Football is a young man’s sport and even more so with the Green Bay Packers. Since the introduction of Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy as the Packers general manager and head coach respectively, the Packers has consistently fielded one of the youngest rosters in the league. In particular, Ted Thompson’s acumen for finding talented college players coupled with his penchant for ignoring free agency usually means there are a lot of players with little or no previous experience in the NFL. The Packers have also been ruthless with aging veterans, where seemingly no player is safe; Charles Woodson, Cullen Jenkins, Chad Clifton, Marco Rivera, Mike Wahle, Darren Sharper were big name players all dumped to the curbside in favor of younger, cheaper options.
There is one exception of course and that’s the quarterback; while Ted Thompson probably believes he can replace just about every player on his roster with someone younger who can be equally talented (and overall he’s been right), even Ted Thompson realizes that quarterbacks are a different breed and the best are diamonds in the rough. Aaron Rodgers is one of those quarterbacks and Ted Thompson made is clear that he’s not going to be replaced anytime soon by making him the highest paid player in the history of the NFL.
However, while Rodgers is here to stay for the long haul, the same can’t be said for the rest of the roster. And as Rodgers continues to get older while the rest of the team gets younger, it’s naturally going to cause some issues. One famous example was with Brett Favre and Randy Moss. As told by Andrew Brandt of the National Football Post, in 2007 both the Packers and Patriots were interested in trading for Randy Moss, who had languished for 2 years with the Oakland Raiders. At the end of the day, New England made the better deal and Moss was a Patriot. Brett Favre was “livid” not only because he had long admired Moss while he was a Vikings but also because the Packers philosophy of building for the future did not work for Favre; Brandt mentions he told Favre he felt Greg Jennings would be a star in a couple years (which ultimately turned out to be true), but Favre countered that he didn’t have a couple years to wait (which also turned out to be ultimately be true). In the end, Favre knew he only had a couple good years of football left and felt like the Packers were shortchanging him when instead they should have been giving him more ammo for one last push for a Super Bowl. Obviously in retrospect, Ted Thompson was right to build the future (Aaron Rodgers), but had Rodgers not panned out, Favre would have been correct where sacrificing some of the future for the present would have been the better option.