The Lass Word: Timing & Luck, Packers Have Neither

High dollar guys not providing enough return on investment.

There is nothing wrong with paying your best players top dollar to keep them. Star players are what separate the contenders from the pack. You can’t compete for a championship without them. 

But it is risky business. NFL teams invest millions of dollars and hundreds of hours in research and study in an effort to develop a plan as to how to spend their cap money. Yet despite all of that preparation, much of their success boils down to a couple of things over which they have limited or no control. Timing and luck. It’s not enough just to shell out the big bucks to retain your best players. You have to anticipate whether it’s the right time, and then you have to hope they stay healthy. 

In these two areas, the Packers have really been hit with a double whammy over the past year and a half. Of course, the biggest and most obvious example is Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay extended him for three years last spring, making him the highest paid player in league history, averaging over $50 million per year. The guy was coming off back to back MVP seasons and playing some of the best football of his career. With the loss of his two best receivers, the Packers had to figure they needed Rodgers to carry the team more than ever.  

With the luxury of hindsight, we can see that the timing was not right. The quality of Rodgers’ play has declined. He has also had the misfortune of dealing with a nagging thumb injury that has to be affecting his passing accuracy. 

But Green Bay’s misfortune runs far deeper than just their quarterback. They had the best left tackle in the NFL. On November 14, 2020, they made a move to keep him long term. They signed David Bakhtiari, still in his prime, to a four year extension worth $92 million. Six weeks later, he suffered a devastating knee injury, DURING PRACTICE!! Not even in a game. He missed all but a handful of snaps in 2021, and did not return to the line up this year until week three. He may be slowly improving his level of play, but it seems obvious he has not approached his All Pro form of years past. 

Inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell came out of nowhere to have an All Pro season in 2021. Not only was he playing outstanding football, he had a track record of being injury free, having not missed a game since his rookie season six years ago. Just 28 years old last spring, the Packers figured it was good strategy to pay the man, and signed him to a five year, fifty million dollar deal. Here again, the timing and luck don’t seem to be working out. Campbell has not played to last year’s level, and then suffered a knee injury in week eight against the Bills and has not played since. 

Other high dollar players, like Jaire Alexander, Aaron Jones, and even the reliable Preston Smith have either missed games or been hampered by nagging injuries this season. Now there are at least two more unsettling situations developing for next year. Linebacker Rashan Gary had developed into one of the best pass rushers in the game. He was on his way to an all star season with six sacks, when he blew out his knee against the Lions on November 6. The Packers have already picked up his fifth year option for next season, which will cost them just under $11 million. But if they want to keep him off the free agent market at the end of next season, they are going to have to negotiate a long term extension at some point. 

Premier pass rushers are hard to find. Someone would likely pay Gary top dollar if he hits the market. However, it usually takes nine months to a year to recover from a knee injury, and typically longer to regain previous form. The Packers have to make a judgment on whether the timing is right to pay Gary big bucks, despite his likely not even being able to take the field until mid-season in 2023. And if they do, they hope to be lucky enough to see Gary return to form and stay healthy. You couldn’t blame them for being a bit gun shy considering their recent experiences. 

Then there is offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins. He’s in his fourth year. He was one of the brightest and most versatile OL prospects in the NFL, until he also went down with a knee injury, missing the final nine games of 2021, and the first game of this season. Upon coming back, it is clear he is not the same player. He failed at right tackle and his play thus far at his favorite left guard position has been inconsistent. But his contract is up at the end of the season. Is the timing right to extend him to a large deal? Do you expect him to regain his top level of play? And will he stay healthy? Here again, other teams know of his versatility and upside and Jenkins will expect to be paid as a tackle. He won’t come cheap. 

All teams have injuries. But not all teams are unlucky enough to have injuries to their most highly paid players. You could argue the Packers have some limited control over timing, but it seems hard to anticipate the sudden decline of players who are at the top of their game. 

Timing and luck. Let’s hope the Packers have better results with both. 

