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The Rise and ___ of the Thompson Empire

By Category

The Rise and ___ of the Thompson Empire

A. Fall
B. Dip
C. Continuation
D. Revival

The Packers enter the 2013 offseason with, as usual, a laundry list of issues to address, and the man in charge of the Packers is still the man who engineered the rebuilding of a Packer team that won the 2010 Super Bowl. No problems, right?

But unlike past years, this offseason could easily represent a crossroads for Ted Thompson and the Packers playoff arc: will it continue, or start a steady decline that will increasingly necessitate more drastic measures to reverse? Since the Super Bowl victory two years ago, the Packers have gone 26-6 in the regular season, but suffered two humbling early playoff losses.

And moreover, the Packers' hand has been forced to dedicate a large amount of salary cap space to just a few superstar players. This action will coincide with the departure of anywhere from a few to several longtime veterans likely getting contract renegotiations or sent packing. And it is nothing the NFL has never seen before.

It's the nature of the best. There are two "empire paths" a Super Bowl winning team can take: the path of Bill Belichick and the Patriots, and the path of every other NFL team in history, particularly since the advent of free agency and the salary cap in the early 1990's.  The deck is stacked against the successful: eventually, drafting late in each round and watching your talent get picked off by other teams in free agency will bring about the decline of the empire.

It will happen someday. Of that there is no doubt. The Packers have had an unprecedented run since 1992, with only two losing seasons in 21 attempts. Thompson's regime can lay claim to both of those seasons, but he capitalized on the draft position to bring into the fold the very three high first-round draft choices ready to cash in.

What impact those three bloated salary cap figures will have on the Packers' organization will be up for debate, but there's no doubt that this falls right into the path we saw early on with the dynasty teams of the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers in the 1990s, when superstars with most of the cap space were surrounded by lesser and lesser talent. Those teams held on for as long as they possibly could, trying to milk one more year out of their stars before being forced to rebuild from scratch in order to contend again.

Obviously, much has changed since those days. The rookie salary cap has made those high draft picks not as much as a risk, but the other shoe is that the overall cap isn't increasing with the same vigor it was prior to the lockout. And Thompson has been a master of his roster, willing to part with the Mike Sherman holdovers, even if they were still good players, if they weren't going to be worth the coin for what they contributed on the field. His eschewing of the free agency market and dedication to scouting and drafting good players has kept this team under the cap and competitive on the field over his entire career.

But this is the offseason that will test Thompson's mettle. In order to keep his prized first-round hits Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews, and BJ Raji, other veterans will be let go. Greg Jennings is as good as gone, a #1 receiver for any team in the NFL. But other names may also be departing this year, ranging from Charles Woodson to Jermichael Finley to AJ Hawk to Ryan Pickett. The question is whether the Packers have the talent in place to not suffer a drop-off without them.

In today's NFL, you don't need superstars at every position like you did when the Packers won in 1996. In fact, you can make the case that Green Bay's fourth Lombardi Trophy was won in 2010 by having just enough talent where it was needed, right at the moment the team gelled in time for the playoffs. Every team that wins a Super Bowl nowadays is flawed somewhere in its starting lineup--there are no complete teams anymore. But those teams are able to compensate properly for those weaknesses.

The problem is that the Packers have already lost some of the key pieces of the jigsaw puzzle. In retrospect, the loss of Cullen Jenkins, one of those high-priced veterans that, like Jennings, had to be considered expendable has never been replaced. The lack of a pass rush on the defensive side of the ball has given opposing quarterbacks ample time to survey the field the past few seasons, particularly in playoff games. And losing Nick Collins may have been the keystone getting pulled out. He was the glue at free safety, the quarterback of the defense, and since his departure the Packers' secondary (despite having some of the best talent in the league) have been flawed.

In other words, if the Packers already have lost key pieces, and are bound to lose more key pieces this year, and are paying out major money to simply maintain the talent they already have. How will the Packers continue to have enough talent to truly compete in playoff games? While we can look at the roster and say, "How can we NOT have enough talent with Clay Matthews and Aaron Rodgers??", the reality is that their talent hasn't been enough against the Giants in 2011 and the 49ers in 2012. And while we know Thompson can draft, can he really draft well enough to not only cover the holes the Packers already have (offensive tackle, running back, outside linebacker), can he draft well enough to also cover all the positions that become needs when Jennings, Woodson, Pickett, and Hawk all potentially leave?

