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Are The Packers In A State Of Flux?

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Are The Packers In A State Of Flux?

 The Green Bay Packers have had an interesting past few weeks.  They've lost seven players to free agency, added a few and still have areas of the team to address.  It has many talking about the abundance of change that is taking place in Titletown.

Free agency is far from over but after signing two rather notable players in tight ends Martellus Bennett and Lace Kendricks, we don't know if general manager Ted Thompson is done dipping into players outside of his own compound.  

A few names that were rumored to be of interest to Green Bay have signed elsewhere.  Defensive lineman Connor Barwin was probably the most notable and oft-linked to the Packers after his release from the Philadelphia Eagles.  Many thought the Packers would wait until his market cooled a bit and sign him to a bargain deal.  He's now a Los Angeles Ram.  

Cornerbacks Prince Amukamara and Morris Claiborne were also though to be possible targets of the Packers to boost their secondary.  Both have other new homes.  The Packers added Amukamara's former Jacksonville Jaguars teammate Davon House.

With most of the impact players signed, the Packers have likely turned a lot of their focus to the draft.  The Packers were awarded a second fifth round pick for the loss of Casey Hayward last year and they'll have quite a few opportunities to add quality depth to their roster.  This draft is said to be "rich" with cornerbacks, something the Packers need more of.  They also need help with their pass rush and this appears to be a good draft for edge rushers.

But even if Thompson nails this draft, does it feel like this team is in a state of flux?  With so many players exiting at one time, there is a lot of change coming.  Head coach Mike McCarthy has seen a lot in his 11 seasons with the team.  Free agent signings, some big (Charles Woodson, Julius Peppers), and some offseasons with no free agents at all.  

Through it all, McCarthy has led his teams to playoff appearance after appearance.  Based on his history (and the fact that one of the best quarterbacks in the league is on his side) one would likely feel like McCarthy and his staff will figure it out and have this team winning in 2017.

As Packers fans, we're used to winning.  We're also used to disappointment in the postseason.  Some of the losses have been soul-crushing.  Others, like this past NFC championship game, were a lesson in humility.  With the last Super Bowl win just six years ago, Packers fans want to see this team get back to the promised land.  With Rodgers at the helm, some argue that the team simply has to win another title or it's a bust and waste of Rodgers' career.  That take, to me, is a bit extreme as we've seen over the years how hard it is to win in the NFL.

But regardless, the sentiments of fans and media will continue to be heard and it sounds like there are more questions than answers at this point.  Reminder, it's only March.  A lot can happen and change over the next five months.  The Packers may bring in another veteran or two, the draft could turn out to be a raging success or, it may leave the team with a deficiency in depth.  

Questions such as whether Jake Ryan and Blake Martinez can be the answer at inside linebacker.  Or whether Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins at cornerback are salvageable.  Or can Nick Perry and Clay Matthews become a scary duo getting after opposing quarterbacks (even though we didn't see that happen in 2016).

With so many unknown's at this point, my question is: how do you feel about this current Packers team?  Are you concerned about a regression?  Or do you scoff at that idea and remind us that with Rodgers, this team is good for at least 10 wins every year?  

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porupack's picture

Well, of course....none of us have the inside scoop to know if TT is done in FA.....but, no, can't say he's done enough;
first, he could have avoided some of the departures had he made some extension deals last year. So, that's one count against him (yeah, I know, I don't know what he tried). I judge by results...and he waited too long on Perry, and others.

Second strike; if ever a place for experience needed....he should have targeted a vet FA ILB and CB. Those positions (or the holes that we have) need to be plugged by some saavy vet, in order to give himself lots of flexibility in the draft.
(and I anticipate the usual chorus "don't overpay...blah blah blah.
Pay what it takes to solve the one or two gaps that keep this team from finishing.

Ok, to TT's benefit....I applaud the TE additions.

So far, it looks more like a regression this year, because you shouldn't expect draft picks to fill gaps on a Draft&Develop team, right?

Glaring gaps should be addressed with a known-quantity (and pay the bucks to make it happen).

Nick Perry's picture

I agree on Perry though he my have tried and we don't know. Perry really hit FA at the "Perfect Time". Every other OLB or Edge player was franchised or signed before FA even started. Perry WAS the prize as far as the position is concerned entering FA. With that said I think the Packers overpaid for Perry but they HAD to. With Matthews health and everyone else either Old or not very good moving on, Perry couldn't get away.

I've read more than once Perry's contract is "Cap Friendly". I don't understand what is friendly about that contract. They get him on the cheaper side this year ($5.875 million), but the Packers are married to Nick Perry for the next 5 years no matter what. Even in the final year of the contract there's $3.7 Million of dead money if cut so what exactly is "Friendly" about that contract?

dobber's picture

I agree with you on the Perry contract: it's an expensive one to get out from under if things don't go well. TT has hitched the Packers wagon to that train and is rolling the dice. You're right and several people have been parroting that sentiment...the only "friendly" part is that they can get out of about $9.5M in that last year with a cut, but the cap hit you note ($3.7M) is still nothing to sneeze at.

Matt Gonzales's picture

It's friendly because a lot of teams agree to long contracts with escalating cap hits or salaries to try to force the team to re-extend the player before the last year of the deal. Perry has a five year deal that is actually a five year deal where the team can actually afford all five years without any funny business

dobber's picture

I agree in that regard, and as the cap goes up, that $12-13M cap hit later on likely isn't as strong. But if he turns out to be someone who can't stay healthy or is a dud?

