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Point of Veau: Packers Don't Necessarily Have to Strike it Rich in Free Agency

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Point of Veau: Packers Don't Necessarily Have to Strike it Rich in Free Agency

Packers general manager Ted Thompson. Photo by Brian Carriveau of

In the wake of playoff losses in three consecutive years, there's been an outcry from Packers fans on social media and otherwise for the team to get involved in free agency, signing a player or multiple players from outside the organization.

There are those that want to see a return to the days when general manager Ted Thompson went out and acquired Charles Woodson and Ryan Pickett, two key pieces that helped the Packers win Super Bowl XLV.

The calls have only intensified in the days following the most recent Super Bowl after seeing former Packers executive John Schneider take a different approach to team-building as general manager of the Seattle Seahawks, not afraid to get involved in free agency or make a big-time trade.

That stands in stark contrast to Thompson, who is hesitant to absorb a contract that could hurt the salary-cap situation in the long run or take a chance on a player that may not fit the draft-and-develop mindset that pervades the franchise from players to the coaching staff to the front office.

Those that argue the Packers G.M. is too conservative might have a legitimate beef. I believe one of the biggest mistakes the team made this past season was its failure to sign a veteran safety post-draft, one that wouldn't have killed the salary cap and one that even could have been cut if things didn't pan out. Signing a player like Kerry Rhodes or Michael Huff would have hardly qualified as going out on a limb.

But I don't necessarily blame Thompson for not getting heavily involved in free agency. He was, after all, the architect of a Super Bowl winning team just three Roman numeral Is ago. Some people seem to have short memories, forgetting that his philosophy worked.

While the Packers could still use a veteran safety to fill the void, going out an signing a top-notch player like a Jairus Byrd or a T.J. Ward may not be in the budget.

And if the Packers are faced with signing a second-tier safety like Chris Clemons or addressing the position in the draft, they could arguably get a similar talent at a fraction of the cost by taking the latter route.

That doesn't leave Thompson off the hook entirely. Where he does need to improve is hitting on more players in the draft, particularly in the first round and on the defensive side of the football.

Some may argue that Thompson has drafted several first-round busts in recent seasons, and while Justin Harrell certainly qualifies, I'm not willing to make such declarations on players like Bryan Bulaga, Derek Sherrod, Nick Perry or Datone Jones.

I'll allow that his recent first round draft picks have arguably been slow to develop, and that's not helping matters, although injuries––no doubt––have played a role as well.

Thompson's track record of players selected on the defensive side of the football, particularly of late, has also been worthy of criticism.

From the 2011 draft class, just three seasons ago, the only defensive contributor of that group is cornerback Davon House, and he's plausibly fifth on the depth chart at the position.

Then there's the 2012 draft class from just two years ago, of which the first six picks were all defensive players. Among the six, Jerron McMillian and Terrell Manning have already been released by the club, Perry, Jerel Worthy and Casey Hayward have been hurt more often than not, and only Mike Daniels has really established himself as an up-and-coming force to be reckoned with.

It's the draft where Thompson has to have more hits than misses, finding impact players who are ready to make meaningful contributions: the earlier, the better.

That's not to say the Packers should ignore free agency entirely. Maybe the correct approach is to become the Bob Barker of NFL, doing so only when the "price is right."

But the Packers also can't be afraid to do so either. Striking a balance in personnel procurement will be challenge this upcoming offseason, a year in which Green Bay has 17 unrestricted free agents to decide whether to re-sign or not.

It's true the Packers might have some of the most salary cap space in the entire NFL, but it's going to be swallowed up quickly after signing the 2014 draft class, tendering restricted free agents, extending the contracts of those currently in tow, and re-signing several of those expected to hit unrestricted free agency.

Finding talent in the NFL draft is priority No. 1, and looking for help in free agency still isn't priority No. 1A. It's a distant No. 2.

Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (86) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Chasee's picture

love this. also feel like a forgoten aspect is the fact the packers have Bulaga, Cobb, and nelson all do for extensions, and IMO all 3 are must get done.

RC Packer Fan's picture

2 must get done, Cobb-Nelson. Bulaga will have to wait to see if he can play a whole season before he gets and extension.

mark's picture


RC Packer Fan's picture

There might be some guys added to the free agent list with teams cutting players.

