Cory’s Corner: Ted Thompson will stick to his script All Green Bay Packers All the Time
Ted Thompson is preparing for his 10th NFL Draft as general manager of the Packers.
Ted Thompson is preparing for his 10th NFL Draft as general manager of the Packers.

Now I don’t want to totally dismiss anything that NFL writer and analyst Ian Rapoport said…but I don’t believe any of it.

For those that missed it, Rapoport said that the Packers could sign as many as five free agents to take advantage of the Packers nearly $28 million in cap space.

Anyone who has been around a stale Ted Thompson press conference knows that the Packers general manager prefers to assemble his team through the lower risk, higher reward of the draft, which actually suits a small-market team just fine.

The Packers have not and are not in a position to be like the Redskins or Cowboys who routinely throw money at free agents just because they can. Washington and Dallas are more suited to sign high-priced free agents because they can absorb more mistakes than a team like the Packers.

But that doesn’t mean the draft is an exact science either. There are guys like Brian Brohm, Justin Harrell and Javon Walker in every draft. Obviously the key is finding out which one truly loves the game of football and which one just loves being the star.

The most important free agent signing Thompson has made was Charles Woodson back in 2006. That pales in comparison to Ron Wolf who brought in the hallmark free agent of a generation in Reggie White and then smartly paired him with free agents Sean Jones and Santana Dotson.

Of course Thompson could try and lure the top defensive end in Greg Hardy who has said is looking for a “crapload of money.” Hardy and agent Drew Rosenhaus have already turned down a contract for four years and $32 million. The 25-year-old wants security after netting 15 sacks, which led to his first Pro Bowl bid.

But Thompson cannot do that because dropping that much this year will severely hamper Green Bay’s chances of signing both Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, whose contracts expire after the 2015 season.

Basically what Thompson has to weigh is Aaron Rodgers. The Packers’ best quarterbacking mind has a limited window of dominance. He will enter his seventh season as a starter next fall and will turn 31 next December. He has four years of being a game-changing quarterback in the NFL. In that time, the roster has to evolve. It not only has to get better around him, but also must prepare itself for Rodgers’ inevitable diminishing return.

The Packers have the 21st selection in the May draft. ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper has Green Bay taking Louisville junior safety Calivin Pryor and ESPN college football and NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay has the Packers taking senior Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert.

Both guys would present a huge value for a position that is parched for athleticism. The secondary has to get better and bigger with Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery lurking as imposing targets to guard.

I could see Thompson wheel and deal on draft day rather than seeing him crack open the checkbook for a free agent. And with the expected departure of B.J. Raji, the guy that makes the most sense is Notre Dame senior defensive tackle Louis Nix III.

Just because the Packers have an influx of money to spend doesn’t mean they’ll spend it. Thompson has a pretty good track record of drafting high-quality players that aren’t averse to working hard and are not locker room problems.

Bringing in a free agent is different. A veteran may not want to take part in all of the team functions and traditions and may ultimately turn into a cancer. At least with a rookie, you can mold a kid into the way you want him to act and prepare for an NFL game because he’s never played in an NFL game before.

This won’t the first time Thompson will cross Go without spending the $200 and it will not be the last.


Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn


43 thoughts on “Cory’s Corner: Ted Thompson will stick to his script

  1. Reminds me of Bush 1. Try to imagine Dana Carvey as TT – “Just stay the course, wouldn’t be prudent, a thousand points of light.”

    I hope you are dead wrong on this one. The story’s gotten old, the ending flat and has been re-told to many times. Time for a re-write.

    This team needs selective help at several positions from whatever quarter they can find it.

    Where did this idea gain traction that all the other FA’s besides Packers players are old, washed up, slow, worn out or overpriced?

    1. The idea that other FA’s besides Packers players are old, washed up, slow, worn out or overpriced derives form the fact that most of the FA’s fans usually talk about by name are other FA’s besides Packers players are old, washed up, slow, worn out or overpriced. If they aren’t, these days quality, big name UFAs typically are signed by their own teams. IMO guys like Byrd will never hit the market, their own teams will be sure to keep them.

      The type of FA that TT can (and should) make a serious play for is someone like the last FA he signed during the ‘prime’ Fa period — NOT Charles Woodson, who was a post June 1 cut, but Ryan Pickett, who was (back in 2006) about 26, undervalued because he had been misused at his prior team, and generally thought to be the 4th or 5th best available FA at his position. Thompson was able to value him more accurately and land the deal, but be honest when you think back — which of us fans really was salivating over the chance to sign Ryan Pickett back in February of 2006?

