17

March

Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Of the many things that make the NFL great, one of my personal favorites is how new trends tend to pop up out of nowhere.  Just when know-it-all types like yours truly think we have it all figured out, some new wrinkle arises that brings us crashing back down to Earth.

For example, we all understand that the NFL is a passing league these days, but it’s probably safe to say that next to nobody saw the read-option and power-running game trend that came on and played such a major factor in the league last season.

Read option? Power running? In today’s NFL? Nah! What coach is stupid enough to try that? Well, thanks to a new breed of quarterback, several coaches gave it a try and it worked. We’ll see if it continues.

In NFL free agency this offseason, thanks to a stagnant salary cap, there are a lot of usable veterans cut by teams and left on the market. In the past, many of these veterans would have signed bloated new deals with new teams on the first day or two of free agency.

These types of deals are still happening, but not quite like they used to.

Is this the new trend in free agency? It appears to be, for this offseason, anyway. More  teams are taking the Packers’ Ted Thompson approach and being patient, either because they think it’s the right thing to do, or because they have no other choice due to the stagnant salary cap.

Don’t get me wrong, few teams — if any — are taking the extreme draft and development approach that Thompson takes, but the general trend appears to be heading in that direction.

This raises several questions:

  • Will all of these unsigned veterans eventually just sign cheap one-year deals after a while?
  • Will prices for these unsigned veterans actually go up as free-agency wears on and teams realize they need to fill a few holes on their rosters?
  • Prices appear to be down for wide receivers and defensive backs this offseason. Is that because there are too many on the market? Is it becasue there are so many on the market? Is it because teams feel it makes more sense to draft and develop their own WRs and DBs?
  • Did Erik Walden’s agent slip Colts owner Robert Irsay a roofie and then force him to sign Walden to a four year, $16 million contract with $8 million guaranteed?

I have no idea how to answer these questions, but I’m intrigued by them.

How does this relate to the Packers? I actually think you’re going to see Thompson and his staff be more conservative than ever before in free agency. Soon, the Packers will have an ungodly amount of money invested in Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews (and who knows how much in B.J. Raji).

The Packers won’t be players in free agency not only because they don’t want to be, but also because they simply won’t be able to afford it if the salary cap remains flat.

That’s how I see things, anyway. I’m sure things will end up completely the opposite, so check back in a few years.

Packers News, Notes and Link

  • Friday night was a long one for Packers fans. Greg Jennings signed with the Vikings and Tom Crabtree inked a two-year deal with the Buccaneers. I had a blast watching both players and wish them nothing but the best when they’re not playing the Packers.
  • Here is a link to a list of all the free agents the Packers have signed so far.
  • Congratulations to Jersey Al for coming up with the best headline in the Packers blogosphere ever.
  • Jason Wilde is still text buddies with Charles Woodson, and got the former Packers great to express his appreciation for the NFL possibly changing the tuck rule.
  • John Rehor writes what has been in the back of my mind for a while about giving Clay Matthews a huge contract. Matthews is going to get a ton of money, and it’s nerve-wrecking when non-quarterbacks are given a ton of money. But Matthews is so damn good that the Packers have to back up the Brinks truck, right?
  • Devin Shanley goes over the whole Steven Jackson to the Packers brouhaha. Of course, a lot of Packers fans got all worked up when Jackson signed with the Falcons for $12 million ($4 million guaranteed). I don’t get it, people. Since when has a 30-year-old free-agent running back made the difference between being a Super Bowl team and a non-Super Bowl team? The Packers don’t need Steven Jackson. Move on.
  • Want to track what’s happening with the Packers current unrestricted and restricted free agents? CheeseheadTV.com has you covered.
  • One last note on Jennings and Crabtree: It sucks that they’re gone. It really does. Both players were good in their respective roles and both seemed like good guys. But from strictly a football sense, it had to be done. The Packers need all the cap space they can get to extend Rodgers and Matthews (and maybe Raji). To the Packers, Jennings isn’t worth what the Vikings paid him and Crabtree isn’t worth much more than the league minimum. I’m not saying that both players are now vastly overpaid and will be busts on their new teams. I’m saying that it didn’t make football sense for the Packers to pay Jennings and Crabtree what they eventually got.

