Five times Brian Gutekunst turned nothing into… something?

Packers GM Brian Gutekunst has made a habit of getting value from players on their way out the door.

 

By trading Ka’dar Hollman to the Houston Texans, Green Bay Packers GM Brian Gutekunst got value for a player who was most likely going to be cut anyway.

Many were shocked that Hollman fetched a seventh-round pick, as he became the second cornerback to be jettisoned in the space of a week, following Josh Jackson out the exit door.

But this is nothing new from Gute, who continues to squeeze the last drop of value out of players who were not long for the roster.

Here are five other occasions when Brian Gutekunst has turned nothing into something:

Damarious Randall to the Cleveland Browns for DeShone Kizer

This was Gutekunst’s first trade as general manager of the Green Bay Packers, as he shipped out a failed experiment in position change for a ‘project’ quarterback.

Converting Randall from safety to corner did not pan out and Gutekunst decided to move on from the former first rounder, flipping him for a talented, but raw QB.

Kizer had been drafted in the second round just a year earlier, and Green Bay had hope of nurturing him as a long-term backup (or even heir apparent) to Aaron Rodgers.

However, Kizer ended up appearing in just two regular season games for the Packers. He replaced the injured Rodgers on both occasions and threw zero touchdowns and two interceptions.

He was cut prior to the 2019 season after failing to beat out Tim Boyle in camp, and is currently a free agent after stints with the Raiders and Titans.

This trade also involved the swapping of fourth and fifth round picks, with Green Bay later trading the fourth to the Panthers and using the fifth to select Cole Madison.

Lenzy Pipkins to the Indianapolis Colts for Antonio Morrison

Not exactly a blockbuster, but it’s still impressive that Gutekunst managed to trade an undrafted player after just a year with a team.

Besides having a truly great name, Pipkins’ time with Green Bay was not exactly memorable.

And the Colts clearly weren’t too impressed either, waiving Pipkins just a week after making the trade, before later signing him to the practice squad.

On the other hand, Morrison appeared in all 16 games for the Packers in the 2018 season at middle linebacker, registering 47 tackles and one sack.

Despite playing a decent number of snaps in Green Bay, he was waived in March 2019 and has not played in the NFL since.

Ty Montgomery to the Baltimore Ravens for a seventh-round pick

Montgomery had flashed at times throughout his career with the Packers as a running back/wide receiver hybrid, but his career with the Packers ended in spectacular fashion.

In an October 2018 matchup against the Los Angeles Rams, Green Bay were down by two points and about to get the ball back for a chance to win the game.

Montgomery proceeded to fumble the kick-off return, ultimately costing his team the game. It was later reported that Montgomery ignored instructions to take a knee and not bring the ball out.

Clearly not too pleased with this, the Packers moved Montgomery just two days after the game, but he likely would have been cut if Gutekunst had not found a trade partner.

With the pick Green Bay received, they drafted Jonathan Garvin, who has a chance to be the fourth edge rusher going into this season.

Reggie Gilbert to the Tennessee Titans for a sixth-round pick

Gilbert was signed by Green Bay as an undrafted free agent in 2016 and after spending most of his first two years on the practice squad, he saw more regular playing time in 2018.

He appeared in all 16 games that year for the Packers, tallying two and a half sacks.

Considering that modest production, Gutekunst did well to get a draft pick out of Gilbert.

Jake Hanson was selected with the resulting pick, and after only making the practice squad as a rookie, appears to be a long shot to crack the 53-man roster again this year.

Trevor Davis to the Oakland Raiders for a sixth-round pick

A former fifth rounder out of Cal, Davis struggled to make an impact from scrimmage in Green Bay, catching only nine passes in 31 regular season appearances.

More often used as a returner, Davis lasted two games into the 2019 season before Gutekunst decided to cut bait.

After claiming Tremon Smith off waivers from the Kansas City Chiefs, Gute managed to get a pick from the Raiders for Davis’s services.

That pick was used on Jon Runyan, who is in contention to start on the interior of Green Bay’s offensive line this season.

As you may have noticed, most of these moves did not end up being hugely fruitful for either side, with neither team really ‘winning’ the trade.

But that’s not really the point. Moves like these simply give the team a chance to move on from a past mistake or underwhelming player, and take a swing at finding someone more useful.

That is always something worth exploring, and it could just land you a player such as Jon Runyan, who provided value with his solid play on Green Bay’s offensive line in a pinch last year.

