Ted Thompson will spend, but usually on his own guys

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Packers G.M. Ted Thompson has a reputation for being stingy with free-agency dollars.  That’s true, as applied to free agents who have been playing for other teams.

When it comes to his own guys, Thompson spends, baby.

Most recently, Thompson spent $39 million over four years on cornreback Sam Shields, a player Peter King dubs as “pedestrian.”  Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel takes a broader look at the players Thompson has paid, from quarterback Aaron Rodgers to linebacker Clay Matthews to linebacker A.J. Hawk to cornerback Tramon Williams to guard Josh Sitton to guard T.J. Lang.

Silverstein points out that some of the in-house players who were paid became mistakes, like linebacker Brandon Chillar and (perhaps) safety Morgan Burnett.  And Thompson perhaps shouldn’t have let defensive end Cullen Jenkins walk.

The only big-name player signed from another team under Thompson was cornerback Charles Woodson.  And that came only after quarterback Brett Favre held a bizarre golf-course press conference as part of his will-I-or-won’t-I-retire campaign and openly lobbied for the team to land an impact player on defense.

“I know when we signed Reggie White, we knew we were going to be better right away,” Favre said in April 2006.  “I think people associated with the Packers said, ‘There’s a signing that will make us better.’  I think that’s what we have to do.  We have to make a statement again.  You have to stay up with the NFL.  Teams are making statements.  Sometimes you hit on them.  Sometimes you don’t.”

Less than three weeks later, Woodson was a Packer.

While Thompson obviously is more comfortable with guys he knows, Thompson welcomes a slew of strangers every year via the draft.  But the financial risk is much lower.

Still, the same kind of scouting principles that apply when draft players surely can be used in free agency, and Thompson could be adding guys who’d come in and make the team, as Favre said nearly eight years ago, “better right away.”  Jared Allen would, for example, make the Packers better right away.  Other players on both sides of the ball (specifically, the offensive line) would make the Packers “better right away.”

They don’t need to be much better.  They know how to get to the playoffs consistently.  They’re just having trouble advancing.  At some point, the formula needs to be revised in order to get the team back to the top.

At some point, they need to welcome strangers to the organization who have shown with other teams that they can play at a high level.

44 responses to “Ted Thompson will spend, but usually on his own guys

  1. Ted Thompson should have been fired for incompetence 5 years ago.

    The Packers roster is worse than the Jaguars minus quarterback.

    Worst talent in the NFL.

  2. Jared Allen is a one trick pony – pass rusher. He can’t hold the point and sometimes gets swallowed up in the rush. He also is a DE in a 4-3 system. He would not fit in Capers’ 3-4. (ala Aaron Kampman).

    Also, IMO the offensive line is in the best shape since Thompson took over. The only real question is at center and whether EDS gets resigned. Sure it would be nice if they had 3 or 4 high first rounders like the 49ers but you have stink for ten years to get them. Their line situation is better now than when they won Super Bowl XLV.

  3. @thevikesarebest

    You’re talking out of turn. The pre-draft off season is the Bears fans’ time to talk crazy.

    After the draft is when you guys get to talk about how great the Vikings are going to be.

    And then, as usual, the Packers will win the division.

  4. Apparently there are a lot of people who have an opinion on Shields who haven’t watched him play. He’s a guy you match up on the best opposing WR and let him keep the guy under 50 yards for the day. In the NFL these days, that along is worth what he’s getting paid.

    He’s also a playmaker. Without Shields, the Cowboys game is a loss, and the Packers are out of the playoffs. There’s not a lot of guys that can make the play that he made.

  5. He’s riding the back of Rogers with a below average roster. Put Rogers on ANY other team and you would be talking dynasty. How do you pay $15 million this year to an undrafted free agent CB who had one solid year and is afraid to tackle? $50 million ($15 to Shields, $13 to Matthews, $22 to Rogers) of the $132 million cap goes to 3 players. That’s insane. 3 get $50,000,000 and 52 share the remaining 82,000,000.

  6. Usually Ted’s plan is best. However, he DID miss with Marshawn Lynch, and I think he will miss if he doesn’t go for Byrd this year. We need a top-fight safety and an impact middle line-backer. With a couple of young guys maturing and staying healthy on the D line, we would immediately be a solid defense.

  7. With players who have shown their abilities in your system, you’re paying for a known commodity. Some GMs prefer this to the guesswork of signing attractive free agents with the hopes that they do what you’re looking for.

  8. The packers have been a pretty well ran organization for a long time, I don’t think they need to take advice from a blogger.

  9. Jared Allen would, for example, make the Packers better right away. Other players on both sides of the ball (specifically, the offensive line) would make the Packers “better right away.”
    Jared Allen ….5-6 years ago, sure.

    We’re good at Guard – we’re good at center if EDS resigns, we’ve got a nice left tackle from the 4th round last year and now we’ve got a 3 way battle for the right tackle job between two 1st round picks coming back from injury, an undrafted runblocker who could improve in his 3rd year…

    I’d say our oline is probably the best it’s been in years.

