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Cheese Curds, 3/9: NFL teams are gearing up for the start of free agency

From big contract offers to restricted free agent tenders, the prep work for the start of the new league year next Tuesday.

Wild Card Round - Minnesota Vikings v New Orleans Saints Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Free agency officially starts a week from Tuesday, with the NFL’s 2020 league year beginning at 4:00 PM Eastern on March 18th. With it will come the frenzy of the first day or so of the free agency process, when ridiculous amounts of money — some of it guaranteed, much of it not — will be thrown around in big contracts for players changing teams.

The Green Bay Packers probably hope that a handful of their players will not depart in free agency and will instead re-sign with the team. That would help Aaron Rodgers in particular, since a few of those players are on the offensive line that keeps him protected. For example, Bryan Bulaga’s status remains a question, but there are at least some options if he does end up leaving.

Meanwhile, the process is really getting underway for other teams and players around the league. The Dallas Cowboys, for example, are trying to avoid a quarterback hitting free agency, while the same can be said for the New Orleans Saints. The two players will likely get vastly different amounts of money, but should retain under their old teams’ control, at least for 2020.

Here’s a look at where some things stand before the frenzy begins next week.

Rodgers Trusts Gutekunst Will Make Right Moves |
The Packers' quarterback is saying all the right things in his position, which requires of him that he perform on the field. It's on the Packers' general manager to put the right guys around Rodgers to help him do that, but #12 seems confident in that happening.

Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers bemoans lack of 'critical thinking' by players on CBA proposal
Rodgers also spoke late last week about the CBA, saying that the 17-game schedule was never discussed during initial negotiations between the NFL and NFLPA, instead saying that the league inserted that midway through the process and made it non-negotiable.

Cowboys reportedly offer Dak Prescott richest contract in league history - ProFootballTalk
Meanwhile, the Cowboys are gearing up to pay Dak Prescott, reportedly offering him a deal worth $33 million annually in a sign that free agency and funny money season is almost here. If the two sides can’t come to a deal before next Tuesday, however, expect the franchise tag to come into play.

Saints plan to place first-round tender on quarterback Taysom Hill | ESPN
Is Taysom Hill a franchise quarterback? It sure seems like the Saints believe so, as they're giving the soon-to-be 30-year-old almost $5 million to net themself a first-round pick if he signs elsewhere.

What if Packers could trade up for LB/S Isaiah Simmons? | Packers Wire
I think that Simmons would be a tremendous fit in Mike Pettine's defense (you can hear more about that in this weeks episode of The APC Podcast) but it would take a king's ransom to move up from 30 to get in range for him.

Green Bay native James Morgan looking to make history |
The Ashwaubenon alumnus seeks to become first area quarterback to be picked in the NFL Draft in over 30 years.

Bryan Bulaga replacement options | Packer Report
We discussed Jared Veldheer last week, and some combination of him plus a draft pick would seem to be the most logical option if the Packers can't come to an agreement with Bulaga.

Man draws gun in bar after becoming upset with karaoke song, police say | Lake County Newsletter |
Look, I dislike bad karaoke songs as much as the next person...though apparently not as much as this guy.

(Editor’s note: this article initially indicated that the start of the 2020 league year is on March 17th, instead of the correct date of March 18th. The error has been corrected.)