Ted Thompson and the “Logan’s Run” Approach to Roster Management

Another NFL draft has come and gone, and Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson infused his roster with a youth movement by adding eight young players to the training camp squad.

The key words above are “youth movement.” Thompson has consistently fielded one of the youngest NFL teams, if not the absolute youngest, since he rebuilt the nightmare roster he inherited from the previous head coach and general manager Mike Sherman.

Any time there are young bodies added to a roster, other players must go. After all, there’s only 53 roster spots during the regular season.

With the exception of premier positions such as quarterback (Aaron Rodgers), edge rusher (Julius Peppers), and fullback (John Kuhn, tongue-in-cheek), Thompson appears to have a severe aversion to keeping players in the roster who are over the age 30.

Once a player hits that magical age of 30, his contract is vary rarely extended or renewed, and oftentimes Thompson outright releases him.

I cannot take credit for this phrase, but others (and others) have coined this as the “Logan’s Run” method of roster management.

Logan’s Run is a cheesy dystopian movie about the future. Due to overpopulation and resource scarcity, anyone over the age of 30 is executed, which preserves the long-term stability of the society.

In terms of the modern NFL, the resource scarcity is the salary cap. Due to salary cap rules, salaries can count against the cap long after a player has been released, resulting in “dead money.”

Poor roster decisions, especially overpaying for aging players up front and releasing them later, can haunt a cap for years. Careful management decisions keeps a roster fresh with young players while preserving some cash reserves used to sign a few splash free agents, including re-signing your own rising stars.

Let’s take a look at some notable Logan’s Run management decisions by Ted Thompson in the last few years, including the younger replacement players he brought in. Losing free agents is a game of dominoes, which can lead to compensatory picks as well.

James Jones and Greg Jennings, WR

Jones was 30 years old when Thompson decided to not re-sign this fan favorite after the 2013 season. Instead, he selected Davante Adams as his replacement in the 2014 draft. Despite some rookie struggles early on, Adams began to develop as the season progressed and had his breakout game against the Patriots. Thompson appeared to make the correct decision here because Adams is on the rise and Jones was just released this week by the Raiders after one lackluster season. In terms of compensatory picks, losing Jones factored into the sixth round picks that brought in either Christian Ringo or Kennard Blackman in the 2015 draft.

Jennings was more of a case of sour grapes because Thompson did try to extend him when he was 29 years old during the 2012 season. However, negotiations fell through and Jennings left for the Vikings in a temper tantrum with a side of scorched earth. Thompson didn’t have an immediate replacement for Jennings on the roster other than the rising Randall Cobb (you could argue that Charles Johnson and Kevin Dorsey were his drafted replacements, but neither stuck on the final roster), but the decision to let him walk paid off because he had two disappointing seasons with the Vikings that came to an end when they traded for Mike Wallace this off season. He was released shortly thereafter and was finally signed by the Dolphins after not getting much attention on the market. Thompson did receive a 2014 third-round compensatory selection for losing Jennings, and he cashed that in for tight end Richard Rodgers, who appears to have a bright future ahead of him.

In the 2015 draft, Thompson completed the Jennings replacement plan by picking Ty Montgomery, who brings a similar skill set and the added bonus of returning punts and kicks.

A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones, LB

Both Hawk (31 years old) and Jones (29 years old) had miserable 2014 campaigns, so it’s no surprise they were outright released this off season. During this year’s draft, Thompson selected Jake Ryan in the fourth round as a candidate to align next to Sam Barrington in the base 3-4 defense. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein compared Ryan to Desmond Bishop, so he’s definitely a Thompson guy with a specific purpose for the defense. Since these players were released, the Packers will not receive any compensatory picks.

Tramon Williams and Jarrett Bush, DB

Williams (32 years old) was apparently offered a low-ball contract by the Packers, signifying his end in Green Bay. Bush (30 years old) is currently unsigned, and after this weekend’s draft, it looks like he won’t be back in 2015. Thompson selected two defensive backs with his first two picks, Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins, addressing the passing defense with a youth movement. It’s very likely that either Randall or Rollins will take Bush’s place on special teams while competing to be Williams’ replacement. The loss of Bush will unlikely bring in any compensatory picks, but Williams likely will. That in itself is pretty remarkable because Thompson turned an undrafted free agent into a Super Bowl contributor and a compensatory draft pick.

