When Will it Ever End? Packers Free Agency the Ted Thompson Way

There is a saying regarding NFL Free Agency. I love the quote, although I don’t know its origin. “Teams that ‘win’ in March are rarely ‘winners’ in January”.

The system rewards players based on past performance, but mostly perceived future production, by teams who throw serious money their way in an effort to improve and appease the base.

Sometimes it works.

Remember the first big-money free agent Reggie White? The ’96 Green Bay Packers would probably not have been crowned Super Bowl Champions without him.

Despite that success, free agency mostly produces disappointment.

Although the evidence is anecdotal, consider the following. The big spenders in FA in 2014 were the Oakland Raiders ($91M) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($124M). In 2013 it was The Tennessee Titans ($97M). In 2012 the leader was the Miami Dolphins shelling out $124M. Without me spelling it out, you know the results.

The Packers on the other hand are one of the predominant draft-and-develop teams in the NFL.

It’s a smart system, even if it doesn’t look like it when your own free agents are fleeing in droves in March. But if you have patience, conviction, thick skin (to take criticism from fans and the press), a good quarterback, a smart front office and, finally, a coaching staff competent enough to develop the youth – you can win each and every year.

Admittedly that’s a lot to ask for. Yet, in the case of the Green Bay Packers, it works.

“If we wanted to be honest, we all have a tendency to drift toward that that you know better,” Thompson said back in 2013. “If you know Player A that’s been on your team or practice squad for X number of games as opposed to Player B who might have a chance to be better but you don’t know him as well, I think you have to weigh that.”

“That’s the conscious decision that you have to try to make. It’s my nature to be a little conservative.” Thompson added.

The residual effect of not adding veterans is why the Packers will always rank among the youngest teams in the NFL.

The Packers average players’ age from 2006 through 2014, in order, were 25.57, 25.74, 25.57, 25.70, 25.91, 25.70, 25.70, 25.66 and 25.75.

In Mike McCarthy’s first four years they were the very youngest in the league. Since then they ranked fifth, tied for third, sixth, ninth and tenth this past season.

2006 was a blow-up-the-team year where the roster was gutted – 18 new faces. Since then, the number of new faces on the 53, in order, has been 14, 12, 10, 12, 10, 14, 14 and 12 from 2014.

And here is another re-affirming fact from this past season. There were merely six players with time on another team’s 53-man roster; Kuhn, Guion, Peppers, Tolzien, Harris and Matt Flynn.

Although the 2015 compensatory draft picks won’t be announced until next week’s league meetings, the compensation for losing players to another team rewards the Packers each year. Since the compensation system started, overall the Baltimore Ravens have been awarded 41 of the extra picks, more than any other team in the league. Dallas and Green Bay are next with 33.

The moral of the story is simply this: Thompson and the Packers organization believe in how they do business. They have been successful doing it this way since 2006. It isn’t going to change and fans need to keep the faith and wait out the March free agent storm.

The history of how the Packers GM views the process for building a successful team may have started in Thompson’s own experiences as an end-of-the-roster player with the former Houston Oilers organization.

“That was me. I was a free agent” said Thompson. “I don’t necessarily act and make decisions based on what happened to me. But I do kind of understand their plight and I enjoy seeing success out of them.” In other words, stick to the guys you know – your guys.

History has shown us that it will all work out for the best for the Green Bay Packers.


Jeff Albrecht grew up just north of Green Bay and was lucky enough to attend some of the Lombardi Era classic games, like the 1962 championship and the Ice Bowl. Jeff went on to play HS football in the Green Bay area and College ball at UW - Stevens Point. Jeff is retired but still does some writing for his local paper. Jeff is a writer with AllGreenBayPackers.com and you can follow him on twitter at @pointerjeff .


68 thoughts on “When Will it Ever End? Packers Free Agency the Ted Thompson Way

  1. “In other words, stick to the guys you know — your guys.” Like, Davon House, for example. How about Tramon Williams, DuJuan Harris, Hawk, Jones, Bostick, Dorsey? How’s that for “sticking to” your guys? Who’s next to go? Raji? I realize that some of the dead wood has to go but TT has taken a position of strength, cornerback, and turned it into one of weakness. One would have thought that he’d resign either House or Williams. The absence of both will be felt next year whenever the secondary goes into a nickel or dime package, or, if there are injuries. The draft may provide good rookies but it doesn’t provide experience. Looks like another year w/o the Lombardi Trophy.