Non-Packers Links and Other Nonsense

  • This story is really hard to explain, but you should read it. Seriously.
  • This excellent story on Jason Giambi should get you in the mood for baseball.
  • Don’t ever heckle Louis CK during a performance. (NSFW)
  • The Steubenville rape case gets more disgusting by the day. Dan Wetzel is doing a great job covering this terrible situation at Yahoosports.com.
  • Everything you ever wanted to know about corn ethanol, in one snazzy video.
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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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37 Responses to “Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived”

  1. Nick Perry says:

    With Jennings leaving, does this send a message to other Packers that if your 30 or close to it, Ted Thompson really could care less if you go? First Jenkins, then Wells, and now Jennings over the last three years. It’s seems no matter what, Jennings wasn’t coming back to Green Bay. I understand the money it’s going to take to keep Matthews and Rodgers but with this attitude these last three seemed to leave with could Thompson be sending a message where players wouldn’t want to sign here? Just a thought…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

    • Savage57 says:

      I think it’s interesting to note in the context of your comment that TT was an UFA that played in the league for 10 years and was out of the league around age 31 or 32.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

    • Adam Czech says:

      I think TT would be more than happy to keep any free agent who is 30 or more if he feels he is not overpaying for them.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

    • Rob says:

      Seems to me they kept an “aged” Donald Driver on the roster for some part out of loyalty.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. morgan mundane says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

    • PatMc says:

      Morgan, the measley 3 mil a year is more than 1/2 of what the drafted players will sign for this year.

      TT already has 2 30yo RB’s on the roster. Look for him to draft one or two young RB’s in this years draft who will more than make up for “Jackson” going to Atlanta.

      The writer on GB’s website has written up good material on the salary cap and its impact both this year and in the future.

      I saw on here the other day a mention that the highest paid OF on the Mets is a guy who last played in 1998. He makes a measley $1 million a year until 2034. Don’t you think the Mets might be able to get better OF’s for that lost money?

      TT has a great front office with money guys who are advising him. Once they get through signing Arod and CLay this year things will be better. But like you said, we will lose talent that we “developed through the draft (and otherwise) if they don’t become core players. That is the NEW NFL. Parity sucks!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      • barutanseijin says:

        Baseball doesn’t have a salary cap, so zombie salaries only affect the pocketbooks of the poor, starving owners. You know, the same guys who have to beg on street corners for new stadiums and tax breaks. These days, many of the teams are run with the idea of having good cash flow but a net loss so as to get tax breaks for other domains of the owner’s corporate empire. Also, in baseball, the owners get to write off the depreciation on the players. Neat trick, eh? Not sure how that works with salaries for retired guys — i am not a tax lawyer — but it could mean that they get to write the whole zombie salary off.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. morgan mundane says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

    • Adam Czech says:

      Well, if your doomsday scenario comes true, Morgan, hopefully there are enough decent players at the local high schools so the Packers can at least field a team.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    • PatMc says:

      First both Shields & EDS were NON-Drafted FA. If GB can’t get a better CB in the draft that is bigger, faster and meaner – they don’t belong in the NFL.

      Second, The way I understand it is for both Shields and EDS is TT gets to match the offer’s if he wants to keep the players?

      MM & Rodgers both want to keep Finley and publicly stated he has improved.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    • Oppy says:

      Shields and EDS are RESTRICTED free agents. WHich means the Packers get the first right of refusal. That means other teams are able to make an offer to that player, and the Packers have the right to either allow the player to leave, OR MATCH THE OFFER to RETAIN THE PLAYER.

      I started to write out a scenario, but to heck with that, here’s all you need to know via Wikipedia:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restricted_free_agent

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Dobber says:

        Teams can always make an offer that is so unpalatable to the Packers that they can’t afford to match, but in those cases the other team isn’t really helping itself.

        I agree with the notion that the Packers should be able to find a more-than-adequate replacement for EDS and Shields if they go (either through the draft or next man up), but a drafted player isn’t necessarily going to be that player now.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Razer says:

    Good work Adam. I agree with you on the Jennings item but I am not so sure on the Crabtree one. Crabtree got around 0.5 million more to sign with the Bucs. We have a TE who will make over 8 million that hasn’t earned half the amount. I think that TT under estimates what a great guy like Tom Crabtree brought to the team in effort, versatility and locker room contribution. So we keep a loudmouth underperformer and let a blue collar contributor walk. This sends the wrong signal to a team of workers

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

    • PatMc says:

      Agree on the good work Adam. Keep it up.

      On Crabtree, he took the 0.5 million more to go to a team (TB) where he has a chance to start. He has a 2 year deal.

      In GB, Crabtree gets 1 year and a chance to be cut by September. Crabtree earned a chance to go and TT allowed him. That is the message the blue collar workers see as well.

