Packers Rumors

Packers Sign QB Jordan Love

Aaron Rodgers‘ heir apparent is officially in the fold. On Wednesday, the Packers officially announced the signing of quarterback Jordan Love.

[RELATED: Packers Sign A.J. Dillon]

The Packers were rumored to be interested in the Utah State QB before the draft, but it was still a surprise to see them trade up to take Love in the first round. The Packers gave up pick No. 136 in the fourth-round to move up four spots, grabbing the promising youngster at No. 26 overall. In accordance with his slot, Love will earn $12.38MM over the full life of the four-year contract and collect a $5.56MM signing bonus.

Opinions were split on Love heading into the draft. He was viewed as a potential top pick after a dominant sophomore season where he averaged 8.6 yards per attempt with 32 touchdowns and six interceptions. Then, in 2019, Love regressed – he averaged just 7.2 yards per attempt with 20 touchdowns against 17 interceptions.

Meanwhile, no one’s quite sure of what this means for Rodgers.

I’m not going to talk about all that we talked about, but he was … let’s just say surprised that they went in that direction,” Rodgers’ predecessor Brett Favre said in May. I think he’ll play somewhere else.”

Favre’s “gut” tells him that Rodgers won’t finish his career in Green Bay. For now, he’s under contract through 2023 with cap numbers in excess of $36MM in 2021 and ’22.

With Love signed, the Packers have just three stragglers to go. Here’s the full rundown of their draft class, via PFR’s tracker:

1-26: Jordan Love, QB (Utah State): Signed
2-62: A.J. Dillon, RB (Boston College): Signed
3-94: Josiah Deguara, TE (Cincinnati)
5-175: Kamal Martin, LB (Minnesota)
6-192: Jon Runyan, G (Michigan): Signed
6-208: Jake Hanson, C (Oregon)
6-209: Simon Stepaniak, T (Indiana): Signed
7-236: Vernon Scott, S (TCU): Signed
7-242: Jonathan Garvin, DE (Miami): Signed

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Packers Sign A.J. Dillon

The Packers have formally signed second-round pick A.J. Dillon, per a club announcement. The running back out of Boston College is set to earn $5.29MM over the course of his four-year deal, per the terms of his slot at No. 62 overall. That sum includes a $1.404MM signing bonus.

Dillon dazzled as a frosh, running for 1,589 yards and 14 touchdowns. He was slowed a bit by a leg injury in 2018, but he came roaring back last year. In his final year at BC, Dillon posted 1,685 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns while putting together one heck of a highlight reel. Among his brightest moments – a pair of 200-yard games, against NC State and Syracuse.

Dillon, who once thought his football future was at linebacker, stands at nearly 6’0″ and weighs roughly 250 pounds. The powerful runner will now look to make a dent as a pro, playing alongside incumbent starter Aaron Jones.

Here’s the full rundown of the Packers’ 2020 NFL Draft class, courtesy of PFR’s tracker:

1-26: Jordan Love, QB (Utah State)
2-62: A.J. Dillon, RB (Boston College): Signed
3-94: Josiah Deguara, TE (Cincinnati)
5-175: Kamal Martin, LB (Minnesota)
6-192: Jon Runyan, G (Michigan): Signed
6-208: Jake Hanson, C (Oregon)
6-209: Simon Stepaniak, T (Indiana): Signed
7-236: Vernon Scott, S (TCU): Signed
7-242: Jonathan Garvin, DE (Miami): Signed

Jordy Nelson Discussed Packers Return With Aaron Rodgers

Before the start of last season, Jordy Nelson discussed a potential Packers return with Aaron Rodgers (via Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal). However, with the 2020 season on the horizon, the wide receiver insists he’s happy in retirement. 

[RELATED: Matt LaFleur Promises Better Play Calling]

We’re not coming back,” Nelson recently told Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal. “There’s no doubt about that. We’re done.”

Nelson, 35 in May, was released in March of 2018. After that, he hooked on with the Raiders, where he had 63 catches for 739 yards in his lone season in silver and black. The Raiders dropped Nelson last March and, two weeks later, he announced his retirement. Somewhere in that timeframe, Rodgers and Nelson chatted about un-retirement, but it sounds like the Packers front office wasn’t on board.

I don’t know how serious they got, just because there’s only so much control that we had over it. There’s other people in the organization who make those decisions.” Nelson said. “So I wasn’t going to dive into a hardcore conversation unless I knew there was a chance to come back. I think [Rodgers] knew deep down that if there was an opportunity right after Oakland, I probably would have [returned]. But obviously it’s not up to us.”

