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#PackersDaily: Russ Ball: Cap Wizard

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#PackersDaily: Russ Ball: Cap Wizard

Earlier this afternoon, I held my daily Packers chat over on our YouTube channel. You can catch the replay below.

Be sure to subscribe to the channel if you'd like to participate in future chats. You can also use the #PackersDaily hashtag on your social media accounts if you'd like to submit a question prior to the start of the chat each day. 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (17) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Coldworld's picture

I love how Russ Ball is lauded yet we sit on an 11 million dead money cap charge on a contract he formulated for Perry based on one season and a long injury record yet leaving the team tied up in year 3. $11 million represents another major or two minor FA additions. Hardly insignificant.

Additionally, none of these contracts seem to display particular wizardry. In fact they appear rather prototypical in format.

So the basis for the laudatory title is?

What about praising Gute for having the guts to break the mold and try to improve the team?

Lare's picture

Perry was signed under the direction of Ted Thompson.

Nagler reported that the Packers still have $17 million in cap space after signing four pretty good free agents. If Gutekunst & Ball are responsible for that, they get kudos from me.

HankScorpio's picture

The contract structure preferred by Ball can be described as the Packers are going "all in" on this year to go from 6-9-1 to SB contenders. Some people will like that. I hate it. Beginning in 2020, they are going to be be faced with $24.35 mil in additional cap space just to fit the 4 players they signed. That's a pretty hefty increase just to stay the same.

They could have used some of the $9 mil they are over-paying Jimmy Graham to lessen the year 2 cap jump on those 4. They kissed that option away by leaving him on the roster today when he's due a roster bonus. Or they could have designated Perry a June-1 cut and spread his dead money into 2020. The same cap dollars today will hold more relative value than cap dollars next year, assuming the cap increases (as usual),

The ways Russ Ball is mis-managing the cap are quite numerous. If you think he's just following orders, as I do to some extent, then the fire gets directed at his 'direct reports' which would be Mark Murphy. And if Gute is not smart enough to see the impending cap issue, he's not on top of the long-term health of the football operations. So there is plenty of blame to go around.

Hawg Hanner's picture

I cannot believe the animosity towards current management, like Ball and Murphy. Thompson was in charge and totally fouled things up the last three years. Now blame Ball for Perry's contract! He's a finance guy not a player evaluation guy which is why he was not a GM candidate per se. Murphy stepped in to stop the bleeding and he too is assailed. There is an 80-2- rule I guess and it seems so true here. 20% of the commenters on this site are just trolls.

jsb937's picture

Well That's like your opinion man.

Ryan B Dub's picture

Russ Ball works for the GM. He isn’t giving anyone a contract that the GM doesn’t want him to sign. I’m confused by Green Bay, and The Who they lose, and who they retain and for how much on occasion. Why pay a huge deal to a tiny little wide receiver? Why pay an enormous salary to a quarterback before his current contract is up? Why want to be the highest paid player in a team sport? Why retain the services of a player who is injury prone? Why over pay? I’m not prepared to judge Russ Ball anymore based on a few of TT’s later in life mistakes. Seems the Packers are doing well enough finding talent at the moment and inking some deals. Who knows where Hope lies? Time will tell.

Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

“I’m confused by Green Bay, and The Who”
I call these signings a bargain, the best I’ve ever had.

DrMixerGED's picture

Awesome reply!

Coldworld's picture

Russ Ball was tipped as TT’s certainly and Murphy’s allegedly chosen successor at one time and it was accepted that he was given increased discretion over roster decisions at precisely the period that the rot got out of hand. It escapes me why he gets a free pass.

As to these contracts, they are far from wizardry. If these players don’t work out these contracts will bite hard. I like the younger healthy approach from Gute to attempting to fill holes rather than deny their existence. I give him credit for an intelligent try based on an unvarnished assessment, but he is trying to climb out of a pit dug deep by others, one of whom is, in my view, Ball. Hence my frustration with this type of scrutiny free praise.

