Feb. 6, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers manager Ted Thompson speaks at the Donald Driver retirement event held in the Lambeau Field Atrium in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Mandatory Credit: Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

39 Million Reasons Green Bay Packers GM Ted Thompson Avoids Free Agent Spending

A story this morning posted by The Pioneer Press should make every Green Bay Packers fan smile.

For every fingernail  you gnawed waiting to see where Steven Jackson would land, for every muttered curse word over Chris Canty moving on, there are roughly 39 million reasons you should be breathing a sigh of relief.

The article points out that the Packers are among the teams with the lowest number of “dead” money applied to the 2013 salary cap. Dead money is, of course, leftover salary and/or bonuses being paid to players who are no longer on the roster, no longer helping the team in any way.

ted thompson green bay packers

Enjoy eating that Carson Palmer contract, Oakland! You want fries with that?

The Packers’ dead cap money totals just under $1 million, the bulk of that going to the released-then-retired Jeff Saturday. That was a free-agent signing that didn’t work out, as Saturday proved in 2012 his tank was empty. The rest of the money, totaling under $30,000 will go to former Packers Lawrence Guy, Tommie Draheim, Vic So’oto and future Cool-Name-Hall-of-Famer Shaky Smithson.

Compare the Packers’ dead cap money to the Oakland Raiders, and very quickly you forget about Jackson and … what was that other free agent’s name again? Oh yeah, Chris something.

Why can we so easily forget? Because the Raiders are staring down the barrel of nearly $40 million in dead cap money this season. Yikes. In fact, $9.34 million of that will go to Carson Palmer, who has moved on to the Arizona Cardinals — where he is scheduled to make an average of $8 million per season for two years. Yep, the Raiders will likely be paying more for Palmer this season than the team Palmer will actually play for. Double yikes.

You don’t see Ted Thompson making boneheaded deals that cripple teams for well into the future – consider the Carson Palmer deal that has Oakland swimming in “dead money.”
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

How’s that for a splash signing? Oakland traded away first- and second-round draft picks for Palmer, who led the team to an 8-16 record with him under center, and is still paying him cash. You don’t see Ted Thompson making bonehead deals like that.

As a result, the Packers have the cap space to be talking to home-grown stars Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews about contracts that likely will ensure they will wear green and gold for their entire careers. Without that cap space, it’s plausible one or even both of those stud players could go the way of Greg Jennings when future free agency pandemonium periods unfold.

The math is easy: $40 million in dead money vs. less than $1 million. That’s 39 million reasons we should be thanking Ted Thompson.

Now, go out and draft us some offensive line help, Ted, so we can be sure Rodgers will be able to play out the all-world contract you’re about to give him.

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