      The reason Thompson will be active in the UFA market this year is because he will have to be — after March 11 the Packers currently will have only 4 Defensive Linemen at a position where they need 6 or 7 on the roster, plus injury insurance, and the ‘home grown’ free agents at that position are all very questionable solutions — Pickett is now getting too old and slow (his decline was noticeable this year), Jolly has a career-threatening injury, Raji wants to be gone, and CJ Wilson is not a starting caliber player.

      Nix (or whoever) may be a fine addition in the draft, but you don’t replace 4 guys at the same position in a single draft. That forces the signing of veterans, and if your own can’t fill the bill you need to go into the market. Contrary to popular belief, Thompson has never ‘run away’ from doing that, he just won’t overbid. But this year a lot of the chronic overbidders are out of play because they (Dallas, Washington, etc.) have hun their cap room into the ground. There is a window, and I expect TT will do something to use it.

      No, it wont be 5 FAs from other teams like the numbskull reporter yapped, but it should be at least one and maybe 2 or 3.

      1. “The reason Thompson will be active in the UFA market this year is because he will have to be”

        I think you’re right in the sense that, if this team is going to compete for titles over the next couple years while ARod and Lacy are at their best, they can’t solely rely on the draft to make it happen. Finding impact rookies for the defense at all the positions of need just isn’t going to work…whether you believe the Capers/experienced defender idea or not.

        So the question is: what positions really need veterans to be at their best, and where is a rookie most likely to step in and play well?

        TT has only looked toward what he perceives as “value” FAs in recent years. Players buried behind established vets on other teams that have flashed ability in limited reps (like Desmond Bishop prior to Burnett’s departure), or players coming off injury who have seen their price tags diminished as a result. I think that’s where he’ll make most of his non-Packer FA signings, if any.

          1. It’s pretty clear the it takes rookies some time to develop on the defensive line and safety. which are the Packers’ greatest positions of need this year. That’s just from a physical maturity aspect on the DL, and a football knowledge aspect at safety. I’m interested to see if they try to solve the safety issue by moving Hyde from slot corner.

            It looks like there may be some opportunity for a younger player like you describe at corner, but we couldn’t really know who will be available until the free agency period really starts and that also seems like a position where you might get some immediate ability in the mid-1st round of the draft.

            On offense, it would seem more a case of signing our own, although I really expect that 2 of the ‘big money’ deals will be Jordy and Cobb. They are the kind of player you want to make sure of the year before they can think about FA.


            1. I agree that is one of the biggest reasons that he is likely to get a FA or 2 for DL. not only are they short on players, they are slotted for the 21st pick. at 21, there’s probably only about a 15% chance of getting a rookie DL that actually plays well in his first season. Jolly might be affordable and bridge that gap, but he has age and health concerns.

    2. Sounds like your a proponent of change for changes sake. That’s about the dumbest strategy there is if you’ve been very successful!

      1. Think of it like this. The Packers are like a pro golfer. They really want to win the Masters (or The Open or the whatever). Their natural swing is a power fade, but they need a draw to be able to play the toughest holes on the course under par on Sunday in order to claim the Green Jacket and not wind up with only a finish in the top 16, with no more than an invite back next year for their efforts.

        So I’m saying go work on that draw. Learn that swing and make it dependable enough so that when you need it in that crucible of the moment late on Sunday it’s there.

        It’s not change for change’s sake at all. It’s realizing that in order to be the champion, you have enough awareness to recognize what you need to do to win and the courage to take a chance and go do it.

        From your response, it sounds like you’re advocating that Ted should head out to the range, maybe tweak his set-up a little bit and then just keep beatin’ balls working on that cut, because after all, it’s been very successful. Just not enough to add some color to his wardrobe.

        One other thought – you need to learn how to get along in a group, play nice with others and stow the slams and insults every time you disagree with someone.

        It is really wearing thin and getting old.

        1. I don’t see a major problem. They have the DL (mostly) for the DL to be very good. The one piece I would like is another true 34 DE. A 6’5 300 lb LDE to go along w/ Datone. As has been mentioned numberous times, Capers scheme is complex and takes time to learn and DL in any scheme typically take a couple years.

          Between Matthews, Perry and hopefully Neal the OLB should continue to get better. Perry and Neal are still developing at the position. 34 OLB is a difficult adjustment and again takes time. Its difficult for the college DE only worried about the OT, to adjust to having to see the whole backfield and WR and adjust instantly to it.

