World to Spin Backwards, Packers Ted Thompson to Delve into Free Agency All Green Bay Packers All the Time
Packers GM Ted Thompson
Packers GM Ted Thompson

A report last night from NFL Insider Ian Rappaport claims sources within the Packers have told him Green Bay will reverse course this off-season and look to put together a more dynamic defense via free agent signings.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport said Wednesday on “NFL Total Access” that the Packers plan to take advantage of their nearly $30 million in cap space and acquire outside free agents, according to sources informed of the team’s thinking. Rapoport reported on NFL Network that the Packerscould sign as many as five players, which would be the most for the team since 2006.

 And who will Green Bay target? According to Rapoport, the team is committed to rebuilding its defense in a way that best suits the philosophy of defensive coordinator Dom Capers. That means getting more athletic and versatile along the defensive line. A major goal is to improve their ability to blitz and get after the quarterback. Green Bay finished with 44 sacks last season, tied for eighth in the league.


My initial reaction is: NOW you want to tailor your defense to Dom Capers’ philosophy? So what have we been doing since the Super Bowl win? Is this saying that the drafting of such players as Mike Neal, Morgan Burnett, Nick Perry, Jerel Worthy, etc, has been a mistake?

Is this purely a reactionary move after watching the dynamic Seattle defense destroy the Broncos? As in, “yeah, that’s what we should do?”

Then there’s the question of how accurate this information is. And what level of free agency are we talking about? Will the Packers actually participate on day one or two?

I suppose if this is true, I should just be happy. But I can’t shake the feeling that things got a bit too comfortable for everyone the last few seasons and opportunities were squandered.

In any case, time for everyone to man the battle stations – we’re sailing through uncharted waters here…

Without this becoming a flaming Ted Thompson hate fest, I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts:


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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for


34 thoughts on “World to Spin Backwards, Packers Ted Thompson to Delve into Free Agency

  1. The last time Ted really went into free agency in 2006, it was a franchise-changer. The signing of Charles Woodson really changed the fortunes of the franchise around. I hope he can make a signing with even near that big of an impact.

  2. Keep in mind that “jumping into free agency” can’t happen without having a lot of cap space. A lot of cap space isn’t available if he was jumping into more substantial free agency in earlier years. I think this is a unique storm of lots of team fa’s that the coaches now understand are not capable of the play they expected or are going to garner too much $ in free agency, thus they are going to have to get some players back in a similar manner. GoPack!

    1. Looks like Pack could have MORE cap space-could be as much as $32 Million this offseason for Thompson to sign some team FA’s, maybe an outside FA or two for defense or TE and space to extend Jordy Nelson and/or Cobb.

  3. Get ready for the onslaught of wild articles as we head into the dolldrums of the post football season. I would be surprised if we added one decent FA defensive signing. Not only do we have our own to consider (Shields, Quarless, etc.), but we need to address next year’s FA such as Jordy Nelson, Cobb and Bulaga. Like Mutt4, I’ll believe it when the lakes thaw…

  4. I think this is blowing up a small piece of info much bigger than it is to get a story. I can’t see Ted spending big money in FA with all the contracts coming up. I bet they sign 2 mid priced FA’s that will be hole fillers until draft picks develop. (maybe safety and d-line) Which is fine by me. They still need a lot of cap room for extending Jordy, Cobb, Bulaga not to mention possibly resigning some players this year Shields, EDS, Quarless…etc. Kind of exciting regardless.

  5. I think we’ve all been saying, for the most part, that the defense needs help, but I don’t see 4=5 FA signings on that side of the ball as being necessary. Two strategically-placed players might be all it takes to really “reverse course”, and it can likely be done without breaking the bank.

    Still, it was said that this is the “dolldrums” of the off-season, with the playoffs behind and the draft still 3 months off. I really think this is the case of a report for reporting’s sake…meaning, let’s get people reading/talking whether there’s any substance to it or not.

