…it won’t be because of his salary.
I know many fans (and Bloggers) were critical of Poppinga’s extension last offseason. I understood it from a rewarding a good-locker-room-guy standpoint, not to mention I (mistakenly) thought Poppinga was improving at the end of 2007 and would continue to do so in 2008. Unfortunately, Brady seemed to not only plateau last season, but his level of play declined as the season went on, to the point where the coaches tried him at right defensive end in passing situations the last few games of the season, a move that bore no fruit whatsoever.
I would not be surprised in the least to see him cut during training camp. But I think his salary will play minimal to no part in any move of that nature, despite what Rob Demovsky writes here. Yes, it’s a lot to pay for a backup linebacker, but it’s not like the Packers don’t have the room under the cap. Thompson kept KGB on the roster at the beginning of last year despite an incredible disparity between his salary and his playing time. (Granted, the argument could be made that he should have been cut during camp due to his inability to generate a pass rush, the one thing he was on the roster to do, but I digress…) I also think the argument for cutting Poppinga does not take into account the type of people Thompson likes to have on his football team. Brady will do anything the coaches ask. He’s a team-first guy all the way who gives everything he’s got on every play. Yes, he has some severe limitations, but he’s a prototype in many ways of the type of try-hard, football-first player Thompson wants. That plays a much bigger part in Thompson’s decision making than most NFL GMs. Poppinga, for all his faults, is valuable as a backup to Kampman if for no other reason than he has actually played with his hands up since getting drafted and is much more comfortable dropping into coverage. Combined with his intensity and combativeness, he’s worth keeping around as quality depth in a linebacking corps that will run 9-10 deep.
That said, again, it would not shock me to see him cut toward the end of training camp if Thompson and the Packers feel they have all they need at the linebacker spot without Brady in the mix. I just don’t think his salary will have much to do with the decison.
Filed Under: Brady Poppinga