Welcome to your Morning Buzz, rounding up news and views regarding the Green Bay Packers from around the web and here at PackersNews.com.
We'll start with Jonathan Jones of The MMQB putting the Packers on his list of five early free-agency winners.
Jones writes on the Packers:
These are not your father’s Packers. Brian Gutekunst is spending in free agency, and the Packers are better for it. So what if it didn’t really work out last year with Jimmy Graham and Mo Wilkerson? This year’s haul appears to be much better. Green Bay got much-needed pass rushing help with Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith. Then the Packers added safety Adrian Amos from Chicago on a four-year deal worth $37 million, a solid average-per-year for a player of his caliber at that position.
That the Packers were able to add like this in free agency less than a year after giving Aaron Rodgers the richest contract in NFL history is impressive. But Green Bay will be out of excuses if this doesn’t lead the Packers back to the playoffs this year.
To see the other four free-agency "winners," check out Jones' story here:
Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com praises the Packers for their free-agency foray while also pointing out the possible pitfalls.
This is how free agency works. Teams pay promising young starters superstar money and hope for the best. It is often the good-not-great players who push NFL salaries forward because great players don't usually reach free agency. With that said, all three players here are compelling, if unflashy, bets. Za'Darius Smith brings great energy as a pass rusher, even if he's never been an every-down player. Preston Smith is solid against the run and as a pass rusher, reliably topping 750 snaps for the last three seasons. They each ranked in the top-10 3-4 outside linebackers by PFF last season and they are in the middle of their primes. If you are going to "overspend" in free agency, do it on players like this.
For a few years, it was trendy for teams to stay "calculated" in March. And then too many teams wound up with too much cap space and that's gone out the window. The Packers were one of them. As long as the Packers are flexible enough to re-sign the homegrown stars they want, these deals won't be a problem. There is some concern Amos was a product of the Bears' system and it's surprising that his former defensive coordinator, Vic Fangio (now the Broncos' head coach), didn't push to sign him in Denver, but these are the risks you take in free agency.
You can read the entire story here:
Pete Dougherty writes about how the free-agent binge is a sign the Packers realize Aaron Rodgers' clock is ticking:
Za'Darius Smith and family have arrived, and the Packers' new pass rusher has the hashtags down:
The Packers opened the new league year by retaining rights to wide receiver Geronimo Allison and re-signing tight end Marcedes Lewis:
ICYMI, insightful free-agency analysis in our Packers Podcast with Tom Silverstein and Jim Owczarski:
A surprising number of Packers fans have no problem with the team raising ticket prices every year. Richard Ryman has the story:
Rev up the Jordy-back-to-Green Bay bandwagon:
Another day, another mock draft. Here's who Kalyn Kahler of The MMQB has going to Green Bay in the first round:
12. Green Bay: Rashan Gary, EDGE, Michigan
Even after adding Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith in free agency, the Packers would do well to add the high-upside Gary with their first of two first-round picks. His collegiate production didn’t match his traits, but there are few prospects with his combination of size, strength and explosive athleticism.
30. Green Bay (from New Orleans): Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
Jimmy Graham is 32 and not the player he once was. Fant—the second Iowa tight end in the first round—gives Aaron Rodgers another weapon in the passing game.
You can check out the entire mock draft here:
ESPN's Rob Demovsky on why the Packers went big in free agency:
Tom Oates looks at how the Packers' free-agency splurge will influence their draft:
Some familiar front-office names to Packers fans:
But something to remember about Dorsey:
Zach Kruse of The Packers Wire looks at eight offensive players the Packers could target at No. 12 in the draft:
And finally .... Raiders coach Jon Gruden bubbles over Antonio Brown's versatility, saying his new receiver can do it all, including "sell popcorn at halftime":
Contact Stu Courtney at (920) 431-8377 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @stucourt