It’s day two of the NFL Free Agency period and Green Bay Packers General Manager Ted Thompson has stood by like he does every year doing nothing – but despite that, one senses the fevered pitch with which Packers Nation is responding.
I’m not kidding.
That’s because though it seems that Thompson has done nothing, he’s really been busy – we’ll explain below.
All the while the Miami Dolphins go on an amazing spending spree; the Vikings trade away their best receiver, cut a couple of guys and then sign a couple of more; the Lions push hard to sign Reggie Bush; and the Bears get their tight end and offensive lineman.
The Packers? Well, they provide low ball offers to two restricted free agents, let three RFS’s walk, and watch as OLB Erik Walden signs for $16 million over four years with Indianapolis. They also stand by as former Packer Cullen Jenkins signs with the New York Giants and former New York Giant Chris Canty (who Green Bay had in for a visit) signs with the Ravens. Former Packer Charles Woodson also schedules a visit to rival San Francisco.
But that’s not the important stuff. Thompson knew all along he wasn’t going to sign either Jenkins or Canty. He figures he can address the D-line issue in the draft with less expensive and more talent. And he surely wasn’t going to sign Walden. Letting him walk was the right thing. As for the RFA’s – Thompson did that right, too. Sam Shields was his top player in that category and he didn’t overpay; same with Evan Dietrich-Smith. They are players they want back, but they’ll get them back at their price.
But the really important stuff – the need to shore up the running game and keep the receiving corps strong – came at the end of the day when information about the Packers’ interest in St. Louis running back Steven Jackson hit the wires. Coupled with that was the story that the Packers were leaning hard on getting wide receiver Greg Jennings back. Though neither of those moves have transpired as yet, the longer the period extends, the better the Packers’ chances.
Don’t worry about Thompson – he understands the waiting game and he understands value. He also understands that the fans want what’s best for the team – so does he.
The fact that the Packers have the most money available under the cap among teams in the NFC North speaks volumes as to why Thompson is so good at what he does. There are times when he swings and misses, but in the end, he usually gets his guys.
So, let’s keep the excitement at a fevered pitch because the next few days will be interesting. With the Packers at the top of the lists for both Jackson and Jennings, it looks like the Packers will indeed get their guys.