Packers GM Brian Gutekunst said of impending free agents like Bryan Bulaga, Blake Martinez andMason Crosby: “I’ve got a lot of Ted Thompson in me. I’d like to keep them all.” However, he did acknowledge it’s a challenge for every team to keep all their free agents. (Ryan Wood)
Regarding their ability to compete in free agency, Gutekunst said: “There will be a few more restrictions (than last year). But we’re pretty sound financially to do what we want.” (Tom Silverstein)
As for the team’s inability to find a consistent No. 2 receiver, Gutekunst said: “We didn’t have anybody step into that role consistently. I think there will be opportunities for guys next year, and that will be a position where we look to add.” (Ryan Wood)
Gutekunst mentioned that QB Aaron Rodgers is still playing at an elite level: “I thought Aaron had a really, really good year, especially adapting to a new system … He’s still playing at an elite level.” (Matt Schneidman)
However, Gutekunst said he would not rule out drafting a quarterback: “If there’s a quarterback we think can play, who’s a starter in this league, we’ll never pass that up.” (Ryan Wood)
Gutekunst did say that it’s important to get a long-term deal done with DT Kenny Clark this offseason. “I’m optimistic we will come to an agreement at some point.” (Wed Hodkiewicz)
Gutekunst disagreed with the notion first-round OLB Rashan Gary didn’t contribute much: “I thought he contributed quite a bit. He was behind two really good players. When he was in there, I thought he affected the game. I’m excited to see what he can do.” (Tom Silverstein)
Gutekunst expects to take a “long look” at the inside linebacker position: “Obviously, Blake Martinez is up. We’re going to have to take a long look at inside linebacker and make sure we’re squared away there.” (Ryan Wood)
According to Gutekunst, they looked at acquiring an offensive skill player before last year’s traded deadline, but they determined there wasn’t “sound value.” (Ryan Wood)
Darin Gantt of PFT, citing a league source, reports that the Panthers are interested in Packers secondary coach Jason Simmons for a job on Matt Rhule’s new staff.
Field Yates confirms that Simmons is expected to join the Panthers and adds that they’re also expected to hire Chargers OL/run game coordinator Pat Meyer.