    1. Nemo – how are you SURE that Heyward can’t handle outside duties? How are you SURE that the pass rush and/or run D isn’t going to get markedly better so the CBs are going to be so exposed in the first place? How are you SURE that HHCD and Burnett won’t progress in their 2nd year together from above average to excellent?

      Oh that’s right. You’re not sure. So stop acting like you are prescient or something like that. Both House and Tramon were WAY overpaid and not worth the money both those loser-clubs threw at them. TT made the right move.

      1. I didn’t say Casey Hayward couldn’t handle outside duties. He’s smaller than both Williams and House and a little slow for deep cover but I’m sure that, as a 2nd round draft pick with 3 years experience with the team, he can be an outside corner. Last year he was considered to be the best in covering the slot. The problems will occur when there are inevitable injuries or when we go into nickel or dime coverage. Then, our lack depth and experience will lose games. That’s what happened to New England when we played them last year. Their starting CBs were better than ours but A-Rod picked their secondary apart when it went into nickel and dime coverages. This is a team game and the secondary functions much like the offensive line. The guys got to know each other, where each man is going to be and how each man is going to react. Nor did I say that Williams and House were the best CBs in the NFL or that TT can’t find better potential ones in the draft. They will be rookies, though, and CB is the one position, next to QB, that needs time to develop. For the life of me, I can’t understand why TT let both House and Williams walk. Signing one of them wouldn’t have jeopardized the cap. Our secondary is in trouble now. It wasn’t before the start of free agency.

        1. “Our secondary is in trouble now.”

          No. No it’s not. It’s not insanely deep anymore. But it is still good. Still top half of the league. If we get better front 7 play (which we should reasonably expect via addition by subtraction at ILB and the likely return of Raji/Guion at NT), then Dom won’t have to put the entire world on the weight of the CBs. Plus, our safety’s should improve as well.

          It’s just not possible to have front line talent and depth at all 22 spots on the field in the salary cap era. I wanted both House and Tramon back too, but not at that price. You have to stick to your guns – if TT overpays Tramon and House, then what happens with Hyde and Heyward next year? Daniels? Sitton and Lang in 2 years? Bakh in 3?

          There’s not enough money to go around to keep all of your good players. So you have to stick to a number. IMO TT did the right thing. We’ll have to draft a CB now, but TT did the right thing.

          1. I suggest that you read Bob McGinn’s excellent article, “Packers defense transformed by cornerbacks coverage,” of Jan. 3, 2015. http://www.jsonline.com/sports/packers/packers-defense-transformed-by-cornerbacks-coverage-b99418753z1-287430621.html). . In it, Mr. McGinn notes that the quality and depth of our cornerbacks allowed the Packers to blitz more and often have 8 men in the box to stop the run with only one safety back to help the corners. How will that work next year now that we’ve lost 2 experienced corners? As for the cap money, what’s TT sitting on the money for? I realize that both Tramon and Davon asked for more than what TT wanted to pay, but retaining one (preferably, House, because he’s bigger and younger) would not have destroyed the cap. If money is the problem, then why did TT overpay to retain a slot receiver? You know, it is a lot easier to replace a slot receiver in the draft than it is to draft and develop a good CB.

            1. Yes. It is an excellent piece Nemo – but in that piece Bob states that they had to do that to staunch the bleeding in the run game. Assuming we get Raji/Guion back and add some talent at ILB/DL, committing those types of numbers won’t be necessary. (hopefully). As I stated before, it’s ok for a position to go from a strength to just ok IF other areas of the team pick up the slack. I think TT/MM are banking on an improved front 7 this year. And they should work at it – that is the part of the team that is weakest.

              Considering the amount that both Tramon and House got overpaid by, I don’t think that’s too unreasonable on TTs part.

              1. You’ve committed a logical fallacy. Just because the cornerbacks were so good last year that more players could be used in run prevention to offset line and linebacker deficiencies doesn’t mean that if the line and linebackers improve next year more players can be used in pass protection to make up for cornerback deficiencies. There are differences among poor, average, good and very good corner play and nothing that anyone else does can “pick up the slack.” If Hyde is beat long because he’s a bit slower than House, he’s beat long and there’s nothing anyone else can do about it.

