Packers GM Brian Gutekunst talks draft, free agency and more at NFL combine
General manager Brian Gutekunst kicked off the Green Bay Packers’ portion of the NFL scouting combine with a news conference in Indianapolis on Wednesday morning.
Gutekunst spoke for 13 minutes about a variety of topics. The following is a summary of his remarks:
(What is different about the combine as a GM?) "This, you know? For me, the actual process for what I’m about to do doesn’t change much. Our process is going to stay the same. The evaluation part of it, the medical part of it, that all kind of stays the same. The media stuff is different for me, so that’s new. But I’m excited to kind of get into these prospects and see what they’re all about."
(What do you think of this draft class?) "I think it’s a good class, it’s intriguing. I think it’s a strong secondary group, you know? I think the interior of the offensive line group is pretty strong. I think there’s depth at quarterback. There’s a lot of pieces that haven’t been answered yet, questions that haven’t been answered yet. We have 12 picks, and I think it’s a good class to get after those guys with 12 picks."
(Do you evaluate players differently with new coaches on staff?) "I don’t necessarily think it changes our evaluation process. We’ve had a bunch of meetings with them to kind of get on the same page with exactly how they want to play. That’s very helpful. I think it may increase some players’ value or decrease their value depending on how they’re going to use them, how much they’re going to be on the field from a sub package perspective. But as far as how we actually evaluate the player, that won’t change a whole lot. His value may change to some degree based on what we’re going to do."
(Will Ty Montgomery move back to receiver?) "Ty is a very, very versatile player. He can do a lot of things. I think having a guy like that (means) we can kind of plug him in where we need him. I thought he was an outstanding running back. Making that transition is not an easy one, and I thought he did it fairly quickly. I think we’re big on trying to acquire as many versatile players — whether it be on offense or defense — as we can, and Ty is one of those guys. So I think he can do a multitude of things. I don’t think you have to pigeon hole him in one thing."
(How aggressive will you be in free agency?) "Obviously there’s limits in what you can do, but we’d like to be really aggressive and see (if) we can be in every conversation. Now whether that leads to us ending up signing a bunch or not, we’ll see. Like I said, there’s limitations there. But we’d like to be as aggressive as we can to try to improve our football team. At the same time, it’s a smaller market and it’s a little bit riskier market. So I think as my mentor and predecessor would say, you have to be very cautious as you enter that. But I think we’d like to look at every option we can."
(How do you handle aging veterans with large contracts?) "Yeah, you know it’s a big puzzle, and I think as the information comes in and as we get closer to the free-agent time period and we get through the combine and kind of get a better feel for the draft, some of those things will come into play. But I’ll say this: We have some really good players and we don’t want to let them walk out of the door, you know what I mean? It’s hard enough in this league to find them, so we certainly wouldn’t want to let them walk out the door. But there are restraints and there’s things that every decision kind of affects something else, so we kind of want to let all the information come in before we get to that point."
(How will you handle Aaron Rodgers’ contract?) "I don’t know if there’s pressure, I think we certainly would like to get it done sooner rather than later — not necessarily for those reasons. But when you have the best player in the National Football League, it’s not going to be inexpensive, you know what I mean? Obviously Aaron is a high priority, he’s a great player and I think that should take care of itself at some point."
(What happened with Martellus Bennett’s signing bonus?) "It doesn’t change the course of what we were going to try and do. That was a legal thing that we were kind of hoping turned out a different way, but at the same time it won’t affect how we’re going to go about our business moving forward."