All you Need to Know About Day 1 of NFL Free Agency and the Green Bay Packers All Green Bay Packers All the Time
Brandon Marshall
The Bears traded two third-round picks for WR Brandon Marshall.

It’s 11:30 p.m. central time on Tuesday, March 13, 2012. I’m going to read a few pages in my book and go to bed. By the time this publishes around 7 a.m. central time on Wednesday, March 14, 2012, a bunch of other stuff might have happened and the news contained in this post might feel like it’s 10 years old.

Welcome to the start of NFL free agency.

A lot went down on Tuesday when 532 NFL players hit the open market. Let’s take a look at the developments that concern the Green Bay Packers:

  • Packers center Scott Wells is as good as gone according Packer Report. I was a big advocate for bringing Wells back, even if it meant overspending a little. Maybe it’s me accepting the fact that Wells is probably leaving, but I started changing my mind a couple days ago. Is it wise to overspend for a 31-year-old center that’s undersized and isn’t that great of a run blocker? Probably not, especially when there’s extensions for Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings and Clay Matthews coming up in the near future. The Packers will miss Wells’s pass blocking. They’ll miss his command of the pre-snap calls just as much. But it’s not a devastating loss…I don’t think.
  • And who knows? Maybe the Packers are treating Wells like they treated Clifton a few years ago, letting him explore the market to see what sort of offers are out there and hoping for an opportunity to match.
  • There’s been some scuttle that the Packers might go after Houston center Chris Myers to replace Wells. I’ll believe it when I see it. Myers would be an upgrade over Wells, but replacing his own high-priced free agent with another high-priced free agent isn’t how Ted Thompson typically operates.
  • Packers DE Mike Neal has been suspended four games for using a performance enhancing substance. The injury-prone Neal gets a lot of heat from Packers fans and this won’t make it any better. I always had sympathy for Neal. Why should we get angry at a young player just because he gets hurt? But this changes things. There’s no excuse for taking PEDs. The best thing Neal can do is admit his mistake, take his punishment like a man, and try to come back and salvage his career.
  • The Bears traded for WR Brandon Marshall and signed QB Jason Campbell to back up Jay Cutler. If trophies were given for winning the offseason, the Bears trophy case would be filled. Sure, Marshall probably helps, but he’s a nutjob that could go off the deep end at any moment. Also, the Bears offensive line and secondary are still terrible.
  • Who knew that one day Matt Flynn would be mentioned in the same stories as Peyton Manning? It looks like Miami remains a possibility for Flynn if they don’t sign Manning. Seattle also is in the running for the soon-to-be-rich former Packers backup.



Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .


24 thoughts on “All you Need to Know About Day 1 of NFL Free Agency and the Green Bay Packers

  1. I read this morning that Brandon Marshall is accused of punching a woman over the weekend. The Bears probably found out about this too late to factor in their decision to trade for this head case. DuhBears…LOL!

    1. lol too funny! Another idiot that shouldn’t be in the NFL. If the league keeps going like this we’ll have a similar rep to the NBA before you know it.

  2. Don’t worry,he’ll get another “second chance”…if he’s proved guilty.Benefit of doubt is still warranted,however,should he even be in the league prior to this.

  3. It’s another free agency period and all the Packers accomplish is losing players like every year and now TTs k Jenkins replacement is caught cheating after an other non-contributing performance last year. I hope TT can land a little help this year in FA. instead he’s probably trying to figure out how to give his fantasy boy AJ hawk more money or maybe hes salivating over the gems he put together on his mighty D unit. Come on Ted, make some moves.

    1. Dan –

      What would you suggest TT do? Sign a high priced FA? What about AR, CM3, Raji’s and GJ’s contracts that come up next year?

      The reason the Bears/Vikes have so much $$ to spend is that they have so many crappy players. They haven’t drafted well.

      Meanwhile, TT drafts well – so his players do well, and TT has to pay them more to keep them after their rookie deals are up.

      We simply do not have the $$ to go after other teams high end guys and keep our own. Given the choice, I’ll pick TT’s way every day and 2x on Sundays.

      I hope we get a cheaper short term option at C in FA, but it may not happen.

      Give TT a chance to fix the stuff from last year – he’ll do it.

    2. It’s easy to say make some moves. Thing is who, paid for how and how do you then pay Matthews Raji Jennings Rodgers even Lang…

      Not saying it can’t be done -TT maybe does err too much on the side of caution in FA and overvalues “his” players slightly but I’ll go with the draft develop and keep model over and reliance on FA all the time even if it means a lack of excitement at this time of year..