              2. So death by 1000 papercuts is preferable to a kill shot huh? Well, it seems you and the Jaguars and Browns GMs agree.

                I myself would prefer a balanced defense. I think Heyward and improvement from HHCD in year 2 and an improved depth at CB should be able to do adequately IF the front 7 gets better like expected.

                If that is not the case than letting them go was a mistake.

              3. Sorry, but the sad reality is that a CB who is a step too slow and has poor-to-average coverage skills is vulnerable in today’s passing game and can expect help from nobody. How can you possibly expect a linebacker or even a safety who lacks a CB’s coverage skills and sub-4.50 40 yard dash time to make up for that? If they had a CB’s skills, they’d be CBs. On the other hand, better-than-average CBs allow for greater defensive flexibility.

          2. How can you lose 2 of your top 4 CBs and still be as good as you were? You can’t. Everything else you said made sense. Bottom-line, with the salary cap, you must maximize talent value each year. On average, all teams spend the same. The ones that finish highest did the best job of spending their $140MM/yr. Of course, some mortgage the future to win today. TT certainly isn’t guilty of that. My complaint with TT is that he can’t draft defensive talent to save his life. If he could, we’d be a dynasty team. The offense is that good. IMO, other than CMIII, every defensive player the Packers have is JAG. After 10 years of draft & develop, where’s the beef?

            1. Archie – it’s called READING. You should try it sometime. I clearly stated that I didn’t think the secondary would be as strong as it was last year overall – although I think the safety play will be better and I’m confident that Heyward can play well.

              I stated that if the play of the front 7 is better (and it should be), the secondary won’t HAVE to be under so much pressure so often.

              1. I think it’s you who needs to read closer. I know what you said about the secondary. I also know what you said about the defense as a whole and it is that that I was addressing. Point is you can try to put lipstick on this pig all you want (packers’ defense) but every unit of this defense had serious problems last year. Arguably, the secondary was the relative strength of a weak defense. Now we have weakened that strength and you are somehow imagining that that will be offset by improvements in our weak suits. Maybe so, maybe not. Since we have added nobody of note in front 7 at this point, your point is purely speculative. Now I admit, it is hard to believe our ILB could be any worse than last year and maybe the same can said for the DL. The problem seems to be the secondary has now joined them. You can only draft 2 or 3 starters per year and they are rookies in year 1. So, unlike you, I just don’t see much reason for optimism when it comes to our defense. Especially given TT’s horrible 10 year record drafting defensive players. But that’s me.

        2. I refuse to get worked up about the roster until we have some reasonable idea of what the roster is actually going to look like.

      2. You tell him Bearmeat!!!! Plus the obvious upgrade we will have in the ILB and middle in general by this years’s subtractions and the fact that it is March does not leave me concerned at all

    2. I replied to a similar topic on another site NemoOutis and it applies here.
      Last season I was freaking out about the Safety position and was on every Packers site screaming for Chris Clemons who was coming off a pretty good 2013 season in Miami. Ted didn’t sign Clemons, he drafted HHCD and used his roster until HHCD was ready to start. Seemed to work out okay.

      2013 Steven Jackson was a FA, Packers fans everywhere including myself were screaming for Jackson. Ted didn’t sign Jackson, he drafted Eddie Lacy and saved a TON of cap space in the process, again this worked out okay.

      In 2010 Al Harris was still having problems with his knee but TT knew he had Tramon Williams a UDFA coming back after a decent 2009 season and Sam Shields, another UDFA CB on the roster. Now I know you HAVE to agree 2010 worked out okay, WE WON THE SB!!

      Remember the “Dream Team” in Philly, or last season when the Broncos signed EVERYBODY, or so it seemed. If just one of 8 or 10 plays in the final 5:07 of the Championship Game goes the Packers way, their on the SB. Or I look at this way, if Slocum would have been fired a year earlier, the final 5:07 wouldn’t have mattered.

      TT does things a certain way and has been very successful. The Packers have won as many SB as any other team in the last 7 years, and a ton more games than most as well. We haven’t even drafted and it’s doom and gloom all over the place. So far the Packers are “Winners” in Free Agency no matter what happens from here, we have Cobb and Bulaga!

