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Cheese Curds, 4/6: Packers face more tough free agent decisions in 2018

With several key players on both sides of the football hitting free agency next year and a relatively modest amount of cap space expected, Ted Thompson and company will have some difficult calls to make in the coming months.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

While the 2017 free agency period is essentially over (aside from a few bargain players who are still on the market), the Green Bay Packers' front office is focused on the 2017 NFL Draft. However, once that draft concludes and undrafted signings are completed, there should be a quick turnaround to start focusing on the team's 2018 free agent class.

This team has a bunch of key players who will be hitting free agency next season, most of whom come from the 2014 draft class. Although the Packers can use a 5th-year option on first-rounder Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (something they will surely do), there are several other key players who will hit the market.

Names from that group include Ha Ha's safety partner, Morgan Burnett, whose contract expires at the end of this coming season. Also in that group are a pair of starters on the offensive line - center Corey Linsley and left guard Lane Taylor. Perhaps the toughest player to keep, however, will be wide receiver Davante Adams, who could demand a hefty salary in today's receiver market.

As always, teams need to look one, two, three years ahead when planning out rosters. If they fail to do so, they set themselves up for salary cap hell and overall collapse. As of now, the Packers are projected to have around $42 million in cap space next season, despite having just 30 players locked into contracts through 2018 or beyond. Keep a close eye on that as this year goes along, and we will dive into that item in one of today's Cheese Curds.

Surprise visits begin Day 2 |
The Tailgate Tour continued on throughout the day Wednesday, with the current and former Packers stopping at a handful of schools to take questions and share their experiences. Ahman Green in particular had a great message to the kids in attendance about bullying, while Ryan Longwell shared a metaphor about how he could have played for the Vikings after leaving Green Bay.

Packers' Davante Adams could be one of the most coveted free agent receivers next year |
With so many players taking one-year deals this season, there will be a few names who are on the market again: Alshon Jeffery and Terrelle Pryor among them. Still, Adams should be in that group with another good season. Meanwhile, 2014 first-round picks like Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, and Brandin Cooks will surely get their fifth-year options exercised, taking them off the market, while the Texans are sure to franchise tag or extend DeAndre Hopkins.

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It's like somebody has been reading Paul Noonan's work here at APC! The Packers need a running back who can catch the football, move around the formation and block for his quarterback. Right now, the only thing that we don't know that Montgomery can do for sure is pass-block, and you can bet that that will be a primary area of focus for him this offseason.

Oh, and he's basically exactly the same size as Ahman Green, who was a pretty darn good all-around running back in his own right.

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