In the end, TT won't see the end of this contract, so the next GM is the one who's likely to have to make these kinds of assessments.

Michael Grunewald's picture

It has been a dud on defense. When your entire program is built on draft and develop, I would argue that development just hasn't come on the majority of Teddy's picks on the defensive side of the ball. Of not for A Rod being at the helm...6 wins is the high water mark for this football team. Teddy really needs to be replaced. The guy has done very little to justify keeping his job outside of having fall into his lap.

Nick Perry's picture

The Packers are weaker at 2 positions IMO when you really break it down, O-Line and OLB. They've improved at the TE position and possibly the CB position if you don't count Shields. Considering we knew he'd never play in GB again because of concussions it's hard to call Shields a loss this year. House for Hyde is pretty much a wash, some would argue the Packers improved thinking House is a better CB.

I think the "State of Flux" feeling comes from losing players like Jones and Lacy to what were pretty affordable contracts. Had we signed both or even one of those two and kept either Lang or Tretter it might not feel so much like an "Overhaul".

At the end of the day I think it FEELS worse than it is. Losing Lang scares me more than anything. Last year they had a player to plug in who they at least knew wouldn't embarrass himself. This season it's a much bigger question mark. Maybe Guard isn't the most important position on the O-Line. But after watching Spriggs get tossed 5 yards in the backfield more than once I think it's a little more than just putting a body in there, no matter who's on his right and left.

EDIT... I will say this, if Ted was looking for a bunch more draft picks for the 2018 draft he's accomplishing that in spades. The Packers are going to have a ton of ammunition in the 2018 draft, especially since you can trade Comp Picks now. It will be interesting to see how it all works out.

UmpireMark's picture

While I agree with your analysis of compensatory picks in 2018, the Packers again face a boatload of free agents at the end of this season.

dobber's picture

I think we'll see a couple of them locked up before the first games in September. My guess is that this is what some of this cap room will go toward. But when it's all said and done, players have to want to sign a deal. If they're dead-set on free agency, there's not much TT can do about it.

I blame the agents, mostly....and the media. Oh, and the British.

Spock's picture

dobber, I agree with you on the $$$ left in the cap most likely being tagged for signing some of NEXT years FA (I also made that same point in one of the other threads). Heck, people above are already complaining that (to their knowledge) TT didn't lock down some of THIS years FA before Free Agency started! I also expect Aaron Rodger's contract to be reworked sooner rather than later.

Nick Perry's picture

I do too dobber. I think that's exactly what much of the remaining cap dollars might be used for. It would still be nice if a smiggen were used to shore up the defense when cuts start to happen after the draft.

UmpireMark's picture

Not surprising, I guess, is that the Packers ended 2016 (I believe) with millions under the cap, like $15M (that could be a wrong amount).

I wonder why we didn't lock up 2017 free agents worth keeping with all that cash?

Nick Perry's picture

I Believe it was a little over $7.9 million Mark. Ted seems to go into every season with at least that much. Right now they have about $24.6 million left, enough to maybe start with Adams and Bennett or HHCD if he chooses to.

Sandy Gonzales's picture

MAGA TRUMP .. and yes, the British did spy on Trump for obama

Michael Grunewald's picture

I don't get warm fuzzies over draft picks at this stage of the game. Year after year we watch these picks from draft classes gone by stroll out the door....many having made very little impact....especially those on the defensive side of the ball.

porupack's picture

This season would seem quite different if a Lawrence Simmons at ILB or SGilmore at CB were brought in, then TT can draft lots of youth on the Dline, and Edge, and pick up a mid-round CB for developing (since its so deep at the position).

As other said....if one premium CB were added, the rest of the unit would be fine against 2nd/3rd WRs.

Nick Perry's picture

Zack Brown... But TT is rolling with Martinez, Ryan, and Thomas with an occasional Matthews appearance inside. Hell if TT signed Brad Jones to the contract he did to pair with Hawk we KNOW Martinez and Ryan are it. For some reason I think Martinez and Ryan may just surprise us this year and be more than adequate.

Spock's picture

Nick Perry, I agree. Martinez was really coming on before his injury and Ryan (one more year out from his knee injury) seemed to be making the famous "2nd year jump" :) . I expect both to play very well this year.

GB Jacker's picture

Every team in the NFL is in a constant state of flux - that's the very nature of the league. One of the primary reasons for GBs recent and prolonged success (certainly in relation to the average NFL team) is the continuity kept within, in essence a much lesser degree of flux than most. MM, TT, AR, DC - people may not like this combination because we haven't won the 3-4 Superbowls many fans seem to believe we are entitled to.

There is only one trophy to go around and drafting every year in the 20's or later is a sign that this organisation is well run. This whole notion that without Aaron Rodgers we would fall apart is bizarre and that his greatness has no attachment to this organisation - you know, this organisation drafted him, developed him, and put pieces around him to be successful.

Besides the Patriots, I'm not sure there's anybody doing anything substantially better than GB. And I for one would not want to be the Pats - for all their rings that's not the kind of project I'd be routing for.

