million signing bonus.

10:09 a.m. — Green Bay is losing guard/center J.C. Tretter to the Cleveland Browns, reports NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo.

10:01 a.m. — NFL.com reporter Mike Garafolo reports the Cleveland Browns are working to sign Green Bay guard/center J.C. Tretter.

8:46 a.m. — Packers defensive tackle Mike Daniels tweets his congratulations to outside linebacker Nick Perry on his new deal to stay in Green Bay.

8:31 a.m. — Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets the team’s priorities are clearly in re-signing guard T.J. Lang and tight end Jared Cook, while not making a push for safety Micah Hyde

8:11 a.m. — NFL.com reporter Mike Garafolo tweets that Green Bay tight end Jared Cook is receiving interest from the Detroit Lions and the Buffalo Bills.

7:31 a.m. — Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the Packers are nearing an agreement to keep outside linebacker Nick Perry, but the deal is not done yet.

7:09 a.m. — Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweets the Packers have a long-term agreement in place with outside linebacker Nick Perry.

Wednesday 3/8

9:24 p.m. — Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the Packers have keyed in on outside linebacker Nick Perry and guard T.J. Lang as priorities to get signed before free agency opens.

8:33 p.m. — Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets that the Atlanta Falcons, New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts are showing interest in outside linebacker Nick Perry, but that the Packers want him back.

7:38 p.m. — NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweets that safety Micah Hyde is “aggressively pursuing other options” out of Green Bay.

7:26 p.m. — ESPN’s Rob Demovsky reports that safety Micah Hyde will hit the open market as the Packers did not make him an offer.

3:14 p.m. — Bill Huber of PackerReport.com tweets that the New York Jets are prepared to make an offer for outside linebacker Nick Perry.

Packers GM Ted Thompson on retaining their own free agents: ‘It’s a process.’

Green Bay has 11 unrestricted free agents that will be able to sign with any other team when free agency officially begins on March 9.

The names range from Pro Bowl guard T.J. Lang to sack-leader Nick Perry to versatile safety Micah Hyde. And though there has been some recent talk of negotiations starting to pick up, no deals appear imminent. But when he met with the media Wednesday morning at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, general manager Ted Thompson didn’t sound overly concerned.

“It’s a process,” Thompson said. “I stand on this podium, I think, every year and say the same thing. Our best intentions will be to sign as many of our own players as we can and keep it together.”

Having not re-signed any of their own guys at this point is not unusual for the Packers. Two years ago, just three days before free agency was set to start, the team came to an agreement with wide receiver Randall Cobb. Then, on the day free agency started, they got a deal done with right tackle Bryan Bulaga. A year earlier, cornerback Sam Shields got a long-term contract from the club a day before he would have been able to go out on the open market.

“You’ve watched the guys that we’ve signed,” Thompson told reporters. “Over the years, we’ve probably signed several right at the start of free agency. My guess is that’s what’s going to happen this year.”

Coach Mike McCarthy spoke later in the day and echoed much of what Thompson said in wanting to see as many of their guys as possible come back into the fold for 2017. That included Perry, who despite breaking his hand, led the Packers in sacks with a career-high 11 in 2016. And with several other top pass rushers having the franchise tag applied to them, namely the Los Angeles Chargers Melvin Ingram, Perry could be in a for a big pay day.

“I have a lot of love for Nick and what he’s gone through,” McCarthy said, noting injuries that limited him to just 17 games his first two years. “He’s hopefully someone we can get his contract worked out.

“Nick’s a hell of a football player.”

ESPN reported that negotiations between running back Eddie Lacy and the team have picked up, while Lang told ESPN Wisconsin this week that he’s had some talks with the team but intends to test the free agent market.

Green Bay’s unrestricted free agents:

RB Eddie Lacy
RB Christine Michael
TE Jared Cook
OL Don Barclay
C/G J.C. Tretter
G T.J. Lang
OLB Julius Peppers
OLB Nick Perry
OLB Datone Jones
S Micah Hyde
LS Brett Goode

Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers (calf) unlikely to practice the next two days

GREEN BAY — Aaron Rodgers might not practice before Saturday, but the Green Bay Packers are preparing like he’ll be able to play when they travel to Chicago to take on the Bears this Sunday.

