Green Bay Packers center Evan Dietrich-Smith is visiting Tampa Bay, but could the Packers make a late push to re-sign him? Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Packers free agency: What the Hell is going on out here?!?

We all should have known better – that all this talk linking Green Bay Packers General Manager Ted Thompson to a blockbuster free agent signing was all smoke and mirrors.

Yes, he went out and re-signed one of his own – cornerback Sam Shields  - for four years, $39 million, with $12.5 million guaranteed. That all came down early on in this frenzy known as free agency.

That was followed by reports that the Packers were looking to improve the defensive line by jumping into the talks with then-free agents Lamarr Houston and Arthur Jones. That dissipated quickly Tuesday when Houston signed with the Bears and Jones went to the Colts.

Then when the official signing period began at 3 p.m. Central Daylight Time yesterday, there was nary a peep out of Green Bay … but were we surprised?


That’s because even though our interest was piqued earl on, we should have known better that Thompson was only going to consider players of talent AND value. And while there was plenty of talent on the table in the first day of free agency – there was way too much money being thrown their way.

Here are just some of the highlights from Tuesday:

•  Jairus Byrd – six-year deal worth $56 million with $28 million guaranteed

Michael Johnson – signs with Tampa Bay for a deal that will pay him $8 million per year

• Lamarr Houston – signs with Bears for five years, $35 million, $15 million guaranteed

Branden Albert – five years, $47 million to sign with the Dolphins

Aqib Talib -  six-year, $57 million agreement, $26 million guaranteed

So, it’s pretty clear why TT has steered away from the early going and big bucks. We know that big dollars don’t alway buy success for the individual player or the team where those players end up.

Of most importance to Packers fans at this point in the game is where their own are situated. While there was intense initial interest in the services of Packers tight end Andrew Quarless, he is still unsigned. So is James Jones, Jermichael Finley, John Kuhn, Evan Dietrich-Smith, and James Starks, among others.

While Finley has a trip to Seattle planned and EDS is headed to Tampa Bay for talks, there has been little movement or news about any of the other Packers free agents … at least as of early Wednesday morning.

Jordy Nelson - the Packers are surely saving up to re-sign their veteran wide receiver. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Jordy Nelson – the Packers are surely saving up to re-sign their veteran wide receiver.
Raymond T. Rivard photograph

We’re pretty sure that Thompson is sitting back and keeping track of the visits and the numbers that are being associated with his free agents. If the timing is right and the numbers fit the Packers budget, expect Thompson to target the guys he wants. Don’t expect much before then.

Jones will probably be snatched up at some point within the next couple of days, but the longer these guys stay on the market, the less they will be valued and paid. Most likely Quarless, Finley, and EDS will be offered contracts outside of Green Bay, but that’s OK because there will be a plan of action to either pick up their own bargain free agents or to restock the team through the Draft.

While all the other teams are making headlines that contain numbers with lots of zeros, the Packers are once again looking for value and the best fits.

There are Packers fans screaming once again that the Packers are being left behind; that they are sitting on more than $30 million in salary cap space … but don’t forget that the Packers utilize salary cap dollars to re-sign their own … we’re talking about the need to have cash reserves for the likes of Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb … not to mention that the Packers may still use some of that money to bring back EDS or possibly even Quarless or Jones.

The next week or so will indicate not only what Ted Thompson is thinking today, but just how the Packers will proceed in the NFL Draft in May.

Building a team is still about value and planning in Green Bay – not knee-jerking and salivating over the next high-priced player of the day to come along.

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Tags: Green Bay Packers NFL Free Agency

  • billy

    Sometimes maybe ya have to spend a little more than you want to win a championship…but if an NFC North is the only feather you want in your cap, well….carry on Ted…doing a hell of job as a business manager!!