      In today’s salary cap, passing league – teams have to make tough decisions and move forward. That is what TT has done.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

      • Adam Czech says:

        Well said, Pat.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Razer says:

        What’s the lesson? GB a good place to start a career but you will need to move on to fulfill it. Crabtree would have been happy to stay here for the extra contract. He earned it but we didn’t recognize it. He was perhaps the biggest bang for the buck and still would have been going forward.

        As for the chance to get cut by September, all players must pass the training camp test. The Packers, the Bucs or any other team guarantees nothing. Apparently, the Packers don’t guarantee that effort and results don’t translate into reward.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

        • PatMc says:

          See below for my answer

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • PatMc says:

            Razer, I don’t think Crabtree was talented enough to make the roster with GB this year. There a 5 other TE’s on here more productive (including Finley). He was not good enough to earn a spot this fall. Remember only 53 players are on the active roster. In addition, a TE might fall into TT’s draft lap (making that six TE’s) on the roster. Do you Think Crabtree would get a chance to start at TE then?

            GB is a good place to start a career AND TT will let you move on to fulfill it (if that is the best decision for the team).

            TT could have held him until August and then cut him or let him play ST’s and get in at TE occassionly. Before the draft GB has 5 other TE’s that are expected to step up.

            TT Rewarded his hard work by letting him go for a better deal and a chance to start in TB. What Crabtree does with that opportunity is his reward.

            TT is the GM making tough decisions now for the best of the GB Packers and the players. I thinks for Crabtree this was a win (not a loss)!

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

        • Oppy says:

          You stated,

          “Apparently, the Packers don’t guarantee that effort and results don’t translate into reward.”

          Pardon me, but that’s absolutely ridiculous.

          Greg Jennings made good money in GB.

          Donald Driver was REPEATEDLY given restructures that amounted to raised.

          Charles Woodson as well.

          TJ Lang.

          Josh Sitton.

          Say what you will, AJ Hawk.

          Nick Collins.

          Jarret Bush.

          Tramon Williams.

          Ryan Pickett.

          I could continue to go on… The bottom line is, the Packers have proven over, and over, and over again, they will reward hard working, productive players with contract extensions and salary bumps who they deem key players both in the now and the near future.

          Sorry to say, the Packers did not value Tom Crabtree’s services as highly as some fans did. A number of criteria go into the equation- talent, production, health, importance to team, depth at position, and probably a million other little facets guys like me and you would never have an inkling about.

          It’s business, and they made a business decision, as did Mr. Crabtree.

          But it’s a flat out injustice not supported by the facts to say what you’ve said.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

          • Oppy says:

            P.S. your use of the word “Guarantee” is really out of place. There are few guarantees in football.

            Players don’t guarantee they’ll play up to their new contracts.. And they don’t have to guarantee they’ll accept a team’s offer, either.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • Dobber says:

          How player decisions are handled is a function of the CBA and what it allows teams to do in the face of the salary cap.

          If players are really unhappy with what the climate of the NFL currently is (which is way better than the MLB from the perspective of a fan), they need to take it up with their union.

          Hate to see it in many cases, but I’d rather see the Packers run as a successful, focused organization than languish under the contracts of way-past-their-prime favorites or “really good guys” who are destined to play behind other players.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Oppy says:

      Tom Crabtree is what he is. Forget about Finley, forget about how cool Crabtree is.

      We’ve got three other TEs besides Finley who are at least as talented as Crabtree. It’s a deep position. Take it as a victory for Crabtree that he’s been paid a decent salary and put into an opportunity to see more playtime on offense in Tampa than he would have probably seen in Green Bay.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. Chad Toporski Chad Toporski says:

    That article about the physicist confirms my theory… intelligence and common sense do not necessarily go hand-in-hand.

    Oh, and that “disgusting” is the best word to use for that Steubenville case. So sad that our children are growing up with such little morals.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    • Tarynfor12 Tarynfor12 says:

      At what age do men stop thinking with the other..ahem…brain?

      As for Steubenville…because of them not being charged as adults,the sentence,if and when found guilty, will be a joke for what this girl endured and will continue to suffer through.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Tarynfor12 Tarynfor12 says:

        and no sooner than leaving…there it is…guilty and a year plus likely.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • Adam Czech says:

          Taryn:

          Men never stop thinking with the other…ahem…brain :)

          The Steubenville case is just terrible. Normally I’m a softie and am ok with juveniles getting a lesser sentence. We were all kids and made stupid decisions at one time.