  10. What’s wrong with the offensive line? That’s a pretty solid group. They’re not going to sink $8 mil a year in a guy like Veldheer when they have a guy in Bahktiari (4th rounder) who played extremely well as a rookie, and have 2 first round picks invested in tackles (Bulaga & Sherrod).

    Last year’s line held up pretty well, especially when you consider the line consisted of three 4th round selections and two UDFA’s.

  11. pjrhc says:
    Mar 10, 2014 8:55 AM
    Usually Ted’s plan is best. However, he DID miss with Marshawn Lynch, and I think he will miss if he doesn’t go for Byrd this year. We need a top-fight safety and an impact middle line-backer. With a couple of young guys maturing and staying healthy on the D line, we would immediately be a solid defense.

    Safeties, depending on the scheme, are not interchangable. Burnett is better as a Free Safety, and so is Byrd. They need a more in-the-box Strong Safety. T.J. Ward is probably too expensive, so that’s why you hear the Packers connected to Donte Whitner.

  12. Brandon Chillar was an injury casualty. Morgan Burnett struggled, because he was having to cover up for the mistakes of other Dbacks. I still think he’ll be fine.

    Cullen Jenkins was a great player, but he was ALWAYS hurt. Then he turned 30.

  13. thehatefulnerd says: Mar 10, 2014 11:13 AM

    Brandon Chillar was an injury casualty. Morgan Burnett struggled, because he was having to cover up for the mistakes of other Dbacks. I still think he’ll be fine.

    Cullen Jenkins was a great player, but he was ALWAYS hurt. Then he turned 30.


    And, Chillar wasn’t a Packers draft pick either, they brought him in from St. Louis.

    You’re spot on w/ Jenkins. He felt like a huge loss for the first year, now I’m glad they’re not saddled with his contract.

    I do disagree on Burnett, though, who is overpaid and overrated in my opinion. He was a great complement to a guy like Nick Collins, but hasn’t been able to steup up and be the leader that Collins was. Way too many mistakes.

  14. It’s been proven time and again that Ted Thompson is a terrible judge of talent. If looking at the Green Bay roster isn’t enough proof of that, let me give you one example. He drafted Aaron Rodgers, who could have been the first pick in the draft but dropped to 24 because it was a year when not many teams had a need at quarterback. A dog with a note in his mouth would have drafted Rodgers. Thompson was so enamored with Rodgers’ obvious talent that he spent a second-round pick on Brian Brohm as soon as Favre left. He had no idea what he had so he hedged his bet by drafting Brohm, who was terrible. This is the guy Packer fans think is going to build a great team around Rodgers, even as they’ve watched the talent level crumble over the last few years.

  15. Jenkins sure didn’t miss many games after he left Green Bay. What big contract did Jenkins sign with Philadelphia. First year was around $5 million as I recall. The $25 million contact he signed was renegotiated after the first year for less money. And how did his replacement Mike Neal work out? Yes it was a big mistake letting Jenkins go with an often injured nobody to take his place.

  16. Peter King calling Shields pedestrian is about the best endorsement for the re-signing I can possibly imagine. Thanks, I was afraid we overpaid, now I know we got a bargain. If I want stupid opinions on Starbucks, uninteresting news about his girl’s college lacrosse career, or embarrassing expressions of man-love for Derek Jeter, I’ll turn to Peter King; for everything else I’ll rely on real journalists and talent scouts.

  17. I am livid with another player without Pro Bowl credentials and anything that mimicks consiostent play to a huge payday. Yes, Thompson does love to pay his own. It’s time Thompson sinks with his own ship. A new GM was needed long agho in Green Bay.

  18. How did he miss on Lynch?

    The Packers won the SB that year when there was talk of trading for him?

    He is loyal to the people he has drafted and UDFAs he has picked up. You have to choose who you are and aren’t going to pay.

    He will get more out of 9 mil a season for Shields, than paying 9 Mil a season for Greg Jennings last season.

  19. GB has one of the best run organizations in the NFL. Thompson has been right far more than wrong in picking players and keeping players. He’s kept the Team more than competitive during his tenure. No they don’t go pay big bucks for other teams waiver wires. The invest in what they have and they look for value in the waiver wire players they bring in. GB is built to last and not to have a winning season one time out of every five. Something that shouldn’t be forgotten is that if that pass had been intercepted instead of dropped, the 49ers wouldn’t have been playing Seattle, and that was by a team that had a season racked by injuries. As far as Lynch, what would you rather have the receivers of GB and Lacey or one RB that will hit the down slope sooner rather than later.

  20. Thompson’s stubborn refusal to sign free agents from other teams is complicated by his overvaluing and overpaying his own picks. I do not advocate overspending for any player, like Thompson has done in the past and like he has done in this case. Shields is not a shutdown corner, but they are paying him like one.