“He’ll be with the rehab group (Wednesday),” coach Mike McCarthy told reporters. “He won’t practice (Wednesday) and I’ll probably do the same thing (Thursday). We have a plan.”

The quarterback had been dealing with a hamstring injury suffered against the Philadelphia Eagles last month, and then injured his right calf on the third snap of the Packers win over the Seattle Seahawks. With a big lead, Rodgers was removed from the game in the fourth quarter but said afterwards he didn’t expect to miss any time.

“Game plan-wise, his comments were just don’t hold anything back,” McCarthy said of Rodgers. “We’re approaching this game no different than we did last week.”

Rodgers injured his other calf late in the 2014 season, and it limited him significantly down the stretch and in the playoffs, but he didn’t miss a game.

Meanwhile, McCarthy believes that tight end Jared Cook, who left the game on Sunday with a chest injury, should be available.

“I think we’re going to have him, but practice will dictate that,” McCarthy said. “The medical staff wants to see him go and see how he comes through.”

The coach also said linebacker Clay Matthews (shoulder) came out of the game better than he did a week ago, while outside linebacker Nick Perry, who missed the game after undergoing surgery to repair several broken fingers, won’t practice before Saturday.

Packers 34, Lions 27: 2-minute drill

Game Balls

Offense: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers

After arguably the worst performance of his career, Rodgers came back firing on Sunday, owning an undermanned Lions secondary, throwing four touchdowns in the first half. His passer rating of 127.9 was his best since Sept. 28 of last year, and the first time he’s been over 100 in his last 14 games.

With Rodgers at the controls, the offense piled up 211 yards in the first half and 31 points. Though the two-time MVP lamented the disjoined nature of the second half in which they had just four possessions and gained 103 yards, it was a vast improvement over the performance in Minneapolis last Sunday.

Defense: Outside linebacker Nick Perry

The 1-year, $5-million deal Perry signed in the offseason to return to Green Bay is looking more and more like a steal for Green Bay. The USC product seven tackles, including a pair of sacks, two quarterback hurries and one pass defended. The effort was much needed with his counterpart, Clay Matthews, out with an injury.

Through three games, Perry has 3.5 sacks — the same number he had all of last year — and has been a force in the run game as well.

Special Teams: Mason Crosby

The Packers 32-year-old kicker remained perfect on the season, drilling both of his attempts. Despite a swirling wind, Crosby had no problems hitting from 36 and 46 yards. He’s now 4 of 4 this year.

Quote of the Day

“I don’t think anyone gives a you-know-what if the offense is back or not. It’s about winning. And we got a win.”

— Rodgers when asked if a performance like this is good enough to say the offense is back after the struggles last week against Minnesota

In Case You Missed It

— Four defensive starters missed the game due to injury. Linebacker Clay Matthews, cornerback Sam Shields, safety Morgan Burnett and defensive lineman Letroy Guion.

— Green Bay lost tight end Jared Cook to an ankle injury in the second quarter. Cook was seen on crutches after the game

Blake Martinez needed to leave the game in the second quarter after stiches from a gash he suffered last week came undone. He was taken to the locker room, where he was stiched up, and then returned to the game.

— Making his first appearance at Lambeau Field since a playoff win in January of 2015, wide receiver Jordy Nelson grabbed six passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns.

Inside the Numbers

2 — That’s how many times Aaron Rodgers has thrown four touchdowns in the first half of a game during his career.

103 — That’s how many yards Eddie Lacy ran for on Sunday, the first time he’s been over 100 yards since Dec. 13 last year.

1-2 — That’s Matthew Stafford’s record against the Packers when he throws for at least 300 yards. He had 385 on Sunday.

205 — That’s how many yards wide receiver Marvin Jones had against a banged up Green Bay secondary. He’s the first opposing wide receiver to top the 200-yard mark since Julio Jones had 259 during the 2014 season.

What’s Next

The Packers (2-1) have a bye in Week 3. They’ll return to the field on Oct. 9 against the New York Giants at Lambeau Field.