A couple of players that might get released that would look good in Green Bay are DeMarcus Ware & Terrell Suggs.

Ware I think could be a good fit opposite of Clay Mathews and he would be going back to his more natural position at OLB in the 3-4.

I understand that both players are getting older but they could mix in with Perry and it would keep both players fresher.

PackerBacker's picture

Problem is that they ARE old and they will likely pull in a contract that is too good for their current talent based on their name alone. Not based on their ability to play at a high level.

Evan's picture

If the price were right (and it won't be), Ware would be pretty awesome.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I honestly don't see either commanding high dollar contracts.

Both are older players.

I think adding either of these players and joining them with Perry would be a great thing. Passing downs they could find ways to get Mathews, Perry and Suggs/Ware on the field together.

I don't think money would be the factor in bringing either in as it would be more of them wanting to come to potentially not be a full time starter.

Stroh's picture

Its about PRODUCTIVITY. Both are a little older but both are still very productive pass rushers. They would still command very large contracts in FA. Ware wasn't quite as productive this year but he's proven and had to play in a different defensive scheme than he played his entire career in this year. They would NOT be cheap in any way. Quite the contrary actually.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I agree with you sort of....

I really don't think they will command big contracts. That's just my opinion.

I think Ware would probably be in the 7-9 range per year. I think Suggs will be in the 5-7 range per year. That's just my thinking. I maybe way off on it, but that's what I'm thinking.

I think the Packers can afford that, and wouldn't either player bring something to the team it could use?

I'm not saying it will happen, I'm just saying that both players would look nice with the Packers.

jmac34's picture

I am still a little miffed that it sounds like TJ Ward will be franchise tagged by the Browns, but I still think GB should strongly consider bringing in a veteran safety and still draft one high. This would allow GB to have a fall back plan in case the rookie isn't ready to play right away

RC Packer Fan's picture

A veteran safety that I'm thinking to keep an eye on is Malcolm Jenkins. He is only 26, and I don't think he will command a big salary.
Although he isn't a top notch safety he will be a huge improvement over Doc.

If they signed him, then drafted a safety in the top 4 rounds it would allow that player time to develop.

Evan's picture

I was expecting the tag to go to Alex Mack...but who knows. I don't think Ward is a realistic option anyway.

I'm still thinking Chris Clemons.

THEMichaelRose's picture

Apparently Mack's tender would be too much to bear, as it's calculated by top salaries for all OL (skewed up due to LTs).

Evan's picture

Oh, right. The franchise tag for all o-linemen is idiotic.

Zippy Joe's picture

I completely agree w/ the previous posts. The Packers should sign a free agent safety and a D-lineman. My guess is Raji is going to sign elsewhere.

Look at Seattle's plan. Don't put all of your money on a star. Sign players with something to prove to affordable contracts and see how they perform. We're only a player or two away from championship success.

PackerBacker's picture

That comment about the Seahawks is easy to say right now. Just wait two years from now when they have to find a way to pay 20 mil / year to their QB and 11 mil / year to their Cornerback and still find a way to keep the other great players. Not so easy when you've started to have success. Hence why the parity of the NFL is a bitch for NFL front offices.

That's where Schneider will prove if he's good or great.

PackerPete's picture

Yep, and Schneider has already said that they'll have to make "difficult decisions" starting this off-season. But he is a good GM with a slightly different philosophy than TT.

Clay's picture

Amen times infinity....but it's amazing how many people don't get that. I WILL give it to him for hitting on a ton of late rounders, but absolutely let's see where they are at in two years.

GBFaninCA's picture

Thank you! Good article hold for comparing what Seattle has done in FA, why is it so hard for people to realize they won it with a 3rd round draft pick playing out his rookie contract under center. Cut Aaron's cap number to 1 mil and then we can go sign big names.

Evan's picture

"Look at Seattle’s plan. Don’t put all of your money on a star."

I don't know if that's a "plan" as much as it's an incredibly fortunate situation they found themselves in, since at the moment they're not even allowed to renegotiate with Wilson.

As PackerBacker said, next off-season when he's making $20 mil a year will be interesting (ditto the 49ers this off-season when they'll likely extend Kap for $18+ mil a year).

