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Cheese Curds, 3/9: Packers finally break the ice in free agency as league year begins

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Ted Thompson made his first big play of this year's free agency period, bringing back a key component of his team's defense. And we haven't even made it to the official start of the new year yet!

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This morning, I woke up and started rounding up today's links for Cheese Curds, while expecting to write a lede about how the Green Bay Packers would be awaiting the start of the NFL's 2017 league year and would likely be losing several key players in free agency as of 4 PM Eastern time.

Then Ted Thompson flipped that plan on its head, reportedly agreeing to terms with outside linebacker Nick Perry on a five-year contract to keep him in Green Bay.

How's that for a surprise?

Maybe it should not come as a shock, however. After all, this is hardly the first big-name player with whom Thompson has come to a deal just before the start of free agency. He did it with Sam Shields and Randall Cobb a few years ago as well, and Perry's return will be a welcome sight for a team that still needs help in their pass rush.

Still, there's plenty more time left to go before 4 PM arrives and players can actually sign their deals with other NFL teams. Stay tuned throughout the day to our free agency tracker as we continue to keep track of all the major rumors in free agency.

What scouts say: Evaluating Packers' free agents | Packersnews.com
Not to put a damper on the reported Nick Perry contract, but a handful of Bob McGinn's scout contacts don't see him as an every-down pass-rusher. Still, there are a few that view his market value as anywhere up to $10 million per year. Will his new contract land above that?

Big hits nothing new for Kentrell Brice | Packers.com
Brice's college teammate, Xavier Woods, was the guy who made plays on the football. Brice, on the other hand, made plays on ball-carriers, and was known for his big hits long before he landed in Green Bay.

Happy New League Year means $5 million for Packers' Mike Daniels - ESPN
The Packers have a few roster bonuses to pay out within a few days of the new league year beginning, but we're betting that the team is perfectly happy to dole out some money to Daniels and left tackle David Bakhtiari.

NFL free agency 2017: Grades for every move as they happen - SBNation.com
Some of the bigger moves get breakdowns from our dot-com brethren,who will probably have a look at Perry's re-signing soon.

NFL free agency about discipline for Belichick, Patriots | The MMQB with Peter King
Well, the Pats just landed CB Stephon Gilmore. Meanwhile, Packers are about as disciplined as they come under Ted Thompson, too. (Cue the "Ted is TOO discplined!" comments.)

Prospects whose tape needs revisited post-combine | PFF
Which top draft prospects disappointed with their combine workouts? PFF Analyst Josh Liskiewitz runs down the list, which includes RB Dalvin Cook and DT Jonathan Allen.