      1. Nick, I agree with you and Bearmeat in general. I was for signing Clemons because he was pretty good and his price was reasonable. TT passed and drafted Ha-Ha. But, TT did not know that Clinton Dix was going to drop. Many of us were worried that none of the big 4 (Mosley, Shazier, Pryor or Ha-Ha) would be there for GB. Give credit to TT for making the right call, but it is a bit dangerous to rely on the draft when there are only 2 players (at ILB and FS) who are thought capable of coming in and playing right away. [I also thought Hyde could play FS, though he did not play FS as well as I thought he would.] I thought Jackson was old and too pricey. As to Al Harris, TT did not know he had Shields until after the draft, so he did not have that knowledge when he passed on signing a CB or drafting one high.

        This year, the draft is good at CB and for edge rushers, and also for the defensive line. I agree that Tramon and House were too expensive, and I think we can get by at CB with current personnel, and I think TT can draft someone pretty good at those positions well into the 3rd, maybe 4th round. I suggest that there is a reasonable expectation that TT can find help for the Front 7 and/or at CB in the draft. The cost to not signing a FA to plug in is that it lessens TT ability to take a “luxury” pick, the prospect who is just to good to pass on even though GB doesn’t have an immediate need. I think most of us think that TT’s luxury picks have been great.

      2. It was HHCD that appeared to be standing in quicksand when he allowed the high lob pass across the middle to be caught for a 2 point conversion and probably the difference in GB going to the SB. I cringe whenever I think of that non-play by HHCD. Should have been an easy stop by almost any other NFL DB.

        1. It was also HHCD that intercepted 2 passes, had 3 of the 7 passes defensed the Packers had, no way can you blame that kid for that loss.

          1. Are you kidding me? He is as to blame as Bostick and McCarthy …. That was a horribly non-play, as bad as I have seen by a DB, especially given the importance of teh moment and how horrible that ball was tossed up. Totally awful and you know it.

            1. He lost track of the ball, does that make it a awful play? Maybe but to put the amount of blame on him you are is wrong. How about this, if not for the 2 picks by HHCD the Packers aren’t even in that position to win the game. Look at his game stats before you call him the reason why the Packers lost.

            2. Remember, there were 8 plays where the Packers needed ONE to go their way, I give him 1/8th of the blame.

    3. relax francis, he is the best at his craft…7.5 for Williams …not. jones and hawk ty but good riddens. house was the only one I wanted back but not at them prices.maybe you should apply for a job with the packers and packer nation could relax with you at the controls. PS…HOWS THAT SUBMARINE

      1. We overpaid for a slot receiver, too, and slot receivers are a dime-a-dozen. If you ask me, all of these athletes are overpaid. That’s the free market, though. The problem is that if you go cheap route with CBs, your team and those CBs are going to get badly burned. So long Super Bowl. P.S. HOW’S THAT, SON OF DICK!

  2. looks to me like teds way is working 1 super bowl win and play offs every year since then not to mention the nfc championship game we should have won but thanks to bad coaching lost. yep looks to me ted knows what he is doing we should just let him keep doing whats working and not try to fix whats not broken


    The chicken-littles that abound in the Packers blogosphere EVERY FRIGGING MARCH AND APRIL simply astound me. Minnesota and Chicago have “won” the NFCN offseason every year since 2005. How’s that worked out for them? Each made the championship game once – and both lost. I’ll take GBs production since 2005 over them throughout the year any day and twice on Sundays, thank you very much.

    Teams that sign players to big money contracts in March RARELY are even talked about (except to be laughed at) in December and January. As a matter of fact, I can think of only THREE players that changed a season for their new team after “big money” contracts. Since 1992.

    1. Reggie White to GB in 1992
    2. Drew Brees to NO in 2005
    3. Peyton Manning to DEN in 2013

    That’s it. Maybe I missed a couple – but I doubt it. That means out of the LITERALLY OVER 1000 multimillion dollar FA deals done since 1992, THREE have accomplished their purpose (and Manning hasn’t won a SB with the Horsies, so I don’t know if that even counts.)

    Pwned. 😛

    1. These are the people you want to be playing against you when your FFL has an auction draft.

    2. Peppers did a pretty damn good job of being on the list. Matter of fact if the Packers would have fired Slocum LAST year, I think he would have made it but well said Bearmeat.

