Cory’s Corner: Vanilla Ted Thompson wins frenetic free agency

Green Bay Packers GM Ted Thompson

This NFL free agency period has been about as active as a koi pond at feeding time.

Many teams have been willing to throw life-saving manna at players in the hope that they can spark change.

But Packers’ general manager Ted Thompson hasn’t taken any risks. More importantly, he hasn’t reached for anyone.

Don’t tell that to the Dolphins. Miami gave NFL badboy Ndamukong Suh $60 million in guaranteed money. You give that kind of money to a franchise quarterback. Guys like Tom Brady and Peyton Manning get that money — in their prime. The Dolphins were more concerned about theatrics and making a splash and that’s what they got.

But they’re paying a truckload of money for a guy that has about as much value as Mike Glennon. And let’s not forget, if Suh gets suspended again, which is like saying we’ll get a full moon this year, he’ll be shelved up to four games. Bringing in a defensive tackle that is more known for his $420,669 in fines is surprising, especially for a franchise that is still smarting from the Richie Incognito disaster.

Then there was Kansas City signing Jeremy Maclin. On the surface, this looks great. Maclin was ninth in the NFL with over 1,300 yards and was tied for sixth with 21 catches of 20 yards or more. But there’s one problem: Of Alex Smith’s 18 passing touchdowns, not one went to a receiver. Not one.

The Chiefs improperly labeled it a receiving problem, when it’s clearly a passing problem. Alex Smith didn’t have much arm strength to begin with, so bringing in a top-flight receiver isn’t going to help much. This move will elicit hope throughout the summer, but will quickly melt away when the games count.

Thompson knew that he had to bring back Randall Cobb. But he didn’t want to break the bank to do it. And he also knew that since the Packers just went to their sixth-straight playoff appearance, there was no need for a shock and awe signing.

And that’s why Cobb took a “pay cut” to stay in Green Bay. He knows that he still has one big contract left and with how well the Packers are, he has a great chance to make up the $1-$2 million difference in endorsements.

Thompson takes a lot of heat for not taking any chances and even being boring. But I’d argue that boring is just fine during free agency. Most teams have to overpay to bring in the guy they want. The hapless Jaguars aren’t bringing in tight end Julius Thomas at a discount.

The Packers will remain one of the favorites to advance to the Super Bowl from the NFC. And it’s because veterans get rewarded. That’s the exact opposite philosophy of Eagles coach Chip Kelly, who only has 10 players from Andy Reid’s last season in Philly in 2012.

Thompson stays the course. There were rumors of Suh coming to Green Bay, but there’s no way Thompson would’ve taken on that albatross of a contract. The Bears know all about albatross contracts with Jay Cutler — a guy they cannot seem to give away for a toothbrush and comb.

Many complained that the offense was ranked first in points per game last year and it didn’t need to be addressed right away. Just remember that Thompson addresses the best available. He doesn’t pigeonhole himself into a side of the ball or a position.

Thompson has had a plan all along. There are quality defensive rookies that will be available later in this draft, which saves the Packers money.

And if you really crave defense, pay attention to picks 62, 94 and 126.



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


16 thoughts on “Cory’s Corner: Vanilla Ted Thompson wins frenetic free agency

  1. Kind of hard to say he’s won anything until the 2015 season plays out. Maybe he’s got it all figured out, or maybe the guys he signs suck and the guys he let go star. Can’t say too much now other than they need a corner to replace House.

  2. TT lost House because he would only guarantee $5MM instead of $10MM and you think that’s a good thing??? Gus Bradley knows a thing or two about DBs and he jumped at chance to get 6′ CB coming into his prime years. TT blinked – again.

    1. I’ve seen dozens of other players get flak for being “injury prone” and yet you want Ted to pay $10 mil/yr for a guy that has yet to play a full season?

      1. No. I never said pay him $10MM/yr. I said guarantee $10MM of his full contract. Huge difference.

      2. Archie, TT could’ve signed Julius Thomas for pennies on the dollar and you’d find a reason to bitch about it.

        Committing $25MM over 4 years to House is a little dicey. It’s pure speculation and you have to remember that Jax is trying to hit the league’s salary floor so they NEED to throw money around. Every guaranteed dollar counts, and when you have as many players to balance as the Packers do, it matters.

        House–in a league full of big, physical receivers–couldn’t break through over TWill or Shields. The salary he’s getting from the Jags isn’t shut-down CB money, but you’d like to feel that you’re giving that money to someone who deserves to start…not someone who would start by default. And if you’re paying him that much coin and he ends up your #3 corner, what precedent are you setting for Hayward when he comes up next year?

        The Packers are better off finding a cover guy in the first two days of the draft who they can keep on his rookie contract than paying House…and since they retained Bulaga, that’s one hole they don’t have to plug in the draft.

        1. It is really dicey. Reminds me of when TT signed Nelson to his 2nd contract for pretty good money based on what he thought Nelson would do, not on what he had done. We know now that Nelson outperformed his contract by a lot, but it was a bit of a gamble. House could go either way IMO.

          Here, TT looked at House and decided not to pay House on what House might become. And it sounds like TT might have paid House $6 million/yr, but prudently refused to guarantee 40% of the salary. One guarantees 40% for proven guys, not for maybes.

    2. Gotta disagree on that one…..would rather keep Tramon for way less than $6.5 per. Jaguar’s track record on FA’s speaks for itself. Doesn’t have an extensive enough body of work to merit that kind of escarole. Plenty of cap left. Cobb less than $6 million and BB deal will probably be structured the same way. Like to see the White Rat do a little FA dabbling. He finally divorced AJ so anything’s possible.

    3. TT is getting old, hell he already looks like he has been embalmed, there will be many more blinks to come…

    4. Pretty sure Archie complained about overpaying Burnett, and here is House getting Burnett-sized money. Archie, giving House $10 million guaranteed versus $5 million is worse than paying House $6 mill/yr versus $4 million. Guaranteed money always trumps the average annual amount paid. Always. The huge difference you speak of below is the worst argument you could make.

  3. go Ted, go. GO PACK GO! sign BB and bring on the draft. Maybe a FA ILB? There are a few that aren’t too pricey out there!

  4. Can’t keep them all. I am glad that we are at least sticking to guys who have proven themselves. I got so sick of paying for potential (that never quite showed up).

  5. Would really have liked to keep House. I don’t think he was really ever able to show what he can do. Now have to either overpay a 32 year old Tramon or hope to find somebody in the draft. Hayward is a possibility but he always seems so much better defending the slot.

  6. So far TT has kept the Packers solid at the receiving corps, OL and backup QB. We knew going in that we might lose House and Tramon and we still might. But TT has remained focused on the team’s priorities and kept the strength of the team, which is the offense, intact. I wish House well in Jacksonville but he has lost his chance for an SB for a while. Maybe TT uses the money he would have spent on House to sign an ILB, DL, or TE. Maybe 2 out of those 3. If he sign a TE he can focus almost exclusively on defense in the draft. If we lose Tramon he will need to draft a DB and maybe sign another via FA. I can’t fault TT for not guaranteeing $10 million for House. He has been a part time and often injured player during his time in Green Bay. While he had some good moments he could not break into a starting role. As usual TT is handling his cap money well. Thanks, Since ’61

  7. Ted is stupid at times and we know he’s hard headed and my way,no way,99% of the time.Kept Shields,who can’t cover a blanket and Williams,so far,who isn’t any better,well OK a little bit.Either one isn’t physical enough to do their job properly.Either one can’t catch a turtle in a race.

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