  • billy

    I’m not worried one bit about where our own are situated this year…any of the mediocre “just guys” can leave for the big bucks…I AM worried about being left behind…other than the Vikes this division is tight and going to get tighter….just a day ago YOU were telling us how good it would be to have either Houston or Jones on the team…obviously Whitey doesn’t see the value….hey, he’s the genius…not us poor fans who pay hundred of dollars to come watch the Pack lose at Lambeau…

  • starr 57

    Hard to discuss when I agree with everything you have written. I would add Jolly, Pickett and even Raji to the mix. 2 of the 3 wouldn’t hurt.
    Jolly if he is as reported healthy because he brings an attitude to the D-line that is needed.
    Pickett, imho, would be good one more year just to make the switch to the uyounger guys a little easier nad the fact he is repected and is a locker room leader doesn’t hurt.
    Raji is going to be dissapointed when he realizes he passed on 8mil a year earlier, if, as reported The packers want to use him more at his natural position, a one year deal just might be the answer.
    Free Agency for ted starts in about a week to 10 days from now.

    • Josh Mateos

      I think of all the GM´s, Ted Thompson it´s the best. Really the stuff the Broncos are doing is not smart. Same with the Saints. Hey the Packers needed a Tackle they didn´t pursue a FA. Instead they found Bakhtiari in the fourth round. Same with Lacy, we didn´t jump in the Steven Jackson wagon and we drafted the ORY. TT know what he is doing. Without FA signings GB has managed to get to the playoffs constantly. We just need to add some defensive talent. And those early round picks ( Im looking at you Worthy, Hayward, Jones and Perry ) need to step up. And i believe they will.
      I trust TT. He knows what he is doing.

      • Ross

        Without the luck of Aaron Rodgers falling into his lap Ted Thompson is probably one of the worse GM’s in the league actually. Granted he made the decision to draft him but come on….without Rodgers the Packers are irrelevant. And Ted Thompson has done nothing to assist in that. How many first round picks has he wasted? Hes missed on draft picks a lot. A good GM utilizes every tool available. Including free agency. Hence why the defense continues to be abysmal.

        • Josh Mateos

          I really don´t think so. Hey the draft is hit or miss. TT first round picks are core of the team; Rodgers, Hawk, Bulaga and Matthews if Raji stays and returns to NT add him to the list to. Sherrod has been injured. Perry was starting to come together and it´s too soon to judge Datone Jones. Saying TT has wasted first round picks is unfair. Plus he is the best at drafting in later rounds Cobb, Nelson, Jones, Bakhtiari, Lacy, Finley, Hayward. The list goes on.

          • Ross

            Your points are poor. Bulaga didn’t play so how is he core of the team?….Raji is very unproductive and very replaceable. Nick Perry is horrible for the role they need him to be. Hes slow and not a threat. Cobb, Nelson, Lacy, and Finley are all 2nd round picks. How do you call that late round? Also how good are each of those receivers without rodgers? Nelson isnt an elite receiver without him. Thats for sure. If you’re gonna say I’m wrong at least make good points about it.

          • Josh Mateos

            Bulaga has been a starting tackle for this team for a while, that doesn´t mean he is not a core player, Bakthiari was an emergency starter. You are judging a player for one year, no wonder you call Sherrod a bad pick. He hasn´t even played you can´t judge him. Nelson made plays with Flynn and Tolzien he is elite. And you want picks in rounds later than 3rd? btw Finley was a third. Jolly 7th round, Bishop and Crosby 6th round, Sitton and Lang 4th, Brad Jones 7th, Starks 6th, Mike Daniels a 4th Those were and are contribuiting players. You have 5 starters there. You can´t hit in every round.

          • Ross

            But you should probably hit in the first…

          • Josh Mateos

            I agree with you. That´s the ideal. Sometimes you can´t. I think we hit with A Rod, Bulaga, Hawk and Matthews. We may see if Sherrod can contribute. Let´s hope the first round pick this year makes and impact and quickly.

        • Fuzzy_Red

          … you don’t have a freakin clue what you’re talking about Ross.

