Packers ‘optimistic’ about completing contract extension for QB Aaron Rodgers this offseason

Mark Murphy remains confident that a contract extension for quarterback Aaron Rodgers will get done this offseason.

Speaking at the NFL owners’ meetings Sunday night, the Green Bay Packers president told reporters that, even in the wake of the fully guaranteed, three-year, $84-million deal the Minnesota Vikings gave Kirk Cousins earlier this month, he believes the two sides will find common ground before the season starts.

“It’s obviously fairly recent,” Murphy said about the Cousins’ contract. “I’m still very optimistic we’ll get a deal done.”

Rodgers still has two years left on a contract extension he signed in 2014 that made him the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL at $22 million per year. But that deal is no longer paying him at the market rate. In fact, he’s now the ninth-highest paid quarterback, with the likes of Joe Flacco, Alex Smith, Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo all making more.

How Rodgers’ contract extension will be structured is something everyone in the league is keeping an eye on. As the salary cap rises, some have suggested that a player’s contract could be tied to a certain percentage of the cap. It would mean the deal Rodgers signs later this summer won’t be topped right away by Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons or the next quarterback up.

While Murphy said he doesn’t foresee the team going in that direction, the deal Rodgers signs has the chance to be historic.

“We want Aaron to be a Packer for the rest of his career. He wants to play until he’s 40,” Murphy said. “It makes sense for both sides to figure out a way to get it done.”

It’s official: CB Tramon Williams back with the Packers

Tramon Williams is coming back to Green Bay.

The Packers announced the signing of the free agent cornerback early Friday afternoon.

Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network tweeted that the deal is worth $10 million over two years.

Williams spent his first eight seasons with Green Bay after a short stint on the practice squad of the Houston Texans in 2006. The Louisiana Tech product played in 127 games with the Packers, grabbing 28 interceptions and breaking up 114 passes. His best stretch of play may have come during Green Bay’s playoff run in 2010 when Williams had three interceptions — the game-clincher in the NFC Wild Card game at Philadelphia and two the following week in an upset of top-seeded Atlanta. Williams was also helped break up the final pass of Super Bowl XLV, which clinched the team’s 13th world title.

The 35-year-old left Green Bay after the 2014 season, spending two years with the Cleveland Browns and 2017 with the Arizona Cardinals. He got nine starts last year and had a pair of interceptions and a fumble recovery.

Williams joins a secondary in flux for the Packers. Headed out are cornerback Damarious Randall and safety Morgan Burnett, while Williams has been the only free agent brought in so far, though Green Bay will certainly add more pieces in next month’s draft. It leaves them with a number of undrafted free agents, two guys — Kevin King and Quinten Rollins — returning from season-ending injuries at cornerback, second-year pro Josh Jones in Burnett’s spot, veteran Ha Ha Clinton-Dix at the other safety position, and the talented but unproven Kentrell Brice as the third safety.

Report: Morgan Burnett to sign with Pittsburgh

According to former Green Bay wide receiver and current NFL Network analyst James Jones, Morgan Burnett is going to sign with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Burnett was drafted by the Packers in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft with the 71st overall pick. He spent eight seasons in Green Bay, playing in 102 games for the Packers and starting all of them.

In 2017 Burnett started 12 games for the Packers, making 48 tackles and defending three passes. He also forced a fumble. In 2013 Burnett signed a four-year, $24.75 million extension that expired this offseason.

Terms of the contract have not been made public.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Update: Bears match the Packers offer for CB Kyle Fuller

The Green Bay Packers made a move Friday that it might not have under past leadership, and even though it didn’t work out, it signals a new day at 1265 Lombardi Ave.

Late in afternoon, word came from the Chicago Tribune that the Packers had signed Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller to an offer sheet. Chicago had given the former first-round pick the transition tag, meaning it could match any offer he gets. The team, according to Ian Rapoport, has done exactly that, giving Fuller a 4-year contract worth $56 million. Playing on the transition tag, he was due $12.971 million for 2018.

The decision by Green Bay to pursue Fuller was not something that former general manager Ted Thompson likely would have done. But it’s what his successor, Brian Gutekunst, has promised to do, saying they’ll explore all avenues in helping the roster. They’ve done it in free agency with the signing of tight end Jimmy Graham and defensive tackle Mohammad Wilkerson, and believe they’ve done it by trading cornerback Damarious Randall to Cleveland for quarterback DeShone Kizer and a swapping of draft picks.

This latest attempt didn’t end up going in Green Bay’s favor but it shows there will be no rock left unturned by Gutekunst and his staff.

