Packers XLV

A Very Good Friday: Packers Sign Saturday

Posted March 23rd, 2012 @ 06:03pm

Most NFL wonks assumed free agent center Jeff Saturday would wait to see where Peyton Manning landed and if that team could use an upgrade, he would head there to once again welcome Manning's hands on his behind.

And so most believed the 5-time Pro Bowl center would join the Broncos at any moment, after visiting the Packers earlier in the week. But apparently Ted Thompson put our money where his mouth was and delivered a stronger offer than the Broncos. So Jeff Saturday is the new starting center for the Pack.

Maybe Denver believed he'd come running to join his longtime battery mate so they lowballed him. Contract terms have not been released as I write this, but it's believed the Pack's offer was much stronger than Denver's and so Saturday agreed to join up with Aaron Rodgers. Friendship with #18 aside, he knows his time is short and the Packers give him a better chance at another Super Bowl ring this season.

Saturday will be 37 in June, so this signing presents the rare free agency double whammy. For one thing, it marks Thompson's first such signing in three years; it also represents a one (or maybe two) year fix--something we rarely see from Thompson. But this one makes sense for a number of reasons.

First, the departure of Wells leaves the Packers with a gaping hole at the position, without a clear-cut successor in place. Second, the Packers enter 2012 as Super Bowl favorites and uncertainty at center would potentially slow down their high-powered offense, at least to start the season. Saturday has been an integral part of Manning's play-calling at the line for years : he's always in rhythm with his QB and always makes sure he and his linemates are ready. Expect Rodgers and Saturday to work together well and look for Thompson to find a potential successor in the later rounds over the weekend.

This signing eases concerns on the offensive line and allows Thompson to spend the rest of the next six weeks focused on one thing: improving the defense.

UPDATE: Thompson wasted no time looking toward the other side of the ball, re-signing defensive tackle Daniel Muir on Friday. An undrafted free agent who had a cup of coffee with the Pack in '07, Muir has been a sometimes starter for the Colts  the past three seasons and adds a little depth and experience to the defensive line, which needs additional assistance. All in all, a very good Friday indeed.

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on June 3rd, 2012 at 08:19am

A good move indeed. Seeing as how the options TT had were somewhat limited, I'm sure he went into this arrangement knowing full well that it's a short term solution. The Packers didn't have an obvious replacement ready to go on the roster, and this move buys time (figuratively and literally) to get the next guy ready to step in when Saturday hangs it up for good. If you're a conspiracy theorist, maybe this signing was the cause of the earthquake over in Clintonville! ;-)

on March 23rd, 2012 at 04:12pm

well boys and girls, i don't care if u like my comments or not, this is what i said would happen last year, if we don't sign wells we will regret it. the most underrated player on the team. when u have the mvp, say he is the man I rely on more then anyone, how in the hell do u leave him go? tt thought no one would give him a big contract, and he was wrong and it wasn't even that big, wells just wanted to feel he was wanted and get a normal contract. he got 6ml for 4 years.he is 31, saturday is 37, now we have to draft a center, i love konz, but we need dl, and olb's. tt is wrong big time, but he has such a ego now, he thought he could match what wells got, wells said no, see ya. 6ml a year is all he wanted, but he is not tt 's draftee . so he let's him walk. let's hope fox or a great olb drops to the 2nd round now, very disappointed about this., hey schenny schen, i looked back on your feb. 10th comments, u say, approved draft choices for tt. what is different about that, then what i said tt i wished u would have listened to me on jj. watt.. sounds the same to me , but u and others give me crap about it.I' m just having fun here. also, when u guys are right about something i'm the 1st one to say great call and love the prediction. we all can't be right, but if u guys are i let u know asap. go pack

on March 23rd, 2012 at 09:25pm

Larry - fundamentally, I agree with your point about keeping your own, developing youth and avoiding the big contracts for UFA's (as well as having fun here, which is great for everyone!). But there's probably more to the relationship between Thompson and Wells that the rest of us aren't privy to that caused TT letting him walk. Bottom line here is he had to sign a FA either way, whether it's Wells or Saturday. As it turned out, the Packers signed an experienced FA at about half of what it would have been to retain Wells. Scheny hit the nail on the head - in today's game, it's all about the cap, and TT is a master at managing it. If you take care of the cap, it will take care of your future, and if your future is secure, there should be no unmanageable problems with the here and now. Another thing that TT is great at is the art of the draft day deal. He'll trade up or down at a moment's notice to maximize the value of each and every pick. As long as this system is in place, the Pack will be going on a long, sustained run of success. Enjoy the ride, my friends.