  4. Let’s all remind ourselves here:

    In the NFL today, the best chance you can get to ‘win it all’ is to have a competitive team year after year and hope that team catches fire. It’s lightning in a bottle. Period.

    The only team in the past 10 years who’s won in all that dominated the regular season was the Saints in 09. That’s it. Every single other team won by being competitive year in and out, and getting ‘hot’ at the right time. We did it in 10.

    TT’s way does not fix short term problems the best. It doesn’t. However, it is the BEST way to unquestioned long term success. High priced FA’s often can dramatically impact a team (positive or negative) in the short term. But they lead to salary cap hell down the road. Look at what happened to the Saints this year!

    It’s going to happen to the Bears sooner rather than later. They’re going to suck for years to come once the Peppers/Cutler/Marshall salaries come due – while they are trying to still fix an old D…

    I hope TT get the DL/OLB/C/S quandary figured out all this offseason. I’d put $ on 2 of the 4. Maybe 3. But we’re going to have question marks to start the year. Just like every team – but we’ll have less.

    Say it with me: Draft and Develop. Draft and Develop.

    1. Let’s also remind ourselves that signing guys might “fix” one area, but the odds are good that other, unexpected problems, will arise. Who could have predicted that the D-line and secondary would turn into major problems in 2011 after their superb performance during the Super Bowl run in 2010?

      If Ted signs a few guys to “fix” the D-line or secondary this season, another area of the team could spring a leak. Then the cycle of doling out money to “fix” problems repeats itself until there is no more money left to fix a growing list of problems.

      Until the NFL free agent market becomes more efficient, something I don’t see happening any time soon, Ted will stay away. Far away.

    2. Well said Bear. You bring up a good point and one that the two MM’s and TT fully understand. You’re odds of winning the whole kit and caboodle are better the more often you have a dog in the fight(ask Vick). The Patriots are a good example of a team that is in the hunt almost every year. And despite their last two SB losses, they are the team everyone else is trying to become. Not to many exceptions to this rule, although I believe the baseball Braves won 14 division title in a row and only one World Series.

  5. Lol, sorry for the harsh post. I guess I was having a bad day and then our 2011 D popped up in my head. I know its tough working the NFL salary cap and TT does as good a job as anyone, but , all I’m saying is TT gets a F for fielding the 2011 version of the Packers D. This is a bottom line league and the bottom line is we had one of the worst rated D’s in NFL HISTORY last year and did not win one playoff game……Bottom-line folks. I’m just hoping TT can rectify this mess. I’m worried that the draft will not be enough to fix it. Draft picks take time to develop and picking at 28 doesn’t help. The window is here to win another SB. We need a better D. I hope TT can fill the holes this year. I think FA would help.

    1. What would you have done to change the Packers D prior to last season? How TT supposed to predict that Raji, Williams and Hawk would take giant steps backward and Collins wouldn’t make it two games?

      If you want to criticize TT for letting Jenkins walk and not finding another OLB, that’s valid. But I think an F is a little harsh.

      1. Right on Adam,

        The 2011 D was a combination of bad luck, bad planning, and frankly, having a target on your back for the whole season.

        Let’s just imagine: Collins and Tramon don’t get hurt. Hawk plays to even 80% of his 2010 form. Ditto for Raji. Walden doesn’t get arrested after Thanksgiving.

        What do you have? A respectable D. Enough of one to win it all. These were all things we ‘expected’ before last year.

        Winning it all is 40% planning, 40% coaching, and 20% luck. No one gets full marks for coaching/planning over a whole season. Ever. People are fallible. We all take our turns at the stupid wheel.

        Our luck just ran out last after the Rayduhs game. Injuries/regression on D caught up to us. Bad timing with the death of Micheal Philbin.

        Dan, we’ll have a “dog in the fight” every year for the next 7 or so. And we’ll get a few Lombardi’s on the way I’d bet. TT is smart. So is MM. So is AR.

        Trust them.

      2. +1

        Without going back to find the exact post, during last years pre-season I definitely remember reading all sorts of comments all spouting off about how we had just about the best secondary in the league. I agreed with them too.

        Over the course of the season there were the comments about how Dom will find a way to turn it around. I too was confident that MM and Dom would work it out.

        We all know how it turned out…

        I really, really hope Nick Collins is not only fit to play but also GOOD to play. Its the same thing with P. Manning. The doctors (well his anyway) say is is good to go, but is he really??

        I really, really, REALLY hope that TT takes DE/OLB (in whatever BAP order he deems necessary) in the first two picks and from then does what he does best. However, I’m an Australian so in no way will I criticise whatever the hell he does because he’s the man, not me.