      1. Yeah – but for the money per year? Peppers played very well, but I don’t think he “turned the season around” value. Which is what you are looking for from top level FA.

        But I get your point. He was definitely an impact player for us – and this is why we all wish TT would at least go for the FA bargain bin occasionally…

  4. We may not make another super bowl but as long as we make the playoffs and win a playoff game occasionally, everyone here will be happy and give accolades to Teddy. Vince would have at least 3 rings right now with Rodgers under center and probably 3 more on the way. This generation seems to be happy with “winning records” and “making the playoffs”. I believe in super bowls. Obviously you can’t go to the super bowl every year, however, with Rodgers under center it is possible. Vince and I think opportunity is knocking and Teddy is going deaf…

    1. Sorry Big T, I am a big a Lombardi fan as anyone here. As a long time, long distance fan I chose to become a Packers fan because of Lombardi, not because they are my home team. In any case Lombardi would never have kept his team together all those years in this era of free agency and salary caps. After his team won in ’61 & ’62 those guys would have been picked off by the other teams in the league. Lombardi and the rest of the NFL were already losing players to the AFL, hence the reason for the merger resulting in the league that we know today. Even Lombardi may have left for a better offer, which he did when the Redskins offered him a piece of ownership of their franchise. Yes, Lombardi was the best ever, but to compare his era with the current era in terms of player movement and a league striving for parity just results in looking at 2 very different realities. I’m not satisfied with just making the playoffs each season but I accept the realities of the current environment, (because we have no choice) and try to look at the results achieved by TT compared to his peers (which is the fair approach). When we do that the results look pretty good, especially since his most of his peer group has turned over many times since 2006. Yes, opportunity in knocking, but it is only knocking because TT has put the Packers in a position for opportunity to be there. In 2014 we were one play away from the SB and if Rodgers is 100% healthy we’re there. The only thing that stops the Packers are themselves and injuries, 2014 season is the proof of that. Doesn’t mean that I’m satisfied that we didn’t win, just facing reality and the facts. Thanks, Since ’61

      1. Hey 61 – That “61” has some meaning to it, right? I guess from what you write it’s about the time you became a fan, watching every Sunday since; am I right?
        I too had a record going from exactly the same year, that I didn’t miss a game, televised or IP up through Favres last Packer season.
        The funny thing is, out of all the blogs and comments heard, I hold about the same opinions. I guess you must live through it to know the game that well, huh? You’re right about Vince Lombardi, the greatest ever.(in my time anyway). There was a guy down in Dallas coaching who actually had a better record when he retired a few seasons later, pulled ahead in percentile. It’s not the same in what was at the time a pansy division, if you go back to see the W – L compared to MN Chic and GB, back then. IT was alot tougher to get in post season back t hen. Today, there are divisions for every 4 teams, so you can almost get in with a losing record. The money rules, so expand playoffs until the people can’t watch anymore.

    2. not me, isn’t that hard to win this division…i got enough of those crappy div champs hats…

      1. Does that mean you had enough winning seasons? Don’t you think that team deserves better than to hear fans who only will be fans when they take the crown?