 

GAME PREDICTION: Eagles 35 Packers 17 

Standout of the Game: Allen Lazard 

Upset Special of the Week: Patriots over Vikings 

-----------------------------------

Ken Lass is a former Green Bay television sports anchor and 43 year media veteran, a lifelong Packers fan, and a shareholder.

NFL Categories: 
5 points

Comments (51)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
splitpea1's picture

November 24, 2022 at 03:49 pm

We'll have to see how things play out for the rest of the season, but I can't lie: my frugal impulses are really getting aroused here. "Rebuilding" is not a dirty word. If we didn't have Rodgers to worry about, it would be all systems go. We already have a few nice pieces in place. Finding starting caliber replacements for Bahk and Jenkins, however, is easier said than done. As far as pass rushers go, Enagbare's productivity so far is very similar to that of Gary's rookie season in roughly the same number of snaps--and he's only going to get better. So that's something to think about.

+ REPLY
10 points
10
0
Lphill's picture

November 24, 2022 at 04:06 pm

Packers 24 Eagles 20

+ REPLY
0 points
7
7
11Bravo1p's picture

November 24, 2022 at 07:39 pm

Why would anyone downvote optimism?

+ REPLY
2 points
5
3
Tundraboy's picture

November 24, 2022 at 08:36 pm

Who knows? Sad!

+ REPLY
2 points
3
1
jont's picture

November 25, 2022 at 04:19 pm

comments on this board has taken a certain turn in recent weeks

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
NickPerry's picture

November 24, 2022 at 05:22 pm

"Aaron Rodgers... Green Bay extended him for three years last spring, making him the highest paid player in league history, averaging over $50 million per year. The guy was coming off back to back MVP seasons and playing some of the best football of his career."

Yet the man was 38 years old soon to be 39 before the 2022 season was over. The Seahawks got Denver's first and second rounds picks in both 2022 and 2023. This years 1st was the 9th pick overall and it's looking like next years could be top 10 too. Not to mention getting the 40th pick of the draft in this years 2nd round, AND Shelby Harris & Noah Fant...

Keeping Rodgers and giving him that extension was NEVER the smart play. The guy had no where to go but down. A rebuild was going to happen no matter what and all the Packers front office did was prolong the rebuild AND deny themselves valuable assets for the process.

+ REPLY
16 points
19
3
Starrbrite's picture

November 24, 2022 at 05:38 pm

Nicky —I was always in the camp of re-sign ARod. It appears I was in the wrong camp—you’re arguments are valid.

+ REPLY
0 points
1
1
KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

November 24, 2022 at 06:21 pm

SB,
Much more than valid...IMO...one if not the worst decision the Packer front office has ever made regarding player decisions in history. I cannot imagine what that trade would have done in terms of talent infusion and long-term success. They made their decision even knowing Adam's and MVS wasn't coming back. That is what makes the decision even more mind boggling.

+ REPLY
7 points
9
2
KenEllis's picture

November 24, 2022 at 06:28 pm

Very good Nick.

But you forgot the part about how the Packers WITH RODGERS AT QB had not been to a Super Bowl in 11 seasons and that his only decent receiving option had made it clear he was NOT RETURNING TO Green Bay.

No matter how many excuses their friends in the local Wisconsin press make for them, the Pack's Front Office made a huge error by re-signing Rodgers to a huge new deal last offseason rather than taking the opportunity to begin the rebuild.

+ REPLY
7 points
10
3
Tundraboy's picture

November 24, 2022 at 08:41 pm

Nowhere to go but down is right. Best case was stay the same, and with our luck? Mgmt always plays it safe and as a result not to lose. With our track record on these decisions since 2010 that is courting disaster, and if there ever was a better example I've yet to see it.

+ REPLY
4 points
4
0
Alberta_Packer's picture

November 24, 2022 at 10:19 pm

Sometimes "playing it safe" just means that management lacks the vision, ability and boldness to do something else. After last season the Packers had a brief window to move on from Rodgers - while greatly enhancing their draft capital. Instead, they doubled-down on the status quo - which now will arrest the development of the team for years to come.