        Let them do their jobs and I’m confident we will have the team to go all the way, just like in 2010…

  6. I agree with the dog in the fight theory and as long as we have ARod and his weapons of offense we are in the hunt. But what I’m getting at is TT severally over estimated the strength of his pass rush last year. Not getting pressure on the QB was the no 1 reason we had the worst pass D in NFL HISTORY. Most yards ever givin up by a defence in the entire history of the NFL…wow… And the through in the leaky run D….what a disaster. Banking on an injury prone D lineman in Neal and banking on minimum waged bodys like Cj Wilson, j Wynn, waldon, Jones, zombo and who ever, to provide a pass rush was a mistake. If you want to praise TT for the 2011 D, go ahead…I think he failed with the D…and failing is an F

    1. We’re going to have to agree to disagree Dan.

      I think you are post-dicting. It’s easy to have 20/20 eyesight in the rearview mirror.

      Again – Collins, Tramon, Shields, Raji, Hawk… just to name a few. Who thought they’d all not produce? Not you. Not me. Not TT.

      We ‘should’ have been at least ok on D. It didn’t break that way.

      Give TT a chance to fix it.

  7. honestly bearmeat, I thought letting Jenkins go and not replacing him was a huge mistake prior to the season. I also had a feeling Neal wasn’t going to help much due to injuries, my brothers and some of my friends also expressed concerns prior to the season, then sure enough Neal gets hurt on a blocking sled during pre-season. We all just looked at each other. I agree that I didn’t think we would have problems on the back end, but I didn’t feel good about the D front. Not having a pass rush contributed to the problems with the DBs.

    Look, what I’m getting at is a GM should have seen the window of opportunity to repeat as SB champs and made an effort to shore up the D front. TT took a huge risk not doing so. He had the money last year to work out some kind of a deal. He never made an attempt to bring kj back once the market was soft. I’m not saying break the bank but he should have replaced Jenkins at least. A guy like Ron Wolf would have. TT just sat on his hands. Raji regressed with no pass rush help . Hawk was a mistake to begin with, another TT mistake on D. CM3 has needed a running make for a few years now . TT has dropped the ball on the other out side line backer position for years now . TTs moves or lack of, cost the packers to have the worst defense in nfl history . losing 1 safety should not cause a team to have the worst defense in nfl history .

    TT gets an A on offense , a B plus on special teams and a F on defense . Sorry, its a bottom line league . bottom line is TT assembled the worst defense in the history of the national football league . F. Now Ted , go kick some ass this year and bring us back a ring

    1. Our defense wasn’t the worst in NFL history. We gave up a bunch of yards, more than any team in NFL history but there are 17 teams that gave up more points than we gave up and our defense created a BUNCH of turnovers. I guess it depends on what you consider the worst defense ever. I think the most points qualifies as the worst in the NFL not yards given up.

      I agree TT’s off season last year was not a good one and if anything you’re giving him too much credit for what he did specifically last off season for his offense. Drafting Sherrod and Randall Cobb and resigning JJ were the main moves he made on offense and although many of us are excited about Cobb, I can say with confidence we would have had the same record had he not drafted Cobb, so give him credit for drafting and developing over his entire time as GM not specific to last off season.

      On defense resigning Hawk for such a large contract is still the biggest knock and is the most supid move TT has ever made but we’ve already talked this into the ground so I won’t keep going on about it. Cullen Jenkins is not as obvious as you’re making it sound… there was logic to not re signing him. Not addressing ROLB is a big thing but I looked through last years draft and there’s not a single LB that was drafted after our draft positions that would have been the answer to our problem this year(feel free to check up on that). I also checked on DL and came to the same conclusion there. He would have had to pick someone up in FA and that’s not something we’re financially set up to do and even if we were if I remember correctly there wasn’t a lot of options anyway. So your frustrations over the draft are understandable but I think he drafted ok picks last year based on what was available and the answer to our defensive problems was not there without trading up.

      Overall verdict, I’d give TT an D- on his defensive decisions made last year’s off season but based on different logic. A is too high for last years offensive decisions more like a B- Special teams B+, that’s where Cobb had most of an affect. overall a C- or so.

  8. Your right Zack, if there was a formula for over all D, kinda like the QB rating system, the packers 2011 D would not be the worst in NFL history, but it was still a terrible defense . The defense was soft . In 2010 Jenkins had 35 pressures in 15 games.. In 2011, ALL defensive lineman together totaled 37 pressures in 17 games . TT, one way or another, failed to provide pass rush .

    I just hope he can fix it.

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