          Kevin Green… “There’s a vision here – I know I’m always preaching this vision things – but most people only have tunnel vision and look at one thing. Here [at outside linebacker], you’re looking at a dozen different things and processing a lot of different things. It takes time to settle in and anticipate things, and then you start to get football awareness about this position, you start anticipating and then you can start making plays.”

          Safety is the position I would look to bring in a vet in FA. We need a reliable presence in the backend to go along w/ Burnett. And a rookie (even a highly drafted one) isn’t going to change that. Get a starting Safety in FA that can help Burnett get the miscommunication issue cleaned up and provide some playmaking.

          The other place I would think about possibly bringing in a FA is DL. They need a dependable guy that can bridge the gap and allow the young guys to develop at their own pace, not be force fed. Bring back one of Pickett, Raji, Jolly to be a NT.

          Draft the 34 DE in the 1st or 2nd, look for an ILB high as well.

          I’m sorry your sick of draft and develop but its still the way to go. This is the time to tweak that plan tho… Not wholesale changes to remake anything! You seemed to be saying that the Packers needed a full out change from the top down and that is absolutely not whats needed! I don’t consider finding a starting Safety and a role playing DL to be a huge break from the norm.

          As for your other issue… I am who I am and at this point I’m not changing. You all know its how I am. Deal w/ it and accept it. You take things entirely too personal if you have a problem w/ me. I (mostly) accept others for being who they are, seems you have the problem accepting me and my style. Get over it. Time to move on.

          1. Staying with the metaphor, learning how to hit a draw isn’t a full-out change – it’s just another shot in the bag, another arrow in the quiver, another play in the playbook.

            Polemics rarely harbor the truth. Rather, they serve to obfuscate it.

            Play nice, stop insulting people and all will be well in the JerseyAl universe. Have some confidence that your positions can carry themselves without having to demean folks. Failing that, it makes you come across as petty and overly defensive, like maybe you don’t really believe what you profess.

            1. Who did I insult? I don’t think I insulted anyone, if have issue w/ something I said, its your issue. When I say a strategy is dumb it means I think that stategy is dumb, not that you are dumb! Like I said, quite taking things personal. Grow a skin, it’ll serve you well in life. If your offended by saying a strategy is dumb you surely need a thicker skin.

  2. Hey, TT has already signed one free agent. Only four more to go! Seriously though, I think the reason he will do more shopping this year is out of necessity. He knows he won’t be able to sign all of our pending free agents and knows he can’t replace all of them in the draft. I do think he will be a little more active in the draft as well, whether that’s trading up or trading back to get another early pick. GoPack!

  3. TT is not going to sign 5 FA from other teams, but he’s not just going to continue to ignore the same issues that have hurt the Packers that last few years. Even if TT drafts either Calvin Pryor, Louis Nix, C.J. Mosley, Hageman, or one of the other players I’ve heard mentioned, he can’t ignore the other positions on this defense. I don’t think he’ll overpay for Shields either, not with all the other FA corners available.

    No offense Cory, but why is Rodgers being limited to 4 years of being a game changer? Brady was 36 and Manning 37 last year. Rodgers breaks a collarbone and suddenly how long he’ll be able to play is a question. If this is truly the case, then TT better put a better team than 2-5-1 around him. Jezzzz, just think if he wouldn’t have signed Flynn, it could have been worse.

    1. If they don’t do something with the O-line, next year could be Rodgers last one… I can’t believe how assanine it is to have a Marshall Newhouse protecting the best qb in the league. If TT and MM could just set their EGO’s aside for a moment or two we would be fine…

      1. “If they don’t do something with the O-line, next year could be Rodgers last one”

        Applies to any player, any position, any time.

        Very tired of your Marshall Newhouse kick. It’s old. Let it go. I’d almost rather hear you call everyone ass-clowns.

      2. I think one of the easiest predictions one can make regarding Packers personnel moves at this point is that Marshall Newhouse will not be on this roster next year. I highly doubt he even makes it to training camp…

    2. If the Packers don’t get a few quality linemen Rodgers will be buying a ambulance or a hover round chair because he will be crippled up. He will not last one year let alone 4.

    3. I also wonder why they put this short window on AR.With a good running game developing. It will take some of the wear and tear that AR has had to endure carrying this team.If you give AR a decent TE and another receiver
      (let Jones go,I like him but not worth a lot of money)and more beef on the O- line the offense will perform fine, even better if MM would bring in a creative O- coordinator to call the plays.