+ REPLY
5 points
5
0
Coldworld's picture

November 24, 2022 at 10:42 pm

This isn’t safe in the real sense. Events have proved it was the deeply illogical move that it always seemed dispassionately. That’s to a safe choices as iron pyrites is to gold.

+ REPLY
4 points
4
0
Tundraboy's picture

November 27, 2022 at 11:20 pm

I'm not sure it's a sometimes thing. It always leads to half measures and indecisiveness, And as you pointed out no boldness. A lack of a plan and any vision. All lead to failures.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
BruceC1960's picture

November 24, 2022 at 09:10 pm

Do we really have to sit through 4 months of possible Rodgers trade scenarios? Once again , he will drag his intentions out. The Packers just keep letting him do it.

+ REPLY
5 points
5
0
croatpackfan's picture

November 24, 2022 at 05:42 pm

Ken, have you ever heard the proverb: "Luck is the residue of the design!"

Never overpay for something or someone that can be broken or damaged in a way that it can no longer be used.

If you do that, you will say that it is bad luck, not that it is the residue of the design.

Good and bad luck does not exist. Those are only the consequences of your acts.

+ REPLY
6 points
6
0
Fubared's picture

November 24, 2022 at 10:46 pm

The bad luck, they gave Bak a ton of money for past performance and I say that is stupid. You could have offered him decent money but you dont break the bank, if he turns it down you get picks for him and move on to youth. The bad luck he got hurt just after getting the big money and now you cant get rid of him and he cant play anymore

+ REPLY
0 points
2
2
Starrbrite's picture

November 24, 2022 at 06:01 pm

For my entire life I have questioned what exactly is “luck?”
Random chance? Coincidence? Predestination? Probability? Improbability? Positive Thinking? Negative Thinking? Do you make your own luck? Good bounces-bad bounces; timing; injuries; accidents?
The Packers/Seahawks NFC Championship game begs all of these questions.
As a devoted Christian, I closely follow the raging debate between the Arminians (free will) and Calvinists (predestination).
Luck—-what is it?
Go Packers—-and good luck!!

+ REPLY
3 points
5
2
barutanseijin's picture

November 24, 2022 at 08:05 pm

The Debacle in Seattle was due to poor play and poor leadership. Luck had nothing to do with it.

+ REPLY
5 points
6
1
jont's picture

November 25, 2022 at 04:26 pm

"Luck—-what is it?"

This has always made sense to me:

"Good fortune is not as blind as it is generally thought to be. It is often nothing more than the result of sound, consistent actions that go unnoticed by the crowd but nonetheless make a particular event possible. Still more often, it is the result of an individual's character, nature, and behavior." --Catherine the Great

+ REPLY
0 points
1
1
stockholder's picture

November 24, 2022 at 07:30 pm

Don't blame the talent. When the mistakes were made by management. And Don't blame anybody for getting the money.
Gutey got away with dumping Bulaga. Solution Wagnor then Turner. Linsley had a questionable back. Solution: Myers. And Bahk got his. Solution: Jenkins. Jenkins goes down. Solution Runyan. Turner got dumped. Solution -Newman. And the experiment started.
Gutey dumped Salary when he should have signed the sure things. Linsley and Turner. But he got away with Bulaga. So F**k Rodgers.
Think about this. What Super-Bowl team has such a make shift OL for a MVP QB?
Next Rodgers got money. Because he F**ked Gutey for drafting Love. And won the MVP back to Back.
Adams, MVS, and StBrown left. So F**K Rodgers.
Again the draft had to make up for a legend, a Deep threat. and a veteran. Solution: Cobb, Lazard, Watkins, and Amari Rodgers; Who were going to make a 50 mil. dollar QB a MVP again? Not with this chemistry. Or a bunch of Tes that have seen better days.
Then instead of protecting Rodgers. Gutey chose his Draft picks. After all; Defense wins championships.
So where did Gutey spend money?? Not for Rodgers! But On a Defense that needed new blood. For Love!
Look you can elevate the Bar for Rodgers all you want. But No team goes to the Super-Bowl with a Mash unit.

