Packers president pleased with new direction

Darin Gantt
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

Former Packers General Manager Ted Thompson didn’t dip into free agency often. When he did, it often made a big difference.

So the flurry of activity under new G.M. Brian Gutekunst has caught the eye of his boss, who approves of the new way of doing business.

I’ve been very pleased,” Murphy said, via Jason Wilde of ESPN Wisconsin. “I think he used the term ‘aggressive,’ but I think it’s more that we’re more active. We’re participating in things that we haven’t in the past.

“We’re not going to sign everybody, and obviously with the salary cap there’s limitations, but I think he’s looking at every avenue to try to improve the team. Obviously time will tell. We’ve made a couple major decisions, both in terms of releasing some players or allowing players to leave in free agency, and then obviously a few signings and a trade as well. But I’m very pleased with what Brian has been doing.”

While Thompson was known for selected high-impact signings such as Charles Woodson, Gutekunst is dealing in bulk so far.

He’s signed tight end Jimmy Graham and defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson in free agency. He’s traded former first-rounder Damarious Randall to the Browns for backup quarterback DeShone Kizer, he signed Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller to an offer sheet which the teams matched thanks to the transition tag, cut wide receiver Jordy Nelson, and let safety Morgan Burnett walk in free agency to Pittsburgh.

Of course, there’s still a big piece of business to do, as a contract extension for Aaron Rodgers looms over the process. With Minnesota signing Kirk Cousins to a fully guaranteed deal, Murphy is aware that Rodgers’ deal will be a complicated one in addition to an expensive one. There have been suggestions that such a deal could be tied to a percentage of the cap, or Rodgers might want to push the envelope in some other direction.

“Yeah. There could be,” Murphy said of wrinkles in a Rodgers deal. “But as I said before, I’m confident we’ll be able to work around it. At the end of the day, we want Aaron to be a Packer for the rest of his career, he wants to play ’til he’s 40, and I think it just makes sense for both sides to figure out a way to get it done.”

Doing so will be another bold move, but the Packers have made more of those lately than they’re accustomed to.

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