          • Ross

            Thanks for the insight. Instead of telling me why you just try to degrade over the internet. You sound incredibly intelligent…

        • Nevin Paustian

          If you honestly believe that Rodgers is the only good player that TT has drafted, then you are truly ignorant. Also, do you honestly think that Rodgers came out of college as a hall of fame talent? Or don’t you think the coaches that TT has hired had something to do with his development? Shortsighted people like yourself shouldn’t even bother commenting. You just sound stupid.

          • Ross

            I think that Rodgers came out of college as the first overall pick talent but fell to 24. That’s falling into your lap. I didnt say that Rodgers was the only good player. But without that ridiculous amount of luck in that draft the Packers are the third best team in the division. Maybe. I said that I’m not impressed with his evaluation of top talent. Clearly. Justin Harrell? What was that? Derrick Sherrod? Another bad one. And don’t say injury cause he wasn’t good before that. Fact is that the Packers are horrid without Rodgers. Look at last season. And that was the one pick that made Ted Thompson notable.

          • Nevin Paustian

            I guess we will choose to ignore the fact that QB was not an imediate need at the time when Ted picked Rodgers in the first round. Oh i remember those days, when insightful fans like yourself were calling for Ted’s job because it was soooo stupid to not draft an imediate need in the first round. Kind of sounds familiar don’t it?

  • Marcou

    DEMARCUS WARE!!! I agree that draft and develop is the best-and most cost effective-way to build a team. BUT sometimes you need to supplement the talent with veterans (veteran leadership cannot be drafted). I would love to see Ware in GB next season opposite CMIII. And for all of you who say he is too old…. Remember, Ware is the same age as Reggie was when he came to GB in ’93. How’d that work out?

  • Packamaniac

    So TT is content winning the NFC North and making the playoffs every year, well I think most true fans are not as content nor should they be. It’s a win now league and by the time Thompson’s Draft & Delvelope mentality pans out, Aaron Rodgers will be ready to retire and players like Lacy, Nelson, Cobb, etc. will be to expensive to keep. We have a top 3 QB right now (today) we may not see another player like him in the near future, so TT had better think about winning another Super Bowl and stop being fine with bring NFC North Champions.

    • Nevin Paustian

      I guess we will just choose to ignore all of the injuriea that have plagued the team, the past few years. You want a GM that pisses away money? Go be a Dallas fan.

  • Ross

    My biggest problem is that the packers have one of the most free cap space in the league. I’d be ok with Ted if he wasn’t signing free agents but also actively trying to sign our top guys and keep them from leaving. Dont tell me we can’t afford Jolly or James Jones and then have 28 million in cap space left because they went after NOBODY. And its not even as if they are trying and just not able to sign guys. They haven’t even been in the discussion for anybody.

  • David Burdette

    Have to say though, wouldve liked Ware in Green and Gold.

  • billy

    This i love…for all the people who call anyone who criticizes Ted T. a “troll” or “go back another team”…

    i read it on cheeshead tv blog…good stuff……the tundra vision disclaimer

    I am not an NFL GM. I have never been an NFL GM. I have no serviceable experience that would qualify me to become an NFL GM. Therefore, my opinions and observations are based on the same information the rest of us have. However, if you’re going to play the “You’re not an NFL GM, so what do you know?” card, let me remind you that all present NFL GMs aren’t exactly forthcoming on all of their strategies and secrets, and even former GMs are pretty close to the vest. It’s hard to talk about moves the Packers make if no one is allowed to speak unless they are or have been a GM. So, I’m going to express my opinions, and you can take it or leave it. I don’t hate Ted Thompson, want him fired, or think he’s a terrible GM. He made a move I question, and I’m going take 1,000 words or so to clearly explain why.

    And, if you have also never been an NFL GM, you also have no idea what you’re talking about and have no idea if I’m right or wrong. Lead by example!!!!!!!!!!!!!