On the season-ending "Heat of the Moment" podcast, I was somewhat concerned when co-hosts Colleen and Chris petitioned that we needed to keep the team together to "win one more Super Bowl for Aaron Rodgers". No, I wasn't somewhat concerned, I was stunned. Isn't that the mentality we had with Brett Favre for all those years, that we had to trade for Randy Moss so Favre could get one more Super Bowl? Yet he never won another one, Randy Moss or not. The Packers were good under Mike Sherman and the first few years of Mike McCarthy, but not good enough to get to the Super Bowl. It took a virtual rebuild around Favre (setting the stage for Rodgers when it was done) to get the Packers back to the Super Bowl.

And to a degree, Thompson may need to look towards Bill Belichick's unconventional moves if he wants to keep this momentum going. No one saw the release of Lawyer Malloy or the trade of Richard Seymour coming. Most would say it would have been smarter to keep them on the roster. But he didn't take the safe route, and as a result, the Patriots have continued to be Super Bowl contenders for over a decade with nary a lapse in their playoff appearances.

"Winning one for Aaron", with the present roster conditions, has the odds stacked against it. The Packers pick 26th this year, after picking at #28 last year and, of course, #32 the year before. Picking at the end of every round dilutes the talent coming in, and eventually catches up to you. The large contracts likely going to Rodgers, Raji, and Matthews not only limit what players you can keep, but even if Thompson were to dip into the free agent market, his hands are even more tied unless he creates more cap room by releasing more veterans.

Now, all that said, I do have faith in Ted Thompson. But he's going to have to approach this roster the same way he approached Mike Sherman's roster: if you're not earning the coin you're getting paid, you're not going to be around for long. The question is whether he can face an underachieving player the he drafted and helped win a Super Bowl with the same cold and rational nature he did in 2005. Can he look at Tramon Williams with the same critical risk-reward eye that he did Darren Sharper? Can he afford to lose a veteran leader like Charles Woodson the way he could afford to lose Mike Wahle? And can he be as objective with Mason Crosby as he was with Ryan Longwell?

In letting some players leave via free agency, he can hope for a couple of late draft picks to bring in more project players that might develop in a season or two. But he might be better off trading a solid veteran, like Williams or Finley, for a second- or third-round draft pick. Or, he might have to be willing to trade away that third-rounder for a solid player, like the opportunity he had when he passed on Marshawn Lynch.  He might be tempted to let a number of underachieving players go in order to gain cap room to sign a free agent or two that, while expensive, would make a bigger impact.  In the end, he needs to have just enough talent in place that, when the team gels, is good enough to win playoff games and Super Bowls, just as his team did in 2010.

But Thompson may have to break his mold this offseason in order to continue his success and avert the decline that comes to punish your success. Ted Thompson may have written the book on how to build a Super Bowl team through the draft, but he may want to read Belichick's book on how to maintain that team after  you've won it.


C.D. Angeli is a longtime Packer fan and feature writer for CheeseheadTV. He is also the co-host of Cheesehead Radio and good cop over at Follow him on Twitter at @TundraVision.DM him for a Cliff's Notes version of this article.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (46) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Satori's picture

Belichick's Patriots lost to the 2007 Giants just like Thompson's Packers

Belichicks Patriots lost to the 2011 Giants, just like Thompson's Packers

Belichicks Patirots lost at home vs the 2012 49ers, just like Thompson's Packers

And interestingly enough, Belichick's Super Bowl victories slowed down considerably with the loss of Milloy and Seymour...

Thompson certainly has his work cut out for him, but I wouldn't hold up Belichick as the path to follow going forward

Evan's picture

Stole the words right out of my mouth.

tundravision's picture

Totally get it. But if that's all you're drawing out of the piece, you're missing the point. The Pats should have crashed and burned by now, had a major rebuild project in place. Instead, they've been doing minor rebuilds all along.

Whether that translates into the exact wins in the exact seasons that the Packers had losses isn't what's debatable. Its that the Packers underwent a complete (and somewhat painful) overhaul in the mid-2000's. The Patriots have not.

Clay's picture

Well written and thought out CD.

I would have to concur with the gentleman who responded.

The singular reason for the Pats' success is Brady. I live here in New England and have only Pats football talk radio to listen to. I know the team pretty well.

