Create Account

Or log in with Facebook


Log in

Or log in with Facebook

Ted Thompson's Willingness to Change Will Be Rewarded

By Category

Ted Thompson's Willingness to Change Will Be Rewarded

For years, I have been wishing that Ted Thompson would act a little more like his mentor, Ron Wolf. Well, with some surprising activity this offseason, that wish, in a way, was answered.

Thompson, who is likely in his final years as Packers general manager, made a conscience decision to bring aboard more veteran players, namely at cornerback, guard and tight end.

While replacing Jared Cook was a must, doing so with Martellus Bennett, one of the top players on the market was a bold move. Truth be told, it’s not one I was expecting. 

Then, adding Lance Kendricks was even better. It was the perfect insurance for an injury, protecting the offense from being crippled in the absence of a stretch tight end, as it was without Cook in 2016.

Yet, the moves that encouraged me the most, were the signings of Davon House and Jahri Evans, who both have a chance to play a big role in Green Bay this season.

Both were solid moves yes, but neither player is superstar or a Pro Bowler. It’s just nice to see a need filled by an experienced veteran, instead of relying solely on rookies or young players.

In the secondary, optimism reigns, but not because of House. The talk is of Kevin King, as it should be. He has everything you could want in a cornerback and Josh Jones, a rookie safety is turning heads.

But don’t forget about House a projected starting cornerback. King may play right away, but it will be opposite of House, who will be vital in putting the lid back on some of the big plays to big receivers.  

Getting House was a smart move, but it’s one Thompson avoided making so many times in the past.

The veteran, who turns 28 next month, isn’t a superstar. However, he does have six career interceptions and 50 pass break ups. He also has experience in Dom Capers system and knows how to play man coverage.

House may play just one season in Green Bay, but if the Packers secondary proves to be much better in 2017, he will be one reason why. And Thompson, who admirably went out of his comfort zone, will be vindicated.

He will be vindicated by Evans too.

Certainly, there was reason for concern when T.J. Lang was allowed to leave. But at the same time, Thompson didn’t wait for a draft pick or a young player to be the solution, instead, he found one.

Signing a guy like Evans days before the draft was something Thompson had never done before. Yet, he probably (accurately) assessed a weak draft class and found one of the few capable veterans still available, before it was too late.

It sounds simple, but again, signing veterans like Evans, who is clearly on the downside of his career, simply for need, wasn’t a Thompson staple. But, if the Packers can get one solid season out of Evans, it will be more than worth it.

In fact, it will be a dream scenario. 

If there is one thing we can say about Thompson this offseason, it’s that he showed flexibility. He recognized he needed veteran help at two positions and he acted, a refreshing change.

Signing Evans and House won’t win TT GM of the Year, but both moves will make the Packers a better football team in 2017 and at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.

And hopefully, if it all works out, Thompson will realize once and for all, that veteran free agency, isn't always a bad bet. 



Chris is a sports journalist from Montana and has been blogging about the Packers since 2011. Chris has been a staff writer for CheeseheadTV since 2017 and looks forward to the day when Aaron Rodgers wins his second Super Bowl. Follow him @thepackersguru

  • Like Like
  • 0 points

Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (29) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

dfarmer's picture

Still think DB's from last yr could be very good. they were thrust into roles they weren't expected to fill and had injuries. I have not given up on them like many others have..

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

I agree they'll bounce back. What mostly concerns me is our lack of quality boundary CB's--too many slot types.

dobber's picture

The loss of Shields robbed the defense of the ability to shift safety help to the outside CB that needed it most. Shields didn't need it on a regular basis. Rollins, Randall, and Gunter did.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Very true, Dobber, and this highlights our lack of quality outside CB's.

Hopefully, King develops quickly and House proves able to limit quality #2 receivers--and neither gets hurt.

Our lack of quality outside depth could be our undoing.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Good article; strong points.

These moves reminded me of Pickett and Guion, which shows just how rare they were. Funny thing is, Ted seems to do quite well at low cost FA's, so it's a bit odd he doesn't do it more.

I think Ted's hand was largely forced by losing 7 players, so I wouldn't expect this to be a trend. Hopefully, both Evans and House will outperform my modest expectations.

