Why No Trades For Ted Thompson?

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DJ Williams, Brandon Bostick, James Starks, Alex Green.  All these names were brought up by the media and fans as possible trade bait that the Packers could dangle for future draft picks.  Ultimately, none of that came to fruition as Bostick and Starks made the team while DJ Williams and Alex Green were cut and subsequently found homes in Jacksonville and New York.  Some of you might be thinking, if the DJ Williams found a home in Jacksonville so quickly, why didn’t Thompson get a draft pick out of them?  It does seem like every year fans and media alike gush about the depth that the Packers’ offseason roster contains and start day dreaming about how great a draft Ted Thompson could have if he had more draft picks.  Overall Ted Thompson rarely trades players at all (save for the whole Brett Favre thing and the “tag and trade” of Corey Williams, and truth be told the odds are against Thompson in making trades right before the 53 man roster cut.


  1. The Packers are a stable organization: The Packers don’t have much turnover in their coaching staff or front office; sure coaches have left to for other teams and famously now 3 Ted Thompson disciples are GMs of their own teams, but the gradual loss of talent that the Packers have experienced is nothing like the building clearing clean sweep that some owners start after a couple dismal seasons.  The offshoot of this is that the players on the Packers roster were picked and paid by the current GM.  Everyone of the players on the team now are Thompson’s “guys” and he has a incentive to go protect them as much as he can.  This isn’t a situation where the previous regime drafted a dominant 3-4 outside linebacker but the new coaching staff plays a 4-3 defense.  From a transaction perspective, there aren’t attractive trading candidates that don’t fit the Packers scheme or philosophy.  One famous example of this was when Denver hired Josh McDaniels was hired and proceeded to tear apart the team that Mike Shanahan had assembled including Jay Culter and Brandon Marshall, two players that typically would never see the trading block.
  2. The Packers develop players very well: Despite the panic that has recently gripped fans due to the “mess” at backup quarterback, the Packers have a very good reputation of developing players; every year a handful of late round and undrafted rookies make the team and become successful players for the Packers.  There aren’t many situations where the Packers will let a player go that has gone on to have great success for another team.  The only player I can think of is Vonta Leach, who ended up being a Pro Bowl caliber fullback, but other than that, the Packers have done a very good job assessing potential and keeping it in house.
  3. The Packers have a very stable cap situation: Ted Thompson was partially hired because he was good at keeping teams cap compliant and every since digging himself out of the cap hell left by Mike Sherman, Thompson has always kept the Packers as one of the most cap healthy teams in the NFL.  This means there hasn’t been a situation where the team really wanted to keep a player but couldn’t afford to do so.  This offseason alone, the Packers made Aaron Rodgers the highest paid player in the history of the NFL and Clay Matthews the highest paid linebacker but still have around $13 million should they want to lock up other players during the season.
  4. The Packers keep their own: Speaking of taking care of their own; the Packers are great at keeping talent they’ve developed at home, as most of the key players on the Packers roster were drafted, developed and have only played for Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson.  This often eliminates the need to trade for players as the Packers would rather develop their own players than trade for a player that was developed outside their system.
  5. All GMs value their draft picks: Ted Thompson is famously in love with his draft picks but really all teams now realize that drafting is the most consistent and successful method to fielding a great team every year.  Other teams are just as guarded with their picks as Thompson is and you don’t often see players being traded for picks any more, especially bottom of the roster type players.  Some players do get traded for a low round conditional pick, but usually that’s tied to playing time so very rarely do teams actually move picks for these transaction.  As far as I can tell Ted Thompson’s last trade during the 53 man cut off was trading guard Caleb Schlauderaff to the Jets and fullback Quinn Johnson to the Titans for a conditional late round pick, but ultimately neither played enough to warrant a draft pick for the Packers.
  6. Fans and beat writers rate their own teams too highly:  I’m sure you’ll still find fans in Oakland who think Al Davis was the greatest GM of all time, even when his deteriorating health caused some head-scratching decisions.  As a fan who closely follows the Packers, I think were all surprised when the Packers cut “diamond in the rough” players; for instance I was surprised Tyrone Walker didn’t make the team (I predicted he would actually make the team).  But as far as I can tell, he has yet to be signed to a team or practice squad, and every team has players that fans think could be the next big thing that doesn’t get past the roster cut.  Simply put all of us think too highly of players the Packers have drafted and perhaps more importantly are scared to death that the Packers have mistakenly dropped a player that will go on to become a star somewhere else and defeat the Packers in a Super Bowl (if you are really paranoid at least).  Keep in mind every fan and every beat writer does this, not just Packers fans, only since as Packers fans we don’t really follow the rest of the league as closely, we don’t hear about other teams as much.  Keep in mind most GMs think that the bottom 3rd of every roster is largely replaceable.