I guess we could be the Giants - they have more rings of late than us. If that's the solution - count me out.

The philosophy of the Packers is what makes them worth following. If we win another ring it will be all the more thrilling due to how close we have come since 2010.

Nick Perry's picture

Did you watch the 2013 season after his injury? Christ it took him 3 games, 3 losses before he even considered resigning Matt Flynn. Funny thing happened after that, Flynn helped salvage the season so the Packers could win the division in Chicago. But for the sake of argument lets take a look at the last 7 seasons. YES I KNOW they've won a TON of games and made the playoffs EVERY year, but we always had a feeling the defense would let us down, mostly because they sucked for the prior 16 games of the regular season. 2014 was different and that's why that one will hurt forever. That Lombardi was OURS.

For me personally I'd much rather have gone "All In" for a few of these last 7 years and then missed the playoffs for maybe 2 years to regroup. Maybe it doesn't make a difference, but we'll never know because we'll never do it. Considering the defenses the Packers have had most seasons, Aaron Rodgers IS the reason they win.

GB Jacker's picture

So as a fan I get to watch what - 1 in 3, 1 in 4 seasons, hoping that the organisation loads up for a championship - and then Rodgers gets hurt, or we just lose a crucial playoff game anyway - next couple of seasons are a write off with cap issues and aging players?

Honestly, that is not what I want as a fan. I want them all in every season, the only way to do that is to run a smart project.

I'm not saying Rodgers is not the biggest factor in our success - I'm saying the fact that he is so good, and that he is on our team is only a reality because of the forward thinking approach that the organisation takes. The structures that are in place to learn a position, to learn a system that isn't constantly being completely re-written, to have an evolving program that doesn't have to be rebuilt every couple of seasons. Continuity in sports franchises is to be admired in my opinion.

To me there's also a kind of shallow victory in saying ''okay fuck it. i'll pay whatever to get as many great players as possible and make a dream team just for one year'', firstly that rarely works and secondly I'd rather win it, or lose it, in a more progressive way.

Packer_Pete's picture

I totally agree with you. In recent years, the 49ers went all in, had a shot for 3 seasons, and now are bottom dwellers again.... I'd rather have more joy during the regular season and accept not getting to the SB than going all in and then having to go through years and years of miserable football...

after all, the first step of getting to the SB is getting into the playoffs. A lot can happen then. Who thought the Packers could win it as a 6th seed... Or the Giants? Who didn't think before this past season that the Cowboys would at least make it to the NFCCG? A lot can happen once a team is in the playoffs...

GB Jacker's picture

Totally agree with you! I understand others frustrations but just think it helps to take a reality check. The best team on paper does not always win. The best QB in the game does not always win. I think in general we have had a fair amount of bad luck, with injuries (though everybody has these) and some tight defeats. What I do know is that I mostly enjoy watching us play, watching players grow at Green Bay and hoping like hell we can win another ring or two with Aaron, or whoever.

Eli Manning has two championships, and I'm sure Giants fans love him - but come on, would you really trade that and have had to have watched 200 Eli games rather than 200 A-Rod games.

Nick Perry's picture

I'm not talking about wholesale changes, that never works. I'm talking about perhaps adding a player or two who may have made a difference between the Packers being one and done (2 times) or blown out (2 times) or go to OT and NEVER see the ball (2 times) which has ALL happened just since 2011.

GB Jacker's picture

Kendricks, Bennett and House.

A lot depends on availability - from this FA class who would you suggest would be worth the investment? I thought Barwin had a shout because he's a character player and might have been cheap but not many other great options. Average players come at a premium in free agency. Premium players often don't live up to the hype.

It's easy to say ''pick up a player or two'' but finding them is another thing. We're all armchair GMs I realise that - and it's fun to add players here and there. It's interesting to look at 2016s FA class and look at the players who moved and what they added to their new roster. Only a small handful (including CH) made much of an impact. Most did not.

I've watched every game of the Rodgers era and it's crushing when we lose in the playoffs - but we're not losing to bad teams. It's a testament to the franchise that we are in that position year in year out and coming close. The overall alchemy required to run a football club, let alone a highly successful one is mind boggling. In that regard I am glad to support Green Bay who does it MUCH better than most.

Nick Perry's picture

If you've read any prior posts you'll know I've given TT props for what he's done this year in FA but lets face it, this year is an EXCEPTION, not the rule. You were just as surprised as I was when he signed Bennett and Kendricks, the offensive skill positions have improved. I'm happy as hell Ted has done what he's done, but has he done enough?

The facts are he'll most likely roll with House, Randall, Rollins, and Gunter. He'll have the few players who were on the PS and roster at different times like Evans and Hawkins plus whoever he drafts and signs as UDFA. He might pick up some defense once cuts begin in June but who knows. QB's who faced Randall, Rollins, and Gunter all sported OB ratings in the 115's to 125's BEFORE and AFTER any injuries. If you feel confident in that bully for you. I'm HOPING and holding my breath they improve.

"Average players come at a premium in free agency. Premium players often don't live up to the hype"

You could say the same about Matthews, Cobb, Hawk, Jones to name a few. Sorry I'm just not one of those fans who feel Ted does no wrong. Not when you have back to back HOF QB's

Tundraboy's picture

Your on a roll NP. Keep it up.

Nick Perry's picture

Thanks TB!!

