Free agency grade: Green Bay Packers


Free agency?

What’s that?

Maybe Andy Reid knows …

Surely Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson know what free agency is … and frankly, they seem to be the only duo in the National Football League who stay true to their word and don’t go into the period lathered in saliva while bending over.

For that, I give the Packers an A+

For the Philadelphia Eagles, whose surprise deep foray into this year’s market netted them new players for about 20 percent of their team, I am speechless.

However, I do know what grade I will give them: F

But let’s get back to the Green Bay Packers, the team about which this column is focused. Every team general manager in the National Football League stands at the podium after each season and explains that the team’s goal is to win the Super Bowl the coming year. To do that, they all say the same thing: They must build through the draft.

After this past two weeks, we all know they are liars, albeit one – Ted Thompson of the Green Bay Packers.

He said prior to the draft once again this year that he would approach the coming season the same as he has approached each year since taking over as the team’s general manager … by building through the draft. And that’s what he has done.

Take a look at just some of the players he has collected in that manner: Aaron Rodgers, Gregg Jennings, James Starks, Nick Collins, Clay Matthews. Add to that players such as Derek Sherrod, Randall Cobb and Alex Green drafted this year and one can see why Thompson is a man of his word. He can evaluate talent and bring in players who will make a difference with his team.

It’s been proven the method works. Though it’s not as sexy as signing a Nnamdi Asomugha or even a Cullen Jenkins, Thompson’s tortoise-like approach to player acquisition is the winning formula.

Sure, he did delve into the market by signing his own: James Jones, John Kuhn, and Mason Crosby – three players who will make huge marks on the 2012 edition of the Green Bay Packers – three players who are known commodities and giant players in last year’s drive to the Super Bowl.

Can a team that goes out and replaces 20 percent of its team with new players succeed? Maybe … I guess we’ll see how the Eagles progress. But think about how the rest of the players on that team must feel … they made the playoffs last year and had a much better season than many predicted. Does that mean management goes out and cleans house to bring in a whole new look? Well apparently Andy Reid wasn’t happy with whom he was going to battle with in 2012, so he changed things up … in a big way.

And so we’ve got the dream team … but if there is a team out there that has Super Bowl written all over it, it’s the Green Bay Packers. Maybe the Eagles are only dreaming of a Super Bowl.

Either way, what you have in the Packers is consistency, integrity and belief in a system that works.

The system receives an A, the players receive an A and management receives an A.