Will The Packers Be Players in Free Agency?

The Green Bay Packers haven't signed any outside free agents during the infant stages of this offseason's period.  That statement has and continues to be the leader in the discussion of free agency in Green Bay for most of the past decade.

Just two days into free agency and like in years past, we've seen some ridiculous money fly around.  Former Denver Broncos defensive lineman Malik Jackson inked a deal worth up to $90 million over six years.  Not all of that money is guaranteed, but the possibility exists if Jackson plays at an elite level throughout the life of the deal.  Quarterback Brock Osweiler signed a four year, $72 million deal with the Houston Texans with $37 million of it guaranteed.  Osweiler certainly played a role in helping the Broncos to a Super Bowl appearance, but $72 million worth?  I understand that the market for starting quarterbacks is very high these days but I'm not alone in wondering if that deal bordered on the asinine.  Former Packers quarterback Matt Flynn, of all people, chimed in on the Osweiler news and it certainly didn't lack irony and humor to the max.

There's a lot of head scratching and frustration among Packers fans and that's nothing new.  They're never players in early free agency and some years, like last year, they don't sign a single outside guy.  Could this be another year where the Packers break training camp with no new free agent players who spent time on another NFL roster previously?  It wouldn't surprise me if it were.  General manager Ted Thompson has spent year after year sitting idle while the NFL version of the stock market is abuzz when the opening bell sounds.

We've heard all of the reasoning why Thompson doesn't sign many guys who aren't home grown.  We know that it's a big reason why the team always has cap space and rarely has to let one of its own good players leave in free agency or even worse, cut them in order to clear space or get under the salary cap.  Watching some teams around the league forced to have fire sales and turning their roster into a clearing house puts into perspective just how "bad" the Packers (and we're really talking about the fans) have it.  

All of that said, it's still worth wondering what might have been different and better had the Packers just taken a chance or if Ted had just gone a little "crazy" in the recent past.  Would the Packers have made another Super Bowl appearance?  Or even better, would they have won one?  We'll never really know.  Some will swear that there's no way the Packers don't have another Lombardi trophy in the case had they not landed Vernon Davis this past offseason or brought in Owen Daniels two years ago instead of wasting time with Richard Rodgers.  Or last offseason when the Packers should have gone after Julius Thomas or Ndamukong Suh or Brandon Flowers.  There was even talk that the Packers had kicked the tires on cornerback Darrelle Revis only to watch him land back in New York with the Jets.  The year prior it was Jairus Byrd or bust (and a bust it's been alright).  

It's not to say that no one would have produced better than who the Packers had on the field the past few years but in being realistic, it's just not in the cards to see the Packers on the front pages of the free agency news.  By now, anyone who is still complaining and shocked has only themselves to blame.  Admittedly, we all start to wander into that place where we let our minds ponder "what if this year is different?".  When the Packers and Julius Peppers surprised most everyone and came together two years ago, our spirit for free agent possibilities was fed and we continue to chase that hope.  With every announcement that player x has been released from their previous team, we immediately picture them in a Packers uniform and gloat at the idea that it won't cost the team a compensatory draft pick in the process.  Boy does Ted love those picks, doesn't he?

There's still time for the Packers to make a move.  With the news that Thompson wasn't even in Green Bay on Wednesday when free agency officially began and was instead at the University of Wisconsin's Pro Day, it doesn't seem like he's even aware that pro players with actual pro experience can also be had right now.  Jokes have been made that the biggest breaking news surrounding Thompson has been the TV shows he's watching or what he's cooking up for dinner.  Just a reminder that it's only day three, although judging by my Twitter timeline, to some it might as well be day 30.  Sure, many of the "big" names have signed their deals.  Matt Forte isn't coming to Green Bay after it seemed like all that was left to do was sign the dotted line.  Believe that Ted knows and understands this.  And he's OK with you not being OK with it.  

Thompson isn't always going to be the Packers' GM.  Some of you just said "thank God" out loud, didn't you?  Others pondered whether someone else can take the reigns and keep this team as successful as they've been.  Regardless of who that person is or when it is, they're not likely to be exactly like Ted.  They may be slightly more active in free agency or they may be way more active.  And that begs the question about how feasible getting guys to Green Bay is.  

