by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com (4/9/14) Packers cornerback Casey Hayward, limited to three games last year with hamstring problems, said he'll be ready for the offseason program starting in two weeks, reports the Green Bay Press-Gazette. Hayward led the team with six interceptions as a rookie in 2012.
B.J. Raji might not accept Packers' offer
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer (3/7/14) The Packers have offered defensive lineman B.J. Raji a short-term contract extension in advance of free agency, reports the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Now they have to see if he accepts it.
The Packers offered Raji the options of one- and two-year contracts. For one year, their offer was for about $4 million. ESPN reported Thursday that Raji was close to a one-year deal, but the Journal-Sentinel report says the deal is not imminent and there are indications Raji isn't interested.
Raji would only want to sign a one-year deal if he thought the long-term offers he received weren't lucrative enough and there was still time left to shop himself when the NFL free agency signing period begins Tuesday.
The Journal Sentinel reported during the 2013 season that Raji turned down a long-term offer averaging $8 million. That offer contained about $20 million in guaranteed money. Raji chose to play out the season and see if he could do better as a free agent.
Clay Matthews: Thumb injury won't linger
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com (2/25/14) Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews, who broke his right thumb twice in 2013, said the injury won't hamper him in 2014.
“It’s been doing well," Matthews said in a radio interview, per ESPN.com. "I’ve been getting physical therapy three times a week. I’ve been able to work out with a few limitations, but from talking with the doctors there shouldn’t be any limitations once next season rolls around.
"It’s just been a pain because obviously you look at it, it’s just a broken thumb. But it’s such an aggravating injury for a pass-rusher, especially in the manner in which I did it twice and having to have it surgically repaired twice, it doesn’t make it for an easy offseason in recovery.”
Matthews was held to 7.5 sacks in 11 games last season.
Packers want more impact plays from Morgan Burnett
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com (2/24/14) Packers safety Morgan Burnett signed a four-year, $24.75 million contract last July, then went the whole season without an interception. He also failed to break up a 28-yard touchdown pass to tight end Vernon Davis in the playoff loss to the 49ers.
According to ESPN.com, Burnett "broke on the ball but looked like he was trying to swat a fly rather than making an aggressive move toward the ball." Said coach Mike McCarthy: “I mean, playmaking, you go get the football.”
Still, McCarthy said Burnett is nowhere near a bust. Burnett, who had 96 tackles and three fumble recoveries in the regular season, would benefit from better play at the other safety position, the coach added.
Report: Packers will let B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett walk
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer (2/21/14) The Packers will let defensive linemen B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett go via free agency according to NFL Network. Raji and Pickett started every game for the Packers in 2013 but the team is reportedly interested in getting smaller and more athletic at defensive tackle and end in their 3-4 scheme.
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The Packers defense is restocked and healthy coming into 2014 -- a dangerous combination for their opponents. Clay Matthews will be fine after messing up his thumb last year and he'll be joined on the pass rush by ex-Bears end-turned-linebacker Julius Peppers. Casey Hayward will return to the secondary after missing 13 games with hamstring issues while rookie Ha Ha Clinton-Dix joins him at safety. The defensive line boasts some pretty good depth including rookie Khyri Thornton coming aboard. The Packers will surely have some tough weeks (playing at Seattle makes for a tough Week 1 draw) but there's still enough talent there to cause some problems and get more than the 11 interceptions and three touchdowns the defense got last year (the special teams delivered one touchdown). Though they have a lot of front-seven members getting older, the Packers should still be considered good enough to consider with a final-round pick.