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Green and Bold: Fool Me Once...

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Green and Bold: Fool Me Once...

For a general manager who doesn't make a splash in free agency all that often, the Packers' Ted Thompson sure has been in the news lately, linked to rumors that this year he'll do just that. 

It's not the first time we've heard these rumors at the start of the offseason. In late January 2016, we learned from the Journal-Sentinel's Bob McGinn that head coach Mike McCarthy was frustrated with Thompson's unwillingness to pad the roster with veterans off the street:

According to several sources, McCarthy is fed up with his boss' unwillingness to take a chance and reinforce the roster with veteran players that might be unknown to the Packers but have the talent to contribute.

And in March 2016, with free-agent signing Ray Drew (big splash!) under his belt, yours truly predicted that Thompson would make a true splash and sign then-free agent tight end Jared Cook.

It was one of Thompson's more memorable offseason additions, up there with Charles Woodson and Julius Peppers, and we all saw it pay dividends for the Packers offense this season.

When he got healthy, there were times that Cook seemed like the only player on the field who could keep drives alive and move the chains; he also often emerged as a legitimate deep threat for Aaron Rodgers, averaging 17.2 yards per reception in the Divisional Round playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys.

The ironic and often frustrating aspect of Thompson's personnel decisions for Packers fans is that he's proven to be an excellent scout and evaluator of talent; while he's struck out on some free agents (Anthony Hargrove, anyone?) and draft selections (ahem, Justin Harrell), name a general manager who hasn't. When Thompson has dipped into the waters of free agency to address a blinding need, more often than not, as with Woodson, Peppers, and Cook, that player has served as, in the short-term, a band-aid, and in the long term, a game-changer. 

Now buzz is once again generating that Thompson will have another newsworthy offseason come March, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. "From what I'm told, I would think the Packers are going to go and get some free agents this year," Rapoport said on NFL Total Access, via Around the NFL's Chris Wesseling

We've all become hesitant to believe this rumor when it pops up, and for good reason; the Woodsons and Cooks aside, Thompson just doesn't do this very often. But the Packers head into free agency with an estimated $31.2 million in salary-cap space per Spotrac. Of course, they also have some key names coming up on unrestricted free agency, including outside linebacker Nick Perry, Cook, Peppers, guard T.J. Lang (who had hip surgery following the NFC Championship Game), running back Eddie Lacy, outside linebacker Datone Jones, and defensive back Micah Hyde, among others. 

Some of those funds will need to be directed toward re-signing the team's own impending free agents. But it's hard to watch the film from the Packers' last five seasons and argue that this isn't a team that is built to succeed in the regular season but crumple in the postseason because of high-impact talent missing at key positions.

This year, that position was cornerback. Sure, no one expected Sam Shields to miss nearly the entire season, but Damarious Randall and LaDarius Gunter are not shutdown corners, and the Packers got burned defending the pass time and time again. 

Meanwhile, there are some intriguing names on the list of cornerbacks who will be unrestricted free agents come March. Los Angeles' Trumaine Johnson, whose average salary was $13.9 million in 2016, will be too spendy for Thompson's blood, but there are other options, including Jacksonville's Prince Amukamara ($5.5M average), Buffalo's Stephon Gilmore ($3M average), Dallas' Morris Claiborne ($3M average), and Indianapolis' Darius Butler ($2.5M average).  

Thompson has fooled us many times before, and it's frustrating. No one will ever expect a splashy signing.

But given the state the Packers are in, seemingly doomed to ride this endless carousel of making it to the Divisional Round or NFC Championship Game only to fall to teams with the right (not necessarily more, but the right) talent, does he really have a choice?

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The TKstinator's picture

Ok, probably not a big splash.
How about a small to medium ripple?

Donster's picture

Even a fart in the wind would be exciting! LOL!

KenEllis's picture

TT's offseason priorities:

1) Resign his own stars, Hyde, Perry, D. Jones, Don Barclay, etc. and overpay if necessary. Can never have enough of TT's own guys on the roster;
2) Draft a defensive player late in round 1, just as he has the past 5 seasons, to keep that juggernaut of a D loaded;
3) Add in a couple of offensive players in the draft that ARod will make look decent;
4) Scour the undrafted free agent pool for the real future stars of the program;
5) Once again Ignore free agency to the extent possible and continue to pretend trading for players is forbidden in the NFL; and
6) Get ready for family night where Mark Murphy will announce what a great GM TT is and how anyone who thinks otherwise is just entitled.

ShanghaiKid's picture

@Ken Not sure how you can have 3 dislikes. Anyone watching the Packers since the SB run knows the D is a sieve and he's missed on way too many 1st rounders, it's laughable that the D is as bad as they are given the resources spent on that side of the ball.

RCPackerFan's picture

Its crazy how the ripple effect can have by signing 1 player. Just 1 player can have a huge impact on the roster.

Last year signing Cook, changed the offense. Unfortunately he got hurt but when he was healthy his impact on the offense was felt. Not only did he greatly improve the TE position, it also helped the WR's.

I would have loved to have seen them go after Travathan or another ILB last year. It would have allowed Martinez, Thomas and Ryan more time to devlelop and also allow them to play roles they were more suited for.

This year if they can find a way to add a CB it would allow Randall, Rollins, Gunter and anyone they draft the ability to play more of the roles they are suited for. Assuming Shields doesn't come back, they could really use a veterans presence at CB.

This all being said, the Packers made it to the NFC Championship game with the roster they had, which was not healthy at all. They were playing with 3 of their top 4 WR's injured badly. Their CB's were not healthy most of the year, and lost 1 during the game. Their top RB who was a WR to start the season got hurt in the game. They finished the game with a NT playing RG. Had they been healthy who knows. Perhaps we would be playing this weekend.