When it comes to free agents and the idea of playing in Green Bay, there is still the question about whether players see it as a desirable place to live and play football.  Last week, we heard about Peppers and his efforts to try and "recruit" Forte to Green Bay.  It seemed like Peppers was having to illustrate that coming to Green Bay isn't as ho-hum and sedentary as it's often made out to be.  23 years after Reggie White chose the Packers and signed the most historic contract in team history (one that may never be equaled nor surpassed) and we still wonder how much of a chance Green Bay has when players also have options such as Miami, San Diego, Arizona, and New York, to name a few.  It's only one guy, but highly-coveted free agent linebacker Danny Trevathan, who just signed with the Chicago Bears, was asked, during an appearance on the NFL Network, whether the Packers reached out to him at all.  In paraphrasing, Trevathan said the Packers did not reach out, but he wished they had.  It sounds like a reasonable offer would have brought him to Green Bay, but as stated earlier, what is "reasonable" at this stage of free agency is up for debate and is relative to the money that's already been tossed around.

It doesn't help right now and in the immediate future, but when the Packers finally do decide to become players in free agency, there will be some really good players willing to listen and pack their bags for a chance to wear the green and gold.

 

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

Jason is a freelance writer on staff since 2012 and also co-hosts Cheesehead TV Live, Pulse of the Pack and Pack A Day podcasts.  You can follow him on Twitter here

NFL Categories: 
0 points

Comments (45)

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

March 11, 2016 at 05:48 am

You lost all credibility when you admonished TT for not bringing in Suh and/or Revis. Suh is a psychopath and we wouldn't be able to afford even a guest appearance by Revis. But thanks for playing...

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
jasonperone's picture

March 11, 2016 at 06:36 am

Well then nothing is lost! The context of that statement is that it was what others were calling for at the time. I was not one of them.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Packmaniac's picture

March 11, 2016 at 08:41 am

I, for one, got the context. Was real clear.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
KenEllis's picture

March 11, 2016 at 10:04 am

The Packers have glaring needs at TE & ILBe. The have needs at backup T, DL, RB.

Ignoring FA as a method for filling those needs is not a sign of fiscal prudence, but rather willful indifference.

Overpaying your own players is not a sign of stability, but rather complacency.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Since'61's picture

March 11, 2016 at 03:34 pm

Ken - Excellent post. I agree. See my post from earlier today below. Thanks, Since '61

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Horse's picture

March 11, 2016 at 06:33 am

Joe Banner ‏@JoeBanner13: "Almost 2/3 of these signings won't work out. Good to remember that now."

Not appreciating the huge, lasting impact of cap management decisions on teams, and how masterful TT and Russ Ball are at it, is what drives win-now-at-all-costs demands from fans. There are so many unpredictable variables during every season. Staying in good shape for the next one is why the Packers have a .616 record during TT's 11 years.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
croatpackfan's picture

March 11, 2016 at 07:54 am

I agree with you! Everybody pointing Broncos these days, but, I will rephrase Vic Ketchman - where the Broncos would be if the Steelers did not fumble the ball? That is the difference between win or lose...

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Horse's picture

March 11, 2016 at 07:58 am

Their Super Bowl MVP was a draft pick. So were most of the key players on D. And Brandon Marshall was a street FA, released by the Jags.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
RCPackerFan's picture

March 11, 2016 at 06:57 am

The Packers are smart for not going after the top of the line Free Agents. The money that is dished out for these players is insane. I'm sorry but in what world should Olivier Vernon be paid more then JJ Watt?
And Brock Osweiler getting paid more then Tom Brady over the next 2 years and more then Aaron Rodgers over the next 3? That's just insane to me.

I appreciate the way the Packers organization is ran. They resign their best players to good contracts, that don't strap the team financially. They do a phenomenal job each year managing the cap.

That being said, they really could use a little help in the free agency. Now is the time that they should start looking at players to bring in. Now the prices are going to be more realistic. Now is the time to go out and find those key pieces that we have been lacking.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
croatpackfan's picture

March 11, 2016 at 09:16 am

They signed one FA already - Nick Perry!

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Mebrooks5291's picture

March 11, 2016 at 07:31 am

It would be a shocker if tight wad Ted pulls the trigger on anybody.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Horse's picture

March 11, 2016 at 07:54 am

He "pulled the trigger" yesterday. He'll pull it again.