Matt Flynn, QB

Flynn (29 years old) is definitely a fan favorite, but his age and noodle arm made him expendable. After mop-up duty in 2014, he showed he could not run the offense and move the chains through the air. Scott Tolzien has a much better arm, and looks to be QB2 heading into 2015. Also, selecting Brett Hundley in the draft only further cements Flynn’s fate in Green Bay. Barring something unusual, Flynn won’t be back. When the Packers lost Flynn the first time after 2011 to the Seattle Seahawks, it was factored into the 2013 compensatory selections. I doubt the Packers will receive anything ever again for him.

Cullen Jenkins, Howard Green, Ryan Pickett, and Johnny Jolly, DL

Losing Jenkins to free agency after the 2010 season haunted many Packers fans, but he was 30 years old after the Super Bowl. He was a valued member of the championship team, but Thompson clearly felt that his best days were behind him. The loss of Jenkins factored into the compensatory pick that brought Mike Daniels to the Packers in the 2012 draft, and I don’t think many Packers fans will be complaining about that “trade” anymore. Daniels is developing into a stud.

Green was an unsung hero during the 2010 Super Bowl run, and many credit him for helping turn around the defense. Also, he famously hit Ben Roethlsberger’s arm during a throw that led to Nick Collins’ pick-6. However, after the 2011 season, Howard was 32 years old and clearly not in the Packers’ plans. Despite missing on Jerel Worthy in the 2012 draft, Thompson hit on the Mike Daniels selection a few rounds later (see above), providing a long-term solution in the interior.

Like Flynn, Pickett (age 34 when not signed after 2013) and Jolly (age 31 when not signed after 2013) were definitely fan favorites when they were shown the door. However, age and injuries made them unwise investments, so Thompson looked elsewhere by signing the younger free agent Letroy Guion (2014) and drafting Khyri Thornton (2014) and Christian Ringo (2015) as the youth movement. In hindsight, despite nothing being shown yet by Thornton, Thompson made the right decision because Pickett had minimal impact for the Texans and Jolly’s injury scared off all other teams from signing him; Guion did have a very impressive 2014 season that resulted in a new contract.

Ryan Grant, RB

Grant was brought to the Packers in a trade, which was highly unusual for Thompson. He helped solidify the running back position for five seasons, but after the 2012 season he was not brought back to the Packers when he hit that magical age of 30. In the 2013 draft, Thompson brought in Eddie Lacy, who only went on to become the 2013 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Scott Wells, C

Following the 2011 season, Thompson let 31-year old center Scott Wells leave for a lucrative contract with the St. Louis Rams. It’s taken a few years to get his replacement solidified, going through Jeff Saturday (a strange Logan’s Run pickup and departure) and Evan Dietrich-Smith first, and then attempting to replace him with J.C. Tretter before hitting the jackpot with the Corey Linsley selection in the 2014 draft. The Packers clearly have their young center in place for a long time. Interestingly, losing Wells, along with Matt Flynn, factored into receiving the compensatory pick that ultimately led to the Josh Boyd selection in the 2013 draft.

John Kuhn, FB

Kuhn is one of the elder statesman currently on the roster at age 32. The 2015 season is most likely his last in Green Bay, as evidenced by the drafting of Aaron Ripkowski. Also, since Thompson gave Kuhn a small contract with little cap hit, it’s not even a guarantee Kuhn will make the final 53 this season.

—————–

I merely joke by calling Thompson’s roster management as Logan’s Run, but you cannot deny that there aren’t many players over the age of 30 on the roster. This approach allows Thompson to re-sign his younger stars to their second contracts, which are sometimes cheaper than some premier third contracts. By avoiding costly and frivolous third contracts that often overpay for players on their decline, Thompson frees up money and roster space for younger players on the rise.

Keeping the roster young and fresh freed up cap space for Thompson to re-sign Randall Cobb, B.J. Raji, Letroy Guion, Bryan Bulaga, and Sean Richardson during the 2015 free agency period. Thompson had a similar approach in 2014 by re-signing Jordy Nelson, Sam Shields, Mike Neal, Andrew Quarless, John Kuhn, B.J. Raji, and James Starks.