It’s encouraging to see Gutekunst continue to be resourceful and look for ways to improve the team, even if it doesn’t always work out.

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Mark Oldacres is a sports writer from Birmingham, England and a Green Bay Packers fan. You can follow him on twitter at @Marko7LW

12 points

Comments (54)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
nostradanus's picture

August 26, 2021 at 06:45 am

I love the fact that Gutey is willing to pick up the phone and at least get something for these guys.

It’s like getting a lottery ticket, most of the time all you get is scratch shavings on the floor, but every once in awhile you get a Runyan in the 6th or a k. Hill in the 7th.

Go Gutey!

ND

15 points
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croatpackfan's picture

August 26, 2021 at 06:46 am

I agree with you. If you'll trade out players already planned to be cut for other players, after so many tries, you'll find a valuable player. With trade you do not lose anything and you may get something. This season Gutekunst got 7th rounder. Aaron Rodgers cost us 6th rounder, but OK. At least we got someone well known in Green Bay. I doubt they will keep Yiadom at the end, but who knows. I'm looking forward to see how much Gutekunst can get from ESB trade, which I expecting this week before the last preseason game. We all hoped ESB will develop in dependable player for offense, but unfortunately he did not succeed. I believe this week contains some more excitements before Saturday. Next week will be all in cutting players, forming 53 + 10 roster and preparing for the new season. Finally!

5 points
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nostradanus's picture

August 26, 2021 at 07:30 am

Croat
The practice squad is now 16 players, so bonus you get an extra 6. And now you can liberally call those guys up and send them back down without cutting them. Very helpful with a 17 game +++ season.
ND

9 points
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croatpackfan's picture

August 26, 2021 at 09:51 am

Yea, my bad. I forget. Considering my age that's OK. 53 + 16!

1 points
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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

August 26, 2021 at 10:17 am

Can't see anyone giving up anything for ESB when he can't stay healthy enough to even show what he might be able to do to help another team. I wish he could have stayed healthy. We might not have needed Amari Rodgers.

3 points
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Leatherhead's picture

August 26, 2021 at 01:13 pm

I would submit that the #1 offense in the league didn’t “need” Amari Rodgers or Randall Cobb or Kylin Hill, but the draft is about the future.

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stockholder's picture

August 26, 2021 at 06:59 am

I don't agree. Randall wasn't a bad CB. And he had to switch from Safety. Montgomery was also a player that had merit. He wanted to start. Davis was better then nothing. The revolving door at PR still goes on. The trades still put this team back. And failure to draft those positions first, speak volumes. I'm convinced Gutey never came out ahead. We have seen a lot of players leave. FAs or not. With a few exceptions (Hayward,and Hyde) Most can't make the jump from the Packers scheme. Which is why they were supposedly taken in the first place. The value is in the eye of the beholder. Gute has done one thing right. He's strengthen his position and the future, rather then the task at hand. Something very easy to do when you have a Hall of Fame QB.

-19 points
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jurp's picture

August 26, 2021 at 07:02 am

"I don't agree..."

Why am I not surprised.

You are an absolutely abysmal analyst.

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stockholder's picture

August 26, 2021 at 07:09 am

Why did Rodgers request a trade. Your blind by the propaganda.

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Coldworld's picture

August 26, 2021 at 08:14 am

I doubt it was because of Randall and Montgomery. Both had issues. Monty might have had some valid reasons for his frustration, but that was with McCarthy.

5 points
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croatpackfan's picture

August 26, 2021 at 09:55 am

because he is narcissist, feels undervalued, believe everybody is against him and always trying to blame others for his own mistakes... Enough reasons?

1 points
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jurp's picture

August 26, 2021 at 02:23 pm

Rodgers was never reported to have requested a trade.

1 points
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Oppy's picture

August 26, 2021 at 08:52 pm

Jurp, Correct.

According to Rodgers, he claims the Packers told him they were going to trade him.

0 points
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nostradanus's picture

August 26, 2021 at 07:32 am

Randall & Montgomery had become problems in the locker room according to some reports.

8 points
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

August 26, 2021 at 08:04 am

That was true! I recall the team Captains met with Gute asking he be traded.

4 points
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Oppy's picture

August 26, 2021 at 08:56 pm

I had not heard about Montomery, but KTSOOY is correct- Team vets and leaders held their own meeting to discuss Damarius Randall's locker room issues (which were not known or reported by the media at the time) and they decided it was bad enough that they approached the coaches and front office and said they'd strongly suggest he be removed from the team.