+ REPLY
-3 points
4
7
croatpackfan's picture

November 25, 2022 at 02:51 am

"What Super-Bowl team has such a make shift OL for a MVP QB?"

Little hint - BENGALS last season!

+ REPLY
-1 points
2
3
stockholder's picture

November 25, 2022 at 07:40 am

They didn't have a MVP QB. They over achieved. Very Lucky.

+ REPLY
-1 points
2
3
croatpackfan's picture

November 25, 2022 at 11:02 am

So, if you have non MVP QB, you can achieve SB level with average QB?

After your remark, it is even worse comparison for ACR!

+ REPLY
-3 points
0
3
Pantz_Burp's picture

November 24, 2022 at 07:57 pm

Thanks to Tim in his post today, he brings up an oat soda called "Discount Dubbel Check.” It is a Belgian dubbel and here is the description from the brewery, Ope:

“On or off the field, this classic Belgian Dubbel with its malty body, slightly sweet finish, and elevated ABV will certainly help you R-E-L-A-X.”

This is my description of the DDC:

I found the DDC beer to be comfortable in its own hops. It starts out strong, maintains it's legs throughout and doesn't go flat by the 4th Quarter. It is a friendly beer (Grain Belt nod). One can throw it down the gullet with confidence knowing it is never bitter, never an aftertaste that sticks around for too long. The ingredients are easy to read, understand and trust. It's moderately priced...not super duper expensive or causing a hangover for years....

Go Pack Go!

+ REPLY
0 points
1
1
TarynsEyes's picture

November 24, 2022 at 08:12 pm

No such thing as luck.

Everything starts with an action and ends with a result.

+ REPLY
-1 points
1
2
Pantz_Burp's picture

November 24, 2022 at 08:15 pm

Or inaction.

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
croatpackfan's picture

November 25, 2022 at 02:57 am

Well, it is the question of word choices. "Inaction" is also one kind of action! It is very often that inaction is choice action act of freighten person(s) or person(s) who is/are not sure what to do. And they hope that problem will disapear by itself. It never does. It just grow to epic proportion. And make true action much harder and radical when finally those person(s) chose different activity than inactivity.

EDIT: "I sinned by thought, deed and omission"

+ REPLY
0 points
1
1
Starrbrite's picture

November 24, 2022 at 09:02 pm

Words of a scientist.

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
fangirl's picture

November 24, 2022 at 08:50 pm

No mention by posters of huge contracts offered to Jaire, Campbell, Douglass.
There is no ligament or structural damage to Campbell's knee--how much longer is he going to sit?
Jaire barely tackles.
There are millions tied up w/those three.

+ REPLY
-1 points
3
4
LeotisHarris's picture

November 24, 2022 at 09:07 pm

Always nice to see your posts, Blu of Earth.

+ REPLY
3 points
3
0
fangirl's picture

November 24, 2022 at 09:59 pm

Blue of Earth--that's a good one. I guess I interrupted the Aaron Rodger's hate club.

I know Rodgers is the 'entire problem' but watch tomorrow when Jaire can't be bothered to tackle, Savage runs around in circles (never tackles), Douglass is inconsistent, Campbell is still out, the ST's screw up. Let the fun begin.

Like I said earlier, the secondary is already in Cabo.

~

+ REPLY
-5 points
1
6
Fubared's picture

November 24, 2022 at 10:43 pm

I agree this management is doing it totally wrong. I say a lot has to do with saving face. No one wants to make the boss look bad. If you reward your players with big contracts that's fine if they are playmakers and stars, they get that.
Were rewarding average players with big money and then wondering why all of a sudden they suck. Hey they were avg. You were too fn lazy to dump them and do the real work to find replacements.