Another added bonus to the Logan’s Run approach is the possibility of compensatory picks. By letting other teams sign his aging free agents, Thompson has been able to accumulate 9 compensatory picks since 2012, which have only added to the youth movement.

Other notable compensatory picks since 2012 besides those listed above include Jared Abbrederis in 2013 and Josh Sitton in 2008.

I think when you look at everything as a whole, Thompson has done a spectacular job managing the roster. In almost every example of his Logan’s Run approach, the Packers have come out ahead with young stars on the rise.

——————

Jay Hodgson is an independent sports blogger writing for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WISports.com.

Follow Jay on twitter at @jys_h.

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  • croatpackfan

    Despite I agree with you analysis, I think this article will not be very popular (or at least, not very positive popular) here… If that comforts you, I’m with you in this attitude…

  • Since ’61

    Jay – excellent article! Your comments about how TT handles the Packer’s roster are spot on. The only frustration with TT has been just one SB win during his tenure. Injuries have been a factor, especially to A. Rodgers during the last 2 seasons, as much as anything else in achieving another SB win. At least we enter each season with a legitimate shot at winning the SB. The offense is one of the best if not the best in the league every year. On defense one of the flaws has been the lack of a truly dominant player who can take over a game and wreck an opponent’s offense, ala, Reggie White or Ray Nitschke. Yes, CM3 is a great player but he doesn’t take over a game. It may be because the players around him on the defense haven’t lasted very long. Tackling still needs to improve and bone headed plays need to be reduced, which may happen now that Brad Jones is gone. Maybe this year’s youth movement will improve the STs as well. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, TT’s success is measured by the fact that most teams in the league would trade their roster for the Packers roster straight up. Thanks, Since ’61

    • BRinMilwaukee

      If we take out Aaron Rodgers, how many teams would trade their roster for ours? And while I agree with keeping a roster young, that also means we’re going to experience a lot of youthful mistakes, such as muffed punts (Jeremy Ross) or muffed onside kicks (Brandon Bostick). At those times, I’d rather have a veteran, thank you.

      • croatpackfan

        Well youthful mistake are correctable… Age is not!

      • NemoOutis

        Youthful mistakes . . . you must include Clinton-Dix’s failure to react to the 2 point conversion pass in the NFC Championship game. If he makes that play, Crosby’s subsequent FG puts us in the SB.

        • Exactly. I’d take HHCD’s gaffe last year to BFs gaffe against the Eagles in OT (4th and 26 game) or against the Giants in 07 in OT (What the heck were you looking at?) any day of the week. HHCD will get better. 13 year vet BF… well… that’s another thread…

          • shavager

            THAT wasn’t Favre’s fault. IF you had listened, both Favre and Sherman has related how Favre had called a pass play for Javon Walker to run that had already resulted in TD in an earlier game. For some reason he’s never explained, Walker broke off the route and went inside leaving only Eagles’ defenders to catch the ball. When the QB and the Coach call the play and the “man” on the spot didn’t listen or do his job–it’s no different than Bostick ignoring his job to BLOCK FOR JORDY instead of fumbling the onside kick away to Hawks. And like Pack’s defense for 4 CONSECUTIVE seasons now, Sherman’s defense just wasn’t good enough to finish off the Eagles.

            • Fine. Even if that is the case, (and in the 11 years since, this is the first I’ve heard of it) BF still was frigging awful in every playoff game GB has post 2003. Including 2007, when he basically handed the super bowl berth to the Giants by himself.

