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Cheese Curds, 3/17: Free agency starts off with a bang for former Packers

Several of the Packers’ free agents and another former Packer have new homes already, while perhaps the biggest fish of all is still awaiting a deal.

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NFL: Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

When the Green Bay Packers made the first free agent news on legal tampering day on Monday, the NFL world was in shock. In all, Brian Gutekunst signed the first two players of the day, landing a pair of street free agents in a bid to bolster two of the team’s biggest need positions with quality but lower-risk players who will not hurt the team’s compensatory pick calculation for 2021.

Then, as the next few hours ticked by, the league seemed to lose its mind. Money flew around like crazy in the first few hours of the negotiation window, as usual, but trades were flying as well, including a pair that featured Pro Bowl or All-Pro receivers. The Packers are surely happy to see one of their recent nemeses leave the NFC North division, but the team sending him away is getting some nice compensation for him.

But in the early flurry of action, a few former Packers found their new homes quickly this year. Blake Martinez and Jimmy Graham have already agreed to new deals — one within the division for a hilarious price — while Randall Cobb is headed to a new city as well instead of reuniting with Mike McCarthy.

Here’s a look back at Monday’s action, with much more sure to come on Tuesday.

Giants land ex-Packers LB Blake Martinez on 3-year deal | ESPN
First up we have the most recent big deal for a former Packer, as Martinez agreed to his deal with the Giants late Monday night. It's a pretty good one for the linebacker, who gets $10 million per year -- probably far more than the Packers were willing to pay, especially after they landed Christian Kirksey on Monday morning.

Former Green Bay Packers tight end Jimmy Graham joining Chicago Bears |
This one, Just wow. The Packers elected to save $8 million when they cut Graham, who had the highest cap hit among tight ends in 2019 and couldn't crack 500 receiving yards. Now the Bears are paying Graham $16M for two years, and for what exactly?

Vikings agree to trade Packers nemesis Stefon Diggs to Bills | Packers Wire
The Vikings, meanwhile, sent the Packers' old nemesis to the AFC, in a move that should make the Green and Gold faithful pretty happy. They did get a pretty nice draft pick haul back in return though, including the Bills' first-round pick.

Texans agree to deal with Randall Cobb after dumping DeAndre Hopkins | Yahoo! Sports
Finally, this former Packer cashed in with almost $20M guaranteed from Houston instead of reuniting with his old head coach. However, the big story out of Houston was the trade of DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals; given the price that Buffalo paid for Diggs, the Texans' return was ludicrously low as Arizona seems to have gotten away with highway robbery.

Packers Take Big Step Back at Right Tackle |
Bryan Bulaga's price tag will surely be way out of the Packers' reach, which makes the Rick Wagner signing make complete sense. He and a draft pick will likely compete for the starting job on the right side, but this argues that Wagner is a poor pass-blocker who will be a significant downgrade. Bill Huber also says that the Packers have moved on from Jared Veldheer, though without sourcing that report.

What signing LB Christian Kirksey and OT Ricky Wagner mean for the Packers – The Athletic
Here's another look at Wagner, plus a breakdown of Kirksey's deal and the two players' potential impacts this season.

What the new CBA means for the Packers |
Finally, here's a quick breakdown of the major provisions in the CBA that was approved over the weekend. A 14-team playoff bracket seems likely to start right away in 2020, while the schedule will almost certainly expand the regular season sometime in 2021 or later.

How to Work From Home - Banner Society
If you are on a mandatory work from home schedule like some of us at APC, be sure to read this guide from a master of this delicate practice: Spencer Hall.