Comp picks will be announced tomorrow, Packers should get two extra 4th rounders. Because the FAs he signed from other teams last season didn't cost GB any comp picks.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Since'61's picture

March 11, 2016 at 08:15 am

For the most part I agree with TT not throwing money all over the place for FAs. However, he should at least speak with some of these players and apparently based on Travathan's comments TT did not speak with him or make an offer. Travathan signed a team friendly seal with the Bears which the Packers could easily have done as well with their cap space. Playing in FA is not just about the money spent or saved (in TTs case). It's also about the message that is received by your players and your fan base. Many of our players and fans may be interpreting the message as we're not going to spend some extra money to get the players that we need to reach the SB. Why? Our stadium is sold out forever so who cares what the fans think. Or We're happy making the playoffs and then being eliminated because that's still better than 24 - 28 of the other teams in the league. Our own players are happy to resign here so why bring in outsiders and mess up our chemistry, etc..., etc..., Or maybe the players get the message that your paid well, we have a shot every year so go out and do your job. Or maybe Aaron Rodgers will carry the team to the SB if everyone stays healthy, etc..., Instead, the message could be that we're committed to winning and to support our players efforts and our fans loyalty we've signed a player like Travathan to help us reach our goal of winning the SB. As more seasons pass I'm afraid that the message we consistently receive is as stated above "our stadium is sold out and we have all the players we need because Aaron Rodgers can take us to the SB". Or some version of this, you can choose your own words. But however you say it I'm wondering if 1265 Lombardi Avenue is actually committed to winning championships as they claim to be or more committed to keeping their jobs by remaining just good enough to make the playoffs. They look more and more like good politicians with every passing season. Thanks, Since '61

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
chugwater's picture

March 12, 2016 at 12:19 pm

Aren't you being a little unfair? Do you really think TT and the personnel department are so shallow that they just plan to make the playoffs every year? I for one think TT plays the long game as well as any GM to make sure this team is competitive year in and year out (And it's not as simple as picking a future HOF QB and then coasting in auto pilot). There's no doubt in my mind he's always thinking about how to improve this roster so that the Lombardi trophy comes back home every year. You may not like his ways, but don't question his integrity.

We've had SB caliber rosters for the past two years. Injuries, coaching (in some instances), and a fluky NFCCG have worked against us...but that's the NFL. For every Julius Peppers or Charles Woodson signings there's a Joe Johnson or Hardy Nickerson pick up that doesn't pan out and prevents a younger player from developing. FA can hinder just as much as they help.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

March 11, 2016 at 08:38 am

1) "By now, anyone who is still complaining and shocked has only themselves to blame."
2) "They may be slightly more active in free agency or they may be way more active."

Agree that if you are shocked, you should only blame yourself. I'll still complain about it though, thank you very much.

The 2nd quote on what a new GM might do, one can't help but notice that the options given by the author are the same or more active in FA, with no possibility of being less active. LOL at that.

The real news here is that Trevathan said GB made no effort to sign him. So, TT thinks GB is fine at ILB with current personnel, plans to sign someone else, or plans to address it in the draft. We will see if this works out.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Idiot Fan's picture

March 11, 2016 at 08:58 am

It could just mean that they thought he was a player who largely benefited from all the talent around him in Denver and isn't actually that good.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Evan's picture

March 11, 2016 at 10:08 am

Nah...that can't be it.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

March 11, 2016 at 10:43 am

Yeah, that could be it. An omission on my part - yes, TT might think Trevathan needs a great D-line in front of him, and correspondingly, doesn't think GB has or will have one.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Evan's picture

March 11, 2016 at 10:59 am

Great d-line in front of him, two Hall of Fame linebackers on each side of him and a shutdown secondary behind him.

ALL that said, it was hardly a monster deal he signed. But, still, if I had to bet on it, I'd wager on him not living up to his previous production.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
RCPackerFan's picture

March 11, 2016 at 11:03 am

I would would bet the same as you.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Scottie Thurber's picture

March 11, 2016 at 12:41 pm

Danny Trevathan isa 4-3 upright LB, watch his film he's not going to be as productive in Chicago as he was in Denver. So that ship has sailed. The FA class right now looking at it, over paid and undertalented. Brock started hpw many games played mediocre at best and gets 72 milion. Sean Smith goes to the Raiders on how big of a deal. The point is simple, if players want certain teams they will wait it out. Trevathan peobably wanted to get paid as sson as possible, and the rest is the entertainment value. I appriciate Ted Thompson and the way he does the offseason.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
idgafkurt's picture

March 11, 2016 at 08:45 am

If TT makes these two moves I think he'll have a successful FA:

- Sign Jerrell Freeman. He's not far behind Trevathan in terms of skill set/production, he's solid in coverage and there doesn't seem to be a ton of interest in him so they won't have to break the bank.

- Sign Zach Miller to a 2 year deal. He's older and injury prone sure, but if he's healthy he can be a very productive TE (8th rated TE by PFF last season) in the short term.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
idgafkurt's picture

March 11, 2016 at 08:46 am

Sorry, double post...