TheVOR's picture

I think everyone should be perfectly clear on this suggestion... This offseason was "unlike" Ted Thompson, because it probably wasn't. I give Thompson props for allowing for it, but it had Elliot Wolf written all over it. Thompson certainly is being prepared to step aside, and I fully hope that 2018 is his "Transition Year" to Elliot Wolf. We can only hope. What you just saw in this offseason is the future under Elliot Wolf. That was so unlike Ted Thompson, that it probably wasn't. Thats my conclusion anyway. Food for thought.

marpag1's picture

"Thats my conclusion anyway."

This is the key line in your post. What do any of us really know about Eliot Wolf? But we certainly do know that Ted Thompson is the sort of guy who will go out and get a Julius Peppers, Jared Cook or Ryan Pickett now and then... maybe even a Charles Woodson.

TheVOR's picture

Dude, the question isn't what do we really know about Elliot Wolf? Really? Because we actually know allot about him! His history with the organization is well documented!

A just as important question is what do we know about Ted Thompson. I'll tell you what I know about Ted Thompson., I know that this off-season clearly wasn't Ted Thompson, that much I know about Ted Thompson. It's not too hard to read between the lines in GB, next season is going to be his last in GB, and if the organization has demonstrated anything, it's the ability to transition executive staffs. Watch and learn.

Asking what we really know about Elliot Wolf, is like saying, what do we really know about Bart Starr. There has been so much written about Elliot Wolf bro, go read some it. That offseason was Ron Wolf, it wasn't Ted Thompson, and the apple aint falling far from the tree! That much I DO KNOW!

dobber's picture

What you're insinuating is that Eliot Wolf is calling the shots and TT is just rubber-stamping his decisions. I don't buy that for a second. It's still TTs reputation that's under the spotlight: the buck stops with him so long as he's the GM. He's ultimately responsible and gets the praise or blame for each personnel decision made. I don't see him handing his legacy over to a neophyte (and, yes, Eliot Wolf is still a neophyte so he has NO track record for us to say "it has Eliot Wolf written all over it") just for the benefit of a smooth transition. For all we know, this was all Alonzo Highsmith...or Brian Gutekunst...or Russ Ball: all highly regarded in personnel circles.

The only move made this off-season that wasn't in TTs typical MO was the signing of Bennett early in the FA period. Everything else--Jahri Evans, RJF, Lance Kendricks--was typical TT...just more of it.

This season might be TTs last, but there's no guarantee Eliot Wolf is the next GM in GB. I wouldn't be surprised if he is, though.

croatpackfan's picture

I'm sure that you will take full responsibility for others acts in the organization. I wouldn't and I'm sure Ted Thompson is not that kind of manager and person. When he make mistake I bet he admit his mistake and pay for it.There is no way that he is willing to pay for other guys mistakes. Also, I do not believe that he is the type of guy who will take somebody's else success as his...
I do not know what you are doing in your life, but I'm sure that it is not managing job...

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I don't have any idea what Elliot Wolf is all about.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

To me Ted's approach to Free Agency this off-season is the preferable approach. No "splashes", just sensible moves. If it continues, that would be excellent.

croatpackfan's picture

He is doing that constantly. But there is no Bennett, Kendricks, Evans, RJF at the cost TT signed them all every year in FA. Davon House looks, anyway, as signing your own FA, but under much favorable conditions and more friendly deal...

Bedrock's picture

I'm usually in almost full agreement with articles on this site, but not this one.

Ted's modus operandi has always been trusting the value he and his staff have assigned players. I see no evidence how he operated outside of that. All the free agent signings were very reasonable. It just so happened his assigned values and the player's willingness to accept the same value coincided. This has always been how Ted works.

Any talk of this being the young Wolf's work only speaks of Ted's trust of his staff. Wolf is on staff and has shown a keen eye. Ted's m.o.

DThomas's picture

While I agree we have no proof of Wolf's impact on Thompson's decisions, not recognizing the obvious change in Thompson's MO this off season is akin to being willingly blind IMO. Two points: When was the last time Thompson signed 5 veteran free agents from other teams? (Answer: Never.) And when was the last time Thompson said anything like the roster was in danger of getting “a little stale”? (Answer: Never.)

