Murphy defends Packers’ lack of activity in free agency

Getty Images

Packers CEO Mark Murphy realizes that a gap currently exists between the his team and the 49ers.  But that hasn’t prompted the Packers to make bold moves in free agency, even as the Niners have traded for receiver Anquan Boldin and signed cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.

Look at the teams who have done that,” Murphy tells the Racine (Wisc.) Journal Times regarding franchises that have been active in free agency.  “Two years ago, the Philadelphia Eagles were anointed the Dream Team and NFL champions.  It’s not that we can’t afford it.  It’s really just that we think the best way to spend money is to identify your core players and reach long-term extensions with them rather than taking other people’s players.”

One of those players will be quarterback Aaron Rodgers.  But it doesn’t sound like a new deal for the 2011 NFL MVP is as imminent as some believe.

“It’s a priority for the organization,” Murphy said.  “I’ve kept in touch and we’re hopeful it will be soon, but these things have a life of their own sometimes.”

And so Murphy envisions closing the divide with the 49ers via the draft.

“We played them two times last year, the first game of the year and the last game of the year, and they beat us pretty soundly both times,” Murphy said.  “But I’ve been around the league long enough to know that can change pretty quickly.  And I think we’ll be better this year.  I think getting back a number of injured players will make a huge difference.  I think in the draft, we’ll be able to address some areas of concern and we have a great core of young players who are only going to get better.”

The 49ers likely think the same thing, too.  Along with the Seahawks.  And the Falcons.  And the Redskins.  And the Vikings.  And the 10 NFC teams that didn’t make the playoffs in 2012.

Which only will make the next NFL season even more compelling.

74 responses to “Murphy defends Packers’ lack of activity in free agency

  1. Getting top FAs to address team needs is not a bad deal so I disagree with him on not making any moves in free agency….but I agree that getting a core team through the draft being critical. The right combination of both is actually most ideal.

  2. Packer fans will buy what Murphy is selling. Of course, these are the same people that fork over $250 for a piece of paper that Murphy prints out on his office ink jet.

  3. Why does he come across as so defensive about his player acquisition philosophy? Very odd.

  4. Now the ravens, after re-signing their HOF qb, need to find their core players, then they can contend for 3, maybe 2nd in the division. Rodgers will look to prove he’s worth a flacco deal, once he’s rightfully earned it.

  5. That’s such an obtuse perspective to cite a failed example of somebody else that has nothing to do with anything. The Dream Team concept that the Eagles went for would have also been an example of why you should spend lots of money if it happened to work out for them. Just because one team had a horrible set of decisions for how to spend their money doesn’t mean it isn’t in the Packers’ best interest to spend money. It makes a big difference if you are spending the money wisely or not.

    Looking at that team from that time period should have no relevance on what the justifications are for decisions on behalf of this team that he represents. This guy doeasn’t even have a foundation for a logical frame of reference to operate from let alone a well calculated vision for how to improve the Packers’ positioning for the future. The GM is the weakest member of the Packers.

  6. The most compelling reason is probably all the $$ needed to sign Aaron Rodgers.
    Given the current insane market for franchise QBs, it would not surprise me to see at least a $25 mil/year contract for A-Rod.

    This system is out of whack, till we see more balanced teams beat teams with elite QBs but nothing else.

  7. well when your qbs asking for 23 million a year and your star linebacker needs a contract, you cant really afford free agency. No matter what his cap number is THIS year, it still affects players deals because no players under the age of 33 is taking a cheap one year deal. Randal cobbs contract is also gonna come up in a few years and hes like a more durable percy harvin with slightly less speed. Its safe to say that with an increase in talent,contracts,and free agency, the patriots may very well have been the last dynasty.

  8. The upcoming season will tell us a lot regarding which philosophy is better. If the Packers perform better than the Niners, Seahawks, Broncos, etc. this year, we’ll know Murphy is on to something. Vegas is leaning against him, tho. Maybe having so many players coming back from IR will help.