Over the course of his career, Nelson snagged 8,500 receiving yards, 72 touchdowns, and a Super Bowl ring. He wasn’t in top form with Oakland, but he still managed 12.2 yards per catch, up from his career-low 9.1 average in his final Packers season.

Nelson admits that he had the itch to play football over golf last year, but he says he’s sticking with retirement.

Packers Notes: Rodgers, LaFleur, Bakhtiari, Taylor

The Packers’ offense lacked its usual punch in 2019 and, so far, they have yet to add a playmaker this offseason. If the Packers aren’t able to address that need between now and September, head coach Matt LaFleur believes that he can make a difference from the sideline.

It does start with the playcalling, maybe taking a few more chances to try to help generate those plays down the field,” said LaFleur (via ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky). “Typically, if you’re getting explosives, you’ve got a much better chance at scoring points.”

Last year, the Packers ranked 20th in explosive plays – passes of 20 yards or more and runs for at least ten yards. But, as Demovsky notes, it wasn’t the result of a conservative strategy. Aaron Rodgers had the league’s fifth-highest rate of pass attempts for 15+ yards and placed third in attempts for 20+ yards.

For now, the Packers are hoping that wide receiver Devin Funchess, second-round running back A.J. Dillon and third-round tight end Josiah Deguara will make a difference.

Here’s more out of Green Bay:

  • After taking a pay cut in late May, Packers guard Lane Taylor will earn just $910K in base salary this year, according to Demovsky (on Twitter). He’s now set to count for $2.4MM against the cap in his final year under contract, saving the team roughly $3MM against the cap. The Packers now have about $14MM to spend, which could give them some room to add a playmaker for Rodgers.
  • The extra cap room could also help the Packers lock up left tackle David Bakhtiari. In 2016, the Packers made Bakhtiari one of the five highest-paid tackles in the NFL with a four-year, $48MM extension. Now set to enter his final year, Bakhtiari’s value is tough to peg, as Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette writes. Bakhtiari, 29 in September, is one of the league’s best outside protectors, but he did regress slightly in 2019. Last year, he was flagged 12 times, his highest penalty total since 2015. For his part, Bakhtiari says that it was the product of adjusting to a new system. “The false starts are … I mean, that’s just unacceptable,” Bakhtiari said. “That just really comes down to thinking more about the concepts. Also just being new to a bunch of new things that are going on, So I’m taking my thought process away from the cadence. I think I kind of situated that and ironed that out.”
  • The Packers inked rookie Jon Runyan Jr. late last week, officially bringing one of Bakhtiari’s new backups into the fold.

Packers Sign Jon Runyan Jr.

The Packers signed sixth-round guard Jon Runyan Jr., according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The Michigan product is, of course, the son of longtime NFL tackle Jon Runyan

The younger Runyan was the first of three linemen selected by the Packers in the sixth-round. After calling his name at No. 192 overall, they nabbed Oregon center Jake Hanson (No. 208) and Indiana tackle Simon Stepaniak (Indiana). With Runyan, Stepaniak, and seventh-rounders Vernon Scott and Jonathan Garvin under contract, the Packers still have five rookies left to sign from this year’s class.

Like his dad, Runyan has a pro-ready build for the tackle position. He stands at 6’4″ and 307 pounds, a few inches shorter than his pops but only ~20 pounds lighter.

Here’s the full rundown of the Packers’ class, via PFR’s 2020 NFL Draft Tracker:

1-26: Jordan Love, QB (Utah State)
2-62: A.J. Dillon, RB (Boston College)
3-94: Josiah Deguara, TE (Cincinnati)
5-175: Kamal Martin, LB (Minnesota)
6-192: Jon Runyan, G (Michigan): Signed
6-208: Jake Hanson, C (Oregon)
6-209: Simon Stepaniak, T (Indiana): Signed
7-236: Vernon Scott, S (TCU): Signed
7-242: Jonathan Garvin, DE (Miami): Signed

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Packers Sign Rookie Simon Stepaniak

The Packers are making headway on their rookie class by starting from the bottom. On Monday afternoon, the Packers announced the signing of sixth-round guard Simon Stepaniak.

Stepaniak started 31 games for the Hoosiers across four years, including the last two years in which he served as the team’s first-string right guard. In accordance with his slot, he’ll get a four-year deal worth just under $3.5MM.

At 6’4″ and 315 pounds, evaluators are high on his raw natural strength. He’ll still have to shake some rust from his December ACL tear, but his future looks bright, especially since he can offer support at right guard, left guard, and center.

