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Cheese Curds, 2/19: Clay Matthews’ role to be determined; first free agent of 2018 signs

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Where will Clay play in 2018? Probably a little bit of everywhere, but there’s no formal confirmation just yet.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Carolina Panthers Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

When the Green Bay Packers take the field for the first time in 2018, fans can expect a very different look on defense.

The same goes for Clay Matthews and his role on the team.

After a few moves back and forth between being a (mostly) full-time pass-rusher and a full-time inside linebacker, Matthews’ skill set appears to be right up the alley of his new coordinator, Mike Pettine. Although Matthews did rush a bit from an inside position over the past two years, this year might see him roam around even more to take advantage of his diverse skills. Still, there’s no official confirmation of that, since Pettine has not spoken since his opening press conference, so the official plans

Meanwhile, the first shoe has dropped in the 2018 free agency period. Granted, it was a player who was released by his former team, which is why that player can sign with a new team right away.

Next week’s Scouting Combine will be a significant opportunity for NFL front offices to touch base with agents before the actual craziness of free agency begins; there should be plenty of rumors and interesting nuggets of news next week from Indianapolis.

Burning questions facing the Packers' NFC North foes | Packers.com
The NFC North has two new head coaches and a new general manager, plus a division winner with three quarterbacks to choose from. It's going to be a fascinating offseason in the division.

Clay Matthews should be at center (and on outside) in Mike Pettine's D - ESPN
Pettine spoke about Matthews' versatility when he was first hired, and although we don't know exactly how his defense will look just yet, you can bet that Clay will line up all over the place in 2018.

Texans release Brian Cushing after 9 seasons - SBNation.com
Cushing probably won't be coming to Green Bay, but it is interesting to see Matthews' former college teammate on the move. He has served a pair of suspensions for positive PED tests, with the second coming in 2017.

5 ways Packers can create more salary cap space for free agency | Packers Wire
Most of these possibilities are obvious -- dealing with the contracts of Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Clay Matthews. However, the final option is to cut Lance Kendricks, which would leave the cupboard completely bare at tight end.

Elite company for Green Bay's Kevin Harlan | Packersnews.com
Congrats to Harlan, who is of course the son of former Packers president Bob Harlan. Kevin will receive the national broadcaster of the year award from the National Sports Media Association, an honor that has gone to many legendary broadcasters before him.

Chiefs sign ex-Raiders CB David Amerson to 1-year deal - NFL.com
It seems that for some reason, players tend to stay in the AFC West a lot. Maybe it's not more common there than in other divisions, but it just feels that way.