C’mon, folks. You didn’t REALLY think that the Packers and general manager Ted Thompson were going to make a splash on the first day of NFL free agency, did you?
No way Thompson was going to fork over $56 million ($28 million guaranteed) like the Saints did for safety Jarius Byrd.
Give defensive linemen Lamarr Houston (5 years, $35 million, $15 million guaranteed) and/or Arthur Jones (5 years, $30 million) deals like they got from the Bears and Colts, respectively? Not on Thompson’s watch.
What about safety T.J. Ward? The Packers desperately need a safety and Ward’s deal with the Broncos (4 years, $23 million, $14 million guaranteed) is much more reasonable that Byrd’s. Sure, Ward came at decent market value, but Thompson wasn’t going to pay that much for a box safety.
The list could go on and on. Aquib Talib (6 years, $57 million, $26 million guaranteed), Linval Joseph (5 years, $31 million), Paul Soliai (5 years, $33 million, $14 million guaranteed). The prices were outrageous and the potential return on investment far from guaranteed. Hell, the Jaguars gave Toby Gerhart 3 years and $10.5 million. Toby Gerhart!
You didn’t REALLY think Thompson was going to suddenly start gambling on the high-risk game known as Day 1 of NFL free agency, did you?
If you did, hopefully you learned your lesson (again) for next time. If you’re upset that Thompson didn’t deviate from his norm and dive into Tuesday’s madness, don’t be.
There is still a long way to go in free agency. I do think Thompson is going to step outside of his comfort zone and bring in some free agents, but it sure wasn’t going to happen on day 1.
Once the chaos of the opening of free agency calms down and the funny money goes away, Thompson’s real work begins. That’s when bargains can be found and holes on the Packers roster plugged with players who sign contracts more in line with their true value.
But isn’t now the time to take a risk and overpay for a major free agent or two? After all, Aaron Rodgers isn’t getting any younger and the Packers have a few obvious holes.
There is never a good time to pay airport restaurant prices for hot dog stand talent like most teams do on the first day of free agency.
Because Thompson refuses to get caught up in that rat race, he’s never had to cut a quality player because of salary cap issues or desperately re-negotiate existing contracts so he can retain his own guys.
Thanks to Thompson’s philosophy, Packers fans will likely never have to wave goodbye to players like Clay Matthews, Josh Sitton, Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson or Eddie Lacy because there wasn’t enough cap room to keep them after a recent free-agent spending spree gone wrong.
Despite the consternation over the lack of free agency moves, the Packers are in the playoffs every season and are perennial Super Bowl contenders. They have a ton of talent. The costs of retaining that talent add up in a hurry and you need to manage the cap in order to not back yourself in a corner.
Yes, I realize the comments section to this post will probably light up with all kinds of negativity toward Thompson and another early free-agency that went by without a whisper of anything happening at 1265 Lombardi Ave. That’s fine. Let it all out. Some of you may even have valid points.
But be patient. Just because Thompson didn’t sign that big name you had your eye on, it doesn’t mean he’s already thrown in the towel on free agency.——————
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 .