The Packers were going to end up cutting him, instead, they found a trade partner in CLE and grabbed Kizer and swapped 4th and 5th round picks. Kizer didn't work out, but they at least got an opportunity instead of nothing at all out of Randall.

1 points
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Packers0808's picture

August 26, 2021 at 07:34 am

Time to sell your stock and find a new team to cheer for! Gray cloud over head bubble exists in your world!

5 points
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Packers0808's picture

August 26, 2021 at 07:38 am

ignore

-2 points
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

August 26, 2021 at 08:02 am

Gute had a Hall of Fame QB who was 3 years younger in 2018 and the team was 6 & 10. You were whining at the time it would be at least three years before the team might become a playoff contender. Gute IMMEDIATELY turned the team around in 2019 to a 13 & 3 season with an appearance in the NFCCG. He then followed it up last year having done it again. Geez, even did it after having WASTED the 2020 1st round draft choice on Jordan Love. Yup, he sure is clueless!

Force me to make a decision on who stays ARod or Gute, and goodbye ARod because Gute will keep the GBP's in contention for the next 15+ years, plus he would fleece any team trading for Rodgers should Rodgers actually leave town after this season.

6 points
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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

August 26, 2021 at 10:21 am

Randall was not only bad, he had a bad attitude. He's been cut by both the Browns and the Raiders and he appears to be third on the depth chart at safety in SEA. The point isn't in coming out ahead. The whole point of the article is you have no chance to come out ahead if you don't shop these players that are going to be cut anyway. If Jake Hanson or Jon Runyan develop, even into a reliable backup, then he's come out ahead.

3 points
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NickPerry's picture

August 26, 2021 at 07:06 am

Thanks Markoldacres....It SEEMS like you're a Gute fan, just like I am. Now maybe I'm wrong and the ole memory isn't working that well yet this morning, but even Rod Wolf and TT didn't do much of what Gute has been trying to do...GET an asset of a player on his way out the door.

Now maybe the draft picks haven't exactly yielded many All-Pros or even solid players, but I like JRJ and I like more swings at the fence. AND... Gute loves to move up and down the board. Picks for players otherwise cut are just MORE almo for Gute to deal with.

Getting something is ALWAYS better than getting nothing in return.

15 points
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MITM's picture

August 26, 2021 at 04:32 pm

The other 2 guys you mentioned won Super Bowls, sorry that trumps getting a 7th round pick for Kadar Hollman. And it was Hall of Famer RON Wolf.

0 points
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NickPerry's picture

August 27, 2021 at 05:18 am

LOL...Hold on there young man, I wasn't being critical of Wolf or Thompson. Any Packers fan knows Ron Wolf and the decisions he made were the main reason the Packers started winning again after losing in the 70's and 80's. As for Ted he was great in his own right until his health robbed him his last few years.

This will be Gutes 4th year as GM. Hell n 2018 he hardly had time to ready before the draft. Yes, TT and Wolf won SB's and probably should have won more. My guess Gute wins one probably two in the next 5 years starting with this season.

0 points
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NickPerry's picture

August 26, 2021 at 07:06 am

Dupe Post..Sorry.

1 points
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Lphill's picture

August 26, 2021 at 07:10 am

Maybe he can get a beer vendor for JK Scott whose God awful .

-4 points
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nostradanus's picture

August 26, 2021 at 07:33 am

I doubt it, beer vendors are way too valuable 😂

8 points
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Packers0808's picture

August 26, 2021 at 07:36 am

Am I wrong or did I read even beer vendors are gone this year in the stands?

3 points
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jeremyjjbrown's picture

August 26, 2021 at 09:05 am

LOL, underrated comment.

1 points
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Leatherhead's picture

August 26, 2021 at 10:00 am

Yeah, he’s only about #30 on the all-time list for career punting average.

-2 points
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TarynsEyes's picture

August 26, 2021 at 07:17 am

Yes, it's good that Gute was able to get a trade for players, but to miss again with the gained draft pick is still a miss and not a positive.

-7 points
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

August 26, 2021 at 08:19 am

A baseball hitter is down two strikes and for every new pitch he keeps fouling them into the stands keeping hope alive that maybe the next swing he connects.