  9. NFC teams are getting better and better, while the Packers are staying at that that same level. Keep hoping Rodgers puts up unbelievable numbers every game, it ain’t gonna happen.

  10. The irony lies in the fact that it was the Packers long ago who essentially “invented” Free Agency in its modern form with the Reggie White deal…

    There are certainly opposite ends of the spectrum in regards to teams who “go crazy” signing big-name, big-contract players whose new teams don’t live up to expectations (a la Redskins in the 2000’s). However, if the front office does due diligince and can fill needs with proven players who also mesh well with the current roster, who’s to say which way is better? Props to the Pack for being quiet in free agency and still being able to put quality product on the field, but times are changing in the league, and this method may not always succeed…

  11. farvite, How can losing players who where gone most of the year last year a crushing lost? Jennings’ production was easily absorbed by younger talent and Woodson had been the same player for about year.

  12. Resigned to the fact that all their money will be tied up in a-rod and roid boy, the pack continues their slide into mediocrity. Is there any team that could really be considered the favorite to win the NFC north this year?

  13. Overall it has been beneficial to the Packers to follow The same strategy. Minimal dollars for free agents.

  14. Murphy knows what he’s talking about. He’s a handsome fellow, too, I have to admit.

  15. The Packers are one Aaron Rodgers injury from being 3-13. They never sign a big name, nor do they have a starting caliber running back. Perhaps there should be something between making a big splash and doing absolutely nothing.

  16. They better hope Lacy falls to them in the first round. The lack of even an average ground game has been their biggest problem. Rodgers is the best in the business but you can’t ask him to do it all on his own.

  17. Packers are yesterday’s news…defense is average…no running game…overrated and overhyped…relying on Rodgers to pull one out of his *ss every game…miss on this upcoming draft and they won’t make the playoffs next year.

  18. farvite: GB wins the North Division at 11-5 or better….and no one is smart enough now to predict any playoff winners for 2013-14.

  19. The reason that the 9er’s and Seahawks can afford to sign big name FA’s and the Packers can’t is because they have qb’s who were drafted after the rookie wage scale was in place. GB has the best QB in the business, but now won’t be able to put big names around him. Rodgers will be in his prime for the next 4-5 years, so when it come time for the dreamers in the Pacific Northwest to pay their QB’s, those teams will be in salary cap hell while the cream rises back to the top. Enjoy your couple years of success, and kiss Rodgers’ rings when the dust settles.

  20. Marco Rivera and not getting moss are the two major bungles by Thompson. The gunslinger behind a sold line with a receiver that can snag jump balls out of the air like he’s picking crab apples. But I digress

  21. This team is soft and doughy. Like their head coach. Ted could start drafting guys who can stay healthy, no team in the league has had as many injuries the last 3yrs as GB. Oh yeah, spend some bloody money on the OL. The stiffs on the line now can not run block.

  22. When your team leads the NFL with 13 Championships then you know all negative comments stem from jealousy.

  23. If they don’t find TWO running backs to help out their stud qb, them they are idiots and don’t deserve their titles. Stop feeding the fans these re-treads, and stiffs, and find an NFL quality runner. Your qb is getting crushed this offense should be unstoppable, but instead its one dimensional.

  24. tokyosandblaster:

    the Seahawks shouldn’t think that way? seriously? a team that was 30 seconds away from the NFC Championship against a team we waxed by about 30 a month earlier? come on now.

    the reality is, games are won on the field, not in free agency or the draft. but what you do, or don’t do in spring and summer, goes a long ways in determining what you can do on the field in the fall.

    the Seahawks and Whiners have built themselves through the draft, with good young players and complemented that core with smart economical choices in free agency.

    the Hawks went in to the off season with two glaring needs….. wr and DLine. they traded for one of the top 10 receivers in the league (Harvin), and picked up two of the best available free agent options at DLine, in Bennett and Avril.

    PS: has anyone ever seen Tokyosandblaster and LogicalVoice in the same room at the same time?