We can blame Thompson all we want for losing the NFC Championship game, but the truth is the injuries finished their season for them.
The biggest thing I fault Thompson for is not going out and finding another CB when Shields went down. And especially when Randall and Rollins went down. Maybe he did and we don't know, but he really should have tried finding someone whether it was off the street or tried making a trade for someone.

croatpackfan's picture

I would like to read which shut down CB was available during the season...
You know that I, mostly, agree with you, but, sometimes, it looks like all of you lives in some kind of parallel universe...
Can you, please, answer my question?

RCPackerFan's picture

I didn't say a shutdown CB. At the point in which they were at, just about anyone would have helped.
I honestly don't know who was available.

I heard rumors about Joe Hayden. Perhaps they could have tried trading for him. I don't know what his contract situation was. Or what the Browns wanted in return for him. And perhaps they did reach out to find out these things. Something we will never know.

I wish Thompson would have tried making a trade for someone after Shields went down. Maybe he did and we don't know about it. But at the end of the day he didn't.

croatpackfan's picture

RC we really do not know what was going on behind the close doors. We just hear rumors. And then we take those rumors as truth? Maybe TT tried to make some trade with Browns, but they asked for too much. Maybe TT did not even call them. But we are all easy to call their names with no facts in our hands...

caruso81's picture

But this is the point. Maybe they asked too much. But the market is the market, and I get the feeling that the price for free agents is always going to be too much for a GM who doesn't see value in signing free agents.

dobber's picture

Given that player-for-player trades all but never happen in the NFL, and TT locks his draft picks in a vault, you're right: asking much of anything might be asking too much.

That said, we forget that he did take a shot at the RB issue by dealing for Knile Davis, but we all know how that speculation turned out...and they were likely better off with #88 running the ball, anyway.

RCPackerFan's picture

Croat- We have no idea what happens behind closed doors.

But looking at it from the outside, I'm just saying that I wish he would have found a deal somewhere. Made the trade, or picked up someone that could have helped.

zeke's picture

I remember how excited I was when Sherman signed Joe Johnson. Good times.

Tundraboy's picture

Your right RC, there is no reason to believe any effort was made. It's a very reasonable assumption to make, especially seeing that we regularly find ourselves shorthanded at some position each year. To me, we rely and assume too much on players playing a full season. The Real problem is that we go into each year ignoring the obvious, many of our key players NEVER play a full season. Matthews, Shields, Starks and of course Perry in recent years. Add Lacy to that list as well . (I'm sure I have missed some. so feel free to add to my list). In a business, if your main staff consisted of multiple employees who are out regularly for any reason, woud you base your plan on a best case unrealistic scenario, let alone not factor in to have some replacements at the ready. No? It's been very frustrating to be exposed the past few years for not having any depth behind starters in critical skill positions. LB, CB and RB......

RobinsonDavis's picture

Sorry I am late to this RC and Croat. Here was the rumor about the 27 yr. old, Joe Haden. Though oft injured the last two years, Saints tried to make a trade for him (I keep trying to enter the URL, but the site will not allow me to this). The Saints also had issues at CB with their top two CBs hurt during this time, with one recovering from a broken leg, and another expected back in two weeks, BUT they still had their back-ups and yet were trying to make a deal....the cost was supposedly too high (most had projected Haden would cost a 3rd or 4th round draft choice as well). The Saints had roughly the same cap space available as the Packers ($9+ million), but remember the Packers had lost 4 of their CBs at this time AND apparently knew about the pending investigation of Sam Shield's marijauna/driving arrest. Tramon Williams was supposedly available as well.

If the Packers had to assume Haden's contract, it would have cost the Packers $5 million this past year and $11 million for the next two with a dead cap loss at $6.4 million if cut in 2017, half that in 2018. Although a steep price at first glance, when you look at where the supposed price for CBs will be going forwards at $15-16 million/year on a multiyear deal, this may not be excessive. Again, we really do not know what TT and Co. undertook (if anything), nor exactly what the Browns were asking for Haden, but this IS an example of just one option available at the time.

Handsback's picture

I agree in that other than trying to find a CB on the market after Shields went down...not sure what TT could have done.
Getting back to this year, Shields is likely done. Maybe not, but a concussion that last all season doesn't bode well for a player's long term health. So if there aren't CBs in the draft that can help right away, then you had to go with a FA type for depth. I say for depth because who is a number 1 CB that can be had for reasonable money? I don't think they exist. I still see House as a guy they might bring back. Experienced depth will help this team and one of the younger players will take over that #1 CB spot even if they aren't a true shut-down CB. The Patriots showed they could exist w/o a shut-down guy, but solid play from the group can be very effective. Besides....how many CBs are as talented as Shields and how many teams have one?
Pass rushers will be another area of FA focus. At first I would have loved for TT to have landed Collins from Cleveland. Reality is BB from NE got rid of him for a reason. I suspect TT will play in that arena also for a 2nd tier pass rusher to give the starters a break.
As RC says, the Packers made it to the Conference Championship game with a beat-up team. Any improvement in their health or depth will keep this team in the running for another SB. If the defense can find enough solid players, then they could actually win it!

RCPackerFan's picture

If they could have found anyone to help fill in, it would have helped. I don't know who was available, so I can't give any specifics.
Perhaps they could have tried trading for House. He was benched after week 4 I heard. Perhaps getting back into the system he started in would have benefited him. I don't know who else they could have tried trading for, but it would be nice to know that they did their due diligence.

To be fair. Thompson's backup plans ended up getting injured as well so that didn't help at all. Goodson and Dorleant ended their seasons on IR.

dobber's picture

We forget that House was hit-and-miss in coverage when he was playing for the Packers. TT is notorious for keeping young players (and sometimes overspending) who are ascending, and they readily let House go. That, and how he played in Jacksonville, says a lot.

