Of the many things that make the NFL great, one of my personal favorites is how new trends tend to pop up out of nowhere. Just when know-it-all types like yours truly think we have it all figured out, some new wrinkle arises that brings us crashing back down to Earth.
For example, we all understand that the NFL is a passing league these days, but it’s probably safe to say that next to nobody saw the read-option and power-running game trend that came on and played such a major factor in the league last season.
Read option? Power running? In today’s NFL? Nah! What coach is stupid enough to try that? Well, thanks to a new breed of quarterback, several coaches gave it a try and it worked. We’ll see if it continues.
In NFL free agency this offseason, thanks to a stagnant salary cap, there are a lot of usable veterans cut by teams and left on the market. In the past, many of these veterans would have signed bloated new deals with new teams on the first day or two of free agency.
These types of deals are still happening, but not quite like they used to.
Is this the new trend in free agency? It appears to be, for this offseason, anyway. More teams are taking the Packers’ Ted Thompson approach and being patient, either because they think it’s the right thing to do, or because they have no other choice due to the stagnant salary cap.
Don’t get me wrong, few teams — if any — are taking the extreme draft and development approach that Thompson takes, but the general trend appears to be heading in that direction.
This raises several questions:
- Will all of these unsigned veterans eventually just sign cheap one-year deals after a while?
- Will prices for these unsigned veterans actually go up as free-agency wears on and teams realize they need to fill a few holes on their rosters?
- Prices appear to be down for wide receivers and defensive backs this offseason. Is that because there are too many on the market? Is it becasue there are so many on the market? Is it because teams feel it makes more sense to draft and develop their own WRs and DBs?
- Did Erik Walden’s agent slip Colts owner Robert Irsay a roofie and then force him to sign Walden to a four year, $16 million contract with $8 million guaranteed?
I have no idea how to answer these questions, but I’m intrigued by them.
How does this relate to the Packers? I actually think you’re going to see Thompson and his staff be more conservative than ever before in free agency. Soon, the Packers will have an ungodly amount of money invested in Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews (and who knows how much in B.J. Raji).
The Packers won’t be players in free agency not only because they don’t want to be, but also because they simply won’t be able to afford it if the salary cap remains flat.
That’s how I see things, anyway. I’m sure things will end up completely the opposite, so check back in a few years.
Packers News, Notes and Link
- Friday night was a long one for Packers fans. Greg Jennings signed with the Vikings and Tom Crabtree inked a two-year deal with the Buccaneers. I had a blast watching both players and wish them nothing but the best when they’re not playing the Packers.
- Here is a link to a list of all the free agents the Packers have signed so far.
- Congratulations to Jersey Al for coming up with the best headline in the Packers blogosphere ever.
- Jason Wilde is still text buddies with Charles Woodson, and got the former Packers great to express his appreciation for the NFL possibly changing the tuck rule.
- John Rehor writes what has been in the back of my mind for a while about giving Clay Matthews a huge contract. Matthews is going to get a ton of money, and it’s nerve-wrecking when non-quarterbacks are given a ton of money. But Matthews is so damn good that the Packers have to back up the Brinks truck, right?
- Devin Shanley goes over the whole Steven Jackson to the Packers brouhaha. Of course, a lot of Packers fans got all worked up when Jackson signed with the Falcons for $12 million ($4 million guaranteed). I don’t get it, people. Since when has a 30-year-old free-agent running back made the difference between being a Super Bowl team and a non-Super Bowl team? The Packers don’t need Steven Jackson. Move on.
- Want to track what’s happening with the Packers current unrestricted and restricted free agents? CheeseheadTV.com has you covered.
- One last note on Jennings and Crabtree: It sucks that they’re gone. It really does. Both players were good in their respective roles and both seemed like good guys. But from strictly a football sense, it had to be done. The Packers need all the cap space they can get to extend Rodgers and Matthews (and maybe Raji). To the Packers, Jennings isn’t worth what the Vikings paid him and Crabtree isn’t worth much more than the league minimum. I’m not saying that both players are now vastly overpaid and will be busts on their new teams. I’m saying that it didn’t make football sense for the Packers to pay Jennings and Crabtree what they eventually got.
Non-Packers Links and Other Nonsense
- This story is really hard to explain, but you should read it. Seriously.
- This excellent story on Jason Giambi should get you in the mood for baseball.
- Don’t ever heckle Louis CK during a performance. (NSFW)
- The Steubenville rape case gets more disgusting by the day. Dan Wetzel is doing a great job covering this terrible situation at Yahoosports.com.
- Everything you ever wanted to know about corn ethanol, in one snazzy video.
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 .