  25. They’ve had 2 losing seasons in the last 21. That’s it, so there is something to be said for their style of management.

    I’d like to see SOME FA activity when it makes sense but the wholesale “build your team because you can’t draft via FA” is wrong too.

    Look – if your talent scouts can’t find college talent, what makes you think they can find NFL talent?

  26. signing rodgers and matthews to 25 % of your salary cap is a ticket to NFL hell …… good enough to win 9 or 10 but not good enough to beat good teams with good cheap QB’s ….. which means middle 1st round pick and no significant free agents signings.

  27. Everyone forgets that the Eagles not only went out and got a ton of players in free agency, but did the same for coaches. If you got the top FA’s and kept your coaching staff in there, you would do a better job.

    Of course, our problem was that Andy Reid went all Madden on the team, and it turns out it doesn’t work in real life.

  28. The Packers are almost $18M under this year’s salary cap. Their carryover from last year was $7M. And they’re bickering with Aaron Rodgers over $2M bucks per year on the new contract, while some key contributors are leaving.

    And what is Murphy selling ??

  29. Face facts, football is a young man’s game. The wear and tear on the body is beyond the comprehension of the average NFL fan.

    By relying on the draft, the Packers accure two big advantages, they stay young (average age is among the lowest 5 teams in the league year in and year out) and affordable.

    The downside risk is that you have to be relatively healthy to have the strategy work. By mid-season last year, the last three #1 picks for the Packers were all on IR. All three are coming back in 2013 so its like having three extra #1 picks for their squad.

  30. it crack’s me up all the hate on here for the packers. it does work they did win the sb a couple of years ago by doing business this way. sure it would be nice to see them do something in free agency once and a while, and they do have some holes to fill no doubt. but i would like to see them sign there own players before paying out in free agency. not only the dream team??? but also i believe the redskins and the cowboy’s used to splash in free agency every year and it didn’t work then either. just ask cowboy and redskin fans about those days.

  31. I laugh at the comments, obtuse perspective and continued slide. You need to look no further than the Packers success over the past 5 years with this philosophy. The continued slide is just a ridiculous comment from a jealous fan considering the Packers have dominated the division over the past couple seasons. say what you want it has proven pretty successful with the least amount of dead money in the league.

  32. You cannot reasonably draw comparisons between that Eagles “dream team” and the 49ers. The core group in San Francisco was built via the draft and their FA acquisitions are cheap salary-cap friendly deals. The early incarnations of Snyder’s ‘Skins tried it the big splash free agent way with aged/depleted stars, but this current ‘Skins team with Shanny isn’t like that, nor are Seattle or even ATL. Just overall bad comparisons.

    People should actually LOOK at rosters before opening their mouths. If you can upgrade your roster without putting your teams cap in jeopardy then you’re a fool not to do it and you’re taking the inherent love of a great fanbase for granted.

  33. “Packer fans will buy what Murphy is selling. Of course, these are the same people that fork over $250 for a piece of paper that Murphy prints out on his office ink jet.”
    This comes from a fan of a team that hasn’t sniffed the Super Bowl since the end of the Reagan administration and whose owners are notoriously cheap. I guess being one one of the top three winning franchises in the last 20 years makes fans from mediocre franchises jealous.
    BTW-the Packers signed a tight end named Mulligan from St. Louis.

  34. Oh, get off your high horse. Good teams build through the draft AND supplement with free agency. Maybe if you did that, you would have a defense that could stop somebody, and possibly an o-line to protect the ONLY reason you won a Super Bowl and are good every year: Aaron Rodgers.

  35. Why do packer fans complain about Thompson for not doing anything in free agency, then defend the organization for not spending? Did ya want Steven Jackson or not? The thing is, the 49ers and Seahawks have improved this off-season and the still have a ton of draft picks, so you can’t assume the Packer will have a better draft. Sorry if I offended Packer fans with my outrageous comments.