WKUPackFan's picture

Ware is apparently completely out of gas. Suggs doesn't seem to have the right personality and character to fit in GB. I wouldn't be too proud to have him on my favorite team.

MarkinMadison's picture

"Some people seem to have short memories, forgetting that his philosophy worked."

But that is the misnomer - that building through the draft was all they needed to do to win the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl winning defense had two key players (Woodson and Pickett) acquired by FA. They weren't the whole defense, and Woodson missed half the game, but those were two of the cogs the whole defense was built around.

The other thing is, you can't overpay your own players just for the sake of keeping them. Raji likely wants out unless the Packers offer him more than everyone else, and by a margin. Should the Packers give it to him, or move on? Shields likely wants top dollar. Should they give it to him, or move on? And if they move on, can they replace everyone in the draft, or should the Packers look at FA? And before they drop the cash on Shields or Raji shouldn't they consider what else their money can buy? Because the current group they have has produced below-average results since the Super Bowl.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Well, it's broke. So now what?

jeremy's picture

"Thompson, who is hesitant to absorb a contract that could hurt the salary-cap situation in the long run "

If the Raji offer is true he's happy to do it if it is "one of their guys".

They can get a Top Tier safety for what Shields will ask for because safeties are not highly paid.

Which defensive backfield looks better?

TJ Ward, Burnett, Hayward, and Williams, or
MD Jennings, Burnett, Shields, and Williams.

RC Packer Fan's picture

I like Shields, Williams, Hayward, Burnett, Pryor/Clinton-Dix better.

Evan's picture

"TJ Ward, Burnett, Hayward, and Williams, or
MD Jennings, Burnett, Shields, and Williams."

Any defense that forces Hayward to play outside I would not be a fan of. I'd say those 2 defenses are just about equal.

I'm with RC. Shields/Williams/Burnett/Pryor

RC Packer Fan's picture

Yeah, I like Hayward a lot but he is a great slot CB. I don't know how good he would be outside.

I would absolutely love to see Williams, Shields, Hayward, and Burnett and Byrd.

But there is no way they will get both Shields and Byrd. I think it will be hard enough getting Shields. And I put their chances of signing Byrd at about 5%.

Next best option I think is Clinton-Dix/Pryor.

Evan's picture

That said, I do fully expect them to bring in a veteran safety of some degree.

Jim Leonhard expressed interest in playing for GB the other day, for whatever that's worth. Dude is tiny, though. I never realized that - 5'8", 188lbs.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Yeah, I agree with you too.

I think they will add a veteran and draft a player.

A guy that I really could see Thompson looking at is Malcolm Jenkins. While he wasn't perfect, he is still a young player (26 years old). He won't command a top dollar salary and he would be an immediate upgrade over Jennings.

I saw that Leonard would love to come back to Green Bay. I like him and I would welcome him back to Wisconsin. He would be a great stop gap player until the rookie was able to take over.

jeremy's picture

"I’d say those 2 defenses are just about equal."

Not against the run.

Evan's picture

Fair point. I was speaking from pass coverage.

jimbob's picture

what about williams, draft pick, burnett and byrd? would be risky but alot of teams have taken the risk and we would have a great safety combo to back it up.

Bert's picture

That crappy 2011 draft is actually impacting us right now. Instead of those players developing into quality starters we have virtually nothing to show for it. In order to close that gap we can sign a FA or two to fill a couple of holes or hope like hell we strike gold in the upcoming draft. Given it typically takes a couple of years to develop talent I'm leaning towards TT at least trying to sign a couple mid-priced vets. At least I hope that's the plan. Like Brian alluded to in the article; If you are a draft and develop team you darn well better have some top tier drafts pretty consistently or things start to fall apart.

Albert Lingerfeld's picture


Albert Lingerfeld's picture

The 9er's have 11 picks and possibly a 12th. They are in a position to drop some ok players or trade them for future picks, keep the stars, bring in youth, stay under the cap all at once.

In comparison, Ted has not only holes to fill but players to either light a fire under their arse or draft replacements. Its not a great situation when two stars get 66% of the cap. Forget the SB from 3 years ago, past history. Think about the downward spiral of this teams defense the past three years.