RCPackerFan's picture

yeah, he was just an example. I really don't know who would have been available for them to try and get.
And at the end of the day maybe he wasn't better then what they had. But by the end of the year they brought up from the PS a CB that was a WR during training camp. House or whoever they would have traded for would have been the better option there...

dobber's picture

True, they brought up the guy from the PS, but he never played. I'm still scratching my head over their unwillingness to give Hawkins a shot. After that mis-play against the Lions, he almost never saw the field. If you've got him, and you have need, what could it hurt to try? In essence, he belonged on the PS...a wasted roster spot.

Frankly, I would've preferred TWill from the Browns, if we're talking about former Packers with similar price tags. At least he, at one point, was a decent NFL CB. House has never been that...

RCPackerFan's picture

Yeah, i agree about Hawkins. This to me is similar to the Janis and Abbrederis thing last year. Had Hawkins got more playing time earlier in the year, he might have been better later in the year.
As injured as the secondary was and as poor of a play as we got out of them, why didn't Hawkins get more playing time?

yeah. I agree. I just threw out House as an example.

Tundraboy's picture

Excellent point. Yet another case of stubbornness to a fault. Make a mistake and you won't see the field for the rest of a game or longer

al bundy's picture

We developed House, mistakes and all and just about the time he was ready to be a player, oops he wanted to be paid and Ted said Adios sucker. Same as Wells, and Jenkins, Jennings, others.
Draft and development works only if you keep the guy after year three and get some play out of him. Were developing players for others.
No I said before on posts, D and D is a guise for cheapball. Free agents want money. Even Ketchup ppinted out when asked why Ted doesnt get a top DE in the draft, he said DE's costs money. A 3 4 defense is cheaper to run.

RCPackerFan's picture

yeah, i agree.

If they could get 1 difference maker on defense it would go a long ways to improving the defense.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

It's supposed to be Matthews. At they are paying him that way.

RCPackerFan's picture

Injuries keep preventing that.
When healthy he is a play maker.

I think he needs to move to the ILB more to keep him healthier. Not be a pure ILB though. Have him play a hybrid role made for him.

al bundy's picture

or five. some analyst I read agree with you and think McCaffery would be a great one pick for the Packers because of his skill set and ability to play several positions with his athleticism. He would add to the passing, run and kick off game.

RCPackerFan's picture

'By the way, at what point will Packers fans stop with the 'we don't know what was going on behind closed doors' argument.'

That will stop when someone from behind closed doors comes out and tells us everything that happens..

The truth is we have no clue how much they seek out trades or certain players they try to sign.

I'd assume its low, but I have no proof. I can speculate. but thats all that i'm doing.

RCPackerFan's picture

There are some things we end up hearing about and some we never do. Example we found out the Packers tried trading for Randy Moss. Had a done deal with Oakland and last minute New England came in and offered them a better deal.
If I remember right, Matt Forte went to Green Bay last year. We have no idea what happened behind closed doors in that meeting. Perhaps Packers offered him something and he didn't accept. Maybe they offered him nothing. Maybe they didn't offer him anything.

We can all say because they don't sign a lot of players, it must mean they aren't doing their due diligence when it comes to free agency. But the truth is we have no clue how much work they do behind the scene.

And even though we as fans love Green Bay, it doesn't mean every player wants to come play for Green Bay.

The reality is we can all judge Thompson and the Packers on what they do or don't do. But we will never know fully behind doors what happens.

Tundraboy's picture

The results are telling. Clear lack of planning for the inevitable injury epidemic, when many key players rarely play a full season.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Right, but whether or no they try doesn't matter. It's whether or not they succeed that does.

dobber's picture

True, but we can't carry an MLB/NBA/NHL mentality over to the NFL. In-season player trades just don't happen at the feverish rate they do at the deadline in other sports. How many player trades happened this season leading up to the deadline? Maybe 8? 10? In MLB, that's a couple hours of activity in the last day or so prior to the deadline. The player resources and scouting are so much deeper in those sports (that ginormous minor league system in hockey and baseball). All the NFL really has is NFL players and draft picks...much harder to hit a target when you've got such limited ammunition.

RCPackerFan's picture

It takes 2 to tango...

For example, lets say the Packers reached out to the Browns to see if they were willing to trade Hayden. What is their asking price for him? 1st round, 2nd round? Multiple picks?
Maybe the Packers were willing to give up a 2nd round for him but the Browns said, no we want a 1st...

So what is better, to overpay for someone, or to maintain their course?

4zone's picture

Good, detailed and, I feel, a fair assessment RC.

When Shields went down, it forced a shift of DB's outside their intended roles. Hawkins also went down in that game and was lost for game 2. In Week 3, Hawkins was back but Burnett and Matthews were out.

After our bye week, Cook was out and Randall was questionable and the next week Rollins was added to that questionable list. and Banjo was gone entirely. The following week we Randall and Rollins graduated to 'OUT' along with Banjo.

By then we had lost several RB's as well and Cook was still ailing and WR's were starting to get dinged up. I'm pretty sure Randall and Rollins never recovered to 100% after that.

If we brought back all our DBs next year, 100% healthy. We would field a better secondary than we did against Atlanta, simply from a health stand point. Having said that, it would still be missing a #1 CB. Shields is not coming back. He need to think about his future and his ability to use his brain 10, 15, 20 years from now.

In that run, we also lost a lot of snaps at LB, both inside and out and at RB. 4 positions hit with injuries of uncommon depth. It is natural to have injuries, even a lot of them, but never this focused on so few, critical positions. The team's 'run' was something special, but it's not sustainable long term.

TT has to learn that sometimes, he has to be as unexpected as events are in the NFL. To borrow a phrase from the folks who fight for a living, he needs to be 'Agile, Hostile and Mobile.' He needs to be aggressive, not timid, he needs to be savy, not stupid, he needs to have a list of players who's agents are on speed dial the moment free agency contacts are allowed. No one says you have to break the bank, but you certainly have enough incentives to offer to bring upper talent to Green Bay.