  36. Facts Mr Murphy, they spotted you 7 points early, won by 14 and it could have been worse had the game gone on longer. Your team was totally dominated and scored a couple of late TD’s that were way too late and they had the scrubs in.

    So when a team with that much power and talent goes out and gets TOP free agents it means they want that super bowl.

    The Packers at best will be 6-11 this year Mr Murphy. Your team has Rogers and Mathews. The later missed games last year to recurring ham strings, the former was on his back more than any QB and your division foes have added top notch pass rushers through FA.

  37. Lets be honest. All the NFL teams with the exception of the Packers have deep pocket owners. Ted and Murphy have to sell T shirts at Lambeau to come up with the money to even reach the cap let alone have a problem staying under it. They are also forced to pay as you go and cannot back load contracts. That is the problem with a public owned entity it can’t get into debt.
    The stock they sell can only be used for stadium improvement not player salaries. So the real story is, the Packers have very little money to play with and MUST rely on cheap un-drafted players to fill spots on the roster.
    What transpires is you end up with Frank Zombo’s of the world who are marginal players and often injured on your team and you are faced with having to rely on them to stop talented teams.

  38. Packers are using their salary cap to pay their top players more- by necessity- rather than acquire new talent. They don’t have enough cap space to do both.

    At the same time, the Packers have lost some key front office people in the last couple years that helped them draft well. Last year was not a good draft for the Packers.

    If they don’t have a good draft this year, they won’t win the division.

  39. Ya they seem to bypass the fact that both their rivals the Lions and Vikes picked up some top Free agent talent and both pick before them in the first round, the Vikes pick twice and the Lions have the 5th pick.

    If the Lions draft Anseh, they should have the best defensive pass rush in the entire league with Suh, Fairly, Anseh and several quality backups.

    Rogers won’t have a change to throw the ball and that’s kind of where the competition is going. He is the team and if you can stop his passing, the Pack have nothing.

  40. As a Skins fan, Mark Murphy is a great guy. He’s very smart. And his opinion on the matter is mostly spot on. But he sure sounds defensive in this piece. I would have thought he’d take a slightly higher approach.

  41. Ted Thompson looks better than what he is because TT has had Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers as his QB’s since Ted’s been in Green Bay. The fact that TT has not been active in FA in 2013(yippie Brent Jones) and neglected to upgrade the offensive line could mean trouble for Aaron Rodgers “PRIME YEARS”. Ted T must be perfectly content with a O-line that gave up 51 sacks(2nd in the league in 2012) to the packs franchise QB who is about to be made the highest paid player in league history. Jake Long and Jermon Bushrod made perfect sense at LT. Why TT gave 8 million a yr to a TE who has average hands, and is a malcontent in the Locker room does not make sense? Why not take that 8 million and invest in protecting Aaron Rodgers? Aaron Rodgers next 3-4 years are his prime years. TT has put together a poor O-line and a defense that has set all kinds of WRONG records the last two years. The packers are behind the 49ers. And with no FA moves the packers will compete to win 10-11 games(if AR stays healthy), win the north, and maybe a win one playoff game. But a Super Bowl is not on the books in 2013 because you can’t keep getting younger year after year and expect the young guys to play at a super bowl level. Cheers TT for not setting up Aaron Rodgers prime years! With the right moves in FA and the draft the packers could’ve been in the hunt for multiple super bowl championships. Instead, TT neglecting FA and sticking with Dom Capers will waste AR’s prime years!

  42. Chad Bartel says: Apr 7, 2013 11:01 PM
    The quietest team in the offseason year in and year out…but always right there vying for a ring.
    In Ted We Trust.

    These are the type of sheeple that the majority of Packer fans comprise of, unfortunately.

