The Packers have taken care of their young stars this offseason, giving new contracts to quarterback Aaron Rodgers and outside linebacker Clay Matthews.
But they’ve also shown the calculated-to-the-point-of-cold side of the business, cutting players such as Charles Woodson and Desmond Bishop, and letting Greg Jennings walk away in free agency.
But Rodgers sees those moves as a way to keep the team fresh, as well. He pointed to drafting defensive end Datone Jones and bringing defensive tackle Johnny Jolly back for another shot, or drafting running backs in bulk as ways to add new life to the locker room.
“Some guys have been here, and I see these young guys coming in and pushing guys,” Rodgers said, as part of a wide-ranging Q and A with Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin. “[Jones and Jolly,] those are two guys who bring an energy to that defensive line that needs it. Personality-wise, those guys are the funniest guys on the team, but every now and then they need a little kick in the pants, and sometimes it comes from bringing in a couple guys like that who can really raise the level of play of guys.
“You bring in a guy like Johnathan Franklin or Eddie Lacy, that raises the running back room. When you continually add guys to the mix that can compete right away from Day 1, everybody else has to pick up their game because you start worrying about your own job.
“When they’re cutting guys like Charles Woodson, and not bringing back Greg, who’s played a long time here, guys who had big roles for us, it has to be a wake-up call to some of our guys that this is about, “What have you done for me lately?” and “What can you do for me?” That’s the type of league that we’re in. That’s how our team looks at us. So you better perform, or you’re going to be looking for a job elsewhere.”
Of course, Rodgers isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and said he’s had to adjust to being the longest-tenured player on the roster.
But that kind of attention-getting is something successful teams need, and the Packers haven’t been shy about making those kinds of moves.