Larry Thompson's picture

...or, we could go "all in" and miss the playoffs for maybe 10 years? Longer? On what basis do you assume the damage would last 2 years?

The Packers compete nearly every year. This past season, the team won a home playoff game against a team who had beaten us twice in Lambeau playoff games, including in our 15-1 season! The team then won a playoff game in Dallas (first time ever?), before losing in NFC Championship Game. I just don't see the sky falling!

Yes, the loss in Atlanta hurt, as did the loss in Seattle. But one can't assume going "all in" for veteran free agents might have turned those games around. At which positions should the Packers go all in now... can we know who in 2017 might experience a concussion, or tear up a groin or shoulder?

The one criticism of TT I think has merit is the rapid turnover at the cornerback position when Tramon Williams, Davon House, and Casey Heyward all departed over the course of just a couple of years. Those roster moves left a lot on the shoulders of Sam Shields, two young draft picks (Randall, Rollins), and UDFA backups (Gunter). The value of Shields can be measured by considering the 2015 games at Arizona. In the first game (without Shields) the Packers were not even in the game defensively. In the playoff rematch (with Shields) the Packer defense appeared completely different with a "number one" corner. The team lost a very close one (overtime). My point is that TT could be criticized for gambling on Shields. TT was correct about Shields' talent, but lost out regarding Shields' availability and longevity. With no veteran presence at CB, the pass defense suffered. How do you fix this overnight?

pooch's picture

Ted's a turd no Rogers sub .500 team

dobber's picture

No punctuation unintelligible comment

If we put in ellipses I can almost imagine William Shatner saying it on the bridge of the Enterprise.

croatpackfan's picture

You have at least one fan. Me!
I completely agree with you.
Regarding Patriots - they were lucky, lucky lucky. They did not have substantial injury rush for more than 5 years. Packers have one year with no substantial injury rush - 2014. Is TT guilty that we lost NFCCG against Seattle?

Savage57's picture

More rationalization for "let's do more of what's not working - harder!"

Lphill's picture

The Patriots made bold moves that will help the team , the Packers lost players and swapped Tight ends . I don't see this helping as much as it is hurting. I am starting to believe that TT feels successful just making the post season and it appears the majority of Packer fans are content with that. I am not happy with that .

4zone's picture

When you have over $20 mil you probably won't use, not 'overpaying a player for a one or two year contract is just an excuse.

If you don't use it to sign your own top guys, what makes you think they'll use it to sign their guys next year, or the year after...?

One contractl for a top CB, DL or LB would have gone a looooong way in taking the stress off the draft this year.

Pay high for a guy of impact for a 2 year deal, draft a projected replacement for him and then let the rookie developed for two years. Then you assess what you have at that position in two years. Hopefully you drafted well and you have a home grown impact player for 2-3 years at a much lower price.

THIS folks is REAL draft and develop. What we're doing is 'draft and plug' more rookies and UDFAs to fill gaping holes year after year. And the only reason we keep making the playoffs every year is because of AR. Without him, we are a top 15 draft position year after year.

dobber's picture

I think the real crux of draft and develop is how you utilize your draft capital...especially when you're not getting much roster help from other sources. When significant draft capital has been invested in a position (ILB and CB, for example), you need to roll with those guys and tend to new needs as they pop up. I would argue that's why there hasn't been an addition of significance at CB: TT has two high draft picks invested there and he's rolling the dice on them as he moves on to other needs. ILB has three young players and he's taking the chance that they continue to grow and improve.

We all see the benefits of this: it's cheap labor and cap friendly. On the other hand, we also see how restrictive it is.

4zone's picture

The amount needed to sign any given draft class is tiny compare to the total cap. By the time you get to second contracts, you've lost half of that draft class normally.

You normally get 7-9 draft picks per year and with a 53 Mab roster, it would take 6 years to draft enough bodies to fill, or replace an entire 53 man roster. And if you hit only 50% if the time, that time would double to twelve years.

Given that the average career is less than 5 years I believe, those numbers show draft and developed one is not sustainable, simply from a statistical standpoint. It is an absolute that you must add players via another or multiple sources. You simply can't avoid it.

dobber's picture

TT has decided to get those extra players through UDFA contracts...again, cheap and cap-friendly, but you get less out of those guys now, the ceiling on those guys is notably lower, and the failure rate is even higher than draft picks.

If you give TT a scraggly beard, a pair of ratty coveralls, and a beat-up straw hat, you could envision him as an old prospector panning for gold in a 60s era Western.

UmpireMark's picture

Remember of course, that UFDA'S are undrafted for a reason. Some pan out, some do not.

I don't think it's a huge departure from draft and develop to sign a FA that fills a hole/need with better talent than you have or just lost.

No one is abdicating for a day one giant contract. That's absurd. But filling a hole or specific need with known production (NFL experience) is not in danger of ruining the draft and develop protocol.

4zone's picture

Exactly Umpire. As a matter of fact, its pretty much an imperative. Because as much as you would like to sign all your own talent of value, sometimes, for whatever reason, it just doesn't happen.

As fans, we rarely get to know who TT tried to sign and failed or why. Usually all we get is rumor and the ones he succeeds in signing. I think he needs to be willing to overpay sometimes, where outside talent meets internal need and, like this year, we have cap room to absorb it.

