Aaron Rodgers will turn 36 years old during the 2019 season, but a quarterback on the back nine of his career wasn't part of the thought process in the Green Bay Packers offseason spending spree.
"No, I don't think so," GM Brian Gutekunst said Thursday when asked if Rodgers' age played a role in multiple signings, per ESPN. "Obviously, this is Green Bay, Wisconsin; we're in a win-now mode all the time. I thought we needed to add to our defense significantly, and I think these guys will. So, I don't think it's any different than it ever has been."
The Packers shelled out $56 million in signing bonuses this week to edge rushers Za'Darius Smith ($20 million bonus) and Preston Smith ($16 million), safety Adrian Amos ($11 million) and offensive lineman Billy Turner ($9 million), via ESPN. Each big-ticket contract was a four-year tilt that filled a need for the Packers.
The overhaul on defense was particularly needed, especially adding two pass rushers to rejuvenate an aging, ineffective group.
"I think our roster at the time, this was something we needed to do to help our team," Gutekunst said. "At the same time, we're always looking out, 'How's it going to affect year after year?' And I feel really good about where we're situated, how that affects the years to come."
For years, Packers fans, and Rodgers himself, complained that the former front office didn't do enough in free agency to improve the squad.
Those grievances can't be made of Gutekunst.
The new GM said that while he splurged in his first foray into free agency, he might not be a big-money spender every March.
"Every year your team's in kind of a different situation, and I think you have to be honest with yourself, and I think this year our team was in a situation where I thought this was the right thing to do for our team moving forward," Gutekunst said. "Won't always be. But it will be year to year and what we need to do to win. Obviously, you can't kick the can down the road forever, but at the same time I don't think we really did that here. I think if you really look at it, we didn't really jeopardize anything in the future."
Striking a balance between building through the draft and supplementing that base in free agency is a tightrope every GM must walk. The best ones use every avenue at their disposal to improve their squads.