  6. I can see us shoring up some depth and maybe bringing in a veteran safety to plug the gaping hole there, but I doubt we go after a high level FA, although I’d love to be wrong. I think we need a Charles Woodson-like acquisition, especially since our early round defensive draft picks are developing way too slowly to make a noticeable impact.

    If we let Raji and Finley walk in FA, I see no reason why we shouldn’t take a shot at an Orakpo, Byrd, or Lamarr Houston if the staff really believes they can come in and be playmakers for us. Outside of Clay, we have NOBODY that’s a game changer. When we had a top 5 defense (twice) in Dom’s early years we had a stud Woodson, Tramon in his prime, a ball hawking safety in Collins, a disruptive inside pass rusher in Jenkins, Clay was playing at his usual high level, and Raji played like he had a pulse. We are extremely depleted right now in comparison. Give Dom some players, or start hitting on draft picks.

  7. I honestly don’t think “complacency” is the right word. I’ll admit that I’m a big TT fan, so take that for what it’s worth.

    Rather than complacency, I just think the staff greatly overestimated their defensive talent. I fully believe that TT & co recognize and intend to try and fix that through ALL avenues this year.

    TT’s not perfect, as his troubles with rebuilding a defense post-Super Bowl proves. But I don’t think he’s lazy or content. He just didn’t end up with the players he thought he had. That’s on him, but he gets a chance to fix it.

  8. Not every team is going to have bruisers like Bowman and Willis thumping the Middle, but an angry attitude is needed. Hawk does the best with what he is and he seems very dedicated. What ever happened to BJ Raji he looked like a dominant force early in his career now he looks like a plugging dough-boy. At the safety position it seems like confusion is the rule. Generally it is not just the injuries on the defense spelling mediocrity; it looks more like apathy. Maybe Ted can find someone that can help.

  9. Not every team is going to have bruisers like Bowman and Willis thumping the Middle, but an angry attitude is needed. Hawk does the best with what he is and he seems very dedicated. What ever happened to BJ Raji he looked like a dominant force early in his career now he looks like a plugging dough-boy. At the safety position it seems like confusion is the rule. Generally it is not just the injuries on the defense spelling mediocrity; it looks more like apathy. Maybe Ted can find someone that can help.

  10. “Mike Neal, Morgan Burnett, Nick Perry, Jerel Worthy, etc, has been a mistake?”

    I would guess those are examples of the guys the Packers want to build around and supplement. Its the Picketts, Raji’s, Jolly’s that don’t really fit the D. One of them so you have a true NT maybe, but using 3 guys all in the 6’2 340 range doesn’t fit the scheme, its more what Capers had to make due with. Raji as a pure NT is plenty athletic, but as a 34 DE where he has been forced to play is not athletic. Get another 34 DE that’s 6’4+ and 300 instead of short and squatty. Find an ILB that can run to the ball and make plays. A Safety w/ range to replace Jennings and the D is already fixed.

    1. Agree 100% especially the last 2 statements. And on Burnett, I know he hasn’t lived up to the hype, but if you look at how he played in college, he was a turnover machine. If they can ever get the front seven to generate a consistent pass-rush, I believe Burnett and Co. on the back end will generate the kind of interception stats they had in 2010.

  11. And why do we assume that signing our own guys has to be a priority? Maybe “our own guys” are the problem.

  12. ted saw how much veteran salaries went down
    and realized that veteran FA’s could be the new market innefficiency
    and already is changing his philosophy
    very bold move but he will never abandon the draft and I dont believe he will overcommitt money or even get a star free agent, so whatever.

    1. I agree 100 percent. Unfortunately, it’s not much of a market inefficiency any more because other team’s have recognized it.

      Ted’s late to the party on this one.

  13. I still think this all comes down to injuries. Perhaps the Packers D would have fit Capers’ philosophy if guys like Perry, Worthy, Hayward, Collins, CM3, Bishop and a bunch of others all didn’t get struck down by significant injuries at various points since the Super Bowl win.