              • shavager

                C’mon Bearmeat–go back and watch the tapes–Favre ATE UP defenses all season long with the slant pass inside and McCarthy refused to use it during the game. He was too conservative in his play-calling like he has been his entire Packers coaching career–it cost Packers the NFC title this year–WHY do you think play-calling duties got handed to Clements? I promise you the decision was made upstairs, NOT by McCarthy. The Packers had several but they were NEVER really in charge with opportunities to win that game just a week after Favre’s heroics beat the Seahawks 42-20. Plaxico Burress EAT UP GB’s secondary, especially Al Harris that day–Burress actually TAUNTED McCarthy and Packers coaches saying “HE CAN’T COVER ME”–about Al Harris covering him. Burress got 151 yds on 11 catches. Favre got only ONE completion over 18 yds, most completions were around the line of scrimmage or short middle, that’s how good Giants defense played McCarthy’s offense. Giants had 134 yds rushing–Packers had 28 YDS after 14 carries. DEFENSE won the game for Giants–264 TOTAL yds for Pack’s offense, 377 for Giants–the only mistake Favre made was the INT late in OT that gave Giants the win on 47 yd FG by Lawrence Tynes who’d missed a previous 36 and 43 yd kicks that should’ve already won the game. Mistakes and penalties cost Packers as much as anything Favre did–interference penalty on Al Harris killed a Harris INT earlier and despite 5 fumbles by Giants, Packers could only take ONE away from them. Packers led only once in first half: 7-6, and then only once in second half: 17-13 in 3rd quarter so you can see, more or less the Giants outplayed the Packers most of the game especially with a hot Burress making EIGHT of his 11 catches FIRST DOWN RECEPTIONS against Al Harris and Pack secondary.

              • Your stats are right. But the reason GBs run game was shut down so well in that game was because the NYG played cover 0 for most of the game. Favre SHOULD have beaten them through the air. He choked. He was terrible the entire game.

                If you go back and read quotes from the game from former players and coaches they’ll tell you the same.

        • Lagos

          There were about 20 different plays by about 20 different players, some youthful and some not that contributed to the loss. Way to cherry pick.

      • WKUPackFan

        Every team except New England and Seattle, and Seattle will soon join that group. What teams’ rosters would you rather have?

    • Taryn Miller

      “As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, TT’s success is measured by the fact that most teams in the league would trade their roster for the Packers roster straight up.”

      This is the third time you’ve posted this thought and I admire your conviction to your belief in it.However,a major point that’s eliminated that would give it the credence you fail to oblige to it is…How many teams would do a straight up swap of rosters if QB’s were not part of the deal.I would aver strongly that number plummets drastically….Respectfully of coarse. 🙂

      • I disagree. GBs roster is all around better than any other team in the division, and a top 10 roster overall without the QB. The whole “yeah but look at what happened in 2013 when ARod was out” argument is not indicative of the quality of the entire team. TT and MM screwed up at backup QB that year, and there was NO ONE who could even throw the ball more than 10 yards down the field. That problem has been fixed.

      • Since ’61

        Taryn – thank you for the well stated feedback as usual. My main point is that TT’s handling of the roster gives the Packers a good shot at reaching and winning the SB every year. At least for me, that is no small feat, especially when you compare the results of most of TT’s peers during his tenure. And even though we have only 2 SB wins during the years from ’92 to 2014 they have been much more enjoyable for me than the ’68 – ’91 seasons which preceded them. While I do wish we had another SB win or two I don’t expect us or any team to return to the halcyon days of the Lombardi era. As for the roster without Rodgers the same would be true for any team with an elite QB such as Brady, Brees, Luck, P. Manning, etc… Thanks, Since ’61

        • I don’t think it would be the same as the Broncos without Manning or the Colts without Luck. They both have holes all over the place. Our run D was suspect last year before CM3 moved inside.

          Everyone in the salary cap era has holes. That’s the way the system is designed. When all is said and done, I’ll take GBs 1-53 roster over every roster in the league. They had the strongest overall team last year and they’ve done nothing but improved in the offseason.

          If ARod were out for the year, considering the fact that the NFCN is MUCH tougher than the AFCE was in 2008 (when the Pats went 11-5 without Brady), I’d consider 8-8 and a wild card good starting place. With 10-6 quite possible.

      • Lagos

        My guess? Around half. A stud QB always makes his team better, but regardless of how good the trading team’s QB is, a better team around him is always a plus. Our defense isn’t anything special but has potential, but probably only a quarter of teams would trade for that. Offense? Probably 3/4. Talent across the board, young and otherwise.

