I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise.
The 3pm deadline has come and gone, and the Packers decided not to place the franchise tag on Matt Flynn. He will become an unrestricted free agent next week, and the Packers will receive no more than a compensatory draft pick in 2013 for losing him, assuming he does not return to Green Bay after testing the waters of free agency.
It was no secret that I clamored for the Packers to tag Flynn, in the hopes that a tag and trade deal could be reached in exchange for additional draft picks in the upcoming draft. An additional first or second round draft selection would have been a nice vehicle to help a defense in need of more play makers, or perhaps additional depth along the offensive line. Considering the Packers allowed Scott Wells to become an unrestricted free agent as well, center has gone from a position of strength to a position of need.
And then I remembered Ted Thompson is the Packers General Manager.
Every year around this time, fans make it a ritual to discuss the what if scenarios that the Packers could do in the off season. Analysis of the Packers free agents is matched my analyzing the free agents across the league, and the discussions of "the Packers could do this" and "the Packers should do that" run rampant. Blogs, radio, Twitter, Facebook, and every other conceivable form of media becomes inundated with imaginary GMs doing their own wheelin' and dealin', myself included. And what ever comes of it? Poppycock.
This is not to say Ted is afraid of free agency. People still mention the signing of Charles Woodson and acquiring Ryan Pickett as proof that Ted will dip his toe into the cold waters of free agency. But these moves are so far in the rear view mirror, they are almost a distant memory. Since 2006, the only unrestricted free agents Ted has signed have been Frank Walker, Brandon Chillar, and Duke Preston. The last players Ted traded were Caleb Schlarderaff and Quinn Johnson. None of these players were exactly top tier players, so recent history should show Thompson is just not going to shock the world and pull off a major deal. Yet year after year we speculate he will.
Why do we subject ourselves to this? Why do we pull hair out, trying to get a glimpse inside the mind of Ted Thompson and think he will surprise us?
The answer for me is because I know he won't do it, but it sure is fun to speculate. As strategically sound as all of Ted's personnel moves are, they are also incredibly boring. He enters free agency and the draft quietly every year, and every year exits just as quiet. He may sign a lower tier free agent as long as it fits his vision for the continued success of the Packers, and occasionally make a draft day trade (trading up to draft Clay Matthews) but as far as pulling off a blockbuster trade or signing a top free agent, it is not his modus operandi. So while tagging and trading Matt Flynn might have come across as the "sexiest" move in Thompson's tenure if it were to have have happened, it did not. And now we can go back to pretending we know what Ted is going to do in the upcoming draft.
Of course, he could be saving up to sign Mario Williams. Now THAT would be a surprise.
In Ted We Trust.
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