I have no problem with the Packers not wanting to commit to a contract offer over the phone to a guy they've never met, but I also understand where an NFL player doesn't want to get on a plane if a team isn't serious. This passage from Pete Dougherty is particularly telling:
Earlier Sunday, before the deal was finished, Canty’s agent, Brad Blank, said the Packers were in the running to sign his client on Sunday. But Packers General Manager Ted Thompson wouldn’t commit to a ballpark offer before meeting Canty face-to-face and having his medical staff give him a physical examination.
Canty, on the other hand, wasn’t going to travel to Green Bay while negotiating with the Giants unless he had an assurance the Packers’ offer would be competitive. It’s unclear whether Thompson would have offered Canty a similar or better deal if a meeting in Green Bay had gone well, or whether he would have considered the Giants’ offer beyond his threshold.
At first blush the bolded might seem rediculous. Of course the Packers' offer would be competitive, right? Then you remember the way Thompson inexplicably low-balled Ryan Grant at the onset of negotiations last year and how Grant's agent made that very, very public knowledge. Now, I know the situation is completely different, but don't think players don't follow this sort of thing. They file it away. Canty was no doubt thinking "I am not going to get on a damn plane, fly to Hobbiton, in the middle of some snow storm, only for the Packers to come at me with some screwball figure. I want to know it's going to be worth my time."
Again, I completely understand the Packers' position here. My fear is that Thompson's reputation might be in the process of morphing from frugality to something worse. Nothing but a hunch of course, and I really, really hope I'm wrong.
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