The level at which Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson eschews signing free agents each offseason has gone from a local talker to a national meme in recent NFL offseasons. These days, it’s not just Packers fans who smirk/smile/shake their head/grumble whenever the topic of Thompson and free agents arises.
Now, everyone talks about Thompson’s team building style. It’s not just us Packers’ fans who know what the phrase “build from within” means.
That’s why everyone turned their heads and said “HUH?!?!?” when Thompson signed Julius Peppers this offseason. Signing a guy on the wrong side of 30 who was cut by his former team seems like the exact opposite of the Thompson mantra.
But oh what a signing is has proven to be. Peppers has five sacks, two interception returns for a touchdown and has provided the long-desired pass rushing threat opposite Clay Matthews. In fact, Peppers has been so good opposite Matthews that the Packers have now moved Matthews inside.
But Peppers wasn’t the only free-agent signed by Thompson. He also signed Letroy Guion to back up B.J. Raji.
Guion wasn’t well-known enough to merit any type of reaction after he was signed, but Packers fans quickly became familiar with him after Raji tore his bicep in the exhibition season.
At first, Packers fans didn’t like what they saw. Guion looked every bit like the Vikings’ castoff we worried he was.
But he’s come around lately, even showing some pass rushing moves in addition to doing his best to clog the middle of the line so Matthews can help bolster the Packers’ run defense.
Will the success of Peppers and Guion lead to Thompson signing more free agents in the future? Who knows.
What we do know is that his two signings this offseason have proven to be good ones.
Build from within is still the mantra, but Thompson has shown that it’s ok to get a little help if you need it.——————
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 .