One starting CB. and one starting NT. Shields vacated salary should cover most of what any CB that is available in FA will cost us. Not re-signing Pepper's combine with Barclay's and a few other unnecessary team FA's should provide enough for a Starting NT.

A guy like Kawann Short, 6 Sacks, 15 QB hits, Nick Farley, an older guy but had 7 sacks and 22 QB hits. At CB Bouye, Butler or Johnson would be high end guys but, if we could afford Shields, why not one of them?

RCPackerFan's picture

We have dealt with injuries in the past. But I really don't remember a year where specific positions were hit as hard at the same time as the Packers were this year.

RB's, Lacy and Starks both hurt at the same time. Lost both. Had to play with Don Jackson, Knile Davis for a while. Jackson went to IR, and Davis was cut. Montgomery came in and emerged, but in the final game he also got hurt.

WR's, for the most part this position was healthy. Until the final few games Nelson broke his ribs, the next week Adams sprains his ankle and Allison pulls his hamstring. The final game 3 of the top 4 WR's were playing injured and were not the same.

OL, the final game lost 3 players during the game.

OLB, Mathews playing with a separated shoulder, or whatever was wrong with his shoulder. Perry playing with a boulder on his hand, Fackrell had a hamstring? and Elliott broke his hand.

CB, Shields, Randall, Rollins all hurt at the same time. They lost Shields for the year. Then they lost Goodson, Dorleant for the year. Randall and Rollins played hurt all year. Then after moving Hyde to CB down the stretch, he gets hurt in the final game.

dobber's picture

"We have dealt with injuries in the past. But I really don't remember a year where specific positions were hit as hard at the same time as the Packers were this year"

Well...there was WR and OL last year....

RCPackerFan's picture

This is true.
I stand corrected.

al bundy's picture

What do people expect when your 5'9 185 pound d backs are run over by all those 6'5 230 receivers. Our backs are too smallish in size, lack closing speed so they play way off and are so so tacklers. Of course they are going to play hurt and be in and out the line ups. No toughness in Teds choices. Especially at the end of round one and two. Your getting your second and third stringers there.

croatpackfan's picture

MIchelle, for which player you can guarantee that he:
1. will be FA at the begining of free agency period;
2. will be willing to play in Green Bay (tax issue as well as weather issue!);
3. will not receive overpaid offer from teams with huge cap space?
I'm curious to read your answer...

dobber's picture

The kind of player that TT really goes after--the cuts--aren't even on the market...and we don't even know who and how many WILL go on the market. When Peppers was cut by the Bears, it took, what, a week for TT to lock him up? If there's someone out there in that category of player that can make a real difference, I expect TT will kick the tires on him. He might not be able or willing to offer what it would take to get them, but he'll look.

Nick Perry's picture

I doubt this year will be any different than the past 10 years. If a signing does happen I'll be pleasantly surprised, but after signing the "Packers" Ted wants back, the rookies he drafts, and the $8 to $10 million he normally likes to head into the season with, there probably won't be any FA additions, at least splashy ones.
After the draft, after free agency there's always those players who are cut. Veteran players who are still decent players. Players who haven't won a ring and want to go to a team they feel is close AND has a QB. The Packers have Aaron Rodgers and a team many feel is close. I'm always surprised when Ted signs anyone but the last few years he's signed a few roster cuts, a few players who come to the Packers because they have AR and a chance.
THAT'S where I'm hoping Ted will be found this offseason, lurking ready to pounce on a few players that might be the difference of losing in the Divisional or NFCCG game. Who knows, maybe Ted comes out swinging in week 2 or 3 of free agency, after the other 31 teams spend ridiculous money on a single player. But right now I'd settle for a few of those roster cuts. Veterans on a young team to help them get over the hump.

croatpackfan's picture

If you do not keep 8 to 10 million of cap space as reserve, you may find yourself in situation that you have no space to sign possible saviour player (if you get important player hurt and find similar in FA)...
I understand the reason for that reserve...

Nick Perry's picture

I'm not being critical of Thompson for doing it, just merely pointing it out. It's not like Ted has signed many players once an injury comes up though either.

croatpackfan's picture

Nick - during the season is really rare occasion when you can find very good FA player available. If he isthere, it is because he is very expensive...

4zone's picture

We need to sign that player before the season starts, not during the season when all that's left are guys who couldn't even make a Cleveland Browns roster.

Donster's picture

TT would have to make every selection he makes in this years upcoming draft perfect. Every player being able to start right away. DB, LB, DE or DL. It won't happen. Nobody is that good or lucky to have the perfect draft. He has to get one to three FA's to add bite to the defense. I feel the Packers defense needs pass rushers even more than CB's, though adding one of those mentioned in Michelle's article is needed. An experienced player to help the youngsters will help.
No CB's, no matter how good they are can hold up for very long when a QB has 5 seconds or more to throw the ball aka like Aaron Rodgers. The Pack defensive line has to get consistent pressure on the QB. They haven't been able to do it for years now. No offense in the NFL fears the Packers defense. Not their receivers, and especially their QB's. Even if you don't sack the QB, you have to get him off his rhythm. Hit him. Take him out of his comfort zone. That doesn't happen with this current defense much, if at all. Prioritize the defensive front.

Now, as I wake up from this dream that TT will sign one or two players in free agency, I realize that a tiger doesn't change his stripes. I don't feel he will listen to anybody. He hasn't so far. And he is more than likely to even resist the outside pressure, just to prove that he will do exactly what he wants, come hell or high water. Well, a Packer fan can always dream.

croatpackfan's picture

"Nobody is that good or lucky to have the perfect draft." You can say that as well for signing FA.
So, what Saints got with signing Byrd 2 seasons ago? Player on IR for the season and 12 mil. (I think) of cap space spent foolishly...

dobber's picture

Two words: Joe ... Johnson.

