Lions sign ex-Packers RG T.J. Lang

GREEN BAY, Wis. — For the first time in his NFL career, right guard T.J. Lang will wear colors other than green and gold after his agent announced he’d signed a three-year contract with the Detroit Lions.

Lang was a mainstay in keeping Aaron Rodgers upright, spending the first eight years of his career in Green Bay. Terms of his new deal weren’t released, but Lang was told prior to the 2016 season that he was not among the team’s priorities in terms of contract extensions. That same reasoning led to the outright release of Josh Sitton last fall.

29-year-old Lang has never played fewer than 12 games in a given season, but will come into training camp this year fresh off foot and hip surgeries. He was injured late in Green Bay’s NFC championship game loss to Atlanta.

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 free agency: Peppers plans to return, Lang’s value determined

GREEN BAY, Wis. — NFL free agency begins on Thursday, but the Green Bay Packers won’t be able to keep all of their pending free agents.

That’s why it’s noteworthy Yahoo! Sports’ Charles Robinson reported several NFL sources estimate right guard T.J. Lang‘s value to be at about $8 to $10 million per year. Spotrac listed Lang’s yearly value at $8.4 million. If that ends up being the range NFL teams would be willing to pay Lang, that leverage could be used against the Packers. Green Bay already pays right tackle Bryan Bulaga an average of $6.75 million per year, which ranks second in the league at his position.

Lang’s estimated value could create another problem for the Packers. Robinson noted Cincinnati Bengals guard Kevin Zeitler is expected to earn a new contract with an annual value of $10 to $12 million. Zietler was seen as a possible target for Green Bay in free agency should they have to part ways with Lang.

It was noted during Wednesday’s media session at the NFL Scouting Combine that coach Mike McCarthy expected linebacker Julius Peppers to return for another season. That now appears to be coming to fruition, after Peppers’ agent, Carl Carey, told ESPN that “he still has the desire and enthusiasm for the game, and his intention is to play a 16th NFL season.”

Peppers ranks fifth on the all-time career sacks list, logging 143.5 sacks in 15 regular seasons. Carey met with the Packers during the Combine on Peppers’ behalf. Peppers is a pending free agent after completing a three-year, $26 million contract with Green Bay.

The Packers are also in discussion with tight end Jared Cook about returning to Titletown, but as Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole reports, not much has been decided about Cook’s future. Cook signed a one-year, $2.75 million contract with Green Bay last offseason, and has a projected Spotrac market value of $3.4 million.

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’ Bakhtiari added to the Pro Bowl roster, Lang and Rodgers decide not to play

David Bakhtiari is going to the Pro Bowl after all.

The NFL announced Monday that Bakhtiari had been added to the roster as an injury replacement for Philadelphia’s Jason Peters.

The Green Bay Packers left tackle was among several players that were viewed as snubs when the Pro Bowl rosters were announced last month, but now he’ll get the experience in Orlando anyway.

He won’t, however, be joined by all of his teammates that were selected.

Guard T.J. Lang, a first-time Pro Bowler, will be replaced by former Packers guard Josh Sitton due to injury. Lang, who is a free agent this offseason, will undergo hip surgery on Friday.

“Definitely wanted to be there,” Lang said Monday. “But it’s not the end of the world.”

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers also won’t play in the game. He’ll be replaced by Washington’s Kirk Cousins.

Another first-time Pro Bowler, safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, is from Orlando and said he intends to be there.

Lang hoping injuries don’t spell end of time in Titletown

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Packers right guard T.J. Lang has endured his share of injuries this season, and he’s hoping Sunday’s departure doesn’t mean he’ll be working for a different organization next year.

“That’s the first thing going through my mind after I hurt my foot again,” Lang said after Sunday’s loss. “I’m just hoping it wasn’t the last time I get to put on that helmet.

Lang was carted off the field after suffering an injury to his left foot; an injury he said felt like the break he had in that same foot earlier this season. Lang told reporters he’d be undergoing hip surgery on Friday to take care of a nagging injury he played through for most of the year. That means he’ll be missing out on his first career Pro Bowl selection to address the issue.

29-year-old Lang made his wishes clear as the Packers enter offseason re-signing mode.

“It’s been eight years now. I don’t want to go anywhere. I’ve been saying that since the beginning. I love this team, I love Green Bay, I love everything about being a Packer. I love representing the city and the team. I want to be back. It’s not up to me. This is where I want to be.”

Lang is finishing up a four-year, $20.8 million contract as he gets set to hit the market as an unrestricted free agent.

Three Packers selected to the 2017 Pro Bowl

The NFL announced the 2017 Pro Bowl rosters on Tuesday night, and three Green Bay Packers were selected.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, guard T.J. Lang and safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix were all voted in through a combination of fan, player and coach balloting.

For Lang and Clinton-Dix, it’s the first time they’ve earned the honor, while Rodgers was selected for a sixth time.

Earlier on Monday, Rodgers told reporters that the entire offensive line was worthy of making it, and that Clinton-Dix should be a “no-doubter,” though he admitted that it can be a popularity contest at times and sometimes guys get the nod a year after they truly deserve it. But for Clinton-Dix, Green Bay’s first-round pick in 2014, his third year has been a bit of breakthrough and it didn’t go unnoticed. He leads the team in interceptions with five, which is tied for the most among safeties in the league.

Lang makes the team despite missing nearly a month with a broken foot, but it’s an honor some, including his teammate Bryan Bulaga, feel should have happened long before this season.

“Congrats to (T.J. Lang) for being named to his first Pro Bowl,” Bulaga tweeted soon after the announcement. “Well overdue buddy. You deserve it.”

