Channeling Fire Joe Morgan about Packers GM Ted Thompson and NFL Free Agency
In 2006, Packers general manager Ted Thompson signed cornerback Charles Woodson in free agency, and it was one of the best moves he ever made.
Ok. A good start to this post. I agree with that statement.
You’d think that experience would give Ted Thompson the warm and fuzzies about free agency and he’d spend his time chasing the next Woodson. Instead, Thompson might be off on vacation this week. Wherever he has been, he hasn’t been signing any players.
Starting to go off the rails a bit now. Thompson didn’t “chase” Woodson. He signed him well after free agency opened. I think part of the reason Thompson doesn’t dive into the opening frenzy of free agency is because it is a “chase.” Chasing to fill this roster hole or plug that weak area. Chasing a big-name veteran who fans are familiar with. Chasing the notion that you have to “DO SOMETHING!!!!” to get better like the other teams around you. Those types of chases are from guaranteed to pay off. Oh, and the “Ted Thompson goes on vacation” thing became an eye-rolling cliche three years ago.
Green Bay didn’t sign one player, outside of retaining his (sic) own free agents, in the first three days of free agency.
It’s not like they don’t have needs. A stud left tackle would have been great, allowing David Bakhtiari to move inside to guard. Any of the top centers would have worked. A pass rusher would be swell. They could have spent on a big-time safety, and it’s not like Antoine Bethea, T.J. Ward, Donte Whitner or guys like that got a ridiculous amount of money.
Sign a stud left tackle and move a promising, young and inexpensive left tackle to guard when you already have one pro bowl guard and another guard coming off his best season (and Bryan Bulaga coming back from injury)? Was there a “stud left tackle” on the free-agent market this year? I didn’t see one. Stud left tackles, like stud QBs, typically don’t make it to free agency. If the Packers re-sign Evan Dietrich-Smith, that’ll meet the “any of the top centers” criteria. Yes, a pass rusher would be swell. Let’s see what the remaining days of free agency bring (yes, free agency lasts more than a couple days). Finally, none of the safeties Schwab lists are “big time.”
Instead, despite their status as contenders and the fact that everyone in their division and most teams around the league improved this week, Green Bay did nothing.
It’s a “fact” that everyone in the Packers division improved this week? Were some NFL games played that I wasn’t aware of? When did Roger Goodell start making teams play football in March? I know technology has advanced at a rapid pace with the internet and cell phones and drones and all of that stuff, but can we really tell these days which NFL teams are better and which are not in the middle of March? I seem to remember everyone raving about how the Lions “improved” last March after a free-agent signing spree. How’d that work out for them?
The Packers were lauded for being so home grown last season…
They were? Schwab obviously doesn’t interact much with Packers fans online. Thompson and the Packers being praised for a draft-and-develop philosophy instead of signing free agents is more of a national media narrative than an actual reality.
But going on free-agency signing binges is just as short-sighted as ignoring free agency altogether, as Thompson has apparently decided to do.
So Scwab has a mole in the Packers front office telling him, without a shadow of a doubt, that Thompson “ignores free agency altogether?” This is another lazy meme, usually pushed by national media types. Looking at the price tag, risk and potential return on investment, as well as future cap ramifications when it comes time to re-sign your own guys, Thompson says “thanks, but no thanks” to high-priced veterans early in free agency. It doesn’t mean he ignores free agency altogether.
They lost on a last-second field goal to San Francisco in the playoffs, and it stands to reason that a key free agent might have made one play that turned that game around.
It also stands to reason that a misstep or two in free agency would’ve thrown the Packers into salary cap hell and they would’ve went 4-12.
Thompson places a premium on drafting players and retaining the best ones to long-term deals. But when you completely ignore signing any outside free agents, you’re cutting off an avenue of player acquisition.
Here we go with the whole “ignore” thing again. Yes, ignoring free agency is stupid. I agree with Schwab there. But I doubt Thompson “ignores” signing outside players. I ignore my wife when she asks me to do the dishes while I’m watching Monday Night Raw. Thompson doesn’t ignore free agency. If Thompson were me, and my wife asked Thompson to do the dishes during Monday Night Raw, Thompson would 1) weigh the positives and negatives of missing the next match, 2) factor in how missing some of Monday Night Raw might impact future viewings of this fine television program, 3) consider the wrath my wife would reign on him should he refuse her request, and 4) say “no” and keep watching Monday Night Raw. That’s not ignoring, that’s giving serious consideration, examining all possible angles, and deciding to pass.
Thompson takes the extreme opposite approach to free agency. That’s a mistake, too.
Yes, it is. But nothing Schwab laid out in this piece made a case for why Thompson should do more in free agency. The problem isn’t the Packers lack of offseason free agent signings. The problem is the Packers constantly dealing with a steady stream of players ending up on IR or in street clothes with nagging injuries. Schwab’s contention that Thompson “ignores” free agency might get a little more merit if he doesn’t sign a few defensive players this offseason. But it’s far too early in the process to already start kicking and screaming about Thompson “ignoring” free agency.