      • The Marathon Man

        If that is the case, why is it that neither the NFL Network nor ESPN could identify a discernible need on the Packers’ roster (and were quite adamant about saying that), as opposed to the 31 other teams in the league? Yes, CB and ILB were “needs”, but these were self-inflicted because TT either released or let go as FAs two of the top players on the depth chart at each position during the off season.

        We as fans tend to have our own biases and like to play Monday-morning GM with the GB roster, but we need to get used to the fact that GB has an enviable roster…and also the fact that they are favored to be the NFC representative in Super Bowl L by practically every football pundit out there right now. Relax and enjoy!

  • Archie

    You could just as easily argue the reverse case i.e., that had you kept your vets you may have seen another SB or two since 2010.

    Also, given that TT’s WRs seem to fail when they don’t have #12 slinging the ball, it makes you 2nd guess how good TT is at even picking WRs. This team is all about #12. He alone allows TT to play this game of musical chairs with younger players. W/o #12 the house of cards falls.

    • BRinMilwaukee

      Hear hear. Youthful players means dealing with youthful mistakes. Whether it’s Ross muffing a punt, or Bostick muffing an onside kick, there’s something to be said for the Ron Wolf approach of adding low-cost veterans to plug up holes.

      • I’m not saying that Wolf was a bad GM – far from it. But how many super bowls did Wolf win? How many did his teams play in? How many NFC CGs?

        TT’s teams have played in 3 NFC CGs. Wolf’s teams played in 3 NFC CGs. TT’s teams have won 1 super bowl. Wolf’s teams won 1 super bowl. Wolf made 2 SBs though. TT still has some work to do, but he’s already HOF worthy as a GM.

        • BRinMilwaukee

          Wolf was GM for 9 years, TT is entering his 11th year as GM. Wolf went to 2 Super Bowls (with 2 NFC championships), TT went to 1 Super Bowl (with 1 NFC championship). Heck, John Schneider (who uses trades and free agency– gasp!) has already been to 2 Super Bowls in only 5 years as Seattle’s GM. You are CRAZY if you think Thompson is going to join Ron Wolf in the Hall of Fame. He’s good… not great.

          • If he wins another 2 super bowls (which is quite possible) it is absolutely ASSURED he will be in the HOF

            • BRinMilwaukee

              Well, another 2 Super Bowls would certainly change everything. That would be awesome.

          • dobber

            Wolf never had to manage the modern salary cap. FA was in its infancy when he was the GM and it wasn’t as complex as it is now. Not to detract from what he accomplished, but comparing Wolf to TT is comparing apples and oranges if only because the nature of the finances of the NFL at their respective times were very different.

            John Schneider benefits from having an extremely young team with very few restrictive contracts. That is changing for them….

            • TedTomsin

              Agree Dobber. In fact that is the reason Wolf got out. He knew he couldn’t do what Ted Thompson is currently killing at and that’s keeping a great team at the top year after year by drafting and developing. Wolf was a spender. Both were successful doing it differently but TT’s way works for the long term which I enjoy knowing we will be competitive year after year.
              Ted

              • BRinMilwaukee

                As long as we have Aaron Rodgers, we will be competitive year after year. *SIGH*

      • croatpackfan

        Again… Youthful mistake can be corrected, age can not!

      • shavager

        That’s NOT youthful mistakes, that’s players NOT concentrating on doing their jobs, PERIOD. Daniels should’ve NEVER gotten a personal foul early after the Hawks fumble on kickoff, costing them field position and a FG try instead of potential TD. Bostick was TOLD to BLOCK for Jordy Nelson–it was the TEAM plan for Nelson or Cobb to make the recovery–but Bostick ignored TEAM and played for “I”, that’s why he’s wearing a different color now, NOT following instructions.

  • billy

    OK, enough TT articles for a day or two please, how about something different like how all the new guys are gonna be starters and stars or something. We all get it, Ted is the greatest….move on allgbp…

    • TedTomsin

      Come on Billy!! This is great!! How can you not love the TT articles. You must not be a fan of the Packers. I am hoping this continues for at least the next two months. TT deserves much more publicity than what he’s getting.
      Ted

  • I agree with the general thrust of your article, Jay. Some of the examples do seem a bit forced, though. The similarity between Jenning’s skill set and Ty Montgomery’s pretty much eludes me, BTW. I think to fit the pattern, the player in question still has to be playing reasonably well, and TT let him go or low-balled him due to age.