I think in the end, it’s just wishful thinking from fans and the media alike that think the Packers, or any other team for the matter, will find a trading partner for their junk.  Teams have a pretty good idea who will stick and who is likely to be cut, so why would you bother trading for a player when you can simply wait for him to be cut and sign him for potentially less money?  A simple way to put it is if you would call Ted Thompson an idiot for trading away a 7th round pick to the Jets for say Brady Quinn, why do you think any other GM would be that stupid as well?


Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.


20 thoughts on “Why No Trades For Ted Thompson?

  1. I respect and appreciate all the good work TT has done for the Packers over the years. However, this year I have to voice a complaint. Going into the season, I believe our o’line is the weak link of this team. I believe there is a very good chance of AR getting hurt this year because one of our o’lineman missed his assignment. If that should happen, how good will TT’s stubborn adherence to his draft and develop philosophy look when “The Franchise” can’t play?

    Personally, I believe it’s irresponsible of TT to risk injury to AR with such an inexperienced o’line and a trade should have been made to bolster the o’line as soon as Brian Bulaga was injured.

    I hope what I’m saying here never happens. I know I’ll be watching every game praying that AR stays healthy. But I do believe that if we make the playoffs this year it will be more due to luck than management decisions.

    1. Actually I was more writing about how the Packers (or any other team for that matter) do not get much value for their bottom tier players, like many of the fans want. I will say that left tackles are like quarterbacks, the good ones never sniff free agency and the great ones probably don’t even sniff the last year of their contract. You simply aren’t going to find a team willing to trade a good left tackle for any price. At some point every player, drafted or not, has to gain experience somewhere; I think Ted Thompson believes that he has the best system in place to make draft picks into great players.

      1. It drives me nots with many howling to trade ‘guys’ for top tier players. Six packers cuts were signed to other teams 53, and none of them would fetch a seventh round pick. As Cliff Crystal (sp?), Silverstein, and McGinn have said time and again – there are only a few difference makers on most teams – all others are guys easy to replace by those younger.

        1. Well said, ZT. To the OP, JH9, one simple question: exactly which quality tackle was known to be on the market that you think TT should have traded for?

          The problem with you “TT never makes trades” agitators is that it’s easy to fault the one guy for not doing something that requires three people: the trader, the tradee, and the trade recipient. TT can only be the latter; he has no way of making a trade partner or player worth trading for appear from nowhere. Quality OTs don’t just get dropped at the door by the milkman each morning, and he’s not dumb enough to mortgage the Pack’s future by dumping money to pry loose someone who’s only marginally better than what we’ve got.

          It sucks that we spent two #1s on OTs and one suffered a catastrophic injury and the other seems injury-prone. We all want the Oline to be better, and I would be shocked if more attention doesn’t get paid to it in next year’s draft. But if it needs fixing, that’s when it will be fixed. Expecting anything else from TT is like looking west for the sunrise.

    2. Dude. TT drafted a GOOD raw player(not all world but certainly capable) in the first rounds at RT in Bulaga in 2010 and LT in Sherrod in 2011.

      They’re both out. What do you want? Not one team in the NFL has TWO above average backupst at T. We’re lucky that Bakh has looked so good as a 4th round Rook.

      MM is going to have to make do for the year and get better at the position next year.

      I think your real beef is injuries. And that is a great question that no one outside of 1265 Lomardi can answer.

      1. I’m not sure even those inside of 1265 Lombardi Ave can really answer that question. Really, football is just a dangerous sport no two ways about it.

  2. I’m still holding out hope that our defensive line surprises the other GMs with a stellar level of play and TT gets the opportunity to trade one of our defensive linemen for a quality offensive lineman (guard/center, preferably). I further hope this happens prior to one of offensive linemen going down with an injury.

    1. Well first off, who would you trade on the D-line? From a trade perspective Raji might get you the most return, but I still think the Packers will try to keep Raji this offseason. Secondly I’m not sure trading an offensive linemen makes much sense; it’s probably one of the most technically and mentally taxing positions in the NFL and I don’t think a offensive linemen trade in the middle of the season is going to help much.

  3. I want to be mad at TT for the O-line uncertainty but how do you accord for Bulaga blowing up and Sherrod still unable to perform. By next year we could have a glut of good tackles and a run game. The game, the personnel and the injuries are too fluid to condemn a man because a position changed through the course of a training camp.

