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.