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Rossonero's picture

March 11, 2016 at 09:40 am

TT must be banking on Barrington and a draft pick at ILB. Jake Ryan is good vs. The run, but is a liability in pass coverage. Only hope is Reggie Ragland and best available TE in the 2nd round.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
EdsLaces's picture

March 11, 2016 at 10:00 am

Gotta look at the bright side with the Travathian deal. That's one less team ...especially a division rival team....that could grab Ragland or Lee!

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Rossonero's picture

March 11, 2016 at 10:22 am

Very good point. I remember two years ago I thought there was no way that Haha Clinton-Dix would be available at no. 24, but he was. Ragland is my hope.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Pack12's picture

March 11, 2016 at 10:45 am

I agree with Thompson's draft and develop philosophy 99% but the draft alone can not fill all the team's needs. Right now there is a need at TE, OT, DL, ILB. Can those needs be satisfied through the draft alone? Why not selectively pick up pieces that can help the roster become better through free agency? For one thing TT would have to hit on every player in the draft and have immediate contributions from at least 3 or 4 of those picks. I'm not saying go crazy throwing money around but to use free agency as a compliment to the draft. There's still time so we may see TT surprise us by picking up a role player(s).

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
porupack's picture

March 11, 2016 at 10:58 am

Jason, I got 3 problems with what you posted;
1) You suggest a one or the other scenario. Most teams are in the middle with a small range of difference actually. Free spending teams maybe sign 2-4 and maybe a big name, and the tight wad TT signs 1 outsider average per year and not big name. Most teams are in between. TT defenders keep saying "glad were not bringing in 4 per year"....so, they therefore must be happy with TT bringing in 1 per year.
2) "Glad we have the cap space to keep our good players".
Well, just try to defend that. Because a) TT does resign a number that aren't all that good, and b) TT loses some good players that we had cap space for.
3) Well many teams who sign 2-3 FAs also have a lot of cap space, and do manage it quite well.

So, if you frame it the way you do....80% would have to agree. But if you frame it that GB should be more in the middle (sign 2 vets per year...average)...and actually spend some of that ample cap space to fill a gap.....I bet 90% would agree with that.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Evan's picture

March 11, 2016 at 11:02 am

"b) TT loses some good players that we had cap space for."

That's an awfully short list. Cullen Jenkins and...that might be the entire list.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
jasonperone's picture

March 11, 2016 at 01:27 pm

That's more in depth than I was really thinking about it. It was more just to say that Ted may do nothing, something or a lot of something. It's me hedging my bet by including every scenario and also because who has a clue with TT anymore? I know you're not a fan of the guy, but the team has a pretty good track record on his watch if you are just looking at winning percentage. Other metrics, sure he may not stand out but my stance is that if the Packers can at least get into the tournament, it's not a failure or lost season. There's at least a chance and this team has been capable of winning most any game on any given day.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Evan's picture

March 11, 2016 at 11:01 am

New game - every time someone (a blogger or commenter) points out the Packers needs at "ILB and TE" take a drink. Be dead by morning.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
porupack's picture

March 11, 2016 at 11:08 am

One more thing I want to bithc about, because I'm pissed he didn't get a fair value ILB Trevathan.
Each time TT does let a GB FA player go, it forces him to dedicate draft picks to re-fill the void, rather than upgrade another position. So it has a clear cost as far as overall team talent.
I'm not upset that he drafted 2 CBs in 2015, but then he had no choice once he let the other serviceable CBs go. By doing so, he couldn't dedicate 1-2nd rounds to upgrading OLB and ILB.
This is where a few vet FAs are very valuable; by getting a few, it allows him more options in the draft to get BPA.

If he got Travathan, then he could shift his attention on TE, OLB.
I think he blew a chance to make a big upgrade at ILB and one of those other positions.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
RCPackerFan's picture

March 11, 2016 at 11:45 am

I somewhat agree with letting veterans go fills voids. But Thompson does do a very good job of resigning his own players. So far this year he resigned Daniels, Crosby, Perry, and Guion. Daniels and Crosby were the top 2 FA's going into the offseason and they were locked up.

Last year he lost 2 CB's. Thompson drafted 2 CB's. I don't think he drafted the 2 CB's necessarily because of need, but it was more based on they were the best players available at a needed position. So far they proved they were worthy of there picks.

