It’s almost March, which means it’s time for Brian Gutekunst to go to work. Not that Gutekunst has been vacationing since becoming general manager of the Green Bay Packers in January, but now comes the hard part. Gutekunst has to start constructing the roster for a team that will be in win-now mode as long as quarterback Aaron Rodgers is around. The NFL Scouting Combine begins Tuesday and the league year — especially free agency — kicks off March 14. Many are hoping Gutekunst does what his predecessor, Ted Thompson, refused to do and use free agency as a team-building tool. Before that, however, Gutekunst must decide if he wants to re-sign some of his own free agents — Morgan Burnett? Richard Rodgers? Jahri Evans? — and jettison or restructure some high-salaried veterans — Jordy Nelson? Randall Cobb? Bryan Bulaga? Clay Matthews? — to gain salary-cap room. It is the combine that likely will determine the course of action for Gutekunst. The Packers own the 14th overall pick in April’s NFL draft and once they figure out who is likely to be available in that slot, they’ll have a better idea of who to target in free agency. The Packers’ beleaguered defense needs immediate-impact playmakers at cornerback and outside linebacker and it figures Gutekunst will try to give first-year defensive coordinator Mike Pettine one of each. If the Packers use their first-round pick on a cornerback, they might go looking for an edge pass-rusher in free agency. Or vice versa.
It's time for Packers GM Brian Gutekunst to get to work
Wisconsin State Journal | Feb 25