The Pats traded away draft picks with the Packers whereby the Packers then picked Clay Matthews and Greg Jennings.

Last year they traded again resulting in the Pack getting Casey Hayward (might have been Worthy, but pretty sure Hayward). The players picked by Bill in return have never been heard from again.

Bill hasn't really really hit on a defensive draft pick like in eons. The last time he had a real defense (2001-2004) it was Parcell's D.

The Pats play in the most pathetic division in football and are a shoe in to the playoffs every year for this reason.

Tom Brady...good coach (overrated in my opinion...weak division...weak conference equals MUCH SUCCESS (In the words of Borat).

Bill is good at managing cap and always seems to have a lot of high picks. Not saying he sucks BUT really his formula is quite similar to Thompson and I don't see what homeruns he has hit in the last few years save for a few lineman and of course Gronk.

I expect the pack to have similar success as the Pats with Rodgers at the wheel and...they are. What will put them over the hump????

Thompson needs to have his finest hour and lady luck needs to show up.

Idiot Fan's picture

Nice post. Totally agree. Although I thought BB's introduction of the Oregon-style superfast no-huddle offense this year was the type of adaptation that I would like to see from MM.

tundravision's picture

Great response. Thanks.

One difference I'd point out is the reliance of the Pats on Brady vs. the reliance of the Colts on Manning. Seems to me that Belichick seemed to keep the supporting cast fluid and high level, while the Colts seemed to become the Manning, Freeney, Mathis, and Sanders show, eventually falling to a ten-win season in 2010 and carrying tons of dead weight through the past few seasons.

That's the difference I'm trying to point out, not that the Pats are the model for the world, but to keep the roster around Matthews/Rodgers fluid and playing at a high level.

Satori's picture

Thanks CD, always enjoy your work

One big difference: The Packers also changed quarterbacks in that time frame... and very few teams facing the loss of a HOF QB have rebounded as quickly and as well as the Thompson's World Champion Packers.

Belichick didn't have to deal with any of the retirement BS or the changing of the undisputed leader of his team. That's huge
Yet Thompson's Packers won a Super Bowl in 2010. What do the patriots have to show for their minor rebuilds or outside-the- box thinking ? Lets see how well Belichick can captain the ship when Brady retires...I get the point you're trying to make, I just don't buy that its a valid comparison

Thompson also got the better of Belichick in the Chad Jackson trade, the Matthews trade and the Casey Hayward trade on draft day too as noted by others.

You can opine about Billy all ya like, but the fact is - the GB front office is kicking their ass.

Now comes the next round of release & replace and I am guessing the Packers will do a good job here as well.

Thompson's already made some pretty difficult decisions and said good- bye to Sharper, Driver, Favre, Clifton, Jenkins, Tauscher, Harris and others. And he'll continue to do the same in 2013... without any help from New England's favorite son

tundravision's picture

And I think this is an important year for that release-and-replace. Thompson has never been in a position to give any quarterback an NFL-best deal, and is now in the position to give out three at once at three prime-time positions.

What happens from here is critical. I love TT and think he's done a great job. Proved me wrong several times. I just think under these circumstances the script has to change, and I hope he can do it.

CSS's picture

Pretty simple, isn't it. A superstar QB in a perpetually weak conference and division. The one year they don't have him in said weak league they whiff on the playoffs.

Also, Belichick and Thompson both get it. You invest in a handful of superstars and manage your cap on the back-end by churning older veterans on the cusp of that last deal before the production declines and draft your replacements in a now financially viable structure through the draft.

tundravision's picture

Well stated. The question is whether he's going to look at those underperforming veterans he now has a personal investment in and make those tough decisions.

CSS's picture

Seems like he's been doing that all along considering how much he covets draft picks in the building process:

The back-end of his 09'draft, most of his 07' and 08' drafts were churned. He's been making those decisions all along, hasn't he? He's also made a choice to let the market decide on certain players like James Jones and soon to be Greg Jennings. The market said 'no thanks' on Jones and the Packers resigned him under market. Jennings scenario likely won't play in the same fashion, but Packers brass are taking a comparable tact.

tundravision's picture

The difficult part of using the WR position as the measuring stick, however, isn't completely fair. The Packers are stacked at WR, probably with the deepest depth chart in the league. They could afford to let then-underachieving Jones test the market, and now feel like Jennings can depart and adequately replace him with Nelson, Cobb, and Jones.