  5. TT’s approach works as proven by the results since the 2006 season. The Packers have made the playoffs 7 times in the last 8 seasons including a Super Bowl win and 5 division titles, the last 4 consecutively. With the possible exception of NE this is the best record in the NFL during that time. Yet, there are still many fans here and on other sites who complain and criticize that the Packers should have more wins, especially Super Bowls. The whiners usually base their criticism on TT’s draft picks and/or his failure to sign all of the best free agents every season regardless of the cost and to draft only HOFs during every draft. Or that TT should re-sign all of the Packers FA’s regardless of their asking price and whether or not they can no longer perform at a high level. The latest examples are the commenters whining about re-signing House and T. Williams. Bottom line House is an often injured player who could not get into the starting line up in 4 seasons and was overpaid by Jacksonville and Williams had become easy pickings at his corner as evidenced by the completion percentage against him and the yards and TDs surrendered. Again, Tramon was way overpaid by the Browns. I am confident that the same people who complain about TT not signing Williams would have screamed just as loud if TT signed him for $7+ million to keep him. TT can’t win either way. In today’s NFL we need to think of the salary cap as 100 chips that a team can spend on 22 positions, actually 25 if you count the place kicker, the punter and the long snapper. Each team needs to decide how many chips are going to be spent on each position group. With a cap of $138 million the Packers have already spent about 21 – 22 of their chips on A. Rodgers and CM3. That leaves less than 80 chips for their remaining 23 positions. They have spent another 13 chips on Cobb and Nelson, leaving about 66 chips. About another 12 chips on Shields and Burnett and wer are down to 54 chips. 5 more chips went to re-sign Bulaga. Call it 50 chips remaining for 18 positions. Less than 3 chips per remaining position. I could go on but hopefully we understand any GMs issue by now. TT and the Packers have put most of their chips on their offense. That makes sense with Aaron Rodgers as your QB and a league with rules that heavily favor the offense. The point is that no matter how a team chooses to spend their chips they are going to have weak spots in certain position groups. That is the way it is in a league that wants parity. Free Agency, salary caps, rule changes and in the case of the Packers a ridiculous number of injuries, (except for 2014) all conspire to prevent dominant teams, repeat champions, and dynasty building. The last truly dominant team in the NFL were the Cowboys of the early nineties. After that, with free agency and salary caps no team has legitimately dominated the league. Yes, I know the Patriots won 3 SBs in 4 years in the early 2000s but they were one play away from losing all 3 of those games just like they were against Seattle this season. And it has been 10 years between Super Bowl wins for them. Hardly the definition of a dominating team. BTW, the same is true for the NBA, MLB and the NHL. No truly dominant teams since free agency and salary caps took effect in those leagues either. At least nothing like the NY Yankees of the 50s & 60s, or the Boston Celtics in the 60’s or Montreal in the NHL or our own Lombardi Packers. Yes it has been frustrating not to win another 1 or 2 Super Bowls with Aaron Rodgers but TT or MM for that matter are not the culprits. As Packer fans we are lucky to have both of them because otherwise, we could be like the Vikings, Lions, Bears, Raiders, Jaguars, Titans, and now even maybe the 49ers. What would we be blogging about if we had the Niners GM at this point. Stay positive and don’t write off the season in March. Thanks, Since ’61

      1. Actually, I ‘m a Wise Potato Chip person myself, but that’s probably a New York thing. Thanks, Since ’61

          1. Bearmeat – I agree the Cape Cod chips are pretty awesome. Too many chips, too little time. Thanks, Since ’61

    1. This is so great! Excellent post Since ’61. I hope all of the folks in the “spend, spend, spend” crowd read this.

  6. I think it’s a stretch to say it “history shows it will all work out the best.” It certainly hasn’t worked out the best except for 2010. Yes, they are competitive, but they also have had one of the best QB’s in the league year in and year out which will win you many games despite coaching and personnel. This organization has had HOF quarterback play for nearly 25 years and has 2 rings to show for it. It’s not bad, but they have not maximized their potential and it’s not at all clear that his way is working out the best.

    1. The only reason we haven’t won the last two superbowls is because our STARting QB broke his collar bone and tore his calf muscle. I’m optimistic that we’ll walk away with at least a couple SB wins during the Rodgers era if we can keep him healthy. TT’s doin’ just fine!

  7. i sure love them Division champs t-shirts and hats, but while Rodgers is here could we maybe try to win a Super Bowl?? Doing it with the defense that we will field this year doesn’t seem likely…expecting draft choices to be starters and stars just doesn’t happen much, as in our own guys like Perry, Jones, etc.

    1. At this point, we really don’t know what defense the Packers will field in 6 months.

      Time to chill…

  8. I like TT’s method, for the most part. But… where NE will fill in a position of weakness with above average veterans for the short term, TT allows the hole to fester; i.e. Hawk, Jones, M.D…. There have been plays to make that seemed no brainers, and not that expensive, but his rigid and conservative nature won’t allow him to waiver. Yes, Woodson, Yes, Peppers… but compare that to NE bringing in veterans in a win now mentality; i.e. Revis… The draft is for BAP, free agency can be used to fill in holes until the kids are ready. Rodgers should have 3 titles by now and would have if Hawk and M.D. and Jones had been replaced years ago. Maybe now…

  9. It always amazes me how a team like GB with Rodgers and Farve before him, like NE with Brady are compared by know nothings on free agency signings to teams like KC and Minn. What possible free agent turns around a bottom feeder like Chicago? If you have a top QB free agents put you over the top. PERIOD. If you have to sell tickets you need free agents but that has nothing to do with winning playoff games. Instead of parroting this garbage why not write something that is based on facts.

