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Cheese curds, 3/1: Packers hope to keep trio of high-priced veterans for 2018

The Packers want to keep Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Clay Matthews in Green Bay for next season, and David Bakhtiari jumps into the recruiting game.

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Since the end of the 2017 season, speculation has run rampant that the Green Bay Packers will sever ties with one or multiple high-priced veterans before free agency: wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb as well as outside linebacker Clay Matthews. Those theories arise out of the team’s current cap space situation (not dire, but also not the usual war chest of funds) as well as the expectation that inevitable extension for franchise quarterback Aaron Rodgers will eat up a considerable amount of Green Bay’s cash.

While any and all could ultimately depart this offseason, the Packers could end up retaining them all, at least according to their new general manager.

Packers prefer to keep Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Clay Matthews | ESPN

”If you have really good players, you need to keep really good players,” Gutekunst said during his availability Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine. “And you don’t let them walk out the door just for that reason.”

Those words don’t guarantee a return for Nelson, Cobb, and/or Matthews, but it paints a wildly different picture than the one many saw just after last season ended. Gutekunst didn’t say whether the team would evaluate their current contracts, however, so some change could come on that front.

Vowing to be aggressive in free agency, new Packers GM Brian Gutekunst vows to be smart, too | Wisconsin State Journal

Since announcing their new GM and power structure, the Packers have consistently used the word aggressive to describe their offseason plans. That probably pleases a good portion of their fanbase, but it doesn’t serve them much good if they pursue the wrong players. Gutekunst appears to understand that, pointing out that the free-agent market can prove “riskier” for teams such as Green Bay. The Packers need to find the right balance between acquiring veteran talent and maintaining their flexibility for the future.

Packers RB Aaron Jones pleads no contest to marijuana-related charge | ESPN

As for current members of the Packers, Aaron Jones has finally resolved his marijuana case stemming from an October traffic stop. The Packers have not commented on the matter since acknowledging it back in November. Jones could face league punishment under the substance-abuse policy.

David Bakhtiari recruiting Gronkowski, Wilkerson to play for Packers | Packers Wire

Not satisfied with being merely an All-Pro left tackle, the Packers’ David Bakhtiari has decided to play recruiter as the new league year approaches. Not only did he make overtures to New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, but he tried to rope in teammates Mike Daniels, Kenny Clark, and Dean Lowry to appeal to recently released defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson. Whether Green Bay has any actual interest in these players remains to be seen, but at least Bakhtiari’s emoji game looks strong.