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Cheese Curds, 3/15: Re-signing Campbell is a major boost for Packers heading into 2022

With Aaron Rodgers back, the Packers remain committed to competing for Super Bowls over the next few years. Keeping Campbell in the fold — and doing so on a reasonable contract — is a great step.

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NFL: DEC 12 Bears at Packers Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In the span of less than 24 hours, the Green Bay Packers went from about $44 million over the salary cap for 2022 to within just a few million. There were some painful cuts, as Za’Darius Smith’s and Billy Turner’s departures will hurt the depth at a few key positions, but there is also reason for excitement, as the Packers were surprisingly able to re-sign De’Vondre Campbell for the long term.

Campbell is one of the greatest success stories in recent memory for the Packers, arriving on a modest deal last June before playing his way into All-Pro honors in 2021. Now he’s back on a long-term deal, one that gives him financial security for the next several seasons while providing the Packers with a very market-friendly contract as well.

It’s a win-win for both sides, one that the Packers truly needed as they brought back their most dynamic playmaker at the linebacker position in years. Now, with Aaron Rodgers’ contract extension all done on Tuesday morning, the team is within sniffing distance of the cap without even having touched the deals for Jaire Alexander or Davante Adams yet.

Another move or two gets the Packers financially compliant, giving them time to work with those two stars on their extensions after Wednesday’s cap deadline. More news will be coming in the next few hours, but the team has shown that they’re ready and committed to building up the team in the present.

What keeping De'Vondre Campbell means for the Packers: 'His numbers were off the charts' – The Athletic ($)
One year and $2 million. That's what Campbell made last season, when he was an All-Pro. Now he cashes in with a 5-year, $50 million deal, which comes with a signing bonus around $14 million. The numbers back up his All-Pro status too, as he ended up as the top-performing linebacker in pass coverage in one metric.

5 offensive line prospects for Packers after releasing Billy Turner | Packers Wire
One of Monday's other big moves was the surprising release of Turner with a failed physical designation. Here are a few names to know if the Packers look for a versatile lineman early in the 2022 NFL Draft.

8 things we learned from a frantic day of Packers roster news | Packer Report
Campbell's deal seems like an outright bargain when compared to other off-ball linebacker deals in the last several years; he's not even in the top ten of average value at the position.

Packers Learn Cost of Use Franchise Tag on Davante Adams, Trigger Options on Rashan Gary, Darnell Savage -
With the 2022 cap locked in, the Packers know what their 5th-year option numbers will be for Gary and Savage, their 2019 first-round picks. Gary seems like a lock to have his option picked up, but Savage is no sure thing at the moment.

Free-agency Day 1 takeaways: Jaguars’ spending spree, Steelers’ new QB and head-scratching moves – The Athletic ($)
Here's a great breakdown of all the craziness of Monday, particularly with the Jaguars throwing wads of cash at almost anyone who would listen,

Through the Lens: Rookies, big plays, mantras & 'Dog' days |
If you're into photography, this look back at the 2021 season from team photographer Evan Siegle is a great peek behind the camera.

Fan buys Tom Brady's "last" touchdown football for $518,628 — then Brady unretires - CBS News
Whoops. Never before has a piece of sports memorabilia plunged in value so quickly.