Bert's picture

Agree. It has been a downward spiral with the defense and with the last few drafts we just haven't found enough impact or high quality guys. We can wait around to "strike gold" in the draft or go out and try to fill some holes. Otherwise the downward trend will continue.

crackerpacker's picture

where does this 66% figure come from, i believe rodgers and matthews get less than 40 mil per year and the salary cap is over 100 mil could you please explain the maths.

KennyPayne's picture

Brian, I think you leave out one important point. TT has OVERPAID his players in recent years. Hawk, B. Jones, and Burnett all got 2nd contracts that were undeserved relative to their level of play.

It is not just TT's disdain for free agency but his willingness to overpay his own marginal draftees that has hurt this team -- especially on defense.

Stroh's picture

Your might right about slightly overpaying his own. But your own are known quantities, whereas if you go the FA route your again projecting how the FA will adapt to the system. Its not that much different than the draft to some degree, tho maybe not quite as pronounced. The flip side is in FA your generally overpaying AND projecting. Its not like any FA from any team is going to be able to assimilate and adapt his game to the new teams schemes. There are still a lot of busts in FA and they are VERY expensive Busts. You better be damn sure the FA your signing is going to fit and be productive otherwise your hurting your salary cap a lot more than w/ draft picks!

HUMP's picture

2 stars get 25% of cap NOT 66% gross exaggeration bud

KurtMc's picture

Dont forget TT could have had either Bennet or Avril at a resonable $, but was too cheap. D-line was a question then & is again + now the secondary.

Three playoff's nice. Three Playoff losses - not so. So were going to settle for being the Colts of the NFC? Great QB, lots of playoffs but loose key playoff games?

Sorry. I believe our organization can be better & it starts with the D. If not the D, then why all the focus on it since 2011?

We manage the Cap, and player contracts as well as any team. Our GM's issues with FA is our #1 issue. My $.02

Evan's picture

Where would Bennett or Avril play in the 3-4?

Stroh's picture

No... Neither would fit in the Packers 34 D, both are purely 43 Defensive players! Wish fans understood this basic concent. Would eliminate a lot of unnecessary and unintelligent comments! Both Bennett and Avril have played exclusively in 43 Defenses and would not have been nearly as effective in the Packers D!

Stroh's picture

Remember Aaron Kampman? He hated the Packers switching from the 43 to 34 Defense. He couldn't make the adjustment to playing 34 OLB and both Avril and Bennett would have struggled! That's even assuming they would consider playing in a 34 D, which I seriously doubt either would!

jeremy's picture

Avril was cheap this year, but he's on a two year deal for 13 million.

KurtMc's picture

Also, the SI Free Agency Primer: NFC North is complete Bull S***.

C'mon SI that's your best analysis?

4thand1's picture

The time IS now to make a run for a title. I like everyone else would love to see a couple impact FA signings. They got their moneys worth out of Woodson and Pickett, so hopefully Ted will find room for a couple more new faces. If he's banking on the team staying healthy, they got a rude awakening this year. Also lady luck plays a part in hitting on draft picks.

WKUPackFan's picture

So glad that you stated this point of view Brian. Draft and develop has other advantages beside managing the cap. One of the most important is continuity. This is even more important with the limited practices under the new CBA. Teams like SEA may catch free agent lightning in a bottle for one year, but the better way is to keep players in the same system over the years. It works in most sports, the Spurs in the NBA and the Cardinals in MLB are winning organizations with similar philosophies.

Jordan's picture

Thompson gambled and lost last year at safety. What more can you say?

He gambled and lost in 2010 on second rounder Pat Lee developing in to the starting CB. But got lucky with undrafted Shields bailing him out.

I don't see Thompson as conservative. I see him as a gambler.

When you bank on your unproven draft picks developing, you're gambling. He's got all his eggs in the draft basket. Risky.

Cliff Avril would have been a nice safe conservative pickup. Thompson watched Avril when he was with the Lions. He knew. Schneider watched too. Lol.

TT will fix things. But it probably isn't going to happen over night. Might take a couple more years to get back to SB.

