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5 things learned from Packers GM Brian Gutekunst at the NFL Scouting Combine

Comments on Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, London, salary cap, pending free agents

Packers General Manager Brian Gutekunst
Packers General Manager Brian Gutekunst

INDIANAPOLIS – Packers General Manager Brian Gutekunst addressed the media Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

Here are five things learned from his remarks:

1. There's no news yet on Aaron Rodgers, but the Packers believe they'll know something within a couple of weeks.

"No new updates," Gutekunst said on Rodgers' plans, which he expects to learn before the official start of free agency and the new league year on March 16.

"There's a lot of decisions that have to be made before that. So, that would be helpful. I would think we would know something before then."

2. Davante Adams' contract situation is not tied to Rodgers' future.

Rodgers has indicated he'll make his decision with the franchise-tag window for Adams in mind, and the Packers have another week, until March 8, to apply the tag to Adams if they choose to.

But Gutekunst indicated that while knowing Rodgers' decision as soon as possible would help with planning, the futures of the two offensive cornerstones are not tied to one another.

"Those two situations are completely different," he said. "They're two different players and two different situations, both great in their own right. We were lucky to have them and hopefully able to have them both moving forward. But they're separate."

Gutekunst added there's been "constant communication" between the team and Adams' representatives as the tag deadline approaches.

3. The Packers are expecting a lot of fans on their side in London.

There will be plenty of logistics to work out once the Packers know their date and opponent for the game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this upcoming season, but one relative certainty will be an energetic crowd overseas.

"There's some unique challenges that we haven't had," Gutekunst said, referring to the Packers being the last team in the NFL to play a regular-season international game.

"But at the same time, I know for our fans it's going to be pretty exciting. Everyone was pretty fired up about it. I got a lot of texts when the news came out. Everyone was making plans. So, you know, Packer nation will show up strong."

4. With the salary cap challenges, the Packers are working to balance pushing to win now without compromising the ability to still compete down the road.

It's a tough line to walk given how much money the Packers are pushing onto future salary caps while being on the verge of a Super Bowl for multiple seasons now.

Gutekunst and executive vice president/director of football operations Russ Ball want to keep the current team contending for a championship without setting up a drastic fall, financially speaking and otherwise, later on.

"I do think we recognize what kind of football team we have and the opportunity that's in front of us," Gutekunst said. "But you're always making sure you can field a competitive team year in and year out.

"You've got to be mindful of what we're doing in the future, even though sometimes right now feels like all that matters. You always have to keep that in mind."

So far, the Packers have restructured the contracts of David Bakhtiari, Kenny Clark and Aaron Jones to create cap relief for '22, with more moves to come. Those first three were obvious ones Gutekunst knew they'd deal with regardless, and others will be dependent on how "things kind of fall."

5. The Packers want both De'Vondre Campbell and Rasul Douglas back on defense, but whether both can fit under the salary cap remains to be seen.

Campbell and Douglas had big 2021 seasons in their lone year (thus far) with the Packers, and both are pending free agents looking at large salary boosts given their production – Campbell was named first-team All-Pro at inside linebacker, while Douglas led the team with five interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns.

The way Gutekunst talked about them, if there's any way they can fit within the salary cap puzzle, the Packers would like to make it happen.

Gutekunst referred to Campbell as a durable defender who took "our defense to a new level" with "numbers (that) were off the charts."

He also categorized Douglas as a complete player who helped on special teams and as a run defender from the cornerback spot.

"He did stuff … that maybe doesn't make the headlines," Gutekunst said.

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