4zone's picture

We need our next Grave Digger!

4zone's picture

We need our next Grave Digger!

Savage57's picture

Looking back at Ted's total FA history, he's signed more mid to low tier FA's than people typically recall.

Problem is, most of them either don't make the team or don't make a difference.

Dzehren's picture

I agree but keep in mind like 20 years ago the draft was 20 plus rounds- even Matthew McConaughey dad was drafted in the 27th round by the Pack - that's where he gets those abs lol

From WiKI In 1953, Jim McConaughey was drafted in the 27th round by the NFL football team the Green Bay Packers.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

"There's a reason they are FA in the first place"

Not true. there is at least a few guys who where UFAs on the All Pro list every season.

4zone's picture

Disagree. Teams like Seattle drafted well for a couple years and when rookie contracts expired, they couldn't afford to keep all their talent and had to pick who to keep and who to let go. There are always top talent guys out there teams can't afford to re-sign. FA's are not limited to has-beens and role players.

Tundraboy's picture

Agree!

caruso81's picture

I don't think it's that TT ignores FA completely. With his level of preparation, I'm sure he's got a complete file on everyone. But I think it's that he doesn't believe FA has as much value as draft and develop, and so when he sets his market value on a FA, it's simply lower than the actual market right now. Have you ever noticed that the GBP are often associated with certain players at the start, but they really never become finalists. Ted's the guy who always walks out of the car dealership because new cars didn't cost that much when he was a kid. This is great for financial health but not so good when you actually need a new car.

Dzehren's picture

Yes sir.

4zone's picture

Value is how much someone is willing to pay, not what KBB says you should pay. If I want a SB now, and I'm one player short, I pay for that player to make it happen. Even if I only have him for one year. I don't give up my SB because that player wants more money than someone else is willing to pay for his skills.

Tundraboy's picture

"Ted's the guy who always walks out of the car dealership because new cars didn't cost that much when he was a kid. This is great for financial health but not so good when you actually need a new car"

LOL. So so true. Man, we need to get him drunk or hope he turns it over to the young guy soon.

Thebearsstillsuck's picture

The best corner the packers have should be a number 4. If Randle or Rollins turn out, they will have a 3 and a 4. Meaning we need 2 starting corners in addition to one legitimate pass rusher. Getting one of those three who can start and play at a high level immediately will be hard enough at pick 29. Going to be another frustrating free agency period with so many obvious needs.

I don't believe in the free agents not wanting to be here theory. Always a competitive team, there's nothing closer to a guaranteed contract in the NFL than a packer contract, once you're in as a Ted guy you're set for the rest of your career, it's relatively cheap to live for your in-season home, much easier to navigate and deal with than other NFL cities, and you're a pretty much a hero no matter what.

dobber's picture

But what is a 25-26 year-old player thinking? They're looking for night-life, they're looking for endorsement opportunities, they're looking for amenities like high-end shopping. That's not GB.

Now, if they're looking for deer hunting, cow-tipping, and tractor pulls...now they're in business.

Bearmeat's picture

What if they're looking for wins? No one has done that better than us other than the Pats in the past 25 years.

dobber's picture

Winning AND tractor pulls? Dude, count me in!

4zone's picture

Nothing sells Personal Brand better than a SB ring.

Thebearsstillsuck's picture

Aaron and Clay are both in plenty of national commercials, the entire Packers line was in a movie recently. There's no lack of opportunity. If night life matters that much they can go elsewhere. Chicago isn't that far away if someone needs the big city for shopping or dining. It's not like anyone lives here full time anyway.

dobber's picture

...and when they get a day off between games, they can always hop a plane and head for the beach.

The TKstinator's picture

Well
Done
Sir!

Thebearsstillsuck's picture

Aaron and Clay are both in plenty of national commercials, the entire Packers line was in a movie recently. There's no lack of opportunity. If night life matters that much they can go elsewhere. Chicago isn't that far away if someone needs the big city for shopping or dining. It's not like anyone lives here full time anyway.

DrMixerGED's picture

Cow tipping, haha. Classic.

dobber's picture

I figure that since I grew up on a dairy farm and still hunt, I can poke fun at those things...

Dzehren's picture

If it doesn't make dollars it doesn't make cents.

egbertsouse's picture

I read a comment on another site saying that we were more likely to see monkeys fly out of Ted's butt than see him make a big FA signing. Give n his history, I would bet on the monkeys.

porupack's picture

Wahaa. That just struck me funny. thanks for passing it on.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I'm not holding my breath. We've all heard this talk before. I can say if it does not happen I don't expect the Packers to get better than where they are now.

RCPackerFan's picture

Simply being healthy again, they will be better.

They made it to the NFC Championship game. Lets not forget this part.

And they made it to the game with 3 of their top 4 WR's injured. Their RB situation was a mess, and lost their only true threat in the game. Ended up losing 3 OL during the game, and had to finish the game with their NT playing RG. Their CB situation was a mess and they lost one of the best CB's they had left during the game.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

"They made it to the NFC Championship game."

Yes, on a career stretch of play by Rodgers for the last part of the season. I think it's unreasonable to expect him to carry the the entire team again. Injuries happen every year to every team. The other teams do something about it. I will be thrilled of Thompson changes significantly how he does things, but also highly shocked.

RCPackerFan's picture

yeah, Rodgers played great again. And was the reason why they made it that far. Without Rodgers they likely don't even make the playoffs.
But to say he did it completely on his own isn't completely true or fair either. Nelson had a great year. Adams emerged as a legit #2. Allison came out of nowhere and provided another great weapon.
All 3 of which basically did nothing due to their injuries in the game.

Also Montgomery really emerged as a RB threat down the stretch. But he also got hurt early in the game. Rodgers was without 4 of his top 6 weapons on offense. Not to mention losing OL during the game.

I'm not saying they would have won the game without the injuries. But I believe if Rodgers had all of his weapons healthy, they would have made more of a game of it.