    1. Excellent point.

      Perhaps TT ought to study how Belichek (6 Super Bowls including 4 victories with Brady at QB) stocks his roster because TT’s 1 Super Bowl appearance in a decade with Hall of Fame QBs every year is just not that impressive.

      1. thats right…Favre and now Rodgers and a bunch of Div champs to hang our hat on…not that great to me, some love winning this crappy div year after year, don’t do much for me anymore…i want more before Rodgers is gone and we return to the “gory years” and yes i watched through the “gory years”..

  10. Raji was NOT moved from nose tackle because he was good or effective. He was bad. Pickett moved to turn a disaster into something acceptable. He was good compared to Justin H, that does not mean he was good. He had one year as a garbage man for CM3 and Cullin Jenkins, an interception for a TD in a huge game and a funny ad. He has not been a football player in years. His metrics EVERY YEAR are the worst DL in the game.

    1. Actually, in 2009 and 2010 he was a pretty good Nose. 2011 they moved him to DE and he tanked. It was a stupid move then, and it remains a dumb move now.

      Putting Raji back at NT gives him a chance to show us what he’s got at his true position. That said, I don’t ever want to sign him to a long term/high dollar contract because I’m scared he won’t work after letting the ink dry.

      All this to say it is definitely time to turn to the draft for yet another high DL or 2 pick. 🙁

      1. Periodic rant: Never give Raji big guaranteed money. I’ve no idea what TT and Raji are doing right now. Is Raji completely healthy? If so, why isn’t he signed? Is TT playing chicken with Raji (if so, why when the difference has to be extremely minimal?) If he is not healthy, why not sign a Knighton or Wilfork (1 yr. $4 mill and Wilfork on an incredibly team friendly deal with the Texans).

        It is the Raji situations where I can’t fathom TT or defend him.

        1. I don’t understand it either, why isn’t Raji signed if he’s a “Beast” in the weight room and working hard to get in shape. He stayed around the team all last season to be part of the team and help with the younger players. Knighton was supposed to have been battling weight issues which perhaps suggests he’s being lazy in the off-season. Even though I believe Thompson has a plan in place, the middle of the Packers defense has 2 giant sized holes and they have nobody under contract to play NT, not really. I really hope New England doesn’t swoop in and sign Raji considering he went to Boston College. That and they no longer have Wilfork.

  11. Brandon Bostick was pretty young, wasn’t he? Thompson is going on 10 years as GM, with only one Super Bowl appearance to his name, in spite of having two Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks. Hmmmmm. I wonder if the Packers will always be “pretty good” but never “great”.

  12. Teams that spend lavishly in FA are indeed often bad teams, but that’s not causative. They have a ton of holes. They don’t have established veterans who they have to pay eating up cap space. They bring in good FA players & then draft, hoping to hit on a few and get some competent guys to fill in the other spots. Teams that don’t spend lavishly are often good teams because they have few holes to fill, and have limited cap space since they are paying established players. A happy medium is when good teams fill 1 or 2 needs via FA as cheaply as possible and draft BPA.

    The sweet spot in the NFL is to get at least 2, (3, 4 or 5 is optimal) of good to excellent play from guys still on their rookie contracts. Linsley and Bakh are poster boys for this. The joker in the NFL is that a team has to have at least a good, and arguably an elite, QB to be more than an average team.