  4. I agree with Cory on this one. Change is scary in TT and MM’s world. Hell they won a superbowl, so why change. Problem is, as the decades pass, saying we won a superbowl 27 years ago, may get a little stale… The time to change is NOW…

    1. Lots of turn overs got the pack the super bowl. It got them there and got the win. How many did they get last year? How is that working out for the dominant Green bay packers team. Wink, Wink. (according to MM, TT, and all the delusional green bay fans)

      1. Go away, Viking troll, your mommy called you up from the basement, something about bring up the dirty dishes and take out the garbage…

  5. ” He will enter his seventh season as a starter next fall and will turn 31 next December. He has four years of being a game-changing quarterback in the NFL”…

    This’sky is falling’ crap is ridiculous.

    “Bringing in a free agent is different. A veteran may not want to take part in all of the team functions and traditions and may ultimately turn into a cancer.”

    The odds of that certain FA becoming a cancer are as equal to that same FA bringing you the SB.

    “This won’t the first time Thompson will cross Go without spending the $200 and it will not be the last.”

    If passing “GO” as in Monopoly,you receive money(carryover) and not buying property(FA)failure would catch up to you via bankruptcy(defensive draft picks of late)…building Hotels(keeping your own FAs) on your property that are of value(Shields-home grown and fed) and others are as prudent to success.
    Since our defense hasn’t played the game up to survival level on the football or Monopoly fields,splurging in reckless purchase would be like selling Boardwalk and Park Place for the railroads and utility deeds.

  6. I think we’ll see some FA signings this year.I would like Byrd as long as the money and years are not out of control.I would prefer a veteran at the safety position.

  7. Finally someone has been paying attention to how Ted Thompson builds a team. So funny how every year at this time rumors are started about how the Packers are going to make a splash in free agency.

    I do however think Packers might bring in a few low to medium priced FA’s this year because I suspect, especially on defense, they will be able to find upgrades that are more valuable than resigning their own.

    There will be no splash, just a ripple, along with the draft and a slew of undrafted free-agents.

    1. The Packers have holes at all 3 levels of the defense. Picketts best years are past, Raji’s as good as gone, and we don’t know about Jolly. Even if Matthews and Perry were able to stay healthy for a full year and Perry playing like he did against the Ravens and Lions before getting hurt, the Packers still need depth at OLB.
      At ILB we have Hawk and Jones. Although Hawk seemed better this year, the Packers still need a ILB like Bishop was in 2010.
      The Packers had the absolute worst safety combination in the NFL last year. The passer rating allowed by the Packers starting safeties was around 146.8, something close with zero interceptions.

      With that many issues you need more than a ripple. While I agree there will be no splash, the Packers need at least a small wave. Just to much to fix with the draft alone.

      1. Completely agree with you about the need. TT MUST find 3-4 new starters on defense. Nose Tackle, ILB, FS and possibly CB if they can’t resign Shields.

        Although I do think Thompson needs to balance out his strategy and start using ALL of the tools at his disposal to build a team (draft & develop, trade, Free Agents)I don’t think he will. I expect 2-3 of those starters to be rookies (draft-picks or undrafted free-agents).

        I could see Packers signing 3-4 free agents, but they will probably be value pickups, that will have to fight to make the team.

        1. The question is, what positions do you target as those you can plug by draft, and which ones need more advanced players to be effective?

          I think this makes S the FA area as they have nobody to play next to Burnett, and a quality player will impact the whole defense (IMO). ILB could be plugged by a rookie, given that they could learn on the job in a rotation with either Hawk or Jones (neither of which is likely to be cut prior to camp) or win a job outright. I think a quality rookie CB could play right away, also, given the depth at the position (and assuming Shields walks).

          1. My only question to you is do they move Hyde to safety?

            Granted they would still want to get someone with experience into the mix, but the opportunity with Hyde makes me think any safety signing will be a ‘value for competition’ type signing like Mulligan, last year or Chillar a few years ago.

        2. You’re probaley right, though I doubt it takes much to replace Jennings. I’m also wondering if their plain all along is to move Hyde to safety.

          Totally agree with you though, if Ted began to use every avenue to improve his team. I mean the 49ers got Bolden for what turned out to be Nate Palmer, a 6th round pick. I’m just using that as a example but there’s deals out there and not every 7th rounder turne into Donald Driver. Just saying…

  8. I guess Rappaport accomplished his goal. He got some naive Packer fans all excited thinking old stoic TT was all of a sudden going to change his spots. And he also filled some dead air time on the tube and papers. Puleeeeez! If u know how Ted operates, you know that couldn’t be further from the truth. This article mentions Hardy….waste of ink! I would settle for something between his big signing last year of Mulligan ( lasted how long?) and a few value FA’s. Look it up, there’s a few that can make a difference, not break the bank, and God forbid, bring an attitude to the D (Pollard maybe for one?) Evetyone should write a thank you note to BJ for turning down $8 million. Way to stick with “your guys”. Too bad Burnett and B Jones weren’t that dilussional. Be interesting to see what if anything of note he does to fill all these gaping holes. Going to be interesting if he does nothing once again.