It's OK to recognize Thompson's changed MO this off season: It's always OK to recognize reality.

Bedrock's picture

More of something doesn't make it different. He's the same Ted. I'm okay with that.
Did he overspend? No. Did he get a marquee name? Not really, perhaps our new flashy TE is akin to the Peppers signing. He did what Ted does.
It's presumptuous to believe he did or did not try to sign just as many, or more, in the past.

DThomas's picture

Of course more of something can make it different. Acquiring twice as many FAs as he ever has before, including three who have a good chance of starting is a big change from 'next man up' (whoever it is) and 'let the youngsters develop'. It's a welcome, long overdue change.

TheVOR's picture

The MO was clearly different. Rather than ignoring UFA for the most part, they became serious players to shore up the roster, and let others leave which they should have. It's about time they flush the toilet up in GB and start retooling the roster already. In past seasons we would have resigned TJ Lang to a bad deal for GB. We watched business as usual Ted squander away multiple Super Bowl opportunities and failing to shore up the holes sine 2010.

Them thinking for a change that if I'm going to sign a TE to reasonably big money, then it's probably going to be Bennett, and not Cook. Again, a few years back, Cook is picking our pocket to a bad contract!

This offseason wasn't more of the same, it was more of a transition of MO on to something certainly different, far more thought provoking, and certainly attempting to push the team into serious contention! Haven't see that since 2010, and no, simply signing Julius Peppers isn't the same thing.

Time to let the young Wolf Howl, and I'm more than suspecting they just did.. Wolfs entire demeanor in this draft, draft-room, in the media explaining why certain players were drafted? That's not Ted Thompson, thats Elliot Wolf.

DThomas's picture

My first reaction to Thompson's activity was 'great!', and my second was 'what might have been' if Thompson had managed every offseason like this. No, not signing 5 FAs but signing a couple each and every offseason. Instead it seems - or at least some Packers fans argued - he was prioritizing the last couple of players on the rosters over experienced vets who could plug holes in the roster or provide depth at weaker positions. That's certainly appropriate for teams that are building rosters to get into the playoffs, but that hasn't been the Packers since Thompson's first couple of seasons as GM. And even with the change in MO, consider the "block buster" signing of Bennett will only cost the team $21M over three years. I do think the results on the field could be block buster but at a very reasonable price money- and cap-wise. A truly outstanding signing.

One more thing: Thompson should strongly consider acquiring one more veteran player, an OLB. In spite of what McCarthy said, that position is not deep. The chances of the defense being good enough in the playoffs could very well depend upon that kind of acquisition.

Gman1976's picture

I suspect that Mr. Thompson is waiting in the weeds for an OLB to be cut due to salary cap reasons or some other reason from another team. Don't be too surprised by the pickup. We definitely need some depth at OLB.

TJ Coon's picture

TT obviously accepted feedback from the staff he has helped grow into future GMs. He has taken steps to align himself with the evolution of the league and continue his mentoring by teaching a valuable lesson to his young studs: adapt or die. Let's hope it works for the man giving another Superbowl.

DThomas's picture

As opposed to 'obviously accepting feedback from the former staff that he helped grow into' current GMs like John Schneider, Reggie McKenzie, and John Dorsey? No, we have no evidence of how much influence others had on Thompson this off season. Since you are advancing that idea, what are you basing that belief upon? What changed since last off season? Those closest to Thompson in the organization were all there last year too.

If the lesson he's teaching his "young studs" is adapt or die, he certainly waited a long time to teach it. BTW McKenzie, Dorsey, and Schneider (to the extent the last two have autonomy) seemed to have learned the lesson without Thomson teaching it to them.

Lphill's picture

I guess he is trying to make up for letting Cullen Jenkins and Charles Woodson go , neither has been replaced. We might have 1 more Lombardi had they been retained.

PatrickGB's picture

One addition not mentioned was Ricky Jean-Fran...something or another. A solid vet to take Guions spot while he is gone (and maybe after too).

RCPackerFan's picture

I really like the moves that Thompson made this year.