Tundraboy's picture

"Pay high for a guy of impact for a 2 year deal, draft a projected replacement for him and then let the rookie developed for two years. Then you assess what you have at that position in two years. Hopefully you drafted well and you have a home grown impact player for 2-3 years at a much lower price. "

If only we did that, say once or twice in the past few years...... Sigh.

RCPackerFan's picture

'Are The Packers In A State Of Flux?'

The easy answer is yes after seeing a lot of players leave.
But the truthful answer is no.

2 players were true starters that left. Lang and Lacy. The rest were key role players. While it will hurt for them to lose those players, are they really losing that much?
-Peppers was clearly on the downside of his career.
-Jones schematically just never fit in.
-Hyde while was a great teammate to have and his versatility will be missed, wasn't great at anything. He wasn't a great cover guy, or great safety, but could play both.
-Tretter while had a lot of upside, he missed more games in 4 years then he played. (played in 31 missed 33)

I do believe Lacy and Lang will be missed. The OL lost possibly its best overall player, and leader. That being said Guard is an easier position to replace someone then OT.
Lacy while had a lot of fat jokes thrown at him is a good player. He added something to the offense. That being said, when Montgomery got more involved in the offense it really opened up. Having a guy who can be a dual threat out of the backfield makes the offense more dangerous.
RB's are probably one of the easiest positions to find replacements for. In the draft you can find really good RB's in the 3-5th rounds. Just from recent drafts Jordan Howard was a 5th round pick. David Johnson was a 3rd. Jay Ajayi was a 5th. Devonta Freeman and James White 4th round.

With the additions of Bennett and Kendricks it instantly improves the TE position. While Cook was really good in our offense, adding 2 TE's pushes Richard Rodgers to the 3rd TE spot where he should be.

Back to the topic..
Do the Packers have to add more players? Yes. Are they influx. No.

caruso81's picture

One thing many have forgotten as it seems as though half the team leaves, is that last year's team had many, many holes. Do we really want to sign the same guys? If you think hard and objectively about each player who signed elsewhere, every single one had big question marks... age, injury, weight. (Except for your long snapper...why you just don't sign Goode for a bag of Doritos and a Mountain Dew is beyond me.)

I'm NOT defending Ted here - he refuses to play the personnel game as it exists in 2017 and you sometimes wonder if he gets a % of what he saves off the cap - but we wanted changes, and re-signing those guys nets you the same team with the same holes. For better or worse, Ted is moving on to new players. (Although I really can't fathom how Don "Miss Turnstiles" Barclay is still on this this team)

The problem is not that Ted didn't overpay for those guys. The problem is that his weird "draft -develop - don't resign" philosophy is not netting players who develop into guys you'd want to resign.

Matt Gonzales's picture

2014 draft picks hit FA next year. You really want to pick up some aging CB or ILB? That means we definitely lose HHCD and Adams.

You can't pay everyone. If you want to keep your studs, they have to get paid like studs, and that means NOT signing some of your own or other teams FAs to ensure you have the money to keep your next crop of studs.

dobber's picture

We forget that this is what the NFL wants: parity and turnover. Give everyone some hope so that the markets stay flush with cash. Drive up the caps to keep the NFLPA from bitching too much. It's 2000s era football and personnel management.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

We won't lose Dix, Matt. GB will exercise the 5th year option in early May on Dix if there is no extension. Last year that option was for $5.68M (link). Safeties did not cash in much in 2017 so I don't expect that number to increase too much.

Sportrac indicates that we will have $33M in cap space (really about $22M since there are only 31 players under contract in 2018). That will be almost enough to re-sign Adams, Linsley, Taylor, and Burnett, and pay Dix his 5th year option. Many sites are estimating that the cap will increase by $11M.

TT is still sitting on about $22M in cap space. We should probably deduct $4M to $5M in churn (paying replacement players for guys who go on IR, player acquisition, injury settlements) during the season. If TT signs no more FAs, he should be rolling over something in the area of $15M. If that isn't enough for 2018, TT can take a long look at RR's cap hit of $1.923M this year, or CM3's $11.4M, and Cobb's $9.5M cap savings that are available in 2018.

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/agents-take-a-team-by-team-guide-to-fi...

Matt Gonzales's picture

Everyone loves comparing GB to the Patriots as the model of success, but let's look at some other teams that adopted the same strategy recently:

Philly hired an "offensive mastermind" HC, gave him control over the roster and let him sign a bunch of big name FAs. They failed to make the post season, badly regressed, and now said coach and most of that offensive nucleus is gone. Go a little further back and you have the 2010-2011 all-star team that failed to make an impact and put them in a big cap mess.

Miami has gone all in several times and has yet to reap the benefits.

NYG threw money around like it was going out of style to pick up a superstar defense. We beat said superstar defense in the postseason and made it look pretty easy, and now the wheels are coming off their offense but they can't do anything about it other than draft new players.

Broncos won a Superbowl on the back of a superstar defense and pricey FA pickups, and last year failed to make the playoffs and has no cap room to speed up the rebuild they forced themselves into.

Buffalo stocked up on FAs, including their QB and brought in a defensive mastermind. They're still stuck in mediocrity.