    As for the lack of trading, I don’t see this league as much of a trading league. The Chiefs and 49ers swapping draft pick busts or a desperate team giving up too much for a guy on the backside of a career is not where we want or need to be. Also, few teams want to trade with the Packers because they know that we will eventually need to let talent go. Success has its price.

    1. I definitely agree with you, I think unlike every other popular team sport in the US market, football is perhaps the only one where players are too specialized to be traded. Baseball is very rigid in what it asks its players to do (and is just barely a team sport) while there are plenty of instances of basketball and hockey players being traded and playing well for their new team the next day. There is so much diversity with successful players and it’s so dependent on how the rest of the team is that it becomes hard to predict success of a traded player, hence teams typically don’t.

  4. Another point to consider is what each team would get and have to give in a trade.

    The Packers have at least 53 players who TT thinks are better than (for example) Alex Green. If TT traded Green for a player of equal value, would’t he just have to dump the new player that, just like Green, was not better than 53 guys we kept anyway?

    The Packers are a pretty good team, regardless of our griping. Its not very likely that a player that another team wants to get rid of will be instantly better than a player Green bay keeps.

    So instead you want to trade for a future player (= draft pick). But why would the other team give you a draft pick for a player you are going to cut anyway? They aren’t exactly stupid — even the Loins eventually fired Matt Millen.

    Granted you might find a mismatch — a team that has a better RB prospect than Green but needs, say a linebacker. Look at where the new Practice Squad RB, Hill, came from — San Diego, the team that signed ex-Packer LB Terell Manning.

    Cut Manning, who gets signed by San Diego to the 53, which means SD has to release a player. So they release an RB, Hill, that Ted signs to GB’s Practice Squad — a place where we tend to keep our future players, like Bostick, or Nixon, or Donald Driver back in the day.

    Manning for Hill via the waiver wire is the way cut down day trades are done in the modern NFL.

    If TT actually trades Manning for Hill, Hill has to go on the 53 to make the trade worthwhile. But do you really want to have the Packers cut guys like Barrington or Banjo to keep a 4th RB who *might* be the 54th best player in the group? How often do we use the 4th RB, and is Hill(yet) experienced enough in the Packer’s system? (Hint: if Hill were good enough, right now, to be better than Starks or Franklin, the Chargers would not have cut him.)

    Why pay more than you have to goes for both sides in any prospective trade.

    1. This is basically what I’m getting at which I think fans and the media don’t really consider, they just see the Packers getting rid of say Alex Green and want to see the Packers get some value back, they do not really consider that every teams goes through this problem every year and it simply doesn’t make much sense to trade a player right before the cutdown.

      I’d also contend that there weren’t 53 players better than Alex Green, for one BJ Coleman certainly was not a better player (Green was signed after being cut, Coleman has yet to be) but rosters need a balance of scheme and talent and a backup quarterback might be more useful than a 5th string running back but is probably not as talented.

      1. I wont disagree with you about Coleman. In fact I thought about writing something like that in my post, but it seemed long enough already.

    2. Bein’ on the back end of the waiver wire puts the jam on successful teams[yeah, parity.] If you got an extra gem you might shop the successful teams before you drop them.

      I don’t buy the “their best 54th guy isn’t any better than our 54th guy.” We are currently so deep at DL they had to open a extra roster spot for Boyd. Forced TT to cut Green or DJ when traditionally they kept one more offensive player. Other teams face the same dilemma.

      Love the Pack. Respect the front office, but going into the season with no real starting SS, no QB2, and very questionable RB2 makes this fan apprehensive.

      Admit it we all secretly think we could be a GM – drink coffee, watch tape, make picks – after all we can dominate Madden franchise mode year after year. lol

  5. It’s certainly complicated, and I guess most teams fans probably gripe about why their prized back-ups couldn’t have gotten something in return rather than being cut. We value our guys cause we know them, those other teams guys, well, not so much. And all the teams are the same. Seems like the bottom parts of all the rosters become part of the nfl garage sale after the final cuts are made. I think its why I like it.

  6. Haven’t you heard?

    Other GM’s in the league don’t want to work in Green Bay.

    (get it – why no TRADES FOR Ted Thompson?)

  7. Why no trades? T. Hobbes answered his own question late in the article. Teams have a good read on who will be cut on every team. Trading for someone who is about to be cut will get you fired. Also inquiring trades for a player right before cutdowns signals the other trade partner that the player will not make the team anyway. Trades just don’t happen that easily, regardless of what the public thinks. What could you get for Alex Green anyway? Check his career stats and he isn’t worth a 7th rounder.

  8. When the teams had to get down to 53 players I didn’t see much trade activity unless a team really wanted your player & had to trade to keep other teams from getting him before you. I just don’t think there’s much of a market for trading then.

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