C’mon, folks. You didn’t REALLY think that the Packers and general manager Ted Thompson were going to make a splash on the first day of NFL free agency, did you?
No way Thompson was going to fork over $56 million ($28 million guaranteed) like the Saints did for safety Jarius Byrd.
Give defensive linemen Lamarr Houston (5 years, $35 million, $15 million guaranteed) and/or Arthur Jones (5 years, $30 million) deals like they got from the Bears and Colts, respectively? Not on Thompson’s watch.
What about safety T.J. Ward? The Packers desperately need a safety and Ward’s deal with the Broncos (4 years, $23 million, $14 million guaranteed) is much more reasonable that Byrd’s. Sure, Ward came at decent market value, but Thompson wasn’t going to pay that much for a box safety.
The list could go on and on. Aquib Talib (6 years, $57 million, $26 million guaranteed), Linval Joseph (5 years, $31 million), Paul Soliai (5 years, $33 million, $14 million guaranteed). The prices were outrageous and the potential return on investment far from guaranteed. Hell, the Jaguars gave Toby Gerhart 3 years and $10.5 million. Toby Gerhart!
You didn’t REALLY think Thompson was going to suddenly start gambling on the high-risk game known as Day 1 of NFL free agency, did you?
If you did, hopefully you learned your lesson (again) for next time. If you’re upset that Thompson didn’t deviate from his norm and dive into Tuesday’s madness, don’t be.
There is still a long way to go in free agency. I do think Thompson is going to step outside of his comfort zone and bring in some free agents, but it sure wasn’t going to happen on day 1.
Once the chaos of the opening of free agency calms down and the funny money goes away, Thompson’s real work begins. That’s when bargains can be found and holes on the Packers roster plugged with players who sign contracts more in line with their true value.
But isn’t now the time to take a risk and overpay for a major free agent or two? After all, Aaron Rodgers isn’t getting any younger and the Packers have a few obvious holes.