          But rape is far and beyond a stupid decision. It’s an evil act and these “kids” should be thrown in prison forever.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. PatMc says:

    Razer, I don’t think Crabtree was that talented to make the roster with GB. There a 5 other TE’s on here more productive (including Finley). He was not good enough to earn a spot this fall.

    GB is a good place to start a career AND TT will let you move on to fulfill it (if that is the best decision for the team).

    TT could have held him until August and then cut him. TT Rewarded his hard work by letting him go for a better deal and a chance to start in TB. What Crabtree does with that opportunity is his reward.

    TT is the GM making tough decisions now for the best of the GB Packers and the players. I thinks for Crabtree this was a win (not a loss)!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Razer says:

      Crabtree does win and I am happy for the guy. His effort and dedication does translate into reward – just not here in Green Bay. While we may have 5 TE’s, I didn’t see one of them contribute on as many fronts and in such a consistent manner as Crabtree. Yes there are more talented guys at TE but he was our 2nd best TE and one of our most versatile players.

      TT did him a favor by letting him test the waters, I don’t know that he did us any favors by not paying a performer for his work. If there is one thing that I feel we don’t do a good job on this team, its assess the development and move on from projects. Our O-line and to some extent or D-line have guys who, with time and chances, don’t amount to much. TE is another one of those areas where we pile up bodies and hope that someone proves their worth. In the Crabtree case, I think that we let a guy walk who did prove their worth and come next year we are weaker for a meager $0.5 million. Tough decision or just cheap with the supporting cast. We will see if any of the other guys step up. Then, TT can do them a favor next year.

      Respectfully agree to disagree.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

      • Oppy says:

        I don’t know that Quarless is ever going to be the same (I hope he will be), but he was clearly the second-best TE on the roster, not Crabtree, IMO.

        Best Blocker, better receiving threat, higher ceiling.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

        • Razer says:

          A lot of guys who don’t play due to injury are better on paper than the guy who has bloodied his face on the field. Quarless’s upside is akin to Finley’s ‘potential’ mismatches.

          Sorry, I will limit my assessments to those that play.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

          • Dobber says:

            “Sorry, I will limit my assessments to those that play.”

            …sometimes I wish others around here would do this.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. Tarynfor12 Tarynfor12 says:

    Minn placated AP with Jennings for the Harvin loss and reached with the cash.

    Jennings is not a $10 mill per year WR no matter the QB.

    The Packers will not fall this season because of Jennings departure or the OL/RBs but the failure of Perry to be the OLB needed and the fail of Neal,the already fail of Worthy-less,the midocrity of Wilson and the simple lack of size.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

    • Oppy says:

      We definitely disagree.

      Perry was succeeding at OLB, he’ll be fine, I already know you didn’t see it because you can’t get past sack count. CMIII reaped the rewards of Perry’s early impact.

      Neal was nowhere near a fail last season.

      Worthy didn’t do anything last season, I agree, but then, most DLmen don’t, as a general rule, until late-2nd year/3rd year. Jury is out on Worthy, but I agree, he showed nothing.

      CJ Wilson is not just mediocre. He does exactly what you want a 3-4 DE to do. He’s not great, but he’s actually a good, sound 3-4 DE.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  8. johnny d says:

    am i crazy, or just insane? why not go after Elvis Dumerville??? never have enough athletic pass rushers??? i will miss Tom Crabtree as a good player and very cool guy! good luck to Crab-man…adios Jennings…Steven jackson not happening, and shouldnt have

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Oppy says:

      I really think it may just be a matter of bad timing.

      Packers need to extend Rodgers. DUmerville would be awesome. Awesome enough to even remotely risk not having the finances to extend Rodgers and still have cap to get Clay and others done? I don’t think so.

      Yeah, it sucks, but timing may be why it wouldn’t happen.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Razer says:

      Isn’t Dumervil a 4-3 DE? What makes you think that if Denver won’t pay him 8+ million a year, TT will shell out that kind of cash.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • Oppy says:

        Elvis tallied 17 sacks out of a 3-4 D a while ago, so he is a proven producer out of that alignment.

        One obstacle that puts Denver in a tough spot should some bidding war over ED start up is that his contract has been voided, but Denver is still on the hook for 4 million.. So it’s almost like they’d have to pay 4 million extra (as far as their cap is concerned) to outbid a rival team vying for ED’s services. It could be a real bad situation for Denver if ED’s agent doesn’t somehow find a way to make it work for Denver- and that would take a concession from ED himself.

        Hate to be his ex-agent. Don’t think he’ll get many favors from the Broncos for quite some time.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0