Yeah, teams deal with injuries. But I don't know many teams that have that many injuries to certain positions all at one time like the Packers did this year. RB's, CB's both were ravashed with Injuries. OLB was hit hard. Just look at the final game. Going into the game the 3 of the top 4 WRs were hurt. CB's had been playing hurt, and they lose their best most healthy guy during the game. They lose 3 OL during the game.

I get people don't want to use injuries as an excuse. But its not an excuse, its just a fact. Injuries greatly impacted this team.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

When the refrigerator broke at my house I put the food in a cooler and then "gasp" spent some money to have the fridge repaired. I suppose I could have pulled a TT and told my wife, "Well the food is in a cooler now, I guess that's just how things worked out. Maybe our next house will have a refrigerator that doesn't break."

RCPackerFan's picture

I get it.
I wanted Thompson to try and add another CB as well...

But the whole point is, they made it to the NFC Championship game and were far from healthy. Just seeing the difference in injury reports were crazy. If they get healthy and can stay healthy, they will be improved with that alone. Players will be able to play their best.
They have to add to the team no question, but simply getting healthy would be a huge help.

4zone's picture

Once again, I have to agree RC.

dobber's picture

How often do we, as consumers, make the decision to overpay because we are in an emergency situation? Plumbers, electricians, HVAC repair...it happens all the time and we almost always regret paying so much because it restricts us in other ways later (no vacation to Oconomowoc THIS year...) that we sometimes might not recover from.

None of these guys that we talk about would come cheaply...because the seller knows they have the Packers over a barrel, just like the plumber or HVAC guy we mentioned before. The cost could also put the Packers in a draft hole for years to come...not because it would cost THAT many picks, but because the draft is the primary mode of talent acquisition for the vast majority of NFL teams. Not just the Packers.

Look at what happened to the Vikings...they might have closed the title window on their excellent defense by dealing away all they did to get Sam Bradford, a journeyman NFL quarterback without much of a record. They also might have single-handedly turned the Eagles into a rising juggernaut (a la Herschel Walker?). Imagine what it might take to get a proven, high end NFL DB like Haden (AND his big cap number).

TT took a shot, in-season, at Knile Davis. He was a guy who flashed at times in KC and was a cheap acquisition. I think most of us were stunned that TT even tried this...in the end, he wasn't the answer, and they let him go before he really had a price tag. We're romanticizing in-season trades, but we have no idea what really was available and how many mortgages the Packers would have had to put on the house to make them happen.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Please, Knile Davis... TT had MM throw the food in the cooler and while he stood there with his hands in his pocket.

I'm not the down voter BTW.

dobber's picture

True, but it was something that stunned most of us at the time because it WAS so completely out of character for TT. It was a shot in the dark on the cheap, but for a player that had flashed at times in the past in KC.

I don't care about downvotes. You're perfectly welcome to downvote me if you like. I have no self-esteem left...

croatpackfan's picture

Oh, so you think TT should change the franchize? Or, your wife would tell you, no, I do not care, please in the middel of the night go and buy new (or refurbished) fridge... And you would do it!
There was no available FA CB better than Packers already have on the roster... Give one name... But please do not sell me "trade" talk. Maybe Browns requested Aaron Rodgers for their CB. I think you would agree!

jeremyjjbrown's picture

TT had like 14 weeks to try to replace Shields. If he can't figure oit anyway to help then he's not doing his job.

Tundraboy's picture

Lol. And maybe our injury prone LBs will not be affected by age now that they are getting older. Maybe they will be able to play a full 16 game plus schedule one day....

Bearmeat's picture

RC -

They were healthy in 2014. They were mostly healthy in 2009 and 2007. That's IT under MM in 11 years. That's an AWFUL track record.

The breaks, concussions, career ending injuries that we've had more than others have - that's bad luck. The sprains, pulls, tweaks, etc... that have happened to us continually? That's on MM and the coaching/strength/nutrician staff..

After next year, we'll be talking about "when we get healthy..." we're ALWAYS hurt. I've resigned myself to this. You should too. The point is, we have to be good enough and have enough depth each year to overcome injuries and we have not been.

RCPackerFan's picture

The season they should have won it was 2014.. They blew it.. Can't blame Thompson on that one. Can't blame McCarthy either. Players just simply messed the game up.

I agree somewhat with what your saying. But to be honest, its a case by case type of thing. Example, Lacy and Adams both had their ankles twisted when they were tackled. Can't blame that on conditioning or coaching or anything like that.

I still wonder about the hamstring thing. It seems like we have a ton of hamstring pulls.

Bearmeat's picture

Lacy, you absolutely can. The reason he was in that particular pile for any reason was because he was out of shape. That's on the player, yes. But it's also on the staff. Sit his ass down if he's fat. Cut him. Fine him entire paycheck every week until he's in shape.

dobber's picture

Even if he were 240 lbs, Lacy isn't the kind of back who is going to run away from defenders. He's always going to be dragged down by guys--in part due to his running style and in part due to his lack of a gear (note I didn't say "extra" gear)--and he's always going to be susceptible to these kinds of injuries. It's true of big, powerful, "I'm-gonna-drag-your-ass-for-5-yards" backs in general and always has been.

Bearmeat's picture

I don't think that's necessarily true Dobber. Look at Lacy's highlight reel in 2013. He flat out RAN away from defenders several times that year.

4zone's picture

The problem Bearmeat isn't depth. We have plenty of it. The problem is, they are #1s on the depth chart. What we need are REAL #1s.

DrMixerGED's picture

I see your point regarding the injuries in the title game, but that game was already well out of hand before the injuries began piling up.

RCPackerFan's picture

yeah, a lot of the injuries piled up as the game went on.
But some injuries started before the game.

