By signing their own, are the Green Bay Packers getting better?


B.J. Raji signed a single-year, $4 million contract with the Packers today.

Raymond T. Rivard photograph

The free agency frenzy that has exploded across the NFL this week has resulted in blazing fast, multi-million dollar, multi-year deals that are setting up the players for life and giving every team in the league hope for a championship in 2014.

Buy a defensive end here, a receiver there, trade for a quarterback over here and add that linebacker over there – the type of player who can cover tight ends over the middle as well as cause havoc in the offensive backfield and plug the holes to shut down the running game.

Teams across the league have been trying to find the perfect players who will help take the squad to the next level. The majority of the movement from players is from one team to another. Will these new  players fit in the locker room? Will they have the time to learn a new system, new terminology and have the opportunity to build chemistry and confidence among their teammates?

We’ll check back about week 8 this coming regular season to answer those questions.

But we won’t have to worry about that … unless Packers GM Ted Thompson changes his modus operandi and actually signs a free agent from outside the program.

Re-signing one’s own is the mantra, but this is ridiculous. While there have been reports that the Packers have pursued this or that player, it’s pretty clear from the team’s actions that their targets are surely their own players.

That’s a good thing for Sam Shields, Mike Neal, B.J. Raji, and Andrew Quarless.

With other Packers free agents still on the market, one has to wonder how many of them they will be able to bring back and which players will be targeted.

We all know that Jermichael Finley is gone. But what about James Jones? John Kuhn? James Starks, Johnny Jolly and Ryan Pickett? We wonder if any of them will be back.Would the addition of all these players be wise and most importantly, would it make for a better team in 2014.

The key to the best team the Packers can be this coming years doesn’t come down to bringing in a slew of new players for big bucks. Value is what TT seeks. If he thinks he has a player who will fill a positional need at a cost that is affordable, he will pull the trigger. He won’t overspend – he will reel in players like Quarless – a tight end who had a passel of teams interested in his services. Instead, he signed a 2-year contract worth $3 million. Now, that’s affordable.

Packers safety Morgan Burnett whoops it up after Johnny Jolly recovered a second half against the Atlanta Falcons last season.

Jim Oxley photograph

While I’m not so sure that re-signing these guys is always the best policy, but there is one benefit that comes from signing your own players: consistency and cohesion.

If there’s one team that can boast both consistency and cohesion, it’s the Packers.

But I digress.

Will the Packers be better after these signings?

Well, I know they can’t be any worse. Like the rest of the 31 teams, this is a season of transition. Players come and go, dollars get thrown around and rosters begin to take shape. Success in free agency certainly changes Draft boards and mock drafts.

And while the Packers may still make another couple of signings as the market slows and the next tier of players become available, one has to wonder just from where those signing will come. Will the Packers continue to re-sign their own?

Stay tuned …