Stroh's picture

Avril would NOT have worked in the Packers 34 D. He has NEVER played in it... He's always strictly been a 43 DE. Remember Aaron Kampman? He hated being in a 34 and bolted as soon as he could (for Jaxvile of all places) and so would Avril. Avril wouldn't have considered signing in GB and being forced to play in a 34. When are you gonna quite w/ the Avril nonsense?!

Jordan's picture
Stroh's picture

OK I stand corrected. Avril is willing to go to a 34 D. Just cuz he's willing doesn't mean that he would do well in it. He's never played 34 OLB and all the college DE struggle to play 34 OLB. Its A LOT different and more difficult that just standing up. 43 DE just worry about the OT that's very easy. 34 OLB have to read the whole backfield and the WR to know whether to rush or not. There's a lot more that's involved in being a 34 OLB than just rushing the QB. Since Avril hasn't played 34 OLB it unlikely he would be nearly as effective as an OLB as he would a DE. Seattle has a very simple scheme and he played DE, playing OLB in a 34 would be a completely different position and it would take him awile to learn it.

Lou's picture

Once March 3rd hits and they cannot deal exclusively with their own free agents Ted will have a clearer picture of what his holes are and whether another teams free agent may be the best way to fill that hole vs in-house signed players or on his draft board/UFA board. The one thing he has to do is sign an experienced safety who is affordable (does not have to be top tier)or the safety position becomes the QB 2013 position - i.e. the team achilles heal. No matter what he has done prior in his tenure, based on the abject failure of the safety position last season his seat is going to be RED HOT if he doesn't.

Evan's picture

While I disagree 100% that his seat will be red hot, or even warm, I do imagine he sees the urgency of fixing the safety position.

I see it sort of like how the running game struggled for years before it all came to a head and he finally addressed it last off-season.

Now, why does it take him a couple years to fix seemingly glaring holes? That's a question I can't answer. Too much faith in his young guys developing, perhaps (whether it's Alex Green/James Starks or MD Jennings/McMillian).

Stroh's picture

When your a draft and develop team you have to have confidence that young players develop. Goes w the territory.

Evan's picture

Of course. But the question is whether that confidence was too much or misplaced. In both cases, it clearly was. And that's not just 20/20 hindsight.

The lack of a Plan B is what's concerning.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Many of us said last year that the Packers had to find an upgrade at Safety. They didn't draft one so we thought they would go out and get a Free Agent. They didn't and in Camp we saw they still needed help and thought they would look for a cast off or a player that was cut. They didn't.

That is definitely concerning. They had opportunities to go and get a Michael Huff or other players, and never did.

I understand that they do the draft and develop and for that to work sometimes you go through rough patches with players. But at some point they had to of seen that neither Jennings or McMillan were the answer and that is when they should have looked for someone to be brought in.

Hopefully this year they have learned from their mistakes and will have a plan B and use it if needed.

mark's picture

As Brian correctly pointed out the Packers have been hurt by a combination of 3 factors:
1) key picks being slow to contribute (Perry, Neal, Datone Jones)
2) injuries (Worthy, Heyward, Sherrod, Bulaga, Tretter)
3) picks that didn't work out (Manning, McMillian, Alex Green)

Two of those elements (development and injury) can fix themselves through time. But knowing the reality of where your roster is at---with guys who HAVE been slow to develop and with guys who ARE coming back from injury...I think this year's draft selections has to reflect that, at least somewhat.

When I hear scouts and coaches talk about Pryor's intelligent play and CJ Mosely's readiness to make an impact--those are the sorts of players I go and get if I'm Ted Thompson. We need contributors, not more projects. When I hear people talk about a guy like Ra'Shede Hageman going to the Pack I wince.

With respect to FA, I have no desire to overpay, but we should look at moves that make sense. One guy I come back to is London Fletcher. He said he would consider one more year in the right situation. He's logged 416 tackles in the last 3 seasons (compared to Hawk's 332). He's never missed a game in his career. His veteran leadership would be a great addition to the Packers young defense, and he could likely be a two down guy. And what would he cost? I'm guessing the Packers could get him with an incentive-heavy contract. Anyway, it's just one thought, one guy, but the Packers need some new identity on this defense. We need some punishers. We need some mojo. And if I'm Ted Thompson, I'm not waiting around for Nick Perry and Jerel Worthy to provide it.

jmac34's picture

not sure what London Fletcher has left. He has been a part of some pretty bad defenses lately although I am not sure how much of that is his fault.

cLowNEY42's picture

What is the point of this article?
No starting players will be acquired through free agency.
IF anyone gets signed... it'll be a backup/depth/special teams guy.

