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- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn