Ted Thompson: A Lesson in Economics


Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson may look and act like a cheapskate, but his strategy is sound. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Green Bay Packers GM Ted Thompson stood by and watched the shopping and spending sprees.  All that is left are a few expired names looking for one last gasp (Brian Urlacher).  Yet through it all, I have seen, heard and read post after post about how Ted Thompson once again failed to capitalize on what was available in the Free Agent market in order to strengthen the Green Bay Packers.

Well to all those who want to throw Ted under the bus, I suggest you break open you old high school economics book and do some reading.  Ted was prudent, conservative and wise with the money he had.  He clearly understands the basic principles of economics and has found a way to apply those theories to the free agent market.

First of all, there has to be supply and demand.  Did the Packers have “demands” that needed to be met?  Yes, they did.  Was there a significant supply of products that would have allowed the Packers to improve?  I would say the answer was no.  Supply did exist to complete the general equation, however, the resulting answers based on the availability of the supplies was such that the profitability was not worth the financial risk.

That is what the Free Agent market is all about, cost versus risk.  Is it a good idea to spend money on something that someone else does not want?  How often do the free spending teams see a substantial reward for the money they have spent?  In my opinion, based on being a fan, I see more times then not when spending big money has not brought about the desired results.  Even spending moderate money does not equate to the substantial growth that was hoped for.

In more basic terms, think of your own family budget.  You have $10,000 to buy a car.  The day comes for you to go shopping and up pulls a blazing red sports car.  Glistening and shining in the sun, new tires, a fresh wash job and it looks as beautiful as the day it rolled off the dealership’s lot.  It looks good and you know based on past performances that this ride can move.  Yeah it may have had a few issues (exploding gas tanks or rapid uncontrolled acceleration) that forced it into the shop but how often does something like this come along?

The problem is that the car is worth at most $8,000 and the price tag says $15,000.  So do you overspend for something fast and shiny? If you do, how are you going to afford the repairs when those issues start to pop up.  What are you going to drive when the car is spending more time in the shop for repairs than getting you from point A to B?  If you overspend, then you leave yourself vulnerable to the risks associated with paying more for something than it is really worth.

On the other hand you could take your $10,000 and sit on it.  Let it work for you and grow.  Maybe find a less expensive model.  It may not be fast or tricked out, but it is reliable and will meet your needs.  The quality is there for the right price.  That deal makes sense.  Spend less, save and use the savings down the road for other necessities.

The Green Bay Packers triumvirate: head coach Mike McCarthy (left), president Mark Murphy (center) and general manager Ted Thompson. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Ted was really no different than most of us.  He looked at what was available, heck he even kicked the tires on a few models, but in the end, the guys he looked at were not worth the money they were asking.  Yes that includes Greg Jennings and Charles Woodson.  By bypassing these two guys that had more wear, tear and issues, Ted can take that extra money and use it to develop younger players who are just as good now with a greater upside.

Initially those players may not net you the type of results you truly want, but over the long haul the chances of getting more for your dollar outweighs the cost of throwing money into something definitely not worth being fixed.  Plus why pay extra money for something that is going to sit on the shelf and can’t be used?

We (the Packers Nation) do not need to compete with the Lions and Vikings to see who can spend the most money in the offseason.  The only thing that matters is who is on top of the division at the end of the season and I don’t see either of those two teams making enough strides to overtake us.

You can spend all the money you want to fix up an old beater with 200,000 miles to make it look pretty and new, the only problem is, what is under the hood and how long will that look last?

I will stick with Ted and is “tightwad” ways.  So far all it has done is brought us a Super Bowl title.  How many titles have the Lions, Vikings and Bears won with the money they have thrown around?

In Ted We Trust!