on March 25th, 2012 at 02:39pm

Larry, Fundamentally, saying "I'm glad TT did something" and constantly patting yourself on the back for "calling this" and "calling that" are two completely different things. Regardless, I am happy you are having fun on the website. You are correct that that is the point of this. -- With regard to the Saturday signing you just happen to be wrong. They signed a veteran center that has the same skill set as Scott Wells but they signed him for only a 2yr committment, rather than four and only had to pay about $3.5M versus $6M/year. That is a huge difference. There is this little thing in pro-football called the "salary cap". Teams that enter into overpriced contracts with their players become bad teams. TT smartly signed a veteran to fill in while we groom a new (and cheaper) player for the future. This move was made precisely so we DON'T have to draft Konz. We can still focus on defense. We also have more money available to sign our own players next year (Rodgers,Jennings,CMIII) or do you advocate we lose one of those key cogs on our team so we can keep Scott Wells, an older, undersized center, that is familiar with our system and makes good protection calls. The center position is important, but teams across the league, including the Packers have found good centers in the later rounds of the draft (Wells being an example -7th round). Why you think the sky is falling because we don't have Scott Wells is beyond me. GoPack!

on March 25th, 2012 at 08:02am

I don't think the sky is falling, I thought tt philosophy was to pay our own and not free agents. like i said before when the mvp says he wants him back, I WOULD LISTEN. saturday will be here 1 or 2 years, we still need to draft another one now, u sign wells u don't need to for 2-3 years from now, now u can draft defense now. were going to agree to disagree on this one, let's just watch and see, if saturday was that good wouldn't u think manning would say get him here. my god he is going to be 38, not 31. big difference. if tt drafts a center in 1st or 2nd round, i guess we will know who was right on this one, i still think tt thought he would match the offer and he would come back, and wells said no, he has said that in quotes. no biggy, i just think tt messed up on this like jenkins. the saftey from alabama, might be there at 28 also, we need one. catch ya later.

on March 25th, 2012 at 11:57am

Actually, if TT drafts a center(Konz) in the first round, all it will prove Larry, is that Konz was at the top of his value board, not whether you or I was right. TT is a BPA drafter. -- Regarding listening to your QB who says, "i hope we keep him" , a good GM does not let the inmates run the prison, no matter who he is. Same goes for Elway and Manning, besides, your analogy is bunk because Manning did ask the Bronco's to get him. -- You still don't seem to grasp the notion of the "salary cap" and how it fits into the GM's decision making. Overpaying your own free-agents, whether they be Wells or Darryn Colledge or Brandon Jackson, hurts your team. The fact that we signed Jeff Saturday shows that TT learned his lesson from the Jenkins debacle and is not simply letting him go and asking rookies or young players to "step up" but trying to make sure our offense stays explosive. GoPack!

on March 26th, 2012 at 06:00am

I love filling the off-season with speculation, but how do we know if this is a good move or not? I have no idea what Saturday has left in the tank. The Saturday signing "feels" good, but honestly, I really wanted Wells to re-sign with the Pack. We know what Wells brings to the table and it was good enough, I think. However, the contract he got seemed over-priced to me. Apparently, Ted agreed. So "goodbye" Scott Wells. I didn't like it much when we let Wahle and Rivera go either, but they both also got big $$ contracts that the Pack decided not to match. Let's hope Saturday performs better than the free agents (Klemm & ODwyer) brought in to replace those two on our offensive line!

on March 26th, 2012 at 06:54pm

I hear ya trashman, i heard saturday got 7.75, for 2 years, 4ml guaranteed this year. wells got 6 a year for 4 years.. i know all about the salary cap, 2 ml difference doesn't seem worth it to me. and they could have back loaded a longer deal for wells. rodgers said he would move some of his money to keep wells, like brady just did. i still say it's because tt didn't draft him. and he wants his guys. tt has done alot of great things, just disagree big time on this one. go packers

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