Posters are sometimes unable to see the forest because of the trees. IT ISNT ALWAYS JUST ABOUT THE TRADE. Gute wheels and deals during the draft moving up and back. He is constantly searching the scrap heap for talent. He trades bottom end talent on the team for 6th and 7th round picks. What is the message with the other 31 GM's around the league? IF WE NEED TO MAKE A DEAL/TRADE who should we call? Guarantee this will eventually payoff for Gute and the GBP's. Someone is going to over pay at some point to get their player. During the 1st round draft a team has 15 minutes to submit their selection to the Commissioner. As a GM do you try calling a Ted Thompson type ahead of you, or do you call a Brian G? I know what I'd do!

11 points
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Leatherhead's picture

August 26, 2021 at 01:23 pm

Knock….the religious people I know refer to “working the fields”, because you plow and fertilize in anticipation of the rain coming. I like to call it “preparing for opportunity “. You try to create a fertile environment for something to happen in the future, even if it doesn’t benefit you at the time.

2 points
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Coldworld's picture

August 26, 2021 at 08:17 am

Show me a GM who hits on a majority of late round picks. The point is to have extra chances to gamble. He’s clearly managed that. Something for nothing is a proposition usually deemed to good to be true: don’t knock it when you do get it.

7 points
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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

August 26, 2021 at 08:29 am

Let's see...when were these players drafted for quick starters and how many SB's or World Championships do they collectively have? Tom Brady (6th rounder) has seven SB's, Bart Starr (17th rounder) has two SB's and three World Championships, and Joe Montana (3rd rounder) has four SB's.

Keep wheeling and dealing Gute!

4 points
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wildbill's picture

August 26, 2021 at 01:04 pm

Deleted

0 points
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mnbadger's picture

August 26, 2021 at 12:52 pm

That's a great point CW, but isn't most of the ground work for trades laid before the night of the draft because of time constraints? I'd love to "be in the room" from the day of the final snap that ends the season until the last UDFA is signed. I may be dorky, but this is some sausage I want to see made. All we have now is our wild speculations and the rantings of the "experts" GPG

2 points
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Coldworld's picture

August 26, 2021 at 07:01 pm

Would be a very interesting experience

0 points
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PewAuKeeFan's picture

August 26, 2021 at 07:25 am

Mark, thanks for listing these out. Seeing these lists (facts) always gives a better appreciation of things/people.

4 points
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Razer's picture

August 26, 2021 at 08:54 am

Turning the bottom of your roster is needed - it creates competition and potential. Ten years ago, we had a lot of stale practice squad and development players and the Packers were not improving. Gutekunst is not letting that happen and, I think, the team is better now than it was three years ago when he took the reins.

5 points
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ImaPayne's picture

August 26, 2021 at 09:11 am

IMO he's the dumbest GM in football. Anything decent he did was shear luck.
1. Gary was not a 15 pick. He was round two or early three at best and his play has verified that. But Gutt said Gary was in guy in Feb, hell the combine didnt even happen yet and he just didnt have that good a career at M, I know I watched.
2. Stokes looks to lack cover speed or intellengence, He is getting beat constantly in practice. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice or more........
3. Jenkins was a good pick. But the problem, all the picks are the same mantra -must be able to play more then one position. I'd take a guy who is pro bowl year in year out at one position any day. Those guys win superbowls, not the moveable guys. We pass on great talent like JJ Watt for that reason and its hurt the d more then anything.
4. You got a below avg punter and in two weeks he hasnt brought in some kind of competition? Why? Because he is not on top of who is out there and available or too cheap to spend the bucks.

Bottom line this guy knows who writes his checks and that guy likes cheap ball. Stars cost money. Undrafteds and fifth round picks not so much

-17 points
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jhtobias's picture

August 26, 2021 at 09:20 am

Congrats you provided no facts jusr your personal feelings which is fine have whatever feelings you want.

Everything you stated is just factualy non accurate congrats on being the biggezt dolt on this sife .. you will be receiving your participation trophey in the mail.

-2 points
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Leatherhead's picture

August 26, 2021 at 10:00 am

26-6

2 points
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JerseyAl's picture

August 26, 2021 at 11:06 am

Congrats. This one gets immediate induction into the CHTV "Worst and Most Clueless Takes" Hall of Fame. No voting needed.

8 points
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13TimeChamps's picture

August 26, 2021 at 12:38 pm

Pretty sure he's a Vikings fan trolling a Packer site.

At least he picked an appropriate screen name.