    You shouldn’t count Jennings since TT was the high bidder for Jennings, who was just too arrogant to accept it. Hawk and Jones were dumped due to poor play, and arguably not for age. It is hard to guess at the motivating factors behind not re-signing Jolly, but it might have been due to his injury and/or change in philosophy favoring smaller linemen. Pickett’s play declined noticeably, and there is the philosophy change (though TT still likes Raji, so…). Kuhn is still to be determined.

    I’ll give you Nick Barnett, James Jones, Cullen Jenkins, Ryan Grant, Tramon (offered a contract, yes, but it was for less than market and fewer years), Howard Green, Matt Flynn, and Scott Wells. I’d guess that Bush is gone, so I would give you him as fitting the pattern of guys still playing well but are gone due to age. I would add Marco Rivera. These are enough examples IMO to support your premise.

    I can’t decide about Nelson’s signing. He was 29 when he signed, but he had a year left on his contract, and all the extra years start after he turns 30 (on May 31 of this year). He was on the cusp, and we’d be arguing semantics.

    • Jay

      Thompson decided to pull the offer to Jennings after the season ended. His motives were not made public, but I assume he didn’t want get get into a bidding war over someone who was 29 years old. If Ted really wanted to keep him, he could have put a franchise tag on him, but he didn’t.

      And don’t separate age and bad play. Thompson clearly feels play declines with age, which is why he doesn’t like to re-sign older players. Their best days are behind him. Your examples above just reinforce that concept.

      As far as Montgomery, the similar skill set I see with Jennings is his ability to play outside and the slot, which is something that Jennings did well, but not all WRs can. Montgomery is very fluid in his routes when creating separation, which is something Jennings similarly excelled at. Also, Jennings was used as a part-time punt returner his rookie year, much like I expect Montgomery to be with Hyde and Cobb in the mix.

      • I am not Stroh, so I won’t argue about a fun article whose premise I ultimately agree with. Monty is more interesting.

        Jennings returned 5 punts for 29 yards, a 5.8 yd. ave., long of 10, all in 2006. GB used Woodson on PR; he returned 41 punts for a 8.85 yard average. I hope Monty blows them both away.

        Guys who play the same position have some overlap in skill set. Jennings came out with the reputation for running precise routes, having excellent hands and carrying the ball securely. Montgomery: no, no and no. Jennings had a slight frame and was not known for his blocking (which improved with GB), while Montgomery is 221 lbs. and loves to block. They do both have impressive acceleration, and both are fast if Monty’s pro day is legitimate. Montgomery also has excellent vision and good patience setting up his blocks. I don’t remember how Jennings was at that, but he had some “shake and bake.”

        The most important thing: If you think Monty can play outside and in the slot, that is great news as I respect your judgment in such matters.

        • Jay

          No one can ever replace Stroh!

          Anyway, this has been a good little debate/discussion. Maybe Montgomery doesn’t resemble Jennings on paper, and perhaps I was too liberal with my wording of skill set. But, of all the players on the roster, I think he most closely resembles Jennings–but more importantly, the roll of Jennings. Nelson is Nelson. Cobb is Cobb. Adams was drafted to take Jones’ spot, and those two do have similar skills.

          Jones only played on the outside, which is where I see Adams playing. Nelson has played in the slot some, but I think he’s better suited on the outside. Cobb can play on the outside, but I think he’s a true monster in the slot.

          So, that leaves us with Jennings. He was equally good in the slot or outside, and I think Thompson wanted that versatility back. I think Montgomery was drafted for that role based on the fact he played both positions at Stanford and the scouts gave him high marks at both positions.

          That’s all I’m trying to say, really.

  • Excellent article Jay.

    I don’t get the TT hate here – unless there are multiple Viking trolls masquerading as Packer fans. TT has put together a roster that contends for a super bowl 7/10 years. No QB could do that on his own (See Archie Manning, Warren Moon, Peyton Manning and Dan Marino for evidence). GB has a stacked roster up and down – not without holes – but everyone has holes in the salary cap era.