  21. Wow, there are a lot of rose-colored glass wearing pollyannas here. The offensive line is a solid group? How many times did Rodgers get sacked two years ago? He got sacked 8 times in one half in the Seattle game. He was taking a beating last year and finally Thompson’s gamble blew up in his face. Thompson’s track record at judging offensive line and secondary talent has been abysmal.

  22. The packers have allowed a few good receivers to walk recently. They have a couple more free agent receivers. If these are not re-signed, then Rodgers will have more difficulty completing passes.

  23. Please enligten me. How exactly has Shields earned a 10 million dollar a year contract? Between injuries and inconsistent play, prior to last season he wasn’t earning his keep.

    As for Thompson, the big dollars Burnett is earning as a journeyman safety is nuts. When he does sign free agents like Ryan Pickett, he overspends f0r marginal talent. The status quo was good enough to take the team to a championship – but without a prime time free agent like Charles Woodson – it never would have happened.

  24. Ted has a Superbowl ring to go along with his 2 Executive of the Year awards. I suspect he’s borderline HOF material already.

    The Packers swagger comes from Ted.

  25. Think what an Eddie Lacy might have done a few years earlier. It’s good now but we went without a solid running back for the years between Lynch and Lacy.

  26. Look at the QB fiasco this passed season…….Thompson needs to be sent out to the pasture…

  27. yeah you got that right . dude gets rid of his back up qbs just before the season and when lil old mrs mary Rodgers goes down your packer nation just sunk . of course then came the playoff blackout that almost was . great jobs over there . like I said in a prior post once mrs Rodgers get hurt next yr or the one after she will retire and the pack WILL be back in the 70s and 80s loosing just as normal

  28. The swagger that comes from Ted? You mean the swagger that gets their butts handed to them at home in the playoffs because of inadequate talent and toughness? I’m sure the response to that will be that the last game was close. The last game was close because of the cold, which used to mean a win for Green Bay but they have gotten too soft.

  29. Did anyone watch the NFL Network last night? They had Ladainian Tomlinson on, and they asked him about free agency and what he went through. He said, he had two teams that really wanted him, the Jets & the Vikings… He said he picked the Jets because he wanted to go to a winner!! Just an FYI..
    I’m grateful for What Thompson & McCarthy has given us fans over the last 8 years… It’s tough to win every year, with free agency and injuries. Us fans can sit behind our computers and say he should’ve done this or this or drafted this guy or traded for this guy.. But in the end, we’re not working 18 hour days with these guys. I’ll trust them to make the correct decision, even if I don’t agree with it..

  30. People look at shield contract and think he is getting overpaid, and to some extent… He is… However most people are missing the simple brilliance of this move. TT has now set a standard for any other team trying to sign a CB, and every CB’s agent knows the Pack just dished out 10 mil a year to Shields and will want a similar if not better deal. What this has done is taken teams that have cap issues and now allowed them to afford talent.

    The same thing happened when Flacco got his new deal… First thing TT did was lock up Rodgers, knowing this contract would then inflate a top QB value. Now look at the Bears, Lions, Cowboys and a few other teams that had to hand out top dollar to their slightly above average QB’s just to keep other teams from snagging them. Teams like the 49ers will now have to pay players like Kaep 15-20 mil a year (Next year) even though they are unproven… because of the potential and league need.

  31. 1 – Any team loses it’s stud QB, it is toast. What world are you guys living on? Youre telling me Brady, or Brees go down and those teams keep trekking along? Spare me.

    2 – As Viking trollers, you guys shouldn’t be even allowed on a pro football blog to begin with. To try to knock the team that has OWNED your team for years is laughable….and your rebuilding that will happen this year taking you roughly back to 3-13 again and outdoors where 7 Viking fans will show up at the games…even more laughable. Stop kidding yourself, sport.

    3 – For pretending to know as much about the game as some of you say you do…you’d know that ANY Defensive Backfield will get carved up if there’s no pass rush. They get a legitimate pass rush again in Green Bay and those guys will own it.

    4 – I know you’re disappointed that a Packer actually stayed with the team and didn’t come over to the Dark Pink side. He’ll do that when he’s washed up in a few years, trying to stay in the league, and can then scam your team out of more money like the last few guys have, setting themselves up beautifully for retirement. Well played Rick Spielman, well played.

    5 – Can’t wait until the season starts…by mid season and the Queens are 1-7 and in the middle of yet another QB controversy, we can all come here for some comedic relief. You donkeys will hide and come back around the postseason to proclaim Viking dominance again..and again…and again. Classic stuff.

    You guys know your team sucks when even Cleveland Browns fans are making fun of you.

    SKOL is right.

  32. You All Sound Like Garbage. Especially You Viking Fans. First Find Yourself A Real Coach That Can Properly Use This So Called “Talent” And Get Yourself A Few Wins. Second How About A Front Office That Can Get You A Decent QB So AP Isn’t Trying To Carry The Workload Every Week, Look What Happened When You Got Favre, Enough Said. Last But Not Least, Win A Superbowl. Until All That Is Accomplished, Then I Give You The Right To Talk Smack About Our Organization.

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