Packers officially announce several roster moves

The Green Bay Packers announced a number of roster moves early Thursday night.

That included the signing of defensive tackle Mohammad Wilkerson and re-signing cornerback Herb Waters, while also finalizing the trade that sent cornerback Damarious Randall to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for quarterback DeShone Kizer and the swapping of draft picks in the fourth and fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

There was no mention of tight end Jimmy Graham, who has reportedly agreed to a 3-year, $30-million deal with the team. ESPN’s Rob Demovsky reported that Graham was traveling to Green Bay on Thursday to sign.

Wilkerson was cut by the New York Jets last week after seven seasons. Selected to the Pro Bowl in 2015, the 6-foot-4, 305-pound, Wilkerson had 44.5 sacks during his tenure, but just 3.5 in 2017.

As for Graham, what the Packers are getting is a 6-foot-7 weapon over the middle that Green Bay thought it had with Martellus Bennett when he signed last year. That didn’t work out, obviously, as Rodgers got hurt and Bennett ended up being released.

Statistically, Graham is among the best tight ends of the last 10 years. He’s got 556 receptions for 6,800 yards and 69 touchdowns. But the Miami product, who will turn 32 in November, saw a sharp decline in production in 2017 with the Seattle Seahawks. Some of that could the offensive issues they had along the offensive line and injuries at other spots, but his 520 receiving yards were the fewest since his rookie with New Orleans, and he averaged just 9.1 yards per catch, the lowest of his career.

The addition of Kizer is a bit of a wildcard. Taken in the second round of last April’s draft, the Notre Dame product started 15 games and did not play all that well. He completed just 53.6 percent of his passes with 11 touchdowns and league-leading 22 interceptions. His passer rating of 60.5 was the lowest — by far — of any qualified quarterbacks.
Green Bay got an up close look at Kizer in December and it was one of his more productive days. He threw for 214 yards, three touchdowns and two picks. But one of those came in overtime and ended up helping the Packers escape with a win.
His addition will give some competition to Brett Hundley for the backup job behind Aaron Rodgers.

Report: Packers to sign DE Muhammad Wilkerson

It was a busy Tuesday for Brian Gutekunst.

On the same day the Green Bay Packers general manager released veteran wide receiver Jordy Nelson and agreed to terms with former Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham, he also came to an agreement with defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson.

ESPN’s Rob Demovsky was the first to report the two sides had reached a deal.

Wilkerson was cut by the New York Jets last week after seven seasons. Selected to the Pro Bowl in 2015, the 6-foot-4, 305-pound, Wilkerson had 44.5 sacks during his tenure, but just 3.5 in 2017.

Green Bay was his first visit, though he also made stops in Kansas City and Washington. He does have a connection with the Packers, having played for new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine for two years while he was with the Jets.

Wilkerson joins a suddenly stout defensive line with the Packers featuring a 2017 Pro Bowl selection in Mike Daniels and up-and-coming star Kenny Clark.

Report: Packers to add TE Jimmy Graham, release WR Jordy Nelson

Brian Gutekunst is on the board with an addition and a subtraction.

The new Green Bay Packers general manager and the team have reportedly agreed on a 3-year deal with veteran tight end Jimmy Graham, while also releasing wide receiver Jordy Nelson.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Graham are reportedly friends and talking about playing together this offseason, so it seems like the two-time MVP will be happy with that pickup. But the cutting of one of his favorite targets — Nelson — will hit Rodgers and the locker room hard.

Off to a fast start in 2017 with six touchdowns in the first five games, Nelson was virtually invisible once Rodgers went down in Week 6 of the season. He managed to average just 9.1 yards per catch for the year — easily his career low — and had 53 catches total. This after he earned NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors in 2016 when led the NFL with 14 touchdowns coming off a missed season due to a torn ACL.

“We cannot thank Jordy enough for all that he has given the Green Bay Packers and our community for the past 10 years,” Gutekunst said in a statement post on the team’s website. “He has been an exemplary professional and teammate and greatly contributed to our success. Jordy will always be a member of the Packers family and we look forward to his eventual induction into the Packers Hall of Fame. We wish Jordy, his wife Emily, and the rest of their family all the best.”

Nelson’s contract would have him counting about $12.5 million against the salary cap in 2018, and it’s unclear if the Packers asked him to take a pay cut. By cutting him, they reportedly gain $10.2 million in cap space.

As for the addition, what the Packers get in Graham is a 6-foot-7 weapon over the middle that Green Bay thought it had with Martellus Bennett when he signed last year. That didn’t work out, obviously, as Rodgers got hurt and Bennett ended up being released.