  • Jay

    Except for a few opinions on personnel fit and my stamp of approval at the end, what I wrote above is fact. I mentioned the players who left and who their replacements were. When compensatory picks were awarded, I tied those to the players who left and factored into the voodoo black magic equation. You can disagree with how Ted handles the team, but it doesn’t change the facts.

    Now for a little speculation and opinion. You have to figure if Thompson re-signed those aging veterans, the salary cap wouldn’t have had room for his younger players. For example, if he signed Jennings after 2012, he wouldn’t have had room to sign either Nelson or Cobb. There’s no way he would carry three $10M+ WRs on the roster at once. Someone would be the odd man out, and based on how the Vikings threw Jennings to the curb, Thompson chose correctly in Nelson and Cobb.

    • TedTomsin

      That’s why a lot of people don’t realize that TT is a long term thinker. When most are thinking of the present Ted is already making chess moves that are two and three years ahead of time. Ted would destroy 99.9% of the people here in a poker or chess match. The guy is unbelievable yet grossly underappreciated by many.
      Ted

      • barutanseijin

        How did that work out in 2007? I’d argue that it was not the time to be playing moneyball. With an aging #4, it was time to go for broke. Maybe Wahle was too pricy. You still need someone who can do the job. And while guard play in and of itself didn’t lose them the game vs. the giants, they were clearly outplayed in the trenches. People remember Favre throwing an interception in overtime and he became a convenient scapegoat, but that loss was a team effort.

        The line problem never really got fixed: they went on to lose more playoff games against teams with good dlines. When they really needed a yard or two in the Seattle game this January, they couldn’t get it. The o line was good, but not really good enough. Yeah, David Bakhtiari was a great value pick. They still need somebody better.

  • Mark

    Oddly, the 2010 SB team had 8 players 30 and older; Clifton, Driver, Howard Green, Donald Lee, Pickett, Poppinga, Taucher and Woodson. Along with several guys at 28 and 29 years old. Maybe that had something to do with our victory.

    • It did. But of the vets you mentioned, how many got PAID right after? Of the ones who didn’t demand big money, how many declined very soon after 2010? ALL OF THEM.

      You can only afford so many 30+ year old players at top value under the salary cap.

      • dobber

        The rules for rookie contracts and such were not in place at that time either, meaning the sequencing of their signings — and the lengths of their contracts — didn’t sync up like they do today. So when they signed their contracts and when they might have been extended was different and could have led to different timing with regard to ending contracts and turning 30.

        Note also that Green, Pickett, and Woodson were all FA signings.

  • Ferrari Driver

    Well written and informative article.

  • NemoOutis

    The “Logan’s Run” theory doesn’t explain the failure to re-sign Davon House, who turns 26 this summer. We spend 4 years developing him to the point where he is able to get a starter’s salary for another team. Will that happen with our newly drafted CBs? Draft, develop and play against. A new management policy?

    • Jay

      And I didn’t list House above. Ted got outbid. It happens. In today’s NFL, you can’t keep them all.

    • Was Davon House (a very promising maybe regarding every down starting material) worth more than Bulaga? TT has a number that he won’t go over. The Jags WAY overpaid.

      IMO drafting Rollins and Randall was the wiser (and cheaper) way to go. The trio of vets at CB are still top half this year, and the youth behind them has good odds of finding at least one quality starter eventually.

    • dobber

      Joe Whitt, one of the better CB coaches in the league, worked with House every day of his professional career for 4 years. My guess is that if they felt he was a starting caliber CB with high upside, and worth what he got on the FA market, he wouldn’t be playing for Jax this season.

      • Jay

        Exactly. Ted has shown his contracts are pretty fair and reflect ability. Looking at teams that overpay for Packers, they tend to get released after a year or two because they were overpaid for their performance. Jenkins lasted only two years in Philly, Jones one year in Oakland, Jennings two years in Minnesota, Wahle 3 years in Carolina, Rivera 2 years in Dallas, and Flynn a year in Seattle. I could go on, but you already believe me.

  • dobber

    Other teams operate this way as well, the Patriots being a prime example.