+ REPLY
1 points
2
1
SinceLombardi's picture

November 25, 2022 at 08:38 pm

I think except for some penalties Douglass has played fairly well. At least he plays with some attitude… something sorely missing on this unit.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Alberta_Packer's picture

November 24, 2022 at 10:05 pm

Only Elon Musk's gross over payment of twitter rivals the absurdity of bringing back Rodgers at $50m this year. Any investment manager worth their salt, would never pay a top-of-the-market price for an aging and declining asset. Also a player's third contract has generally been better for the player than the team. Apparently Packers management hasn't figured that out (and Bill Bellichick has). Typically, Packers management has been prone to doing things one year too late - than early. In short, a team is always a reflection of its management.

+ REPLY
3 points
6
3
jannes bjornson's picture

November 25, 2022 at 12:33 pm

True thoughts, but a Marketing Manager would pay the piper...

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Fubared's picture

November 24, 2022 at 10:38 pm

Lets look at it differently. Lets say the pack told Rodgers no can do, and got a 1 and 2 pick for him and saved the big money for free agents and such. The go into the 2022 draft with 3 ones, two twos, a three, a four, two fifths, one six and a seventh. (we also dealth Adams)
You get a quality QB with your what 7th pick in the draft maybe PIckett from Pitt? You get one top receiver and a pass rusher.
Second round, a very good linebacker, maybe two. Third and fourth rounds two receivers, fifth sixth and seventh fill in positions - o line, safety.
You take the money you saved and pick up three quality free agents, one linebacker, one pass rusher and a corner.
You cant tell me this packer team we just put together couldnt out play the team we got now without Rodgers, MVS, Adams and St Brown.
Not to mention we still have the bucks to do some more free agents in the 2024 draft and fill some critical holes for complete the rebuild.
This is really what other teams have been doing, getting rid of the high priced guys for picks, saving money and getting needed free agents to step in and play ball now.

+ REPLY
7 points
7
0
Fubared's picture

November 24, 2022 at 10:54 pm

Just watched the Vikes game. They have a team with very very very young talented players they drafted smartly - Cook and Jefferson, Both pro bowl talents and play makers, game makers.
Then they filled key holes with experienced free agents - Sullivan and Smith from us. They have free agents on both sides the ball who can still play and have value.
They get a top kicker who has been one of the best in the league so far.
They traded away guys like a Bak who reached that point in life they still had value but the down hill slide was near. They didnt break the bank with sentiment and keep them they got picks and moved on.
In other words the team your seeing is one that was created and manufactured by knowing draft talent, moving by trades to get that talent, knowing what talented free agents were out there and having the money to acquire them. the Vikes play well because they are well managed and coached and have talent all over the place.
The packers are nothing like this and now its showing that this was a one trick poney team and the poney has gotten old.

+ REPLY
-2 points
2
4
EnemyTerritory's picture

November 25, 2022 at 08:24 pm

To a certain extent this is correct but it misses a few key points. First, the Vikings have been a second tier team for the better part of a decade only occasionally rising to the top but having the same lack of SB success as the green and gold. Their draft picks have been higher each round. Second, the team had a horrible O Line for years and the QB was considered to have a massively over priced contract. Third, the team had salary cap issues also. The key difference is that the ownership sacked the GM and the HC and brought in fresh blood.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
LLCHESTY's picture

November 26, 2022 at 06:35 am

Did you watch them the week before?

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
canadapacker's picture

November 24, 2022 at 11:01 pm

I am not going to say that everyone should RELAX - maybe I should say that everyone should take a Valium or 3.
Just look at the money that is being paid to other guys such as Wilson, Stafford, Carr ( and Adams) Murray Wentz and Matt Ryan etc So stop complaining . Now I believe that we should play Love to see if he is going to be the real deal - and we can pull a Jimmy G - ie resign him if he has potential. Now 12 will be back next year no matter where we end up - why?? - because he is getting $59 million guaranteed next year, thats why. So play AR as much as needed to get ready for next year if and when we become done and sprinkle in some Love.