The Eastern Michigan product has started all but six games over the last six seasons for Green Bay.

“I’m speechless guys,” Lang tweeted. “All I can say is no way in hell I could get this honor without my (offensive line) brothers especially, Bulaga. We share this honor.”

As for Rodgers, his selection comes in what has been a weird year for the 12th year pro. At times, many were left questioning whether he’d lost something as he and the team struggled. But no one has been hotter than Rodgers of late as the Packers have gone on their four-game winning streak. For the season, he’s tied for second in the NFL in touchdowns (32), sixth in yards (3,781) and fifth in quarterback rating (100.3), and he’s just two wins shy of clinching his fifth division title in the last six years.

Rodgers hasn’t actually played in the Pro Bowl since 2012, with injuries keeping him out of the 2014 and 2015 games. But he’s expecting a different reason for his absence this time around — getting ready for the Super Bowl.

“It’s always a good thing to get nominated,” Rodgers said of the Pro Bowl. “But I don’t plan on playing in it.”

McCarthy: Lang, Tretter making progress

Making progress.

That’s how Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy described the status of a pair of his starting offensive linemen when he addressed the media Friday morning.

Right guard T.J. Lang and center J.C. Tretter each practiced on a limited basis yesterday, and McCarthy is feeling encouraged by the work they did.

“He’s improving. He felt good coming off the field,” McCarthy said of Lang’s practice on Thursday.” J.C. Tretter also had a really good day. Did some really good things. He felt good coming off the field.

“I think those guys are progressing. That’s a very good sign.”

Lang suffered a broken foot early in the Packers loss to Tennessee on Nov. 13, and he’s has missed the last three games, while Tretter injured his knee in the Oct. 30 loss at Atlanta. Rookie Jason Spriggs has filled in nicely for Lang, while veteran Corey Linsley, who started at center for Green Bay much of the last two years, has stepped in for Tretter.

McCarthy also liked the progress of outside linebacker Clay Matthews. He’s dealing with a shoulder injury that clearly limited him in the win over Houston last week.

“He’s just working on his strength,” McCarthy said. “He did all the individual stuff, hit the sleds and did all the things to get better. He’s improving.”

At times last week, Matthews was unable to raise his right arm and was a virtual non-factor in the game. But he played through it, and will likely need to do so again this week as fellow outside linebacker, Nick Perry, is out after undergoing surgery to repair several broken fingers.

Weather a factor?

McCarthy doesn’t trust his weather man any more than you trust yours. Asked about the potential for another snow game this Sunday against Seattle, McCarthy said they’ll wait and see what things look like twenty-four hours before kickoff.

“We watch the weather,’ McCarthy said. “Whether it’s going to snow, how much snow, rain, wind.

“You look at the elements and you adjust accordingly. I don’t really talk about the weather until the team meeting (Saturday) because it can change. (Assistant) Matt Klein is our weather man and he’s kind of like your weather man. It changes every day.”

As of Friday morning, forecasters were calling for 3 to 5 inches of snow to fall in Green Bay on Sunday.

Packers say guard T.J. Lang and linebacker Jake Ryan won’t play this Sunday

Green Bay will be without at least a few starters when it looks to snap a three-game losing streak this Sunday at Washington.

Coach Mike McCarthy told reporters Friday morning that right guard T.J. Lang (foot) and inside linebacker Jake Ryan (ankle) will not play.

In Lang’s absence, Don Barclay will get the start, while it remains to be seen who will replace Ryan. Joe Thomas struggled against Tennessee after Ryan went down and is better suited to be a situational guy, but the Packers don’t have many other choices.

On the good side of things, linebacker Clay Matthews, tight end Jared Cook and left tackle David Bakhtiari were deemed good to go against the Redskins barring any kind of setback during practice on Saturday.

Matthews has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury, while Cook hasn’t played since suffering an ankle injury in Week 3. Bakhtiari left the game against Tennessee with a knee injury.

A full injury report is expected to be released Friday afternoon.

Sitton moves on, Taylor steps in for the Packers

For the first time since 2008, Josh Sitton will not be one of the Green Bay Packers starting guards when they open the season. That’s as a result of the team releasing the veteran on Saturday, a surprising move that caught his teammates by surprise.

“Nobody’s safe, I guess,” guard T.J. Lang said of what the move signaled. “I’ve been here eight years now, and it’s one of the most surprising cuts that I’ve seen.”

Sitton signed a three-year contract with the Chicago Bears on Sunday, but many are still wondering why Green Bay allowed him to go in the first place. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that there was some tension between Sitton and the team over his contract status. Sitton was set to be a free agent after the season, and the former fourth-round pick was upset that the Packers were apparently concentrating on extending other players before him.

“There’s a lot of things that go into this decision,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “This was not just one thing.”

When he met with the media in Chicago, Sitton didn’t have an explanation for why he was let go, but maintained his signing with a divison rival wasn’t an effort to get back at Green Bay for anything.

“Honestly, it didn’t have anything to do with sticking it to the Packers,” he told reporters. “More familiar with the division, close to where I was.”

While many still wonder what happened, the Packers are moving on and getting ready for their season opener against Jacksonville on Sunday. And they’re doing so with the plan of starting Lane Taylor at left guard, Sitton’s old spot. Taylor, a former undrafted free agent that’s been with the team since 2013, has started a pair of games in his career.

“He’s prepared for this,” McCarthy said. “We have all the confidence in the world in Lane and really our offensive line group.”

For Taylor’s part, he’s not looking at is as he’s replacing Sitton, who he said was vital to his development as a player.

“The business can be cutthroat at times and tough decisions have to be made,” he said. “I’m not a part of that. I just show up to work, try to get better and help out this football team.”