26

March

Packers Awarded Four Compensatory Picks for 2012 NFL Draft

2012 NFL Draft talkThe NFL has finally announced the awarding of compensatory picks for the 2012 draft. A total of 32 compensatory selections were given to 15 teams, with the Green Bay Packers receiving the maximum four picks. Also earning the maximum amount were the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns.

Two of Green Bay’s four selections come in the fourth round (no. 132 and 133), while the other two come in the seventh (no. 241 and 243). Combined with the seventh-round pick earned from the Jets through trading OL Caleb Schlauderaff, this takes them up to 12 total picks for the 2012 draft.

Information about compensatory selections and this year’s full list are provided by NFL.com:

Under the rules for compensatory draft selections, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks.

The number of picks a team receives equals the net loss of compensatory free agents up to a maximum of four. The 32 compensatory choices announced today will supplement the 221 choices in the seven rounds of the 2012 NFL Draft (April 26-28), which will kick off in primetime for the third consecutive year.

. . .

Compensatory free agents are determined by a formula based on salary, playing time and postseason honors. The formula was developed by the NFL Management Council. Not every free agent lost or signed by a club is covered by this formula.

The players lost in free agency last year were Cullen Jenkins (Eagles), guard Daryn Colledge (Cardinals), running back Brandon Jackson (Browns), guard Jason Spitz (Jacksonville) and fullback Korey Hall (Saints). Ted Thompson did not sign any free agents last season to offset their losses, thus helping them gain the maximum number of picks for this year.

Packers fans should understand by now that this is common practice for Thompson. His philosophy of building through the draft and dipping into free agency only when necessary allows him to stockpile a large number of picks from year to year. It lets him not only “shotgun” the draft for talent, but also use picks to trade around the board as needed.

It should be noted, however, that compensatory picks may not be traded. They will give Thompson more room to trade his other picks, though.

27

July

Mason Crosby to Sign 5-Year Deal with Green Bay Packers

Mason Crosby

Fans could have split feelings on Mason Crosby's new 5-year deal with the Packers.

According to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Online, placekicker and unrestricted free agent Mason Crosby has agreed to a new 5-year contract with the Green Bay Packers. The deal is reportedly worth $14.75 million, which includes $3 million in guaranteed money.

“The contract puts Crosby in the upper echelon of kickers in the National Football League,” noted Silverstein, “just below top-paid kicker Sebastian Janikowski of the Oakland Raiders.”

Silverstein also reminds fans that post-lockout rules prevent teams from signing unrestricted free agents until Friday a 6 p.m. Teams are, however, able to negotiate terms with free agents prior to that time.

This news will probably be received differently depending on which Packers fans you talk to.

Mason Crosby has spent his entire 4-year NFL career in Green Bay. Taken in the sixth round of the 2007 draft, he was widely considered the best college kicker that year. His main selling point has always been his strong leg, having a reputation for forcing touchbacks against his collegiate opponents.

The past few years with the Packers, however, have left something to be desired. Though some still consider his kickoff skills an essential part of his abilities, he has yet to break an 80% success rate in field goal attempts. His first two seasons in the NFL were his best in regards to his accuracy, but they have since dipped, with 2009 being Crosby’s worst season at only a 75% success rate.

This past season also saw a significant drop in the number of touchbacks by Crosby and the Packers; however, it’s unclear how much of that was due to special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum’s play calls.

It’s no secret that the Packers like what they have in Crosby despite the sometimes-overwhelming criticism from fans. They haven’t given him much (if any) competition in training camp outside of his first season, and their current lack of undrafted free agent signings at the position this year will seem to continue that trend.

Some had hoped Ted Thompson would try to sign placekicker Kai Forbath from UCLA, but a report indicates Forbath won’t be signing until healthy. Besides, it’s likely Thompson had planned to re-sign Crosby since the lockout began.