Stepaniak’s deal comes on the heels of completed contracts with seventh-round safety Vernon Scott and seventh-round edge rusher Jonathan Garvin. As shown in PFR’s 2020 NFL Draft Pick Signing Tracker, the Packers now have three of their nine selections under contract:

1-26: Jordan Love, QB (Utah State)
2-62: A.J. Dillon, RB (Boston College)
3-94: Josiah Deguara, TE (Cincinnati)
5-175: Kamal Martin, LB (Minnesota)
6-192: Jon Runyan, G (Michigan)
6-208: Jake Hanson, C (Oregon)
6-209: Simon Stepaniak, T (Indiana): Signed
7-236: Vernon Scott, S (TCU): Signed
7-242: Jonathan Garvin, DE (Miami): Signed

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Packers Sign Rookie Vernon Scott

On Monday, the club announced the signing of seventh-round safety Vernon Scott. With that, the Packers now have two of their draft picks officially in the fold.

Scott, a safety out of TCU, was selected in the seventh-round as the No. 236 overall pick. Per the terms of his slot, he’ll receive a four-year, $3.378MM deal with a signing bonus of about $84K. Of course, it’s not a given that he’ll earn that full ~$3.4MM – as a late draft choice, he’ll first have to earn his spot on the 53-man roster, and that’s far from a sure thing. Still, he’ll have an opportunity to make the cut as a supporting safety behind starters Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage.

The Packers are high on Scott’s natural ability. He was a three-sport athlete in high school and, while on campus, he ran a 4.4 second 40-yard-dash and posted a 35-inch vertical leap. The raw talent is undeniably there, but he’ll have to impress this summer in order to find his place on the team.

Scott and fellow seventh-round choice Jonathan Garvin are accounted for, but the Packers still have seven draft picks to go, as shown in PFR’s tracker.

Packers’ Lane Taylor Agrees To Pay Cut

The Packers and Lane Taylor have agreed to revise his contract, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter). Taylor was originally set to earn a non-guaranteed base salary of $3.8MM for 2020, but it was completely non-guaranteed. Now, the veteran guard will make less than half of that – $1.5MM, with a $100K signing bonus. 

[RELATED: Aaron Jones “Would Love To Be A Lifelong Packer”]

Taylor was a likely release candidate for the Packers, who could have cut him without much in the way of cap consequences. Taylor, a former undrafted free agent out of Oklahoma State, started 45 games for the Packers between 2016 and 2018. He started the first two games of 2019 at left guard, but a biceps injury suffered in a September win over the Vikings wiped out his year.

With the reworked deal, Taylor will have a chance to stick on the roster and compete with Elgton Jenkins for the starting left guard spot, opposite of Billy Turner.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Packers' Adrian Amos Back To 100%

  • The pectoral injury Adrian Amos battled in the playoffs did not require surgery, and the Packers safety said he is back to 100%, per Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com, on Twitter. Amos played all but four of Green Bay’s defensive snaps during the regular season but was unable to finish the NFC championship game.

Aaron Jones: “I Would Love To Be A Lifelong Packer”

Following a tremendous 2019 season, Packers RB Aaron Jones is in line for a lucrative extension that would catapult him up the list of the league’s highest-paid running backs. Green Bay met with Jones’ camp at the combine, but it’s currently unclear where the two sides stand in their contract talks.

For his part, Jones would like to stay with the Packers for the long haul. “I would love to be a lifelong Packer,” he said. “I trust my agents, and I trust the Packers. I trust them to get a deal done. If I can control what I can control, I feel like it will be taken care of” (Twitter links via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com).

Jones’ agent, Chris Cabott, confirmed Wednesday discussions with the Packers have taken place, Demovsky adds. But the parties have more work to do.

Green Bay selected Boston College RB A.J. Dillon in the second round of this year’s draft, which could suggest that the club is less keen on a long-term deal. On the other hand, Dillon does not presently profile as the type of receiving threat that Jones is, so there may be room for both players over the next couple of years.

But Dillon could end up poaching Jones’ goal-line carries, and head coach Matt LaFleur has repeatedly expressed his preference for a RB-by-committee approach. With Dillon and holdover Jamaal Williams in the picture, Jones may be hard-pressed to replicate his 2019 production.

Jones said he is not disappointed or surprised that the club invested a high draft choice in a running back, but he surely hopes to cash in while his value could be at its peak. As a dual-threat RB, it would not be terribly surprising to seem him command $10MM or so on a yearly basis, but a 2020 decline — along with the league’s general reluctance to give large second contracts to running backs — could depress his market.

The former fifth-round pick ran for 1,084 yards with a league-leading 16 touchdowns and averaged 4.6 yards per carry last year. He also hauled in 49 receptions – one of several new career watermarks – for 474 yards and three scores.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.