Statistically, Graham is among the best tight ends of the last 10 years. He’s got 556 receptions for 6,800 yards and 69 touchdowns. But the Miami product, who will turn 32 in November, saw a sharp decline in production in 2017 with the Seattle Seahawks. Some of that could the offensive issues they had along the offensive line and injuries at other spots, but his 520 receiving yards were the fewest since his rookie with New Orleans, and he averaged just 9.1 yards per catch, the lowest of his career.

‘Fans’ use billboard to urge Packers to sign TE Jimmy Graham

The Green Bay Packers are supposedly aiming to be more aggressive in free agency under new general manager Brian Gutekunst. It appears some fans are feeling aggressive, too. So much so that a billboard appeared in Milwaukee last week that asks for the team to sign soon-to-be former Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham.

The billboard was apparently paid for by Horlacher Necci, a personal injury law firm. In a tweet, the firm wrote, “With the start of NFL free agency right around the corner, we thought we’d throw our opinion into the mix!”

If the billboard was a ploy to draw attention to the law firm, mission accomplished. Pictures of it started to pop up in recent days on social media and spread pretty wide by Sunday night.

As for the message, it seems unlikely the Packers will go in that direction. Graham, who will turn 32 in November, saw a sharp decline in production in 2017. Some of that could be the offensive issues Seattle had along the offensive line, but his 520 receiving yards were the fewest since his rookie year with New Orleans, and he averaged just 9.1 yards per catch, the lowest of his career.

Despite that, Graham figures to garner plenty interest, with most considering him the top tight end on the market. And though the Packers do need help at the position, it’s hard to envision them throwing a ton of money at Graham when holes elsewhere need to be addressed.

Packers trade CB Damarious Randall to Cleveland, get QB in return

Damarious Randall’s time in Green Bay has come to an end.

According to ESPN’s Adam Shefter, the Packers have traded the cornerback to Cleveland and will receive quarterback DeShone Kizer in return. The trade also involves the two clubs swapping fourth- and fifth-round picks.

Taken in the second round of last April’s draft, the Notre Dame product started 15 games and did not play all that well. He completed just 53.6 percent of his passes with 11 touchdowns and league-leading 22 interceptions. His passer rating of 60.5 was the lowest — by far — of any qualified quarterbacks.

Green Bay got an up close look at Kizer in December and it was one of his more productive days. He threw for 214 yards, three touchdowns and two picks. But one of those came in overtime and ended up helping the Packers escape with a win.

His addition will give some competition to Brett Hundley for the backup job behind Aaron Rodgers.

Randall, meanwhile, had just one year left on his rookie contract that would have have paid him about $1.5 million.

A first-round pick in 2015, Randall had a solid rookie year, picking off four passes and starting nine games. But 2016 wasn’t great, as he missed six games and didn’t play great when he was on the field. It was that way to start 2017 as well, even getting benched in a Thursday night game against Chicago. The Arizona State product then got into a verbal disagreement with a coach on the sideline and was sent back to the locker room before the end of that game. But, after that incident, Randall played his best football the rest of the way. He led the Packers in interceptions (4) and also had a touchdown.

Following the season, a year in which Green Bay failed to make the playoffs for the first time since 2008, Randall was critical of the team and said there was a lack of accountability within the locker room. He said players continued to make the same mistakes yet were allowed to stay on the field.

Asked about that at his season-ending press conference, coach Mike McCarthy bristled at Randall’s criticism. He said he told Randall he needed “to focus on himself and clean his own house,” though McCarthy also acknowledged the good things Randall did down the stretch.

The trade leaves Green Bay with few proven options at cornerback that are under contract. 2017 second-round pick Kevin King played in just nine games before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery. The others currently under contract include Demetri Goodson, Josh Hawkins, Lenzy Pipkins and Quinten Rollins.

Sam Shields is back in the NFL

Former Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields is back in the NFL.

The Los Angeles Rams announced Thursday they had signed the 30-year-old. Shields hasn’t played since Week 1 of the 2016 season when he suffered a concussion against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He had struggled with concussions his last few years with the Packers, missing four games in 2015.

When healthy, Shields played well for Green Bay, excelling in man-to-man coverage. He had 18 interceptions over seven seasons. The Miami product made the team as an undrafted free agent in 2010 and played a sizable role in Green Bay’s run to a Super Bowl XLV win, including a game-sealing pick in the 2010 NFC Championship Game victory over Chicago.

Green Bay showed no interest in bringing Shields back when he announced he was attempting a comeback earlier this year.

https://twitter.com/RamsNFL/status/971877853519167488