Seattle puts together a superstar defense and is able to pay for it because they hit it big on a rookie QB. Now that he is on a big boy contract they can't afford an o-line to protect him and all those big expensive defensive players are showing their age, but Seattle has too much money invested in too many players to do anything but let it ride or do a total gutting. This is the only other team save GB that has been consistently relevant in the NFC since GBs previous Superbowl win, and I'd say they're on a pretty heavy decline

OAK takes a similar approach to Seattle and GB, drafting well and having the luxury of being able to acquire big name players because they don't have to pay their QB yet. When the QB goes down the wheels fall off.

Jacksonville LOVES signing tons of impact FA players. How is that working out for them?

The exception does not prove the rule.

bleedsgreen's picture

Still no #1 running back and a defense that relies on "let's hope they all gel and peak at the right time."

W/o any defensive shake-up, nah brah.
This is a machine built for Wins not Championships.

Since '61's picture

Jason - at this point it is a little for difficult for me to have a feel for this team without even knowing who we have drafted yet. Regardless, I'm confident that we will have an excellent offense as long as we remain relatively healthy. Based on the current status of the defense I'm not very confident that our defense will be better than the 2016 edition. We are depending on too many players to make leaps. Clark, Lowry, Ryan, Martinez, Fackrell, Eliott, Randall, and Rollins all need to make their 2nd or 3rd year leaps. That 's a lot of leaping and I don't think that it's very realistic to expect all that leaping to happen. At the least we need another CB, another pass rusher, and a DL who can step in and at least contribute right away. There is still time to improve the defense via the draft, FAs and UDFAs. As for our Special teams we only need to sign Brett Goode to solidify that part of the team and I'm not sure what TT is waiting for there. Anyway, present this article again in September and we'll have a better sense of our expectations for 2017. Thanks, Since '61

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Goode's vet min is $900K. I don't think GB was happy with his coverage. Still, I am with you in being surprised that TT hasn't signed Goode since the snaps were good. TT signed Taybor Pepper. IDK anything about Taybor.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

I think things are going very well.

This team was in a tough position with so many contracts up this year. The only losses I regret are Tretter and Jones, and even those weren't terrible decisions by Ted.

House, for this team, is a clear upgrade over Hyde. Bennett/Kendricks are a big upgrade over Cook. Lang is more easily replaced than people think (I'd move Bulaga inside). Lacy weighed 267 and had to go.

I hope we use virtually all remaining cap money to start working on extending guys like Linsley and Ha Ha. Bulaga, Cobb and Matthews will definitely be gone after this year, and we'll have tons of extra picks next year for maneuvering to replace them.

Well done, Ted.

Ryan Graham's picture

I'm with you, Andrew. I don't like the position the team found itself in regarding the defense still being reconstructed, and I don't think anyone does. But considering it doesn't improve over night first off, and second all you can do is move forward I like what has been done. We won't see serious results until these next two offseason are complete.

One thing I would have liked to see to get ahead of the expiring contract was Cobb being traded this offseason. But I can also understand why Ted wouldn't, it would leave the recieving core slim and very very young outside of Nelson.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Agreed on Cobb, but unfortunately, who would take that salary?

Bottom line: Had we kept Lang and someone else, next offseason would have been a nightmare.

Aaron won't like it, but that's the state of our team. It's not a complete rebuild, but to "reload" like Aaton wants just wouldn't have set up his next 5 years very well.

Ryan Graham's picture

I have a feeling had Ted jumped on it early with either Tennessee or Philadelphia he could have made something happen. Not sure I'd want anyone on their roster, but I'd gladly take a 2nd or even 3rd round draft pick, realistically a 3rd. And I think both of them were desperate enough to do it. Tennessee still might be since they couldn't land Kenny Britt, Branding Cooks, Alshon Jeffrey, they are really looking for someone reliable for Mariota. Problem is trading is even more out of Ted's realm than free agency.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Well, this is confusing. If we're moving Bulaga inside to be a starting OG, why would we cut him the next year, eating $3.2M to save $5M?

No one would give anything for Cobb. Not squat. Who'd give up any kind of a pick and still have to pay Cobb $9.5M? No one.

NMPF's picture

Every team in the NFL should be in some sort of flux every year. I believe this is why there is FA and the worst teams the prior year pick early in the draft. This model is what the NFL prefers. Thank you for the article but much ado about nothing. GO BADGERS!!!!!

Ryan Graham's picture

From what I've seen so far Ted is setting this team up for 2018, which sounds typical Ted setting the team up for the future and not now, but while I don't think Ted is done in FA this year I think next offseason is going to be even more active. Probably gonna see Matthews and Cobb in different uniforms unless they each take significant pay cuts. This will open up a lot of cap space to resign Adams Linsley and CD. To me it seems like the team is in flux to the naked eye, but really players have not met the staffs expectations be it a production, schematic, or both.

The addition of 2 tight ends will relieve the pressure of a 'regressing' O line for lack of a better term, because it will still be good.

Lacy was effective, when he played. That's the key. Not to say he can't be more effective under different circumstances, but in this scheme in this roster he didn't have it in him to keep his health up to participate. Not just his weight, his overall health. Not to mention I can not be the only one who saw his lack of motivation.

The defense is rebuilding unfortunately. It seems like it has been forever, it doesn't seem to be Ted's strong suit for talent scouting. Keeping Nick Perry was a necessary move, with an edge guy drafted -or two- tells me Matthews is out the door next year.