The WR's weren't the same right away. Nelson played better then most could have expected considering. But Adams and Allison were almost non existent.
Then Montgomery was hurt earlier in the game. Hyde left fairly early as well as Taylor and Lang. If I'm not mistaken all before half time.

calabasa's picture

Remember what Ted says about locker room chemistry- he's too chicken to pay someone more than "his guys" and upset the pecking order in the locker room. I think this is also a major reason why he doesn't do FA.

Turophile's picture

Too chicken........REALLY !

A 10 year GM who has often left Packer fans biting their lip when a guy goes down...... and he allows the Packers to simply go 'next man up'. This is not a job for anybody with a wishbone in them.....

dobber's picture

"he's too chicken to pay someone more than "his guys" and upset the pecking order in the locker room. "

Salary compression is an issue in just about every field...why would it not be an issue in the NFL? And to say it's "his guys" is likely narrowing the argument.

calabasa's picture

I can't say I've read of a Belichick balking at a signing in order to keep his underperforming roster from getting their panties in a bunch. Unless Ted is being more honest than others...which he is not known for.

dobber's picture

If there's anyone out there who is guilty of telling the media even less than TT or MM, it's BB. Must be something about those double consonants...

4zone's picture

You telling me Peppers, Cook, Woodson and Guion were bad for our locker room?

sonomaca's picture

Lots of corners in this year's draft. However, without pass rush, what's the point.

RCPackerFan's picture

Pass rushers and CB's are supposed to be very good this year.

Turophile's picture

Plenty of options this year for a pass rusher as well. Assuming the value is there, OLB and CB (either way round) may be the Packers first two picks.

TE, RB, outside WR, G, etc, may have to wait a bit.

Since '61's picture

Haven't we previously had this discussion or is this deja vu all over again? Thanks, Since '61

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I'm getting deja vus about my previous deja vus.

Since '61's picture

It might as well be the post-season discussion from 2010 or 2011 or '12, '13, '14, '15, '16, or even '17 or '18. Just copy any of your posts from one of those years and you're done until TT retires. Thanks, Since '61

Bert's picture

For draft & develop to work you have to be a very consistent excellent drafting GM. Overall Ted is pretty good at his drafts, but not good enough to keep a steady infusion of very good talent. Given the holes on defense, Ted has had to stray from a strict adherence to BPA in order to fill those holes via the draft. Unfortunately he's had too many whiffs. Now it's time (a couple years past time actually) to upgrade the roster via FA and get this defense to the point where it can win a SB before Rodgers and the offense start to slide.

4zone's picture

You also can't afford to keep losing your best talent to career ending injuries like Collins, Finley and Shields and wait 3+ years to develop their replacements.

Ferrari Driver's picture

Speed kills and a defense outfitted with heavy footed linebackers can cause defensive coordinators into an early retirement.

The primary difference between college football and the pro's is speed. A smart, fast, and instinctive CB is worth his weight in gold...wish we had one (or two).

dobber's picture

"A smart, fast, and instinctive CB is worth his weight in gold..."

They also cost their share in gold...

mrtundra's picture

We do need 2 CBs and a pass rusher. I'd look to FA for one CB and draft another and draft a pass rusher plus resign Perry. Play Clay Matthews at ILB. GB's draft will depend on who, if anyone, TT signs in FA. I feel he can land a CB in FA and draft another one in, maybe, the second to third round. I think TT's first draft pick will be a pass rusher, but if an O.J. Howard, or a Dalvin Cook, type of player is available does TT pass him up?

Bert's picture

I think TT better just draft the BPA and forget about chasing weaknesses via the draft. Heck, it's very doubtful we would find a guy in Rd 1 who will be an immediate and effective starter in 2017 anyhow. I'm thinking if we have immediate needs the day prior to the draft then we most likely have the same needs the day after the draft.

MarkinMadison's picture

TT could very well take a look at his three second year cornerbacks and gamble that 2/3 will take a step forward next year. I think it would be a mistake. If he makes that mistake it should cost him his job. Shields should be replaced with a similar caliber player.

Sack aces like JJ Watt and CM3 seem to come in and produce at or above their career average in their first year.

Spend the money on the CB. Draft the sack man, if you can.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Any suggestions on the CB? This years UFA class at CB looks pretty weak. Maybe someone who is a bad fit gets cut, TT loves his street FAs.

MarkinMadison's picture

I like Gilmore. A former #10 pick because he has prototypical height and speed - something the Packers desperately need. Production has been decent - led the Bills with 5 INTs last season. For comparison, HaHa led the Packers with 5 this year. PDs in the teens the last two years. And he's 26. Cheap? Nope. Needed? Yup.

MarkinMadison's picture

Double.

4zone's picture

Bouye.

Dzehren's picture

Logical assessment

Bearmeat's picture

If TT signs even ONE guy who has played extensively with another NFL team, I'll be stunned.

Maybe TT could sign himself. Into retirement. That'd be great.

Since '61's picture

Bearmeat - this is like the weekly article during the season "what do you expect in this week's game?' Now we can apply it to FA period. What do you expect from FA in 2017? Just like I always expect victory during the season, I expect TT to watch any potential impact FA to be signed during the 1st week, interview a few 2nd or 3rd tier FAs during the 2nd and 3rd weeks, (creating false hope among us fans) and finally settle for any unsigned or cut FAs at bargain basement prices. Then we can wait and have the same conversation again next year and the year after that and the wheels on the bus go 'round and 'round and 'round and 'round until TT retires and then Rodgers will decide to sign with a team that has a GM who is committed to winning the SB and we'll watch Aaron Rodgers win another SB or two with another team while the Packers flounder around looking for their 3rd HOF QB. Hope I'm wrong. time will tell. Thanks, Since '61

Bert's picture

Given TTs past history I kinda think you may be right. We may get somebody on the cheap late in FA but I don't expect much else. Why would I expect much else?

stockholder's picture

With MM coming out and saying TT is going strong. I doubt MM is saying anything other than which players he'd like back. I'm sure FAs are even bending his ear etc. I want to play with this guy or that. (So don't let him go.) In truth nobody does hit on all their draft picks. In truth Harrel tells us that Perry and Jones should be signed. My feeling is if they can't be a good starter, TT has no choice but to say Bye Bye. Letting All-pros go in the beginning of the season sucks. I think TT needs to be more accountable. Losing is contagious. TT better find the answer.

dobber's picture

"Losing is contagious."