    So, to my mind, drafting for need is for chumps unless the GM is lucky or omniscient (perhaps prescient is the better word). As many picks as possible should be “luxury” picks. Filling needs should be done in FA, but judiciously, and with an eye on the cap. In GB, we might identify ILB, TE NT, CB, OLB, OT and general depth as needs. So, look at the strength of the next draft and compare it to who is available in FA (because a GM has to make his FA decisions before the draft, so the GM does not know who he is going to draft yet). Since this yrs’. draft is deep at CB, I as GM am less interested in FA CBs, even my own (and yes, I bear in mind that I think I can get by with Shields, Hayward, Hyde, Goodson, if the draft does not fall my way). At ILB, maybe no one excites me in FA and I like 4 of the 6 ILB prospects we commenters have listed: I figure I’ll get one or two that I like and plan B is to improve NT or CB and get by with CM3 and Barrington. At NT, I might have signed Wilfork at 2yrs/$10 mill or Knighton. But even if I had done so, if I loved Phillips, & think he is BPA at #30, the GM has to have the discipline to draft Phillips despite not needing him. Best case is that Phillips displaces Wilfork in yr. 2 and my cap is in good shape. Wilfork and Phillips later help a lot against the run, so my weakness at ILB is minimized, and Burnett can play more in coverage to help my so-so CBs. AT TE, the draft is weak, FA TEs are overpriced, so maybe I wait and wait and throw a small contract at Housler and wait for another draft or free agency period. Same for Ellis or a few others. Despite my needs, my draft is focused on the strength of the current draft, and I can do that better if 1 or 2 holes are filled in FA. GMs know more about their own FAs than another team’s FA.

    To judge an NFL GM, look to his winning record, of course. But then look at his drafting prowess, then at his coaching staff, then to his dead money.

  13. I don’t understand why Raji has not been signed or the underlying rationale. TT’s habit of being the last GM standing with an offer for a player seems to mean, usually by definition, that TT’s offer is also the highest one for that player, as every other GM passed or decided to sign someone else. And every time another NT is signed, doesn’t that lessen TT’s leverage with Raji? The only way apparent to me that TT’s offer to Raji won’t also turn out to be the highest offer is if Raji overestimated his market, turned down some other team’s better offer, and that other team decided to just sign a Wilfork or Knighton, leaving Raji with no where else to go. And in Raji’s case, I suppose that TT could bluff and say he is willing to go with Pennel, maybe sign Guion if his legal troubles allow, or draft an NT. Still…. If TT had said to Raji several days ago: “here is my offer for $X mill with $X guaranteed, you have 48 hours to mull it, because I have to get back to Knighton, Wilfork and Ellis by then,” wouldn’t that have been better?

  14. Holy sh!t. It’s only March everybody. We don’t even have enough players to fill the roster yet. And you all want to throw the players, FA, draftees, TT, MM and DC under the bus already. Why don’t we wait to see what the Pack can do with this years players before condemning a team that has yet to set foot on the field????? If you’re so down on the Pack organization, why don’t you go root for the other NFCN teams. So sick of hearing the same complaints every year from some of you. Shut the hell up and wait until we draft and have guys on our roster to make your “informed” comments. GEEZ!!!!! It’s the off season. Still have the whole summer yet before we know any REAL information.
    WIN NOW. WIN NOW. WIN NOW. is all I ever hear. One or two things will always come up and it’s those X factors that no one can account for. NO ONE! If we could see what would happen in the future, we’d be winning every year and I still think you’d all find something to complain about. “Why are they not winning by 20 points?!” “Why do they have to win in that fashion?” “Why aren’t they giving anyone else a chance to win, I’m bored watching them win all the time.” What a bunch of crock!
    Al, I love your site here and check up every week to see what I may have missed. But lately it seems as if our culture of winning has made us a privileged group of fanatics. I doubt I will ever read the comments section anymore. It is so off putting. But some of the articles are good. So thank you for that.
    Let me reiterate the point here – It’s only the beginning of the off season and we’re already bitching about players we don’t even have, coaches who haven’t coached yet and FA money we fans will never get to spend in our own fashion. None of you will ever know the outcome, so stop pretending your experts in this field of study. Hell, even the experts don’t know “What the hell is going on out there!?”
    So Just Stop the Bitching – PLEASE! Good to speculate and converse. Talk about and have a healthy back and forth. Agree to disagree. But stop putting the players and coaches, and other fans, down so you can sound some what relevant! Insults do nothing but make you to be the AZZ! Your so good, why haven’t you coached in the NFL then? Why have I NOT heard your names mentioned in the realm of the NFL? Be a kool fan for once. Just enjoy the game and enjoy the fact that you can at the very least Watch the games. It won’t improve your quality life and it definitely won’t make any difference in your life. GEEZ!

    1. You write that insults do nothing. Your post really is essentially an insult to many of the other commenters. Your departure will not be noticed, nor will you be missed.

    2. You mentioned you love Al’s site, perhaps just read the “Story” and skip the comments, they seem to really make you really angry. Just be “Kool”.

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