I get what your saying. While I somewhat agree with you I don't full agree.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Thegreatreynoldo's picture

March 11, 2016 at 01:25 pm

Evan, I agree pretty much with you (though I think Randall was a need pick and Rollins was just too good to pass up - Rollins was my 'Gosh I hope he's there in the 2nd round' prospect. When TT said he had Rollins and Randall rated equally, it is the first time I believed him and agreed with him).

TT is pretty good with CBs, so if I were TT, I'd be more willing to gamble on being able to draft CBs than some other positions, and thus more willing to part with House and Tramon (it could have been that last year's draft was deep in CBs, too). I guess I would apply that to WRs, maybe OGs, too.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Tundraboy's picture

March 11, 2016 at 03:03 pm

Agree Porupack. We keep digging ourselves a bigger hole by relying on draft exclusively. Hard to let players go without replacing some with FAs. Don't regret the ones we let go, but as you said we had to use two top picks last year to refill CB and we're left with late rounders to fill what have been chronic needs for the last 4 years. Gotta think they sign one FA starter this year. Either way I hope TT finds a diamond in 4 round this year.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Tundraboy's picture

March 11, 2016 at 03:00 pm

Deleted

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
porupack's picture

March 11, 2016 at 11:18 am

Now my third rant, b/c I'm still pissed.

If a hiring manager of a business took TT's approach, you'd always hire college interns and banking on the sincere face that says "yes, I'm your star. Trust me, I'm not lying".
Or, you can find someone with proven record of success, and they don't have to say anything.

The unproven employee has moderate odds. The results proven employee has higher odds of success.

A good GM can find the right kind of vet player, and plays a good roll of the odds.

So Trevathan, or an unproven draft pick to plug hole at ILB??? I'd put my money on Trevathan.

That friggen TT, not in my top successful GMs.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Evan's picture

March 11, 2016 at 11:27 am

Dude...take a deep breath. It's just football.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
DrealynWilliams's picture

March 11, 2016 at 12:24 pm

Lol, really though.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Scottie Thurber's picture

March 11, 2016 at 02:38 pm

Dude, this is funny now. I've got to ask a serious question though. You keep going back to Trevathan, have you ever seen him play a 3-4 scheme? Have you ever seen him be a versitale inside coverage and blitzing linebacker? Danny Trevathan us not all you a cracking him up to be. Dom Capers is a very capable D.C. and could probably make it work, but Ted has the right idea on this in my opinion. If you are going to go sign a guy that you need to reteach them their position when you can draft someone that has played that design before.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Evan's picture

March 11, 2016 at 02:54 pm

I'll go one more - have you ever even heard of Danny Travathan before 3 months ago?

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
CallingIt's picture

March 11, 2016 at 12:08 pm

Not a single free agent signed so far since the starting gun has been signed for reasonable money for the skills they provide. With so many internal FA's left to sign, signing a big price tag FA would gut our cap money and create more holes by not being able to re-sign necessary internal FA's. Sure, we could have upgraded ILB, but it would have cost us at least 4 of our own FA's if not more. And I'm not talking those who excpect to sign at Pro minimums. I'm talking our impact players. This only leads to more needs to fill during the draft.

The longer FA's last, the cheaper they come. The better for our cap. If we get one or two quality depth guys, then we could possibly go up in the draft to get more high impact guys there with fewer holes to fill. Remember, all these FA's out there were drafted at some point, all at different stages of the draft.

We are close people! We don't need much to be better. We have a ton of injured guys coming back. We have several 2nd year guys who have a lot of experience coming back and ready to make that 2nd year jump. All we need are a couple upgrades and depth picks in the draft and we will have a very good football team once again. Remember too, we have Bahk, Sitton, Lang and Lacy all FA's next year. Are you willing to trade those guys next year for an overpriced ILB this year?

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Since'61's picture

March 11, 2016 at 03:50 pm

Among our remaining Packer free agents who would you consider an impact player? We've already signed Daniels and Crosby. Perry is a decent player and Lane Taylor and Banjo are JAGs. Those are the best of our FA bunch so I'm not sure we have any "impact players" that we need to sign. Thanks, Since '61

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Tundraboy's picture

March 11, 2016 at 03:06 pm

Enough Trevathan. Did we approach Green at all?

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
Maverick91's picture

March 12, 2016 at 02:16 pm

To me the only way Ted can salvage this is to sign Jerrell Freeman and Bennett if he's available (which by all current indications he will be). Hell even Zach Brown from the Titans and Jared Cook would help. Just make some moves Ted! There are too many players available in FA that will fill our needs for you to simply ignore!

+ 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.