Ted has a lot invested in the cornerback position with Randall and Rollins, House being a nice addition as well. The reality is the defense won't truly take shape and reach its potential for another season most likely. It will improve next year, don't discount gained experience.

dobber's picture

I think you're right on Cobb and Matthews: CMIII presents no cap hit if he's cut after the season and Cobb represents a big salary savings and small/modest hit. They need to play as if they're on a series of one-year deals from here on out. Even if there's a rejuvenated CMIII, can you still pay him $12M in 2018? Any other team would already be planning what to do with their cap savings at this point.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

I think the Packers are thinking about Matthews/Cobb savings next year. Absolutely.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Yes, I agree that there is a confluence of circumstances that make the 2018 season look like it is setting up to be good. The offense should be good. We will still have Nelson, Cobb (if not cut), Allison, Davis, Bennett, Kendricks, and I expect Adams to be re-signed. We will have OTs in Bakh and Bulaga, and I expect Linsley and Taylor to be re-signed. Still have Monty, Rip and AR. Plus whatever draft picks on offense will have a year of experience, and Spriggs, Murphy will have 2 years of experience.

The D might be set up by then. I expect (but who knows?) that TT takes a CB and an OLB high this year. We'll still have Perry, CM3 (if not cut), Fackrell, the rookie will have a year of experience. We'll still have Daniels, Clark, Lowry and Guion. I expect we'll put the 5th yr option on Dix, probably re-sign Burnett, find out what we have in Brice. We will find out about R&R, and the high CB pick will get a year to develop. I've only mentioned 2 (CB and OLB) draft picks, but TT gets 8 altogether. Finally, TT has a ton of picks in 2018.

If enough things go right in 2017, leaps made by a bunch of guys on defense, primarily, some picks work out, then 2017 can be very successful. But 2018 is looking pretty good.

croatpackfan's picture

I feel comfortable... Why? Because it is the first day of spring. And nothing will happen, good or bad for the 2017 Packers record before the late summer. I'm looking forward to draft, OTAs and summer vacation. Waiting for TC and new season. I hope that will come sooner than later....

dobber's picture

That's the right mindset...

Tundraboy's picture

Agreed. Time to go fishing. It's Trout season Happy Spring everyone.

Tarynfor12's picture

Thompson is a version of Dr Emmitt Brown still developing the ' Flux ' capacitor, while thinking when he does, 2010 will be relived.

dobber's picture

ONE-POINT-TWENTY-ONE GIGAWATTS!!!

Maddhadder1's picture

I honestly think, TT's plan at this point is to produce an average defense, and an offense that averages 40+ points a game, with the addition of the two TE's. If the D holds opponents under 30, we go all the way. Not how I would do it, but that's feeling I get

MarkinMadison's picture

If Spriggs makes some progress in the weight room this spring, I can see the argument for moving Bulaga inside. This puts your five best on the field. Bulaga has battled injuries, and despite a stellar performance last year, he may benefit from moving inside. Tough call though. He was so effective at RT that it really makes you wonder why mess with a solid edge protector. Otherwise, Patrick Lucas should be given a good long look at G.

Honestly, other than grabbing a better CB like Gilmore or Amukamara, I'm not sure what else TT should have done this off season. A lot of guys changed teams, but none of them were difference makers. Don't like being tied to the success of Nick Perry for the next five years? How about betting on the success of Datone Jones or weighing down your cap space with a G on the wrong side of 30? Pay outside money to a slot corner? Throw starting money at Peppers so that he can play part-time? Lots of bad choices to select from.

A lot of people here have given up on Rollins. I get it. He was horrible. But he is still learning one of the most difficult positions in football. It wouldn't shock me to see the light bulb go on, and then the Packers find out they have a player. House is a one-year insurance policy against Rollins and Randall failing to make progress. And no, Hyde could not have done it because he really is not a guy you can put on the outside. He is a slot guy. Lots of guys can play the slot.

Tundraboy's picture

Very true. Just wish Lacy was back for 1 more year, but I'll get over it. Aside from him, Noone that we needed to keep that we didnt. Very happy with the new TEs.

Nick Perry's picture

I'm with you a Lacy TB. I have a strange feeling that dude will get down to somewhere around 245 or less and be a monster for Seattle. I understand he could have did that in GB and he didn't, but maybe playstation became less important the last 2 seasons and he finally realizes this might be his last shot at a nice contract for more than a year.

DesertPackFan's picture

I haven't given up on either Randall or Rollins, however I think Rollins is a slot CB only. He's not much faster (actually not at all) than Hyde or Hayward were...

Rollins - 4.57 40
Hyde - 4.56 40
Hayward - 4.57

Quickness is the forte of each. They need to all be inside, not out side. Thats why Randall is better outside. He ran 4.46.

olwig420's picture

At this point I'm not concerned about a regression, I am expecting one.

Point Packer's picture

Last year I said 11-5 and a loss in the Divisional Round. Close. This year I'm predicting 10-6 and yet another loss in the Divisional Round.

There is zero chance the draft will fix this defense. Peppers was done, but there isn't an heir apparent on the roster. Datone Jones is a 1st round bust, who was over-hyped by pretty much everyone minus myself and Ted Thompson, but at least he knew the system. Hyde was our best CB during the second half of last year (not saying much, I know), House was cut by Jacksonville....Jacksonville....

