Why Does Ted Thompson Have May 12 Circled on His Calendar?

     May 12

What’s the Big Deal about May 12?   

In the NFL business year, May 12, 2015 begins a new dynamic to consider for clubs that might sign unrestricted free agents from another team. Teams such as the Packers that are averse to signing free agents because they would affect their compensatory picks in the 2016 draft will now view those players in a much different light.

Here is how Mike Florio of NBC Sports explains it.

“Years ago, June 1 had extreme significance on the NFL calendar. Teams looking to reduce the cap hit from cutting a veteran player would wait until June 1, resulting in half or more of the acceleration to hit the cap in the following league year.

In 2006, the NFL changed the rule, allowing teams to cut two players per year before June 1, with a June 1 designation. Few teams currently have cap issues; as a result, the entire notion of using the designation or waiting until June 1 to cut a player has become largely irrelevant.

June 1 had continued significance for another reason. After June 1, unrestricted free agents signed by other teams don’t count toward the compensatory draft-pick formula. Starting this year, that date will move from June 1 to May 12, according to the league office.

The NFL has been considering shifting the date from June 1 to May 1. With the draft still happening as of May 1, it makes sense to let the draft end and to let the dust settle before allowing free agents to sign without the move helping their former team or potentially hurting their new one.

The shift gives free agents more of an opportunity to participate in the off-season program. It also gives teams reason to wait on adding some of the currently available free agents, in order to avoid reducing their potential haul of compensatory picks”.

All Packers fans understand that Ted Thompson values draft picks more than air itself, so not having to relinquish draft choices to sign players who might be on his radar is indeed a big deal. The question of course; is there anyone out there who would interest the Packers’ General Manager?

The answer is maybe. Here is a partial list of those available players who could sign with Green Bay after May 12 without a compensatory draft pick ‘penalty’:

• Joe Barksdale, OT. A massive man at 6’ 5” and 326 lbs. – has starter experience, is relatively young and would qualify as a healthy backup to Brian Bulaga.  May be the top FA yet unsigned.

• Corey Wooten Edge Rusher, Not a good fit for the defense in Minnesota, but a young (27) versatile DL at 6’ 6” and 270 lbs.

• Dwight Freeney, Edge Rusher. Who couldn’t use another highly accomplished pass rush specialist with a minimum contract for a Super Bowl push?

• Jermain Gresham, TE. A young (26 y/o) big body (6’ 5”, 260#) pass catcher who has had some success in the NFL.

Don’t expect any of these Packers signings to happen, but Ted has known to surprise in the past.

Former Packers Free Agents Have not Fared Well as of Late

Have you noticed how shrewd General Manager Ted Thompson’s moves now seem regarding his own big name players lost to free agency in recent years?

Greg Jennings was offered a contract worth a reportedly $8M per year by the Packers but sought more. Jennings left Green Bay in what was to become a messy divorce to sign with the hated Vikings. Jennings was cut a few weeks ago after only two years, but recently signed with the Dolphins but for a much lower price.

James Jones who signed with the Raiders just last year for much more than what the Packers were willing to pay was released by Oakland right after the draft.

Former center Scott Wells who left for bigger money in St. Louis was recently released by the Rams and labeled a ‘free agent bust’ in the local tabloids.

Even Dietrich-Smith has been a disappointment in Tampa (who isn’t) and is rumored to be on the bubble.

Does it make you wonder how long the tenure of Tramon Williams might last in Cleveland given the big money contract the 32 year old signed earlier this spring?

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Jeff Albrecht grew up just north of Green Bay and was lucky enough to attend some of the Lombardi Era classic games, like the 1962 championship and the Ice Bowl. Jeff went on to play HS football in the Green Bay area and College ball at UW - Stevens Point. Jeff is retired but still does some writing for his local paper. Jeff is a writer with AllGreenBayPackers.com and you can follow him on twitter at @pointerjeff .

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  • Paolo Cuyno

    Wasn’t McClain re-signed by Dallas?

    • croatpackfan

      Maybe he thought of Brandon Spikes… He was visiting Patriots, but no additional news about him…

  • PackersHome.com

    Rolando McClain re-signed with Cowboys April 1st.

  • Nick Perry

    For the longest time I wanted the Packers to sign Brandon Spikes. I still wouldn’t mind seeing him in a Packers uniform but you have to wonder WHY he’s still unsigned. I understand he’s a 2 down run stuffing LB, but for the $3.25 million Buffalo signed him to last year I’d think it’s less by now.
    Gresham might be a decent signing, he’s a good blocker with decent hands. If Rodgers II makes the year 2 jump is he really much better than what we have already? I really like this football team, especially if Raji resembles 2010 Raji in the slightest.

  • Archie

    Well, I’d argue Jennings and Jones are more reflections of not having #12 chuckin’ the pigskin to them. I’d argue both would perform at previous levels or close to, were they to return to #12.

    Scott Wells endured some significant injuries after leaving GB that sealed his fate.

    And we all knew EDS was somebody you could get by with but nobody special.

    Cullen Jenkins was the big miss. He was a very good 3-4 DE, the best w/o a doubt in GB since going back to 3-4, yet TT unceremoniously dumped him w./o even talking to him. W/o CJ our defensive performance went to hell as did BJ Raji’s.

