How many of you were caught off guard with the Reggie Wells signing? How about the Cedric Benson signing? Me too. Now for all of us who think we know Ted Thompson, we’d naturally think that in response to the spate of injuries (which is also unusually high enough for a training camp that head coach Mike McCarthy has had to tone down and shorten practices just to keep his players fresh), Thompson would go and sign some young guy we’ve never heard of, probably from a school that we’ve never heard of and also probably with only a few, if any, years of experience in the NFL.
The “standard” Ted Thompson MO has so far been low-risk/high reward, meaning that by signing young unknown players, he is minimizing the risk of his investment (i.e. the contract) since young unproven players can be had for much lower costs. When Thompson hits he gets Tramon Williams, when he doesn’t he gets Maurice Simpkins (who?); either way the Packers can’t really lose.
So how about Wells and Benson, who are both players with 8 years plus playing experience in the NFL? I would argue that the entire league knows what you are getting with both players; Wells has a ton of experience and multiple positions on the offensive line and makes a good emergency swing offensive linemen but isn’t exactly starting material and Benson is the no-nonsense, straight ahead runner that the Packers love, but has a very long list of off the field problems as well as a penchant for putting the ball on the ground.
Both presumably signed the veteran minimum (also presumably with no guaranteed money) so basically the cost is about the same, so why not pick a player that’s younger and has a chance to factor long term into the Packers plans? Here are a couple reasons I’ve thought up, if you have any other ideas, please leave them in the comment section below.