    1. It’s all talk, after all. He’s taking advantage of the fact that there’s nothing better to stew on at this time…let us dream a little!

  9. Why pick on Raji?? The guys tired of being misused by Capers…playing out of his natural position and asked to stand there and occupy the line so his linebackers “stay clean”?? Our linebackers stay clean cuz they aren’t very good…Raji will go somewhere else and play NT very well..

    1. Raji will go to New England. That’s what he’s been waiting for since the start of last year, at least judging by his play. Was he playing out of position? Yes probably, but he was so bad last year he was being replaced by Boyd more and more by the end of the season, and it wasn’t to cut down his snap count.

  10. what people seem to forget is we were 5-2, with an offense that was clicking on all cylinders and a 5th ranked run D AND 11TH PASS D. BUTTTTTTTT Rodgers got hurt followed by a slew of others and BYE-BYE SEASON.WE showed heart in Chicago and played really really well [especially the defense] against san fran and frankly should of won. bottom line is this team right now can play with anyone.a few tweeks here a few tweeks there and oh yea…..THOSE FREAKING INJURIES…..STOP PANICKING PACKERS FANS WERE GOING NOWHERE

    1. If you happy with a 5th or 6th place finish and not getting out of the first round of the playoffs then your on the money. It was only a matter of time before Rodgers got his butt kicked with all the sacks given up. It will be the same this year. One big bubba thrown down on him and the season is over again. Guys like Newhouse who shouldn’t even be in the league are supposed to stop and save your 100 million dollar man? This is not a good situation. I agree with you though the Packers are going no where in a no were Division. San fran, The Arizona Cardinals, and the seachickens are all great defensive teams and could eat the packers lunch at will.

  11. As I stated after the last season game. All the seats are sold. The packers made the play offs, the future is bright and sunny for the current organization (for now). It will take missing the playoffs several times before the Good old boys in Green bay get enough pressure from the cheese heads to make a change or get thrown out all together. After Raji’s performance last year I can’t see anyone offering him 8 million again. If they do I would say thanks. If they would take Newhouse with him and Evon House I would say double thanks.

  12. think about this . this year is one of the biggest drafts in many years with so many underclass men entering the draft. we can draft our 9 guys and pick up over 30 guys in udfa and make a dynasty . if our current guys dont want to try to tackle cut them loose these younger guys are hungry and will come in and want to play . they have nothing to lose but the guys on the packers now have everything to lose . i could see tt picking up 2 free agents but i just dont see him spending all the money on them when he can have these guys this year be future cheaper players. plus we have some 2nd and 3rd year guys that should be up to speed this year .

  13. It’s easy to be cynical, but at least TT admitted his mistake with the whole back-up QB experiment this past year. So that shows some humility and self-awareness at least.

    As far as a FA signing, I’ll predict one “fairly major” one. I only say one because I think TT has purposely stocked up this cap room to retain current players approaching free agency, not necessarily sign FAs. With Raji leaving though, they will have cash to spend on someone.

  14. I hope TT does not deviate from his policy of shunning the acquisition of free agents.

    In the past 8 years (since Woodson & Pickett) he has signed Chillar, Saturday, Duke Preston and a couple of other bums.

    Without Schneider, Dorsey, and McKenzie, TT is out of his league trying to acquire veteran NFL players. Stick to the draft TT, please.

  15. Regardless of what else the Packers do with FA signings or the draft they need to sign a veteran safety. They need to bring in a veteran safety who can stabilize that position and the secondary. The poor safety play has impacted the entire defense. If GB only drafts a safety, adding another inexperienced rookie would just turn a 3 ring circus into a 4 ring circus. Burnett cannot help develop a rookie, he cannot play the position as it is now. We need a veteran, a solid safety draft pick and to give increased playing time to Hyde and Richardson at safety. At this point, without a solid veteran safety we can’t hold the secondary together. Thanks, Since ’61

  16. Kind of nitpicky, but Javon Walker was a good player with the Packers. I definitely wouldn’t lump him in with Brian Brohm and Justin Harrell.

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