15

March

Cory Corner: Ted Thompson’s loyalty will pay dividends

Instead of bringing outside free agents, Ted Thompson has opted to reward loyalty and sign players to stay in Green Bay.

Instead of bringing in outside free agents, Ted Thompson has opted to reward loyalty and sign players to stay in Green Bay.

Ted Thompson is proving that devotion and dedication mean more than stats.

The Packers general manager has stuck to his draft and develop philosophy. He has signed four free agents in Sam Shields, Mike Neal, Andrew Quarless and even B.J. Raji to come back and play their home games at Lambeau Field.

I’ve seen and heard numerous people bash Thompson for not bringing in free agents from other teams in order to help the Packers win their fifth Super Bowl title.

Frankly, the fact that Thompson likes to embrace loyalty and reward his guys shouldn’t be overlooked.

Remember, when you bring in outside guys, there is a bit of a transition period as the newbies get acquainted with how things are run. They must get acclimated to the playbook, varying types of schemes for different types of situations and know what and how is expected.

Obviously, former players already know that. They’ve already got strong bonds with teammates, which doesn’t hurt the all-important team chemistry, but most importantly, they already know their roles.

Neal is coming back after a season in which he was tied for third on the team in sacks. It would be ridiculous to even assume that he would demand a Clay Matthews role as the focal point of the defense. But if the Packers had brought in a guy like DeMarcus Ware, Jared Allen or Julius Peppers who’s to say that wouldn’t have happened?

Same thing on the offensive side. Quarless all-of-a-sudden isn’t going to demand Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb targets because he knows his role in the delicate Packers ecosystem.

There were, heck there still are, decent guys available. Brian Orakpo is still hanging around, but since he was franchised by the Redskins nobody wants to part with two first round draft picks for a guy that is now arguing with Washington about whether he should be franchised as a linebacker or a defensive end. (It should be noted that the franchise designation as a linebacker is $11.455 million as opposed to $13.116 million for a defensive end).

24

April

Clay Matthews Is Not Worth His Contract

Last week Clay Matthews III signed a new 5-year extension with the Packers that made him the highest paid linebacker in the history of the NFL.  The press release announced that Matthews was awarded a $66 million extension that averages $13.2 million yearly, which just barely eclipses Dallas Cowboy outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware’s 2009 extension that averaged $13 million yearly. However, as the title has mentioned I personally don’t feel that the contract signed by Matthews is worth it.  Furthermore, I’m a little surprised that so many Packers fans are okay with the deal.

What Packers fans should be doing is jumping up and down with joy.

For all intents and purposes, the Packers just got away with “grand theft Matthews”.  While initially it looks like Matthews was rewarded handsomely for his services and now can claim to be the highest paid linebacker in NFL history, if you dive deeper into the structure of the deal, it’s pretty obvious that general manager Ted Thompson and lead contract negotiator Russ Ball really got the better end of the bargain.

Point 1 – Look at the guaranteed money: Most football fans recognize that they should take the value of a contract with a grain of salt.   Case in point, Donovan McNabb showed exactly how an agent and team can cook the numbers in order to make a terrible contract look like a spectacular one.  McNabb’s extension with the Redskins in 2010 was first reported to be worth $70 million ($40 million guaranteed) with escalators pushing it to $85 million.  However, as it ultimately turned out, most of the guaranteed money was “not likely to be earned” (as I recall it involved McNabb’s field goal percentage and winning the Super Bowl every year), which in essence meant that McNabb’s actual guaranteed money was worth a piddling $3.5 million if he wasn’t on the Redskins roster past 2010 (naturally he was traded to the Minnesota Vikings before the end of the season).  Perhaps the most important point I want to make is that a team’s true interest in a player is best represented by the amount of guaranteed money they offer; players almost always don’t see all the money in their contract and can only count on seeing their guaranteed money.

30

September

Know Your Packers Enemy: Breaking Down the Broncos vs. Packers with Sayre Bedinger From Mile High Report

In our second installment of “Know Your Packers Enemy,” we sat down with Sayre Bedinger of Mile High Report to breakdown the Green Bay Packers (3-0) upcoming contest with the Denver Broncos (1-2) in Week 4.

Here’s the Q&A:

ZACH KRUSE:  The Broncos returned both Elvis Dumervil and Champ Bailey to practice on Wednesday. Do you think they’ll play on Sunday? And how important are these two to what the Broncos want to do on defense?

SAYRE BEDINGER: I know that Elvis Dumervil is playing, he said as much at practice yesterday. Champ is a little more uncertain to me just because straining a hamstring can take up to a month and a half to fully heal from, but he’s one of the toughest players on the team and if he feels like he can contribute at a high level, there is no way he is missing this game. When they are on the field, the whole defense is a different looking unit, and to be honest, they help us match up much better with the Packers who are primarily a passing offense. They are both such dynamic playmakers and I would argue they are the two best players on the entire team.

ZK: What’s the confidence level in Kyle Orton in Denver? We all heard the chants for Tim Tebow in Week 1, but I think the rest of the NFL understands Tebow’s limitations. Is there a trust level with Orton still?

SB: I threw out a figure on my radio show last week that the amount of Broncos fans still confident in Kyle Orton has gone from about 50-50 to maybe 85% of people no longer believing he can play at a high enough level consistently. You mention that the league knows Tebow’s limitations–I highly disagree. I don’t think anyone knows his limitations because he hasn’t seen extended time on the field. Due to him being a relative unknown, the fans are willing to place an enormous amount of pressure on Kyle to be perfect because we know there is at least an alternative. At this point, a majority of Broncos fans have already moved on from Kyle Orton and simply believe the coaching staff is delaying the inevitable, waiting for the season to be lost to put Tebow on the field.