The more difficult place to look are at positions like cornerback or linebacker or defensive line, where there are underachieving players with nothing solid behind them.

CSS's picture

Your argument now doesn't make sense. A shortage of depth at a certain position almost makes the decision for you. Pay market value for the talent, draft and compete in camp. They've done that and you can tell by the drafting how they feel about talent level at certain positions. The hard decision would be diluting your overall talent level at a position of depth, i.e. wide receiver. Planning or managing to lose known quantities like Jones and Jennings is painful, yet here Thompson and Russ Ball are doing just that. Feels like there's a lot of goal-post moving in the discussion where you're trying to lead people to a conclusion you've already made.

tundravision's picture

That's exactly my point, CSS. Let's look at the elephant in the room: Tramon Williams. Playing nowhere near his 2010 form, and was in fact a liability more than once in the playoffs. Yet, I know folks who will chastise me for even mentioning his name because of all he achieved in 2010. But he's going to going $8.5M against the cap this year. Worth it?

These are the big decisions TT may have to away a key player who still has some name recognition from the Super Bowl and entrusting his scouting of his young players to step in...and then using an extra draft pick and cap room to make changes where he must to improve the team.

madmanJack's picture


Lou's picture

Ted built the Seahawks into a Super Bowl team and they got jobbed against the Steelers by the ref's, Holmgren made that clear and the league for the first time never responded (reprimand or fine) because they knew it was the case. Show me someone better than Thompson, I doubt that guy exists. If Jerry Jones was as bright as he claims he would have given Ted an open checkbook years ago to turn the Cowboys around. The Pat's haven't done so well after Spy Gate, I know the league also suspected they were bugging the locker rooms but apparently did not have enough to nail them on that too. That kind of behavior is not allowed in Titletown.

THEMichaelRose's picture

Good piece. The Packers aren't the only team with this problem, as you said it's just the nature of the beast.
Look at the Steelers, whose situation is much more dire than Green Bay's. Huge QB contract, no impact #1 draft picks, old injured guys with big contracts leading to cap hell. Maybe Green Bay will be at that point soon.
I think Green Bay will be fine though. Jennings leaving may look like a huge loss at face value because of his career contributions, but the truth is, he's pushing 30, it's time to split.
And I know everyone talks about these huge contracts coming up for Rodgers, Matthews, and Raji, but I would argue that while we will pay Rodgers and Matthews like the best players at their positions, Raji is not in that same boat. And if he finds a team to offer him that kind of money, we'll let him go. He hasn't been that special.
We should also feel very fortunate that we can get away paying Sam Shields what we're about to, since he was undrafted and has no leverage.
Guys like Shields and others are like him are the best evidence of why Ted is better suited to maintain a high level of performance, he can find very cheap and very capable replacements.

tundravision's picture

I actually agree with you on Raji...I don't know if he's worth a contract among the top 5 or 10 DTs in football.

So do you do a Richard Seymour with him, maybe get a first-rounder for him? Depends on what you want and how you feel about your defensive line.

Lars's picture

Raji is in no way worth elite $$$. Of course, neither are Hawk, Woodson and Finley and they are getting it and then some. It's not TT's way to trade his players before their contract expire and Raji will be no different. The line is thin enough.

THEMichaelRose's picture

The other thing is, the NFL sees maybe two or three trades a year in which a 3rd round pick or better is exchanged. So I agree, Raji won't be traded. He'll play out his deal and we'll see from there.
But my point is also that people who think Finley will get traded need to realize no one will give up even a mid-round pick for an expensive rental TE. It's just not the way the NFL operates.

alfredomartinez's picture

fat pun...hehehe

Ebongreen's picture

It's for reasons like this that I assume Woodson Hawk and Finley are likely to be either released or (in Finley's case) traded. With new deals for AR, CM3 and Raji looming, there's no space guys who aren't at the top of their positions.

In today's NFL, sooner or later you live and die by your drafts. A good run of drafts means playoffs and (if you're good and lucky) one or more rings. Failure to draft well mean a failure to sustain success.

The Packers coaches and front office should know it better than anyone, and should be looking at the 2011 and 2012 classes for off-season improvements. Will Nick Perry come on? Can Sherrod recover from his broken leg and compete? How about Terrell Manning, DJ Smith and Jerron McMillan, or (on offense) DuJuan Harris, Jarrett Boykin and Andrew Datko? 2013 is a make-or-break year for most of those players, and how well they pan out - like Randall Cobb has, and one presumes Bryan Bulaga has and will - will go a long way to say whether the Packers rise, sustain or fall in the short term.

packeraaron's picture

CD - to your point on Tramon Williams. Darren Perry made it pretty clear the starting CB jobs next year are wide open. That's exactly how he should be handled. Made to work for it.

Lars's picture

Thay won't pay Williams $9 million to sit the bench. We heard the same thing last season with Jarrett Bush-Shields last year and Bush got beat so bad in the 2012 opener he was out of the position by halftime. First, House has to prove he can stay healthy for more than a few weeks at a time.

tundravision's picture

You know, Aaron...the competition is a great thing when you have a lot of rookies battling to establish themselves. You shouldn't have a $9M Super Bowl veteran in his prime having to prove himself against the same rookies and unproven guys.

Not saying its a "must", but if Williams isn't going to be much better than the young guys, he has enough trade value to, say, get Thompson into the top ten if he wanted to.

But $9M is a lot of money to pay a guy who ends up being only marginally better than Sam Shields or Davon House or MD Jennings. And its way too much to pay someone is only as good or worse.

That's the point, Aaron: Thompson may have to pull the plug on players that are popular and beloved, just like he did in 2005 and 2006. If he's not willing to let those players go or max out their value on the open market, it robs the team of valuable cap space and talent that could be acquired.

Derek's picture

One thing about TT, although it is impossible to hit on all draft picks, just look at how many former Packers are starters or major contributors on other teams. There are a ton. That's at least a testament to the depth the Packers have built over the last few years.

Tommy's picture

I pick B. The Packers won't be horrible but they're going to fall from SB contention for at least a couple of years. They'll be a Chicago Bears or Cincinnati Bengals - make the playoffs perhaps but have no real shot at a SB.

By the way, the Patriots have fallen far ever since they stopped being able to film opposing teams' signals. No SB rings in 8 years.

Evan's picture

In the NFL, if you make the playoffs you have a legit chance at the Super Bowl.

cow42's picture

the vikings had a legit shot to make the SB?

i disagree.

Ken's picture

I hate the Patriots but give credit where credit is due. Belechick/Brady has won 3 Super Bowls and lost two Superbowls in the last, what, 12 years? 5 Superbowls in 12 years? Nobody even comes close. TT not signing Cullen Jenkins really hurt the Packers and might have cost them a Super Bowl in 2011. Ron Wolf said his greatest mistake was not resigning Sean Jones after the 1996 SuperBowl and when Jenkins was not resigned, there were articles questioning whether there would be the same time of regret about not signing Jenkins. Rodgers has only a 6 year window remaining to win a Super Bowl and TT needs to pull some rabbits out of the hat within this window. ROn Wolf signed lots of good free agents (not mega free agents)(Eugene Robinson, Santana Dotson, Sean Jones, etc.) at reasonable prices bc they wanted to come to GB to win a SuperBowl with Reggie White and Brett Favre. Time for TT to complement his draft and development systems by finding some good veteran free agents with the same mindset who want to win with Rodgers and Matthews bc I think just to draft and develop might take too long to take advantage of Rodgers window.

Lou's picture

The Eagles thought it would "take too long" and the past 2 years emptied their purse and built "The Dream Team", where are they now that most of them including Jenkin's this year underachieved ? They are either still there over payed and hurting the cap because they can't be traded, or flat out cut. And as they will find out this year the QB they originally signed to a $100M contract now restructured to a 1 year deal will "kill another coach". I like the way Ted Thompson does it, the other approach (Dallas & Washington other examples) does not work.

Lars's picture

I'd say a continuation of the Ted Thompson. Really shouldn't look at it as a "window" of opportunity for one player. That meme' was proved false when Favre was replaced by Favre. Thompson will stick to the plan.

cow42's picture

what's the big deal?
trading or cutting...
woodson gonna open up a bunch of $.
and the drop off won't be that much.
we overrate these guys because they play for our team.
none of them are anywhere near elite type players.

i'll start worrying when they have to start letting guys go who are in their primes (jennings is on the down side).

the only players on this team you CAN'T lose right now are...

maybe Nelson

everyone else isn't that far above league average (i.e. can be replaced).

dawg's picture


Point Packer's picture

Yeah, you are full of your usual BS.