I'm not sure how to go with that comment. In part, I can see where this team could be perceived as riding the thin line between being a good NFL team and sliding into the 2nd and 3rd division in the league...certainly the first 10 weeks of the season had us all wondering.

But the other side is Parcells's old saying, "You are what your record says you are." And the record says that, even if it's ARod carrying this team on his back, this is a decent team that ran off 8 straight to end the season...so the "losing is contagious" this could be countered by, "Yeah, but so is winning."

As I see it, the bottom line in personnel management is that you're better off perceiving your team in the first light rather than the second. Like climate change, we can always dispute whether "climate armageddon" is on the way (first case above), but it's irresponsible to ignore it altogether (second case above).

stockholder's picture

Losing- McGinn posted player grades for the season. Most were just OK. Avg. players do not make the super-bowl. They end up like the Browns, losers. Good players make streaks. Adapt and overcome. They finish what they start.

snowdog's picture

Sort of off topic .. Can a coach be "talked up" like a free agent would be or a draft pick, to give him value ? Case and point . At the end of the season presser , MM said TT would be back . (not direct quotes ) Although MM talked highly of Capers , he did not say directly Capers , would be .

dobber's picture

He also said in that presser that they hadn't started their "top-to-bottom" evaluation of coaches and personnel. He's not going to come out in that presser and say, "I was unhappy with Dom's performance, and we plan to push him out."

4zone's picture

One Starting FA. That's all it would take to make this team better.

Dzehren's picture

Ted Thompson will live & die with draft, develop philosophy- he says it every year since 2006. TT is a full transparency guy- GM's who take vacation day's the first 2 days of Fres agency the last several years & call call free agency murky, untested waters and fools gold are being transparent and truthful. Come on people.

dobber's picture

I don't think there's any doubt about TT on this front. And, frankly, I can understand his thinking; many of the FAs who sign in the first week are potential cap-killers who also kill your compensatory pick chances.

TT would rather go to the boneyard and rummage through the cuts to find out if there's anything functional there. He's found a couple pretty good pieces there over the years (Cook, Peppers)...but many of his signings (Ray Drew, Lerentee McCray last year) don't make it to the 53. At least he turned McCray into a pick.

4zone's picture

Once again, a roster full of compensatory picks got us where we are. As a matter of fact, every draft pick and what, 5 UDFAs made the roster this year. Tells you how good the talent was that Ted drafted the year before eh. And it happens year after year.

dobber's picture

"Once again, a roster full of compensatory picks got us where we are."

Up until last year, teams were limited to getting only two compensatory picks per year...I don't know how the Packers could have a team full of them. The majority of drafted players make rosters each season. I don't know what the number is league-wide, but it's going to be 90% or better. Some teams go after UDFAs more heavily than others...Seattle, New England, GB...that's not bad company.

4zone's picture

We are talking middle to late round picks here. Specifically, 'average talent' guys. You hit one every once in a while, but HaHa was the last pick who has really had an impact, borderline Lacy maybe if he wasn't injured so often.

I would rather trade draft picks for even one immediate impact guy than continue to fill the roster with guys who obviously can't play at this level. or are depth guys at best.

Imagine if you will, Aaron Donald on this roster right now. A number 13 pick. We could get a pick in that neighborhood for our 1 and a couple of 2's and maybe a someone like Lowery (just to throw a name out) Then we have a shot at a real impact player, whether at LB, CB or DL. A potential pro bowler instead of a dime-a-dozen role player. So what if we don't pick again until the third round this year and lose our 2nd next year.

What would you do to make a move for a guy like Reuben Foster?

What I'm saying is, yea, we keep having good teams. But being GOOD is not the objective, the objective is to win SB's. Our DL couldn't put pressure on a cotton ball, let alone a QB. And as far as having enough bodies to make up for the missing two draft picks, just sign more UDFA's like we have been and hopefully, they never have a chance to make the final cut.

Dzehren's picture

Article would be newsworthy by pointing out:

Ted Thompson is a genius drafting for OFFENSE

DEFESIVELY - TT needs serious help & or TT needs to listen to the scouting depart to say the least.

TT is who we thought he is- playoffs every year

Similar articles r monotonous, not news worthy or realistic.

Dzehren's picture

Boring read - same non sense reporting since 2007. Find something new to report on.

RCPackerFan's picture

If you don't like it. Don't read it.

JacFrost's picture

He just got a huge approval from mcmurfry so he will do as he always does. draft lesser players in the later rounds and make them first string by the end of traininig camp.
Hey Ted try something new this year, actually look at their injury records and pass on the often prone ones.
Maybe this team wont lead the league again in leg and ankle injuries.

dobber's picture

If you look at the Packers most recent drafts, he has been taking players with mostly clean injury records. Fackrell and Ryan are outliers...they both had knees in college.

PETER MAIZ's picture

Why not get rid of Ted and get a more dynamic GM? Let's get someone more dynamic. Ted's attitude puts me to sleep and I, for one think he doesn't really care. The draft and develop philosophy is for the birds, just witness Randall and Rollins. How about Khiri and Carl? Can anyone give this man greater savvy and more analytical skills? I think not.

Dzehren's picture

TT offensive genius
TT defense- average at best
That's the conundrum

TT has 10Million left on contract the expires in 2018. He is not leaving 10M to step down. And he is not dipping into FA. Let's all agree and move on

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