Finally we could - just maybe beat Phillie - if we have Quay spy on Hurts all the time and if the D plays up to snuff and since the Oline seems to be better and if they continue to give AR and AJ and company a chance. The Colts gave them a game only to give it up in the end - and we are better than they are.

+ REPLY
0 points
2
2
SinceLombardi's picture

November 25, 2022 at 08:41 pm

Are we better than the Colts??

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
croatpackfan's picture

November 25, 2022 at 03:14 am

Let see how those teams, which pay huge salaries to their QBs pan out - Denver Broncos 3-7, LAR 3-7, LV Raiders 3-7, Arizona Cardinals 4-7, Indianapolis colts 4-6-1, Washington Commanders were down and benched Wentz in favor of their backup Heinecke. After they benched Wentz, they are now 6-5!

I wonder what we can learn from that?

Maybe: paying ransom money to your QB means you'll suck and you would have better record with your backup?

Or I might be wrong! But pattern is there...

EDIT: Interesting how people do not like stats when they are not supporting their claims and how they like in opposite situation!

+ REPLY
0 points
4
4
PatrickGB's picture

November 25, 2022 at 05:20 am

While I agree with most posters that Rodgers salary hangs like an albatross on the neck of our cap, I also think that Covid and injury’s to key players played a role. When the cap dropped it messed up the plans of the front office. I believe that the money paid some of the players was about right if the cap rose as predicted before Covid. I think that the team could have weathered even this storm if not for the poor play of rookies trying to fill Adams shoes and lingering injuries to key players.

+ REPLY
-2 points
0
2
croatpackfan's picture

November 25, 2022 at 08:49 am

Patrick, huge contract w/ACR was signed this season (ok, extension). They already knew that salary cap will be less than it was expected before Covid issue. So, that is not excuse...

+ REPLY
-1 points
0
1
PatrickGB's picture

November 25, 2022 at 01:46 pm

True. Not for him. Yet they also figured that most everyone else could be shoehorned in. And they also did not predict the injuries.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
croatpackfan's picture

November 25, 2022 at 04:58 pm

Yeah. Injuries are so rare in NFL, they never have one thought it can happen. Just "bad luck". Or, maybe catastrofic design?

+ REPLY
-1 points
0
1
Lphill's picture

November 25, 2022 at 05:35 am

So basically the Packers problems have nothing to do with a soft defense that can’t get off the field on 3 rd down and a kicker who can’t kick a touchback and a head coach who can’t make in game adjustments.

+ REPLY
3 points
5
2
croatpackfan's picture

November 25, 2022 at 08:52 am

We do not know if there is some in game adjustments, to be completely honest with you. Maybe MLF were making those adjustment, just to be overruled at the line of scrimmage. Nobody tells us what happens. Not HC, nor QB.

+ REPLY
-2 points
1
3
LambeauPlain's picture

November 25, 2022 at 09:44 am

Maybe I missed it, but I have not heard the usual accolades from the players about the leadership of #12 this year.

Making yourself the leader requires looking in the mirror as well as over your shoulder to see if anyone is following.

I think the arrogant, petulant, self entitled, new age goofy, me first attitude is wearing very thin in the locker room.

I will be revealing to read what was really going behind closed doors post Rodgers.

+ REPLY
5 points
5
0
SinceLombardi's picture

November 25, 2022 at 08:34 pm

Don’t forget they extended MLF and he’s been less than expected too.

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
asmith1969's picture

November 27, 2022 at 10:20 am

Your last sentence contained the word “hope.” Hope is never a strategy. GB clearly needs bold decisions, by bold leaders. Does GB have the structure in place to right the ship? That’s the real question. I don’t think anybody really knows. They better “hope” so. LOL! GPG! 👊👍🏈

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0

Log in to comment 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.