Yes, GB has a chance to win the SB every year solely due to #12. However, the odds would likely increase if Ted could put anything near an average Defense on the field and stop drafting busts in the first three rounds.

Handsback's picture

I for one see strength in the CB and TE poitions. Martínez was fine before he got hurt. I'm expecting him to get better, therefore the ILB position should be stronger. What has been hurt is the Oline with the pass rush position losing depth.

There are no major pick-ups that are need as much as better depth. It may be a Pollyanna outlook, but hey they were in the final four. The sky isn't falling.

Matt Gonzales's picture

Every team with a franchise QB not on their rookie contract (or paying someone like a franchise QB) is either going to have holes OR they are setting themselves up for later cap troubles. This "2-3 years of rebuilding" thing for why we should go all in now is a joke. There are teams in a constant rebuild because their they're constantly trying to fill holes while also overextending contracts. How well have the Saints (who have one of the NFCs better QBs) done ever since their magical Superbowl run? They constantly retool their defense with FA, and are saddled with massive contracts they're paying for in dead money or huge guarantees as they try to renegotiate backloaded contracts to new frontloaded contracts. Heck, the Cowboys basically wasted a fine QBs career with poor cap management and didn't get their act together till he was sidelined by injuries and 2 rookies took the league by storm.

The only way in the NFL to put together a superstar roster is to tank multiple seasons, either up front to draft at the top of the order or on the back end by mortgaging your future. The Patriots are the exception to the rule, not because of free agency but because A) Tom Brady, B) Bill Bellicheck, and C) they've yet to get the book thrown at them nearly as hard as they should for the way they creatively bend the rules.

CAG123's picture

Geez what's up with all these "The sky is falling articles"?! Being a GM is a damned if you do, damned if you don't job. We're complaining about him resigning perry yet have we forgotten just last year when he let a in prime player go and rolled the dice on youth? Yeah that guy was among the league leaders in INT and our youth couldn't stop a nosebleed.

Point Packer's picture

That's the problem. TT overpaid Mathews (like WAY overpaid). Overpaid Cobb (like WAY overpaid). Overpaid Peppers his final year. And probably just overpaid Perry. And yet he let a relatively cheap option at CB go the year before, at our biggest position of need.

CAG123's picture

Let's not forget that Hayward was a great slot corner, they tried him on the outside in 2015 and he was getting toasted that's when Randall took over and he was put back in the slot on top of the fact that he only produced 3 INT his last 3 years there. What were they supposed to do? At least CM3, Cobb, Perry were coming off great seasons when they were given contracts. What would you be saying right now if those players walked and went on to have great seasons with other teams? Damned if you do and damned if you don't

JohnnyLogan's picture

It's an interesting conundrum. We've had an awful D for years, but we make the playoffs. TT gets a pass because he drafted two CB's highly so he certainly tried to fix the D. He needed ILB's so he drafted a couple over the last two years. No difference makers (yet) but they are young so he gets a pass. Capers gets a pass as well, also because they're young, or old like Peppers, or slow like Gunter, or injured and he has to play UDFAs. It's therefore impossible not to find an excuse. Year after year. The reason comparisons are valid to NE is because only NE and the Packers have generational QB's. They're the two best, without question. NE gives Brady a decent offense, not the best, but regularly fields a decent to above average defense. That's the difference! Belichick gives up a #1 draft pick for Brandon Cooks. Okay, that's offense, but he gives Brady a difference maker. Speed over the top so Adelman and Gronk have even more room to work. Mission accomplished. Then he trades a #2 for Kony Ealy and gets back a #3. No big draft loss, and yet he gets a veteran potentially really good defensive player. For almost no cost. They've done this with their D for years. Fitting in a veteran for a year or two then finding another to replace him, while we wait for rookies to develop. Yes, look to NE. They also draft and develop, but aren't afraid of paying to fill holes. TT was lucky getting Rodgers and I don't buy the "well at least he made the pick" argument. Okay, a great pick. But if even one team hadn't been stupid, where do you all think we'd have been under the TT regime? I think we'd have been the Bears.

Matt Gonzales's picture

Who did we play in the NFCCG to get to the Superbowl again in 2010-2011?

The AFC East is, statistically, a weaker division than the NFC North. The Dolphins making it to the Wild Card is the last time an AFCE team went to the postseason since, what, Mark Sanchez's sophomore season? We always have a dumpster fire in our division, but there has only been ONE year since our last Superbowl that there haven't been two NFCN teams in the postseason. Give the Packers 2-4 more guaranteed wins every year and I bet we'd have another Superbowl or two thanks to top playoff billing and more favorable schedules (and our defense stats would be a hell of a lot better too).

I'm also really getting tired of people talking about what BB has done this off season and equating it to success. The Patriots and the Packers currently have the same 2017 season record. You don't actually know, yet, who is making their team better.

Tarynfor12's picture

" I'm also really getting tired of people talking about what BB has done this off season and equating it to success. "

Based on what he has done, which is a far cry mire than the Packers have since the Thompson, McCarthy, Rodgers Era and Favre to boot prior, equates to real success. Not the we made the playoffs type many accept as success. How can anyone honestly say it isn't.

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