2 points
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Ferrari-Driver's picture

August 26, 2021 at 09:15 am

I love almost everything about "Gutekunst", our GM; the only thing that bothered me is that it took six months before I could pronounce his name.

6 points
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Alberta_Packer's picture

August 26, 2021 at 11:23 am

Ergo "Gutie."

1 points
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Since'61's picture

August 26, 2021 at 09:20 am

I always prefer making a trade rather than just cutting a player. The Packers may get back a player who needs a fresh start with a new team or who fits better into our system than he did with his previous team. Keep churning. Thanks, Since '61

8 points
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wildbill's picture

August 26, 2021 at 01:10 pm

Agreed, and the cap ramifications must be dealt with in any trade.

3 points
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Alberta_Packer's picture

August 26, 2021 at 12:00 pm

The salvaging of failed draft picks is just one aspect of Gutekunst's m.o. - whom I characterize as a proactive GM. He seems to constantly work every avenue in order to improve the team - whether it be the draft board, free agency, UDFA, street free agents, trades, waiver wire, re-structuring contracts etc. And not all GMs do this, or, work so intently. Say what you might about Gutekunst's performance to date (which I think has been very good), but you cannot fault him for a lack of commitment or effort.

5 points
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LeotisHarris's picture

August 26, 2021 at 03:21 pm

Agreed. None of the moves discussed here spun straw into gold, but they were miles ahead of the "we like our guys" mindset that plagued TT's last years. No, Kizer did not work out, but Randall needed to be moved and, at the time, it seemed like a good chance to take.

4 points
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dpwiener's picture

August 26, 2021 at 03:20 pm

I look at it from a different perspective: The players being traded away are at least being given another chance elsewhere. That's got to feel a lot better than just being cut for nothing. It lets them know that other teams believe they may have some value as NFL football players. This is a cruel business, with far more aspiring players than available roster spots. All those marginal players whose lifelong hopes and dreams are likely to be shattered deserve our empathy. If Gute can somehow trade a player rather than cut him, that's a worthy thing in and of itself and a point in Gute's favor, regardless of which team is ultimately judged to win or lose the trade a couple of years down the road.

3 points
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fastmoving's picture

August 26, 2021 at 04:43 pm

Gute is one of the best GMs we could find. Glad we promote him. Payed great dividends......

6 points
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HarryHodag's picture

August 26, 2021 at 05:18 pm

Making a trade for a late round pick is about as exciting as watching paint dry. The bottom of the roster is important but it likely isn't a do-or-die proposition.

I was one of the original members of the 'Fire Ted Thompson' crowd. I thought he really screwed up when he was hired and signed Mike Sherman to a one-year extension. I argued he knew he wasn't going to keep Sherman, whose contract was expiring, and when the team failed, out Sherman went. But the Packers had paid Sherman millions. Later I found out the front office told Ted to keep Sherman another year.

I thought Ted had lost his mind drafting Aaron Rodgers. I also thought "Tightwad Ted" was keeping too far below the salary cap, ignoring some possible free agents.

I slowly turned to favor Thompson. He did venture at times into free agency with Charles Woodson in mind. He also bombed on a couple of free agents.

But the game has changed. Gute has found quality players in the lower rounds and free agency, and has the guts to gamble on the future QB like Ron Wolf did with Favre and Thompson with Rodgers. Many fans, me included, thought Ted had lost his mind with the Rodgers selection. We were all wrong.

If you look at the roster top to bottom, look at the players Gute and Thompson now have on this roster, a reasonable person would say the team is loaded with talent. That is all you can ask from a GM/personnel director. What happens at that point is up to the front office with contracts and the coaching staff.

Gute has flopped on a few(J'Mon Moore comes to mind, along with Josh Jackson and Kamal Martin) but if you look at his drafts, there are a number of quality picks on the roster.

That's why I chuckle when the "Fire Everybody" crowd comes forward.

Gute will be challenged to field a playoff level team in 2022.

5 points
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dobber's picture

August 27, 2021 at 10:41 am

The nature of roster management appears to have shifted over the last couple years. Trading of players for picks (and even players for players) seems to be on the rise even among starting quality players. Any time you take a commodity that you have no use for (or it appears you're going to take a loss on) and get something you value in return is just good business.

I'm not sure if this instance is BG being creative in roster management or just riding the wave but, whatever the case, he's not lagging behind in some bygone day of player personnel. When he was hired, he claimed that he would leave no stone unturned in player procurement...this argues in favor of that.

2 points
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