  • mark

    Popular? Ignoring two years where Jenkins was one of the dominant DTs in the NFL in order to say TT was smart to release him, then WAIT TWO YEARS to find a body that would hopefully develop into a replacement? How about rational? I suppose somewhere a player was born which will prove how smart TT was to draft a QB this year.

    • Jay

      Ted didn’t release him. He didn’t get caught in a bidding war. Big difference.

      • Actually Jay, I think Mark has a point here. Jenkins did not get a huge contract from Philly – and it was only with 1 year of guaranteed money to boot. TT did not “get into a bidding war” on Jenkins (like he refused to for House) – he just didn’t bid on him period.

        • Jay

          Thompson wasn’t willing to pay $5 mil per season for Jenkins, and looking back as his production, I can’t fault Thompson. Philly wanted Jenkins to restructure after 1 year and then cut him after 2. They felt he wasn’t worth $5 mil. And they were also right.

          • I guess. I’d say that GBs D badly missed Jenkins in 2011 and 2012. If he wasn’t worth 5 mil, so be it. But he was better than the schlock TT put there instead of him, and GB has never been up against the cap since TT rid us of those awful Sherman contacts. TT could have paid him 5 mil and the D would have been better.

            I think TT is a great GM, but his 2 biggest mistakes IMO have been not resigning Jenkins in 2010 and not giving a 3rd rounder for Lynch in 2010.

            • Jay

              Jenkins was missed in 2011, but everyone has a line in the sand they won’t cross. Did Ted make a mistake? My opinion is no (teaser for an upcoming article). Philly paid a lot of money for little on field production. When you look at the stats, Jenkins wasn’t worth what Philly paid him. In the 2011 draft, Thompson took Ricky Elmore and Lawrence Guy, who were good sack prospects in college. He didn’t hit on those picks, but at least he did try to address the defense via the draft.

              Lynch was an intriguing piece, but the Packers did win the Super Bowl in 2010 and had the best offense in the NFL during 2011. Not sure Lynch would have changed the tides during the 2011-2013 playoff debacles–those were on defense. I guess we’ll just never know.

              • TedTomsin

                Wasn’t Jenkins replacement supposed to be Mike Neal? He then got hurt and then people got pissed and blamed TT for the next couple years. Hell it’s still going on apparently. lol
                Ted

              • Jay

                Probably. I forgot about Neal at 3-4 end since the first thing he did was get hurt.

              • barutanseijin

                Mike Neal has never been as good as Jenkins.

              • Yeah I guess it comes down to how much is a better defense worth? 2 declining players over 30 on defense (Woodson and Jenkins) would certainly be expensive.. but IMO it would have been worth it.

                This is my one critique of TT – he can be so confident in his drafting ability that he moves on too early, or doesn’t give a chance to a mid level FA that could improve the team.

  • Sven

    Good article.

  • TedTomsin

    Excellent article Jay. When you look at TT thru the years he has a well oiled machine that just keeps producing. It never changes. Youth replacing the old. The Song Remains The Same and thank you TT for implementing one of the most successful formulas in the NFL. I am so glad that most other teams do not have the balls, patience and confidence to do what TT does.
    Ted

  • James50

    If your over 30 years old on the Packers your a really good player. If your older than 35, under TT, you have to be a fantastic player, such as Charles Woodson, Brett Favre, Donald Driver, and so on.

  • shavager

    For all this crowing over Ted Thompson–he’s drafted, signed free agents and undrafted free agents to tune of adding 45+ NEW defensive players SINCE the 2010 SB. Packers have LOST playoff games for 4 CONSECUTIVE seasons since then. That’s enough defensive players to build 4 COMPLETE defenses–Thompson’s failed to get that one/two key players for that final step to SB or Dom Capers can’t TEACH defense as good as some think. They’ve only had 2 wins in playoffs out of 6 total games, last season’s Conference loss was as close as Rodgers and company have made since the SB title, it’s time to get the job done NOW with this roster of talent.

  • WKUPackFan

    Richard Pryor, from the “Is It Something I Said” album: I saw this movie of the future, Logan’s Run, there weren’t no black people in it. I said, well white folks ain’t planning on us to be here!