Notebook: Packers go to free agent market

Green Bay Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst speaks to the media during the 2018 NFL Combine.Photo: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

GM Gutekunst provides new approach to free agency

DE PERE, Wisc. -- In Mike McCarthy's first 12 years as head coach, general manager Ted Thompson largely ignored the free-agent market and built his team with a "draft and develop" philosophy. Brian Gutekunst replaced Thompson in January and took a more aggressive approach to free agency.

"Any time you can add experience and let's not forget about the way these men fit into the locker room, their reputations, what they bring, that's all part of it," McCarthy said. "Because you're always focused on the chemistry and the culture of your locker room and it's just an opportunity to improve."

--Aaron Rodgers' contract ends after the 2019 season, although the Packers could place the franchise tag on him for two seasons. With the deal nearing an end, most expected the Packers and Rodgers to sign a long-term deal this offseason. That hasn't happened, though. "I think we both want the same thing," Packers president Mark Murphy said. "Those things have a way of working themselves out. I'm confident we'll get something done."

--Packers' new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine had extremely successful stints with the New York Jets and in Buffalo. But Pettine knows turning Green Bay's defense around will be a work in progress. "I've been pleased," Pettine said. "The mistakes we're making are ones that hopefully you tuck those away and you learn from them and you don't repeat them. You'd much rather make the mistakes in the spring than on Sunday in the fall. I feel good about where we are, but it's very, very much in the infant stages for us.

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