Don Guske's picture

TedThomson was the worst GM in the league. He got lucky on Rogers and made onE other good move in getting Mathews. Other that that he stunk. Look at all the #1 picks he made which were pure junk.

Jonathan Spader's picture

Look at where TT made his picks in the 1st round. The reason the Packers picked at #29ish was due to TT's success. If you only focus on his 1st round busts of course he looks bad. Actually look at the whole body of work. Probowl tackles and guards found in rounds 4-5 unheard of.

FA signing of Charles Woodson. Bringing in Capers and MM. TT's early work at GM allowed GB to transition from 1 HOF QB to a 2nd. The Packers were continually in the playoffs often 1 play from a SB under TT. The problem with TT is the same problem GB had with MM he did not keep up with the times.


Try making a list of TT blunders and successes instead of just coming across as a whiner. It's 2019 TT is a scout and BG is a GM. The Packers signed 4 FAs on day 2 of FA. Try to be happy as a fan instead of dwelling on the past.

Ezra's Hotdog's picture

He also signed FA Ryan Pickett. Fans seem to forget about him..

Coldworld's picture

TT was a great GM for a long time. At some point his health declined (he apparently can’t travel to GB from Texas alone now). I don’t think he became a bad GM personally, I think he delegated his trust and authority to the wrong person. By all accounts that was Ball.

While TT can’t avoid responsibility for that, he is not alone in the class of successful people who struggle with succession decisions. It should not tarnish his eventual appreciation with the benefit of time. The first step in that, and in securing the future, is to dispassionately look at what really went on. That raises questions about Ball that need to be addressed, as opposed to the knee jerk recitation of old mantras that make up this piece.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I don't blame Ball for these contracts: clearly, he just executed what Gute told him to do. But these contracts are so player friendly that it is hard to call Ball a wizard.

Philly fans are touting Howie as a wizard for the Kelce contract. Their blog's article on Kelce did not even mention that the deal had three years that automatically void; those years act as dummy years to dump option bonus prorations. When the contract ends it will still have $7.4M in dead money: that is a certainty. Not a word about the dead money in the article, just that Howie is a genius.

Coldworld's picture

If Gute were TT in 2014 you might have a point. But this is a triumvirate structure that includes Ball as Co-equal and Murphy as the presiding vote. Murphy has made this clear repeatedly. Given that, on what evidence do you base your very clear statement that Gute shaped the deals not just the identity of the signings?

It’s possible that Murphy sided with Gute and instructed Ball. It’s posdible that all three agreed the structure, but unless Gute has been promoted, Murphy stepped back and Ball lost influence, your assertion seems extremely improbable.

Ask questions of authority and one may eventually get answers. Refusing to question why’s and how’s leads to ingnorance and a false sense of reality. I fear we are not looking in the right places for the cause of our decline. Show me reasons why that is not so that have some credible basis of support and we can have more justifiable confidence in the future of the team.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Absolutely fair. I think the notion that Ball does what he pleases as to the contract structures and as to the cap as a whole is and has been unrealistic. Maybe TT started to rely on Ball a lot in the last few years, but Ball started in 2008. IDK.

I don't know what the dynamics are in the decision-making authority of the front office. Whoever the players are, it appears that the decision was made to cram as many free agents into the available salary cap space, and the resulting contract structures are dictated by that strategy.

Murphy didn't occur to me, so that's an oversight. The only thing I am certain about is that Murphy as Pres. and CEO has veto power. Only he or his designee can sign the contracts.

I don't know why Amos got a guaranteed roster bonus in year one. No one else did.

I don't know why the workout bonuses were so high. Might be a general trend, and they act as guaranteed money in year one and good bets in year two. Game active bonuses were high as well. Helps the team at the margins.

lecko's picture

What ? Russ Ball genius ? And this from Aaron who is usuall quite critical to the packer moves ? Who was the latest player packers signet that they got under market value ? Maybe Jordy. But other than that they mostly overspend. And all those contracts have too much % of signing bonus as our forum cap guru calculated .

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