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Green Bay Packers

Green Bay Packers

Be careful what you wish for.

General manager Ted Thompson’s last offseason as general manager of the Green Bay Packers included a disastrous foray into free agency.

He was more aggressive than usual, likely as a result of losing several of his own free agents to other teams and possibly due to some prodding from others inside the organization. The result after one year was several underwhelming additions and several productive departures.

Let’s run through the players the Packers added:

TE Martellus Bennett: The jewel of Green Bay’s free agency class quickly turned into fool’s gold. Caught 24 passes, dropped a half dozen others, failed to score a touchdown and was released after a messy and bitter final two weeks. One of the worst signings of the entire free agency period in the NFL.

TE Lance Kendricks: Played in all six games but caught a career-low 18 passes and provided next to nothing as a blocker.

CB Davon House: Handled his business more often than not, but battled injury and managed only one interception and six passes defended over 12 games. A starter for one of the league’s worst passing defenses.

DL Ricky Jean-Francois: Played in six games for the Packers but tallied only two tackles. Was cut twice and eventually ended up in New England.

G Justin McCray: A surprising bright spot. Made the 53-man roster coming out of camp and played all over the offensive line as a supersub.

G Jahri Evans: Solidified right guard for 14 games. Cheap, effective solution after losing T.J. Lang.

OLB Ahmad Brooks: Signed to be the top backup at outside linebacker but managed only 1.5 sacks. Dealt with a back injury for most of the season.

DL Quinton Dial: Played 13 games but provided very little impact.

The Packers signed three of their own unrestricted free agents: Nick Perry, Don Barclay and Christine Michael. Perry fought through four different injuries and finished with 7.0 sacks, Barclay was released after suffering an ankle injury during the preseason and Michael was cut after the Packers took three running backs in the draft.

Two unrestricted free agents were re-signed: Jayrone Elliott and Jordan Tripp. Elliott was traded to Dallas, while Tripp was released during final cuts.

The Packers let seven unrestricted free agents sign elsewhere.

Let’s run through those players:

S Micah Hyde: Intercepted five passes as a safety in Buffalo and earned Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors.

DE Julius Peppers: Went back to Carolina on a cheap deal and produced 11 sacks for the Panthers.

OL J.C. Tretter: Started all 16 games at center for the Browns.

G T.J. Lang: Played in 13 games despite several injuries and was once again one of the NFL’s better guards.

RB Eddie Lacy: The Packers tried to get him back but he left for Seattle, where he delivered only 176 rushing yards and 2.6 yards per carry for the Seahawks.

OLB Datone Jones: Quickly flamed out of Minnesota before the start of the regular season and then bounced around with several different teams. Landed in Dallas and played four games and made two starts for the Cowboys.

TE Jared Cook: Passed over in Green Bay and eventually signed with the Raiders, catching 54 passes for 688 yards and two touchdowns – more than Bennett and Kendricks combined.

Any way you slice it, decisions made during free agency hurt the quality of the Packers’ 53-man roster in 2017. New general manager Brian Gutekunst is expected to be more aggressive in free agency and other player acquisition avenues, but there are no guarantees. Hopefully, Gutekunst and the Packers learned from Thompson’s failures during his final offseason.

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GREEN BAY, Wis. — Aaron Rodgers has been “medically cleared to return” to action after missing seven games with a broken right collarbone, the Green Bay Packers quarterback announced on Instagram Tuesday night.

Rodgers was hurt Oct. 15 during a loss to Minnesota. He returned to practice Dec. 2 and is eligible to rejoin the 53-man roster Friday, which means the two-time MVP could suit up for Green Bay’s game Sunday at Carolina.

“It’s been a long road … but I’m happy to say I’ve been medically cleared to return,” Rodgers wrote Tuesday night. “Thanks for all the love, support, prayers and well wishes over the past 8 weeks and a big thank you to Dr. (Pat) McKenzie and our incredible training staff.”

The Packers (7-6) likely need to win their final three games to make the playoffs.

Rodgers had his collarbone scanned Monday morning. That afternoon, with the team in the middle of game-planning for Carolina, coach Mike McCarthy wasn’t sure whether Rodgers or backup Brett Hundley would be his quarterback.

“I’d like to know as soon as possible,” McCarthy said. “Frankly, it’s best for Aaron to know as soon as possible. He’s the one that has to get ready and, obviously, in his mind he’s ready to go if you watch him practice and the conversations with him. But this is a medical decision and Dr. McKenzie is in touch with a number of different medical experts and they’re evaluating the information.”

Those meetings ran deep into Tuesday before a conclusion was reached.

The Packers were 4-2 in Rodgers’ six starts, including the Minnesota game, where he was hurt on the second possession on a hit by Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr. In the three prior games, he threw 10 touchdown passes with only one interception in in consecutive victories over Cincinnati, Chicago and Dallas.

After playing the Panthers, who at 9-4 are in position for the top NFC wild card, the Packers have a rematch against NFC North-leading Minnesota before finishing the season at Detroit. Green Bay’s final three opponents have a combined record of 26-13.

The Packers went 3-4 in Hundley’s seven starts, including back-to-back overtime wins over Tampa Bay and Cleveland that kept their playoff hopes alive and made Rodgers’ return a tantalizing possibility.

“We’ve got a chance,” left tackle David Bakhtiari said after Sunday’s victory at Cleveland. “We know what the magic number is. We still have everything in front of us. It’s go time.”

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Thousands of Colin Kaepernick fans have signed a petition demanding the out-of-work NFL quarterback be signed by the Green Bay Packers to fill in for Aaron Rodgers, who may be out for the remainder of the season.

In a petition on Change.org, Kaepernick fans argued the quarterback, who grew up a Packers fan, is the obvious choice to lead Green Bay with Rodgers injured. The petition had garnered more than 12,000 signatures as of the time of publication.

“Aaron Rodgers is possibly out for the rest of the season but there’s a Wisconsin-born QB who should be on our team! Let’s makes sure the organization know we support Kaepernick to the Packers!” the petition said.

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The push by Kaepernick fans comes just days after the former 49ers quarterback filed a grievance alleging NFL owners have colluded in not signing him to a contract. The grievance was sent to the NFL Players Association, as well as to the NFL and all its teams.

The filing alleges the NFL and its owners “have colluded to deprive Mr. Kaepernick of employment rights in retaliation for Mr. Kaepernick’s leadership and advocacy for equality and social justice and his bringing awareness to peculiar institutions still undermining racial equality in the United States,” ESPN reported.

Kaepernick famously refused to stand for the national anthem in order to protest police mistreatment of African-Americans—a protest that has spread this year, with hundreds of players taking a knee over the past month.

Kaepernick recently hit back at a claim that he would stand for he national anthem if he was offered a spot on an NFL team.

Although players have faced criticism from President Donald Trump and others who said taking a knee during the anthem shows disrespect to the flag and the military, Kaepernick and players who take part in the peaceful protest insist this is not the case.

Trump recently said during a speech in Alabama: “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired!’”

After Kaepernick initially refused to stand for the national anthem, he spoke with former Green Beret Nate Boyer, who felt it would be more respectful for Kaepernick to kneel if he wished to protest; sparking his decision and others to take a knee to protest.

According to the grievance, the quarterback feels his decision to take part in peaceful protests has resulted in his being denied employment in the NFL. Many of his fans are keen to see that change.