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Packers will be more aggressive in free agency under new GM Brian Gutekunst

Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst speaks at an

Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst speaks at an introductory news conference in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on Jan. 8, 2018. Credit: AP / Mike Roemer

INDIANAPOLIS — The Packers have traditionally been reluctant to splurge on the free-agent market, but newly hired general manager Brian Gutekunst appears ready to head in a new direction after replacing the more conservative Ted Thompson.

“Obviously, there are limits in what you can do, but we’d like to be really aggressive to see if we can be in every conversation,” Gutekunst said. “Now, whether that leads to us ending up signing a bunch or not, we’ll see. But we’d like to be as aggressive as we can to try to improve our football team. I think we’d like to look at every option we can.”

Thompson was a firm believer in building almost exclusively through the draft, although he signed a handful of key free agents along the way, including safety Charles Woodson and defensive end Julius Peppers. His reluctance to sign free agents has been a sore spot for Packers fans, but also for quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who has hinted at frustration over the lack of aggressiveness.

“I think right now we’re just trying to improve our team overall,” Gutekunst said. “We have a really good team, some really good players. I don’t think we’re far off.”

As for Rodgers’ status, Gutekunst hopes to extend the 34-year-old quarterback’s contract.

“We would certainly like to get it done sooner rather than later,” he said. “When you have the best player in the National Football League, it’s not going to be inexpensive. Obviously, Aaron is a high priority, he’s a great player, and I think that should take care of itself at some point.”

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