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Cheese curds, 3/6: Packers connected with Landon Collins after avoiding franchise tag

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Landon Collins became one of the biggest stars to avoid the franchise tag this offseason.

NFL: New York Giants at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The 2019 league year begins exactly one week from today. Before that, the Green Bay Packers and other teams will have the opportunity to formally discuss deals with free agents and begin the first major period of player acquisition.

As with every season, the franchise tag and extensions have taken some of the top targets off the market. Even so, the Packers have some intriguing options to consider, including an All-Pro safety that avoided the tag.

NFL free agency: 5 likely landing spots for Landon Collins after the Giants don’t use franchise tag | NJ.com

Though not considered the top suitor for Landon Collins’ services, the Packers still make sense as a landing spot for the All-Pro safety. Collins would provide a play-making presence the defense presently lacks while giving coordinator Mike Pettine a versatile piece with which to creatively scheme.

Packers WR Geronimo Allison ready to regain his ‘groove’ | Packers News

At the time of his groin injury, Geronimo Allison was on pace for an 1,156-yard season, easily the best start of his young career. Now nearing 100 percent recovered, Allison must wait to find out at what level the Packers will tender him as a restricted free agent. He doesn’t have much agency in the process, but Allison says he’d like to remain in Green Bay. “I’m going to tell you I’m a Packer for life, baby.”

Rise of many athletic players at scouting combine benefits Packers’ first pick in April draft | Wisconsin State Journal

While the combine probably pushed prospects like Montez Sweat out of reach for the Packers, they should still have a shot at a pass rusher such as Brian Burns, an impact off-ball linebacker like Devin Bush, or one of the two Iowa tight ends.

Waves of fresh pass rushers one way to get pressure without star-power sackers | Packers News

The franchise tag removed most of the top pass rushers from the free-agent market. That leaves the Packers and other teams to fight over the scraps, a list headlined by Trey Flowers, Preston Smith, and Za’Darius Smith. While general manager Brian Gutekunst probably can’t afford to just go bargain hunting at the position this offseason, he also will have a hard time justifying the reported $17 million annual salary Flowers expects to land.