    Maybe Ted is tired of seeing his draft picks end up on IR, and figures he might as well give this free agency thing a shot to at least have a couple more capable bodies on hand in case the injury pandemic strikes again.

  14. This story probably grew out of the evaluation and planning phases that the Packers have been going through. One scenario that I am sure GB plans for is being outbid on their FAs. If they lose Shields, EDS, Raji, Quarless, Starks, etc… during the FA process they would need to replace at least some of them with FAs. Or it could mean that TT will sign some of his own FAs and 2-3 from other teams. As many have previously stated I will believe it when I see it. Thanks, Since ’61

    1. Agreed Since 61. I think TT signs a Safety like Chris Clemons of the Dolphins, and a ILB like Donald Butler of the Chargers. Both are younger, would be upgrades over what the Packers currently have, and wouldn’t command huge, huge salaries. Throw in Shields, EDS, Nelson, and Cobb, that 30 million goes quickly. If he does something like that and has a draft closer to 2013 vs the drafts of 2011 and 12, then I think the Packers are right there with the best. That and they have to stay somewhat healthy for once as well.

  15. When hell freezes over! Not surprised if the report is a huge exaggeration to get the fan base riled up and reading whatever ‘news’ Rappaport can throw out there. Not cool to do that.

  16. 2 starters and a back up from free agency & 4 -5 draft choices would really pump some life into our defense.

  17. I can see the value of picking up a couple of mid-level FA’s. The question in my mind is whether TT will actually try doing this, beyond the feeble efforts the past few years. We’ll see.

    Go Pack!

  18. That’s a good question you raise, Jersey Al, about the Packers signing a player the first or second day of FA market. My take on it, is that even if the report is true about them having plenty of money to spend in FA, Thompson will probably pass on the first day when the value for the player is exaggerated. Example would be Seattle’s deal to sign cliff Avril (1st day I believe) verses Kam Chancellor at a value signing a while after the market opened. They both played well against Denver’s #1 Offense in the Superbowl. But Avril was probably paid more than his value, because my thinking is that the Seahawks would have won just the same with out him. To me Chancellor had the biggest game play after play. He was a great value in the FA market.

  19. If I had to bet a substantial amount of money on it, I would bet TT does not go big into FA. But, if he does not do everything in his power to fix the woeful defense, he should be fired.

  20. My thoughts on the breaking story:


    If the Packers go after some free agents, it probably won’t be much different than it has been in the past.

    That said, if they -do- target a premium FA, it’ll most likely be a guy who the Packers personnel department was very high on coming out of college that they could not acquire and is now an older vet or has become available due to being in a slump, considered to have “little tread left on the wheels” or being labeled “injury prone”. This was the situation with Charles Woodson, and the Packers in that one move have proven that when a guy they highly valued in their scouting reports becomes available, they will take a big gamble and spend money that sometimes other teams won’t.. Don’t forget, NOBODY else wanted Woodson when the Pack signed him- there wasn’t a huge bidding war- but the Packers still payed out fairly handsomely for Wood when all was said and done.

    TT’s not as cheap as many think and he isn’t completely gutless and vanilla, either. He is simply very calculated in taking his shots.

  21. This is great news to hear, if true.
    If the Packers can put together a top rated defense, like in 2010, I believe they would be primed for another title run or two (or three??? ok, ok…don’t be greedy).

  22. Just another note: We all see how TT doesn’t like to rely on free agency, but it is interesting that two of the most important acquisitions that he has made during his tenure were acquired in free agency. (Woodson and Pickett)

  23. On the topic of Free Agents..

    Does anyone know if Jabaal Sheard’s rookie contract with the Browns is up yet?

    That’s a kid I wanted the Packers to draft to be CMIII’s bookend. I would very much like to see the Packers scoop him up if he is a FA this year.

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