    The latter is a common pattern for TT. He just did the same thing to Devon House. If TT likes you, you get to stay for forever (see Hawk/Poppinga etc.) and if he doesn’t, he doesn’t even talk to you, he just shows you the door. Just the way he operates. No doubt TT is a very weird person and a very weird GM. He is extremely conservative in his approach to building his roster but as long as he has #12 at the top of his game, it doesn’t matter, he could throw darts at the wall and this team would still be in the hunt every year. TT/MM w/o #12 would be a scary sight indeed.

    • Any GM without a franchise QB is going to get mediocre results. You might have a few 10-6 or 11-5 years, but no better than that. The game is just set up that way.

      I agree with you on Jenkins. But I do think Daniels is just as good right now as CJ was at his best. Let’s also remember that Daniels is also only 26, whereas CJs best playing happened at 29-30.

      • Although the headlines said 5 yrs., $25 million, Cullen’s contract actually could be transmuted into 1 yr at $4 million (see link). While he did have decent stats, (32 tackles with 5.5 sacks) I believe a lot of his sacks came early in the season, which was a pattern, IIRC.

        http://eaglescap.com/Players/CullenJenkins.html

        • Jay

          I may be in the minority with this unpopular opinion, but losing Jenkins wasn’t the huge death knell so many people want to think. He didn’t go on to great things in Philly. He wasn’t an All Pro or centerpiece of that defense. He was overpaid and under-performed.

          The biggest issues with the 2011 defense were losing Nick Collins and Charles Woodson was a year older and clearly on the decline.

          • Agree. I straddled both fences on Jenkins. The 1 yr., $4 million was very reasonable. OTOH, his stats tended to come early in the season, a sign of age/decline, and he did not move mountains for Philly, which canned him after two years.

            • Jay

              Be sure to tune in on Wednesday morning for what’s essentially part 2 of last week’s article.

    • Big T

      I don’t think I would be out of line to say that we would have 2 more rings if he doesn’t let Jenkins walk. TT would rather Not have the rings because he would have to sustain a bruised ego.

      • Al Borland’s Beard

        Yeah, a bruised ego is definitely the result of reaching the pinnacle of your profession. You’re reaching.

      • That’s absolutely insane.

  • Savage57

    Tramon’s deal was good for him, because no matter how fast he might fade in Cleveland, $10MM guaranteed on top of the $40MM he made on his last Packers contract should be enough to get him to the finish line.

  • Big T

    May 12th is his scheduled shoulder enhancement surgery. Good luck TT, recover quickly buddy.

  • Chad Lundberg

    People are gonna call me prejudice, but Scott Wells got what fully deserved for his disloyalty. Players leaving for family are one thing, but I always felt that Wells left purely out of entitlment and greed.

    • No one deserves to be injured. Wells was a 7th rd draft choice who GB put on the PS. Started 2 games when Flanagan was injured, 10 more in 2005, and was the starter in 2006. In November of 2006, he got a 5 yr. $15 million extension. Most years GB tried to replace him (Spitz for one), but Wells battled and kept his job. In 2011, made the pro bowl but TT let him go. He got 4 yrs., $24 million with $13 million guaranteed. Don’t know whether TT offered anything, but I’d say Adios, or maybe he just applied the lessons he learned after earning a double major in Economics and History. Solid person, as far as I can tell. Married and had 3 surviving children, with some tragedy there (stillborn twins). Later adopted 3 children from Uganda. Involved in the Churches of Christ. I suppose the 5 yr, $15 million should be enough to set him up, but it is hard to pass up $13 million guaranteed when you are 30 yrs old with a wife and 6 kids and it’s likely your last contract in a career in which teams often tried to replace you.

    • Al Borland’s Beard

      Entitlement and greed? Is that what we call it when people seek out the money they believe they are worth? I’ll never understand the bitterness people get when a player leaves for money. Football is a rough sport that chews you up and spits you out. Players should try and get as much money out of it as they can.

  • Dwight Feeney 573 def. snaps (54%): 7 tackles; 3.5 snaps. Age 36
    Gresham: 875 off. snaps (82%); 15 games 62 rec 460 yds, 5 tds 7.4 ave 26yr
    J Barksdale: 994 off snaps (99%) 16 games run block+ Pass Pro -? 26 yrs.
    C Wooten 271 def. snaps (25%) 15 games 16 tackles, 1 sack age 27
    B Spikes: 504 def snaps (46%) 16/10 games/started 16 tackles, 1 sack 27 yrs

    IDK enough about these players to say whether their better than what we have or what they might be worth to GB in $ terms. I’d ask the o-line coach whether Barksdale can learn to pass protect better. Not sure about Gresham. His career stats aren’t really all that great. The $ would have to be right for each of them.

    • adroge

      I believe the compensatory pick they got for Jenkins was used to select Daniels. This is the problem when considering signing guys. Remember your also potentially losing a draft pick when signing free agents. Even your own. The packers were right to let Jenkins walk. He still was good enough for the packers to receive compensation for but getting to the age where his contributions would be short term. It was actually a smart move. Would anybody have traded a 4th round pick for Jenkins for half of good season?

      • Daniels was drafted 132nd with a compensatory pick. It might have been (I’d guess it was) awarded for Jenkins. I’m too lazy to check that out.

        • Jay

          It was the comp pick.