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Cheese Curds, 4/5: Packers aren’t afraid of older free agents in 2018

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The Green Bay Packers signed one 35-year-old free agent this spring, and another could return.

Green Bay Packers v New Orleans Saints Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

One of Ted Thompson’s hallmarks during his tenure as general manager of the Green Bay Packers was that his teams routinely ranked among the youngest in the National Football League.

Some of that was due to circumstance, but much of that was a direct result of Thompson’s preferred draft-and-develop approach to roster building. Rarely would a player earn a third contract with the Packers, as Thompson had been more than willing to let go of players who hit free agency around the age of 30. Look back at T.J. Lang, Tramon Williams, Cullen Jenkins, and others to see a multitude of examples of this.

Only rarely did Thompson consider bringing in a player over the age of 30 in free agency (when he brought one in at all), with Julius Peppers being the only notable player exceeding that age when he signed with Green Bay. (Note: Charles Woodson and Martellus Bennett both turned 30 during their first years with the Packers.)

This year, however, Brian Gutekunst is taking over and has already signed two players over that age. Tight end Jimmy Graham is 31 and will turn 32 in November, while cornerback Tramon Williams just turned 35. Meanwhile, the Packers are still seriously considering guard Jahri Evans, who also turns 35 this year.

The Packers have signed more free agents already than Thompson averaged in his tenure, but it is the ages of those players that seems to show the biggest difference between Gutekunst and Thompson so far.

Tramon Williams 'doesn't look like he aged a day' | Packers.com
Head coach Mike McCarthy talked about Williams at the Owners Meetings last week, saying that "his tape was really good." There have been a lot of changes since 2014, Williams' last season in Green Bay, with only Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Demetri Goodson remaining in the secondary from that season.

Jahri Evans willing to play waiting game with Packers | Packersnews.com
Evans isn’t in a rush to decide what he’s doing for 2018. He says that right now he wants to play again this fall, but it’s all about the right team and the right fit — but the Packers certainly seem to be a good situation if they want him back.

Cameron Meredith is perfect option for Packers to replace Jordy Nelson | Packers Wire
The Packers signed one Bears free agent to an offer sheet this spring, only to see Chicago match the contract. Could they do the same with Meredith? He lost all of 2017 to a knee injury, but he did post 66 catches for 888 yards in 2016 at 24 years old.

Veteran QB Matt Cassel signing with Detroit Lions - NFL.com
Cassel will supplant Jake Rudock as Matthew Stafford's backup after playing behind Marcus Mariota for two years in Tennessee.

Titans new uniforms: Jerseys unveiled in Nashville after leak - SBNation.com
Speaking of the Titans, ugh. The uniforms themselves aren't bad -- and I actually like the dark blue helmets -- but those numbers are just awful.

Finally, goodbye to Richard Rodgers, and Eagles fans should have some fun with his internet nickname: