Packers XLV

Beware the Arrghs of March

Posted February 17th, 2014 @ 03:02am

I know, it's infuriating. No, not the fact that I've been silent for a few weeks. Okay, that might be a bit infuriating too. I'm talking about the month of March. March means free agency. The month when Ted hibernates.

You know the drill. Teams like the Redskins and Jets will make headlines by adding veterans and you'll say to yourself, or to anyone who's listening, 'Come on Ted. Do something. Show us you have a pulse. Draft and develop can only take you so far. And when some of those draft picks stink like limburger cheese, and then you get more than your share of injuries, well, it makes for a quick January.'

You think, maybe this year will be different. After all, the team entered the 2013 season figuring it would have to pay big money to pending free agents BJ Raji and Jermichael Finley. But now it looks like they'll let both guys test the waters and it's likely both will be wearing different uniforms in 2014. That frees up a lot of money--much of which will hopefully be earmarked for Sam Shields, the team's most important free agent.

Most of the other free agents are complementary guys, most of whom could be replaced without much fanfare. The guys I'd like to see the team hold on to: Shields, Johnny Jolly, Ryan Pickett, Mike Neal and John Kuhn. Of the others, James Jones and Andrew Quarless would be nice to keep around--it depends whether either catches another team's eye. Jones missed out on a payday three years ago. His 2012 campaign may be fresh enough in one team's mind to deliver a richer contract than the Packers want to offer.

So here's what's going to happen next month. On the eve of free agency you'll go to bed with visions of safeties Jairus Byrd or Donte Whitner in green and gold dancing in your head. Then within a few days, those guys will be playing in greener pastures and there will be an unconfirmed Ted Thompson sighting at a Chipotle. Other than that, we'll get crickets coming from 1265 Lombardi Avenue.

Save the frustration. Save the belly aching. March is for teams like the Dolphins to overpay guys like Mike Wallace. Or for the Vikings to grab a couple of ex-Packers. It's not when championship teams are built.

Would I like the Pack to dabble a bit? Sure. This is a team on the short list of Super Bowl contenders. A couple of veteran pieces could make a world of difference. But it's not how Thompson is wired. The team will need to pay guys like Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson, as well as a few of their current free agents; that will be the team's priority heading into the draft.

So remember. March will be maddening. Guys will leave the team and Ted won't immediately replace them. Then will come April and all of the draft hype. The actual draft has been pushed back to May, so for a couple of months and change you'll have no idea what the '14 roster will look like, but you will see a ton of old faces in other new places.

Relax. Take a breath. No matter what happens this spring, if #12 is vertical for 16 games next season, the Packers will be in the hunt. March madness is for most of the other 31 teams. For Packer fans, under Ted's watch, it will likely always be March silence.

 

 

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Comments (10):

I couldn\'t agree more Dave, I found that post from Ian Rapport to be laughable. No chance TT makes a move, if he does, it will be a Matthew Mulligan type and if I am right, he goes the inexpensive route, I would like to see Jim Leonhard. But that might be a little too much from Thompson.

on February 17th, 2014 at 12:38pm

[I apologize for my long post in advance, but I hope it gets you thinking…] “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” for fans of lousy teams, teams with short-sighted general managers, and owners with more money than brains who think they can buy themselves a championship roster. I know, I know…everyone keeps bring up the classic exception to the rule – that being Reggie White. For the benefit of those who aren’t aware of the back story, here we go. Back in the early 90’s when free agency was in its infancy, teams such as the Eagles figured that White would NEVER leave; therefore, the Eagles and everyone else learned a valuable lesson…if your core guys have a lot left in them, you lock them up. Teams don’t let it get to that point anymore. If a guy on your roster is central to your success, you don’t let him go. Another exception, but under different circumstances, is Charles Woodson. He was a talented guy on a lousy team (Oakland) that no one (except Ron Wolf) thought he had anything left in the tank, which is why he was on the free agent market as long as he was – several weeks if I recall. Now…fast forward to today’s salary cap driven league. A given potential free agent is about to hit the market. There’s usually an assortment of reasons why he’s hitting the market, such as: a) he’s a talented guy that’s been around a while on a lousy team that’s due a huge contract; b) he’s a guy who’s been around a while (on either a good or bad team) that has a good track record and THINKS he’s entitled to a big contract; c) he’s a guy that’s marginally talented on a good team that was able to mask that talent based on the success of his (potentially soon-to-be-former) team; d) he’s a one year wonder boy trying to cash in; d) he’s a good player buried on the roster of a lousy team that’s even lousier at its talent evaluation process and is willing to let the guy go cheap (maybe even cut him outright). Now keep in mind there are exceptions to all of this, but you have to admit they are probably the most common situations. So, now that FA time is upon us, and you see a guy available you’re drooling over, ask yourself this question: Why is his team willing to let him walk? There has to be a plausible reason for it, and you better hope its option D I laid out above, because if it’s A, B, or C, you want nothing to do with him. The only teams that sign the big dollar contracts the first few days are the desperate ones. The only fans that want to sign those guys are the desperate ones. Thompson is not desperate. The entire Packers organization is not desperate, and one of the reasons they aren’t desperate is the long waiting list for season tickets. Teams that don’t have long waiting lists, and in some cases, empty seats, are desperate. They’ll do anything to sell tickets, including signing big buck free agents to stir up excitement. So let’s take this one step further – suppose Team X signs Free Agent Y to a big buck contract. Team X has to appropriate the funds to cover that contact literally on the day it get signed, for however long the contract is. And if Team X gets cash strapped 3 years into a five year deal, they could always push that money out into future cap years, but those monies will get subtracted from future caps and that’s money they can’t use to sign anybody else. If the guy is a home run for those five years, it could very well be worth it, but what if he’s a complete bust? Or even a partial bust? Some fans claim it’s the same risk when you draft a guy, and to a certain degree that’s true, but the risk level is much lower with a draft choice because the financial investment isn’t as great, and you can usually correct it with subsequent drafts. Some people criticize Thompson for his draft-and-develop system, but consider this point: there’s only one team in the league who’s been in the playoffs 6 of the last 7 seasons (the last 5 consecutively), 3 of those 6 in the NFC championship game, and one Super Bowl victory – and you know which team that is. If that doesn’t define a system that works, you’ll have a hard time convincing me of another one that’s better.

on February 18th, 2014 at 04:13pm

Oops...I had 2 \"D\" options inadvertently. I think you can figure out between the two which the preferred one is. :-) Sorry about that.

on February 18th, 2014 at 04:18pm

If you want to keep AR vertical next year, you might want to invest some picks/free agent $ in a bunch of new offensive linemen. Bustlaga needs wheelchair, Sitton is on a the downturn, ED-S won\'t be re-signed (and blows), and Barclay is garbage.

on February 18th, 2014 at 08:43am

Welcome back Davy. !!...unless you took the golf clubs to a warmer clim its been a while. Since your still on radio and going to your sons BB games it must be the smoke from the poker tables your wiping from your eyes. To the Pack...yes TT will be at the combine trying to find the next Derick Sherod but we can only dream of impact free agents. As to our last 4 first round draft choices...Buluga, Sherrod, Perry, and Jones that class ranks last over the last 4 years averaging 8.2 games and 4.4 starts from the 32 team NFL league. LAST !! This year the Pack drafts # 21 their highest in 5 years so we can not afford a pick like the aforementioned Quarto. I....like many are for a safety if a difference maker is available....I would prefer getting one in free agency but this is TT. Please no more MD Jennings...in 26 NFL starts he had 1 interception and 3 pass deflections. If you put a stationary concrete statue of Ray Nitchske 20 yards back from scrimmage you would get more deflections. Long way to go to the combine so lets play TT. GO PACK GO !!

on February 18th, 2014 at 09:16am

I\'ve had some hopes that TT would do one major thing in free agency this year: sign a safety. Landing T.J. Ward of Cleveland would be reminiscient, though not on the same scale, as the Charles Woodson signing 8 years ago. But I have come to expect that we\'ll probably see a typical Packers offseason where the effort is to resign their own guys they want and can afford under the sal-cap. Sam Shield, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Mike Neal and Matt Flynn should be the priority players. B.J. Raji has never been at the level of his top ten draft pick pedigree and appears to prefer playing in a 4-3 so he\'s almost certainly going elsewhere. Jermichael Finley is questionable medically and has always been injury prone and inconsistent. The draft class this year is deep at tight end and a replacement can be found there. Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Jarrett Boykin give the Packers a strong receiver core so keeping James Jones, though ideal, isn\'t critical. The money saved from Raji, Finley and maybe Jones might enable to the team to keep John Kuhn, Andrew Quarless, James Starks, C.J. Wilson, Johnny Jolly, Ryan Pickett. Although the only ones of that group that really excites would be Kuhn and Starks. There\'s some good big men in this year\'s draft class that could fill the d-line need, at least not being any worse than what the Packers have had there in recent seasons. They need to get younger and stronger there anyway. I guess the record that Ted Thompson & Mike McCarthy have compiled in their 8 years running the football team speaks for itself. Though we have to wonder whether it hasn\'t shorted us 2 0r 3 more Super Bowls during that time of general success.

on February 27th, 2014 at 06:34am

Closed circuit to Rick Spielman: Listen to AP and sign Vick. He\'s 34, will eat up a roster spot, won\'t finish the season, can\'t throw with any accuracy and will bring along a bunch of baggage for Zimmer to deal with. Leave it to your star running back to make personnel decisions for you. :-)

on March 7th, 2014 at 11:47am

thank U TT for shields. we need him badly. now draft Ebron te from n.c at #21. I looked at his tape, 12 will love him, and sign a safety. Byrd will be to spendy, but get someone better then jennings. sign cobb and nelson to 4 year contracts and get a lb in 2nd round and we won\'t be to bad. CASSEL to vikings, OH MY. GO Pack

on March 9th, 2014 at 11:38am

thank U TT for sheilds, we needed him badly. Now sign a safety. Byrd will be to spendy, but someone has to be better then jennings. then draft Ebron te from N.C. Isaw his tape, 12 will love him in middle of field. sign nelson and cobb to 4 year deals, draft a lb in 2nd rd. and i\'ll take my chances. CASSEL to vikes, OH MY>. go Pack

on March 9th, 2014 at 11:42am

that\"s funny, said valadation failed, then it went thru. I forgot this, Sproles is being cut, there is our return guy and 3rd down back get him TT

on March 9th, 2014 at 11:47am

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