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Cheese Curds, 2/16: Gutekunst left no stone unturned; still waiting for J.J. Watt updates

The Packers’ GM is living up to his promise of using every avenue to build his team’s roster.

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NFL: AUG 08 Preseason - Texans at Packers Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

When the Green Bay Packers hired Brian Gutekunst to be their new general manager in early 2018, the young executive made a vow to the team’s fans: that he would “leave no stone unturned” in the roster-building process. In 2020, he backed up that promise by taking full advantage of the NFL’s adjusted roster rules, carrying veteran players on the practice squad, acquiring depth pieces via waivers, and even bolstering the roster in the postseason with outside acquisitions.

Gutekunst has made big free agency splashes, extended some of the Packers’ stars, and made moves both up and down in the NFL Draft. He has also been active with trades, at least in training camp, swapping players for late draft picks on the regular.

Now one of the potential moves on many Packers fans’ minds is whether the Packers will make a serious run at signing former Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt. The non-financial case is an easy one — he could come back to his home state, would be able to live close to his wife, who plays professional soccer in Chicago, and could participate in all of the Packers’ traditions that he grew up loving.

The contract piece? That will have to work itself out and the Packers will probably need to stretch their budget if they want to bring Watt aboard. But when it comes to everything else, no other team can match the intangible benefits that the Packers can.

Adapt and adjust: Packers utilized flexibility created by roster rule changes |
The Packers took full advantage of the NFL's COVID-related roster rules, carrying veteran players on the practice squad and elevating one or two practice squad players to the active roster almost every week. And although they didn't play, the team's two veteran postseason additions were shrewd moves that very well could have paid off if circumstances had changed.

How Packers could pitch J.J. Watt on playing in Green Bay | Packers Wire
Now the Packers need to figure out just how hard they will make a run at bringing Watt home to Wisconsin. That of course is where the Packers' pitch can begin, along with the team being a Super Bowl contender and having some other players up front who can take pressure away from Watt.

J.J. Watt in 2019: Playing vs. Packers at Lambeau a childhood dream |
Watt commented during joint practices with the Packers in 2019 that it was a dream come true to be able to participate in the Packers' training camp bicycle program. He actually broke his kid's bike, though he of course replaced it.

Projecting salary cap cuts from across the NFL – The Athletic (subscription)
Remember when the Packers signed Kyle Fuller to an offer sheet when the Bears used the transition tag on him in 2018 and Chicago matched it? Fuller is now mentioned as a potential cap casualty, along with former Packers Casey Hayward, Jimmy Graham, Greg Van Roten, and Jared Cook.

Ex-NFL WR Vincent Jackson found dead in Florida at age 38 | ESPN
Jackson retired following the 2016 season and had been living in Tampa.

Pair of burglary suspects arrested after deputies follow footprints in snow |
Sure, the Seattle doesn't get a ton of snow regularly, but this is a ridiculous lack of common sense from these suspects.