It is what it is.

zeke's picture

"What is the point of this article?"

Troll bait, apparently.

Point Packer's picture

We need to both draft and pick up a mid-priced FA at the safety position.

Evan's picture


Lou's picture

Also agree,no Plan B does not make business sense at this position and doing so does not hinder the draft & development philosophy, it provide an insurance policy. Interesting to note that when Free Agency began they had just this in place, a "Plan B Free Agent" designation. It gave backups an opportunity to start elsewhere and vets a chance to play a couple of more years at reasonable rates. Interesting also that a huge participatant in Plan B was Ron Wolf.

Stroh's picture

Signing a FA takes reps from the rookies and other young players. That hinders the development.

Evan's picture

That's just a risk a team has to take, I guess, to avoid having historically bad safety play (or a pathetic running game).

Stroh's picture

Evan... If you sign a FA at any position you have a young player that needs reps your not really a draft and develop team. Your more like Detroit who continuously brings in FA and never gets the develop part of the equation. Gotta live w/ the development pains if you are really a D and D team. If you don't live w/ them the young guys don't develop. Like I said, it goes w/ the territory, unless you'd rather be Detroit-esque.

The risk you take is living w developmental pains and sometimes a mistake a la McMillan. If your D and D you don't take the risk by signing a FA. The risk is living w/ develop and an occasional mistake.

Evan's picture

I don't buy that. There is a balance that can be struck between the Packers current way and the carefree/careless Detroit way. Signing, for example, a mid-level free agent safety would not make the Packers Detroit.

Hell, TT has brought in low-priced veteran depth before. Matthew Mulligan, Cedric Benson, Muir, Hargrove, Merling, etc...and that didn't detract from his draft and develop philosophy.

Stroh's picture

Draft and Develop means your risk is in the develop part. Not in the FA part. Disagree if you want but its common sense. If you wanna take risks on low level FA if you have a young player your Detroit NOT Green Bay.

Clearly the D and D philosophy puts the risk on the development. Signing a scrap heap or better FA is taking the risk on the FA side of the ledger! You have to pick a side... You can't play one side against the other or you get NEITHER!

Evan's picture

Then Green Bay is Detroit, I guess, because I just gave a list of recent low level free agent signings.

Evan's picture

I can't believe I forgot Jeff Saturday! Another one.

He surely took reps away from EDS and maybe even stunted his development (though I'd argue it was the right move at the time considering EDS' complete lack of experience).

So, I guess Green Bay isn't a draft and develop team after all.

egbert souse's picture

I'm interested to see how TT reacts to this season, in other words, will he try something different like signing a name FA or let most of his own FA's walk.

If he overpays his own FA's, signs only a couple bargain bin FA's, drafts a tweener project in the 1st round, and tries to hit on a few mid to low round draft picks to fill holes in the D; I would predict that we are in trouble for 2014.

Who said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?

Lou's picture

Agree with Evan, who had more reps their first two seasons than McMillian and M.D. Jennings, one was cut outright and the other is not far behind.

4thand1's picture

For what its worth MM said this years defense will be different and has to get better. So don't worry the guys in charge are aware of the problem. I see them drafting ILB if Mosley is there, safety if Pryor or Ha Ha is there, or a TE. Don't be surprised if its a TE 1st. We'll know soon enough what to expect in the draft after free agency kicks in.

TXCHEESE's picture

I think people need to realize, the defense was playing pretty well the first part of the season, and I think they did OK the last couple games. Let's face it, when your offense is putting up 3 and outs consistently, the defense if going to wear down. That's just a fact. Let Ted keep keepers, add some talent, and I think we'll kick some butt.

MarkinMadison's picture

I think you make some fair points, except that the safety play was poor from the get-go. Also, with basically the whole starting DL potentially changing out in FA, this discussion is due.

Hank Scorpio's picture

Add Roman Harper's name to the potential cheap vet options at Safety. The Saints released him and he can sign anywhere right now.