One question: Who is going to catch 61 passes at the TE position next year for GB is Finley is released?

9th best in the league - FYI. Genius.

Brian's picture


Lucky953's picture

Good piece. The Packers have been particularly hurt by injuries. Next man up, but it really messes with your rhythm.
Woodson and Jennings are gone
Finley stays cuz AR needs the weapon
I like the idea of trading Tramon in order to get additional picks: need a left tackle big time, nose tackle to replace Raji when he leaves, and a move-the-pile RB

mark's picture

"The Packers have been particularly hurt by injuries."


sparkyo's picture

Don't know why some say Tramon would bring much in a trade; other teams will see he is a shadow of his former physical self. Woodson can't run anymore. Hawk has dead money and likely may not leave. Crosby needs competition in camp. Raji is too inconsistent, get two lesser-ranked big guys for him in draft. Kuhn over the hill.

Jer's picture


What are the cap savings for trading Tramon Williams? What would be the cap implications for the team trading FOR him?

I'm not necessarily opposed to trading Williams, but I know a lot of times trades are difficult because of the cap hit for one or both teams involved. But I have no idea what that would be for Tramon Williams. I assume it must be a realistic scenario if you proposed it here. So it might be worth thinking about.

tundravision's picture

I won't claim to be a capologist, but he signed a contract in '10 with a $6M signing bonus. He is still under that contract for '13 and '14 and becomes a free agent in '15.

He is only due $300,000 roster bonuses this upcoming year and next, but counts $8.5M against the cap this year.

I assume that the Packers eat the remaining portion of his signing bonus, which would be $2.4M in dead space, freeing up approximately $6M. The team that would receive Williams in trade would assume his $5.9M base this year and $6.9M base next year, plus those roster bonuses, I believe.

Jer's picture

To the overall big picture, I think you did a wonderful job summarizing the challenges a team like the Packers face.

It's even harder now than it was during the Favre era or during Brady and Manning's prime because of the rookie contracts. As of just a few years ago teams like the Lions and Rams would get these high picks every year that they didn't even want because of the money they would have to pay. In years that didn't have an Eli Manning or Andrew Luck, a team with the 1st overall pick would have gladly traded that pick straight up for a team drafting 10th or 15th just to avoid having that monster contract destroying their cap.

Now with even the highest picks getting relatively little money, it's easier for teams near the bottom to climb up the ladder and it's even harder for teams to stay on top.

The Packers face the additional challenge of playing a tough division and a deep conference. What I wouldn't do to trade places with NE or Denver, or even Indianapolis for a couple years. It wouldn't make us the best team in the league, but it would certainly make the path to the SB a lot easier.

Certainly the Packers face huge challenges. I'm happy we have Ted Thompson, and ever more happy we have Aaron Rodgers. Even so, it's hard not to feel a little discouraged.

Jer's picture

One thing the Patriots have done that I don't expect TT will emulate, is that they've looked for players with talent that are inexpensive because of character issues. Guys like Randy Moss, Ocho Cinco, Haynesworth, Talib, etc.

They've had mixed results with that approach, but they get them on the cheap because other teams don't want to deal with their crap. I doubt that's Thompson's style though, and it'd be tough to stomach rooting for a team like that.

madmanJack's picture

mixed results? none of those guys panned out for them.

Evan's picture

Moss from 2007-2009 certainly panned out (250 catches, 3,700+ yards, 47 TD). Ditto for Corey Dillon in 2004, another character guy they took a chance on. And I believe Talib played well last year, too.

Haynesworth and OchoCinco were busts, though.

PackerNation's picture

Yes, I remember when people said "win one for Favre". In fact, I remember YOU being the loudest voice in the chorus. It's nice to see that you FINALLY have admitted that was wrong.

I don't think Thompson needs any lessons from Bellichick. This is a guy who has the best QB in the weakest division and he hasn't won squat since the league put a stop to his cheating.

To your larger point, I think Thompson will not tie up a bunch of money in players over 30. Matthews is clearly worth resigning. Raji really got pushed around in the playoffs and we'll need to get better at that position. And Rodgers is about to join that group of QBs who are still really good but don't win the Brady, Manning, Brees, and every other QB over 30.

And we didn't have to 'rebuild around Favre' to get back to the Super Bowl; we had to replace him with a QB that didn't constantly pee his pants in the playoffs. I know you don't like to admit that about your Hero, but it's the truth.

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