The Packers (and Ted Thompson specifically) are notoriously slow to spend money in free agency. This is not news to anyone. And while it’s not news, that doesn’t mean it’s not disappointing. Let me explain.
The Green Bay Packers were among the NFC’s “Final Four” (topical reference!) last season. However, among the last four teams surviving on the NFC side of last year’s playoff bracket (which included Atlanta, Seattle, San Francisco, and Green Bay), only the Packers have so far failed to make a significant move. The Seahawks and 49ers both upgraded their receiving corps via trade (for Percy Harvin and Anquan Boldin respectively) and the Falcons added the aging (but still productive) Steven Jackson as a free agent.
Now, former Packers executive (and current ESPN business analyst) Andrew Brandt offers insights on team development from time to time, and he pointed out not long ago that teams never stay the same. They’re always either improving or getting worse. To that point, Seattle, San Francisco, and Atlanta are all better. They each identified positions of need and made an appropriate move to address it. They are better, if only because they no longer have question marks at those positions.
Have the Packers improved this week? It’s tough to make that case. They took a pass on both Jackson (for whose services they were rumored to be a front runner, no less) and defensive end Chris Canty, a monstrous man whose size would have been a tremendous asset on the defensive front. It’s fair to assume that Thompson & Co. have a plan to address those areas, but there’s something to be said for filling gaps in the roster with proven performers as opposed to “potential” from a draft pick?
So are the Packers better? Well, it seems not, and that doesn’t leave a lot of options as to where the franchise is going right now….at least by Andrew Brandt’s definition. Stay tuned, I guess.