I would like to see the Packers sign someone like him to a short, small deal. It would be nice to have a veteran fallback in the event that a younger option like moving Hyde or a rook doesn't work out.

Stroh's picture

Not a bad FA to sign. He's 31 but should still have some legs left. However, one pass defensed and one INT doesn't exactly inspire confidence that he could even be a decent starter. Better than Jennings undoubtedly... That said, he is likely the type of guy the Packers would consider since he won't command much.

This is the year to sign a FA safety, I don't think last year would have been, except in hindsight, but this year definitely.

Hank Scorpio's picture

A vet that breathes without the aid of a respirator inspires more confidence than Jennings, Banjo or Richardson for me.

But point taken that Harper is not exactly inspiring visions of Pro Bowls. If not Harper, hopefully someone else. One of the things I try to keep in mind is that lower $$ deals are more likely to be influenced by factors other than money. Certainly the Packers are contenders. But the cold weather and small market are not everyone's cup of tea.

Evan's picture

Fwiw: @RapSheet: From Total Access: I’m told #Packers plan to spend money on outside free agents this year with nearly $30M in cap space. Could most in years

Evan's picture

[email protected]: What is #Packers plan? They want to re-make their D in Dom Capers’ image, going more athletic & versatile up front. May mean goodbye to Raji

@RapSheet: Don’t be surprised if #Packers DLs now weigh closer to 290 than the 330 that Ryan Pickett & BJ Raji weigh. Will get much faster, too

File it under "I'll believe it when I see it." But it is interesting.

RC Packer Fan's picture

That is interesting.

Thanks for posting those because I didn't see them.

zeke's picture

"But the cold weather and small market are not everyone’s cup of tea."

While that's undoubtedly true I think it's a bit overblown, especially when talking about lower-level FAs. If team A offers a contract for 10 cents more than team B, that player is most likely to sign with team A. Of course they will factor in things like the likelihood of starting, etc., but it's typically with an eye toward maximizing earning potential. Nothing wrong with that, as it's a business. Players want to get paid, as they should.

Hank Scorpio's picture


I certainly agree that the almighty dollar is far bigger motivator than most players like to portray. But for vets that have already made a ton, it can become less so, IMO.

Take Brian Urlacher, for example. The Bears offered him $2 or $3 mil for last season. He felt that salary was not worth the grind of playing football. That's a foreign concept to me but I haven't banked as much cash as he has.

Charles Woodson is another example. The Packers offered him a contract in the $40 mil range to come to GB from Oakland. He hemmed and hawed, considering a much lesser deal to play Safety in TB, because he just didn't want to come to GB. Of course we all know he came to embrace GB in time but his initial unhappiness was well documented.

These two examples are outliers, for sure, but they sort of prove that outliers can and do happen

zeke's picture

"These two examples are outliers, for sure, but they sort of prove that outliers can and do happen."

No doubt, although in Woodson's case he ultimately followed the money (thankfully). I was looking at it through the lens of FA's that Thompson would likely consider, if any, and the established vets with tons of money in the bank seem most unlikely. While it's great the GB has around $30 million in cap space, I think it's a bit of a false number in the sense that much of that will be already accounted for in order to pay Cobb, Nelson, and probably Shields. I can't see big-ticket FAs on the shopping list, and the lower level FAs will likely consider money above all else.

Clay's picture

Well here you go guys...first there was the battle of Troy; and now the Troll wars. Here's the most revealing news so far about Pack's plans. Hmmm... Thompson created lots of cap space whilst signing two of the biggest deals in the NFL, plans to make bold cuts, and shape and make a new defensive vision become real through free agent acquisition. You see how unhealthy being prudent is for your team guys? (note sarcasm). Don't you wish our GM was more impulsive and panicky in team management decisions, and would have just dialed Cow's number for advice? Also how do those of you feel, who have always pigeon holed Thompson as never using free agency? Has to be the right deal at the time, and still you won't get it right ALL the time. That's reality. You trolls highlight the failures but never the successes. No GM bats .1000.
Let's see what moves Ted makes because make no mistake, there will be moves GALORE this off season. Let's judge him at the end of next season. Check it out:

The TKstinator's picture

Louis Delmas?
Malcolm Jenkins?

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