  43. 77…What makes you think the packers will compete for a Super Bowl in 2013? The packers were dominated by the 49ers in the playoff game. And when your team is 2nd in the league in sacks allowed and didn’t make one move to improve that in FA, how does that improve the O-line? The Chicago Bears will be better on offense. Marc Trestman has been successful in this league with his west coast offense. And remember Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall had their best years in that offense while at Denver. The bears went out and signed Bushrod because the bears brass have missed(like TT has) on drafting offensive tackles. The bears will be better and a serious contender in the north. The packers defense was hemorrhaging (again) serious yardage at seasons end. And what improvements have been made on that side of the ball? NONE! Capers is still there, and again no FA help to replace the veteran Charles Woodson in the secondary. The draft will get you your core players on the team but one or two moves can put your team over the top in Free Agency to seriously compete for a Super Bowl. Charles Woodson is a perfect example on what Free Agency can do for your team. TT doesn’t sign Woodson in FA the packers don’t win a Super Bowl in 2010. I’m glad 77 that you are confident in TT because I’m sure not. TT has orchestrated a horrible O-line and has assembled a record setting defense the last two years that know GM should be proud of.

  44. It’s an ignorant take to say that people who disagree with this philosophy are “jealous”. Please grow up and form adult opinions. The fact of the matter is that the Packers continuing on this path works to my benefit as a fan of the 49ers that wants to see my team win a championship. SF usually has a good draft as well and are balanced in all 3 phases as opposed to the 1 trick pony that is the Packers. I like Aaron Rodgers a lot, but he cannot continue to overcome that woefully underperforming defense. You can be active in FA and be economical as well.

  45. wludford says: Apr 8, 2013 11:08 AM
    “Last year was not a good draft for the Packers.
    If they don’t have a good draft this year, they won’t win the division.”
    So Getting an All Pro Caliber Rookie Corner (Hayward) – A compliment to Raji (Worthy) and Clay (Perry/Moses) – a rotational pass rushing defensive tackle (Daniels) – A hard hitting safety with a positive grade on PFF (Jerron) …. all of these guys that transformed a 32nd ranked defense up to the no.11th defense in the league is considered a “bad” draft?


  46. 49erstim says:
    Apr 8, 2013 1:38 PM
    “I like Aaron Rodgers a lot, but he cannot continue to overcome that woefully underperforming defense. You can be active in FA and be economical as well.”
    Woefully underperforming? – 3 of our starting LBs were on IR/A starting DE on IR – Vet. DB misses half the season, best Pass Rusher missed 4 games late in the year. Yet our D was good enough to be ranked no.11th, your defense was healthy all year til “A” guy bruised his bicep, then that D fell apart (production wise)….you guys allowed like 35 points a game late in the year (NE/SEA/BAL).

    Let’s swap injuries, take away the 49ers starting OTs/Starting MLBs/Starting OLB/Starting HB/Starting DE and let’s see who’s a 1 trick “woefully underperforming” team…

  47. @axespray….. That one injury you speak of is absurd. Throughout the year that defense had various injuries and due to DEPTH they were able to overcome a lot of that. Injuries are a real occurrence for EVERY team and if I attempted to use that excuse you’d blow me right out of the water and you know it. I’m.not trying to down the Packers, just their CEO that comes across as whiney and defensive.

  48. It’s tough to be a Pack fan between the end of the season and the draft because they generally make few moves. But I’ll take seasons at or near the top over exciting offseasons.
    Loved one guy predicting they’ll go 6-11. I guess 6-10 will be good enough to make the playoffs.
    Yeah, they give up a lot of sacks. Part of that is on Rodgers; for all his strengths he just never wants to throw it away when he should. Part of it is due to injuries. When you’ve got an OG playing tackle, things get tough.
    But anyway, SF and Seattle and Atlanta are welcome to all the hype and they deserve it. I think the Packers are going to be very tough though as usual.
    Loyce Means! Mark Mulligan! Super Bowl!!

  49. Hysterical to listen to Lemmings willing to follow Thompson and Murphy off the cliff.

    9ers, Seahawks and Falcons are better teams right now. This draft won’t change that.

    Ted failed us us this offseason with Matthews an ARodg sucking up so much $$$.

  50. It’ll also be just fine when the Packers continue to get humiliated in the division round of the playoffs as they have been for the last few years.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!