Thumbs up for Packers in free agent addition by omission

Amid speculation of what a hoped-for Green Bay Packers roster might look like after free agent signing season, there was also a hope of what the roster might not include.

In the latter vein, hats off to general manager Brian Gutekunst and the rest of the Packers’ front office for steering clear of Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell.

Brown and Bell, the former Pittsburgh Steelers now with the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets, respectively, were among the highest-profile free agents on the market.

The 30-year-old Brown has been one of the top wide receivers in the NFL throughout his nine-year career. A four-time first-team All-Pro, he’s led the league in receptions twice and been to seven Pro Bowls.

Bell has rushed for more than 1,200 yards in three of his five pro seasons, and twice was selected first team All-Pro. He had zero carries for zero yards in 2018 because he sat out the year on a contract dispute, something that didn’t thrill his Steeler teammates along the way to second place in the AFC North and their first missed postseason since 2013.

Bell and Brown both have tremendous upsides, but their track record as teammates is shaky. The Packers have a lot of needs, coming off their disappointing 6-9-1 year, and even with a clean slate that comes with a new coach, the last thing they need is locker room toxicity. Even the threat of internal discord is bad news. Few things drain the soul of a team like a star who plays ball when all’s well but becomes an emotional hemophiliac if he doesn’t get his 30 carries or 15 targets.

As everyone knows, there may be no “i” in team, but there’s an “m” and an “e” and that’s how it works today. The diva act, though, has never played well in Green Bay.

In another area of things we have no control over but would like to see: The University of Wisconsin basketball team earned an extra day of rest with its win over Ohio State last Sunday, and as a result is a three-game winning streak away from a Big Ten tournament championship.

The Badgers finished fourth in the Big Ten — which is better than it sounds, with the Big Ten being 14 schools and not 10, but never mind — and earned a double bye in the conference postseason tournament. They play Friday, 25 minutes after the end of the 11:30 a.m. game, where they meet the winner of Thursday’s game between fifth-place Maryland and the survivor of the feed-in bracket.

Winning streaks are always welcomed in March, and while another souvenir in the trophy case would be nice, an interesting hypothetical was raised: Would you rather the Badgers do a one-and-done in the conference tourney and then pop off three straight wins in the big show, or the other way around?

A mini-streak in either the conference or national tournament would draw positive attention to Wisconsin and help at recruiting time. But three in a row gets you to the quarterfinals in the NCAA tournament, halfway home and one sniff away from the coveted Final Four. There’s no comparison.

Wisconsin, the No. 19-ranked team in the country, isn’t expected to do much at the Big Dance. The Badgers are a 66-1 long shot to win it all, but it’s never wise to overlook them given the registry of Goliaths they’ve slain over the years.

As the No. 8 seed in the East Region two years ago, they upset defending national champion Villanova. They beat the West Region No. 1 seed (Arizona) in the 2014 tournament, and in the 2015 semifinals they knocked off a defending champion (Kentucky) that was undefeated and hailed in some lots as the best college team of all time.

“Seeds don’t matter,” Wisconsin coach Greg Gard has said in regard to the NCAA tournament. “You have to win six games.”

A hot streak this weekend would be great. Next week would be even better.