The seismic shift in power to the NFC West rocked the National Football League today as two powerful rivals exchanged blows by completing two rock-solid trades that tend to signal a new way in the league – and makes one question the relevancy of the Green Bay Packers and Ted Thompson’s way.
Draft and develop has continually revamped and restocked Thompson’s team and his method seems to have worked much like the tortoise and the hare. While the Packers have methodically added fresh blood and talent to their 53-man roster, they have plodded along, much to the dismay of impatient fans, while other teams have utilized the harried and uncertain ways of trades and free agency.
There have been the poor managers of free agency, such as Daniel Snyder of the Washington Redskins, whose swings and misses are well chronicled. But then again there are the wise ways of others, such as Robert Kraft, who have added quality players who tend to fit the Patriots‘ system. Even Thompson has had some hits and misses on free agency, but his infrequent hand in the game is such that it is immeasurable in comparison to other teams.
Just take a look at the NFL.com’s website which lays out a list of the top free agents and the teams that are rumored to have an interest – do you see the Packers anywhere on the list? No. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or bad.
You have to admire Thompson for his patience and his willingness to sign “his own.” But you also have to wonder if there aren’t some players out there who could help the Packers immensely – for instance, Steven Jackson. According to the nfl.com site, only the Atlanta Falcons have an interest, despite the fact that Jackson himself said that going to the Packers “makes sense.”
Today’s trades between the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks (for Percy Harvin) and the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens (for Anquan Boldin) seem to underscore a new trend – the trade, in addition to free agency – that makes teams stronger in one fell swoop.
Minnesota gets a first round draft choice right off the bat, in addition to two other picks for a player who was fast becoming a distraction and migraine headache. The Seahawks get a player who is immediately familiar with their team’s offensive coordinator’s system and gives them the leg up in their division.
Literally minutes later, the Ravens unload a veteran who they expected to have to cut and get a draft pick, albeit a low pick, to boot. They also get a few more million to toss toward Joe Flacco’s mega deal. In turn, the 49ers add a physical wide receiver to their ranks who will go toe-to-toe with the likes of Richard Sherman.
All four of those teams, like the hare, jump ahead in the race for the Super Bowl, while Thompson and the Packers plod along waiting for draft day.
Is free agency and trading fast becoming the sexy new lady in town, enticing GMs from across the league into their bedroom? Or is the Packers’ way, staying true to your loved one and developing friendships and trust before jumping into bed the best way to proceed?
As we move down this road of matrimonial adjustments, we can only guess.