He lost one of the key offensive weapons from last year (Cook) and replaced him with Bennett and Kendricks. Bennett is essentially a wash with Cook but Kendricks adds a lot to the team. It gives McCarthy something he hasn't had since he has been in Green Bay and that is 2 TE's that can create matchup problems.

Losing Lang was a tough thing to do, but replacing him with Evans is a great move. There maybe some drop off between Lang and Evans, but it wouldn't be as big of a drop off as it would be to a Rookie.

Losing Shields last year proved to be the one move they couldn't overcome, along with the other injuries to the position. But signing House and drafting King gives them a lot more depth then they had.

Bringing in Ricky Jean-Francois and drafting Adams gives the DL more depth and talent to be one of the strengths of the team.

While they lost Lacy, and I did want them to bring him back, the truth is the offense really opened up when Montgomery became the full time RB. It became more versatile and the offense really took off. Drafting 3 RB's, bringing in 2 UDFA's they should be develop enough talent behind Montgomery.

Overall I really am happy with how Thompson went out and brought in veteran players to replace players he lost and solidify a couple of positions.
I also like the draft he had. Drafting King and Jones really helps the secondary. Bringing in 3 RB's and 2 WR's really creates a lot of competition. He also brought in players that provide depth and can rotate in on the OL, DL and OLB.

Spock's picture

I've speculated in previous blogs that we, as fans, have no evidence that TT does or does not try to sign some of the free agents out there. I see this off season as pretty typical of Ted's moves with the notable exception that there were more players available that met TT's criteria (value, inexpensive, easy on the cap, etc.). Ted has consistently said that the Packers look at all options and will make a FA move if it is good for the team. This year that just happened to bring in more FA's at the same time the Packers were losing a lot of players and most of the FA's were released players with no cap implications. I don't see these as unusual moves for TT to have made at all.

Joseph Willcome's picture

I think all together we are going to be seen Elliot wolf taking over and that is going to be a blast seen the son of Ron Wolf who really helped us get Reggie White back then and Elliott has the same mindset and he helped with bringing in Bennett

Joseph Willcome's picture

We just have to lock Elliot Wolf up quickly so no one else comes calling

GatorJason's picture

I guess I'm the minority here in thinking TT didn't change his tactics, rather he was adjusting to the circumstances. Specifically, he was adjusting to the loss of Shields, Peppers, Hyde, Lang, Cook, D. Jones, Laci, Guion (gone IMO) and their $40M in salaries. Ted was able to reward Perry with a big contract but still had a large sum to expend without others on team (save Lang) deserving/ready to get big contracts.

Ted prudently invested in outside talent targeting Bennett over Cook and adding a low cost TE FA in Kendricks who can block and catch. Eddie Laci was replaced by Montgomery and three low draft picks. Shields was replaced in draft with King and former Packer, House. Hyde was replaced by Randall for slot cover role and Josh Johnson for the $LB role that Hyde and Burnette shared.

Lang was an unanticipated loss but the Packers would not match the Lions’ desperation, overpriced offer. Ted is gambling FA Evans has enough gas in the tank to allow one of the young talents to develop into a starting caliber OG. If the Jahri Evans gamble flops, the Packers may have to move Bulaga over and allow 2nd round talent Spriggs to play RT. This is clearly not desirable but it puts the Packers’ 5 best OL on the field. Lastly, the Francois pickup should not be overlooked. He, IMO, is an upgrade over Guion on and off the field. I’d rather read a story about a guy wanting to be a doughnut multi-millionaire than a guy who gets in trouble for smoking more pot than Snoop Dog.

The real kicker is that the Packers will max out in compensation draft picks in 2018 because the number of FA losses incurred was significantly greater than FA pickups. The Packers also saved $10-$15M in salaries. IMO, this is clearly one of Ted’s best performances and completely in character with how he responds to personnel challenges within the construct of a fixed budget.

Log in to comment, upload your game day photos and more!

Not a member yet? Join free.

If you have already commented on Cheesehead TV in the past, we've created an account for you. Just verify your email, set a password and you're golden.

Or log in with Facebook

Packers Tickets, Ticket King


"A school without football is in danger of deteriorating into a medieval study hall. "
"I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious."
"The Bears still suck!"