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Antonio Andolini

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TT doesn't sign free agents
« on: January 26, 2013, 03:11:47 PM »
It has been shouted from the rooftops by Packer fans for years, "TT doesn't sign free agents". The biggest problem I have with this is that it is actually not true. TT signs free agents all the time, they just happen to be our own players. Why doesn't this count? Maybe because it isn't a change from what we had in the previous year. Change for the sake of change is not a recipe for success and there is something to be said for consistency and stability. Besides, the Packers under TT guidance haven't been cheap, we usually spend right up to the cap just like most everyone else.
 
TT has a proven track record of drafting really well, arguably better than any other GM in the league. Our coaching staff has done a great job of coaching those players and putting them in a position to succeed. When these players have played out their rookie contracts, TT has shown a commitment to signing them to well paying veteran contracts. This is an important part of developing the young talent, they have to know that they will be valued and rewarded for their hard work. If TT had a lower success rate of acquiring talented players through the draft, he would be forced to fix that problem by signing free agents out on the open market. This is actually what most other teams are doing, trying to fix draft mistakes and fill the holes those mistakes have created. There is greater risk in doing it that way, the biggest being, will those highly paid players be as successful in their new environment, in a new scheme, with new coaches and teammates?

TT has done a great job of balancing out the roster with talented young players and highly paid veterans that have a proven track record of production. When he arrived in Green Bay, he inherited an aging roster  that was up against the cap with very few young ascending players to point to. He kept important veterans like Clifton, Tauscher, Kampman, Harris, and Driver and also added FREE AGENTS Woodson and Pickett. He then started filling the roster with talented draft picks. When those young players had proven themselves he extended them. He has also gotten players to accept slightly less than they could get on the open market(Jennings, Nelson, Sitton, T. Williams) by extending them before they reach free agency, something you can only do with your own players. Yes no one is perfect and most would agree that Hawk is over paid for what he brings to the table.

Everybody would like to have their team add elite play makers in the off season but we are all under the same salary cap restrictions. Spending your allocated money wisely is extremely important for every team. TT and his staff have done a masterful job of this and have kept us out of "cap hell". His job in this area is going to get more difficult in the coming years as several more of our own very good players are going to be looking to get big raises.

A lot of  team's fans get extremely excited about their team signing a marquee/Pro Bowl player in the off season. It energizes what is otherwise a dull part of the football year, giving everyone months of thinking about how great this new expensive player is going to be. It doesn't always work out that way. There is a long list of high priced free agent busts. So far TT's success rate at signing our own players has been very good. We also haven't been forced to let any of our own young talented players leave in free agency because we couldn't fit them under the cap.

TT does sign free agents, its just that not many of them come from other team's rosters.

Offline JimATX

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Re: TT doesn't sign free agents
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2013, 04:39:29 PM »
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Offline Pugger

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Re: TT doesn't sign free agents
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2013, 09:53:46 AM »
TT doesn't sign many name FAs but he isn't opposed to signing UDFAs.  We've found a couple of gems this way (Sheilds and Barclay e.g.).

AldenRoche

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Re: TT doesn't sign free agents
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2013, 11:20:55 AM »
TT doesn't sign many name FAs but he isn't opposed to signing UDFAs.  We've found a couple of gems this way (Sheilds and Barclay e.g.).

TT has not signed any NAME free agents since 2006 (unless you count an obviously over-the-hill Saturday or past his prime Benson, both of who had NAMES but came on the cheap). TT also has not traded for a single NFL veteran player since 2007 (when he got Ryan Grant for a 7th round pick).

The record reveals TT has an aversion to adding NFL VETERAN talent to the team.

I certainly agree that he does, however, seem to relish signing undrafted/street free agents like Shields, T. Williams, D. Harris, D. Barclay and E. Walden.

Offline realitybytes

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Re: TT doesn't sign free agents
« Reply #4 on: January 27, 2013, 12:05:48 PM »
...
TT has a proven track record of drafting really well, arguably better than any other GM in the league. ...


yeah, i would definitely argue with that. ted has a less than stellar success rate in rounds 1-3 where expectations are high, and does a pretty decent job of finding players in rounds 4-7, where less is expected. but these are not blue-chip players. these are guys who make the roster and oftentimes end up starting because we have no other choice.



TT has not signed any NAME free agents since 2006 (unless you count an obviously over-the-hill Saturday or past his prime Benson, both of who had NAMES but came on the cheap). TT also has not traded for a single NFL veteran player since 2007 (when he got Ryan Grant for a 7th round pick).

The record reveals TT has an aversion to adding NFL VETERAN talent to the team.

I certainly agree that he does, however, seem to relish signing undrafted/street free agents like Shields, T. Williams, D. Harris, D. Barclay and E. Walden.


this is much closer to the truth. the only time thompson dabbles in free agency or a trade is when he is absolutely certain he is getting a blue-light special. it has to be a downright steal before he will take the deal.
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Antonio Andolini

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Re: TT doesn't sign free agents
« Reply #5 on: January 27, 2013, 01:50:52 PM »
...
TT has a proven track record of drafting really well, arguably better than any other GM in the league. ...


yeah, i would definitely argue with that. ted has a less than stellar success rate in rounds 1-3 where expectations are high, and does a pretty decent job of finding players in rounds 4-7, where less is expected. but these are not blue-chip players. these are guys who make the roster and oftentimes end up starting because we have no other choice.

Really?

Aaron Rodgers
Nick Collins
AJ Hawk
Greg Jennings
James Jones
Jordy Nelson
Jermichael Finley
BJ Raji
Clay Matthews
Brian Bulaga
Mike Neal
Morgan Burnett
Derek Sherrod
Randal Cobb
Nick Perry
Jerel Worthy
Casey Hayward

Not exactly "less than stellar", the draft is an inexact science and nobody bats a 1.000. Yes he has missed on a few but that list looks like the core of our team to me. Considering that we are usually drafting toward the end of each round, TT has done a masterful job of  selecting players with talent, that fit our scheme, have a strong work ethic, and are good team mates. Not an easy thing to do. Josh Sitton, TJ Lang, and Desmond Bishop are also really good later rd picks. You can also include Sam Shields to this list since acquiring UDFAs falls under the draft evaluation process.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2013, 01:52:44 PM by Antonio Andolini »

Offline realitybytes

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Re: TT doesn't sign free agents
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2013, 02:35:36 PM »
...
TT has a proven track record of drafting really well, arguably better than any other GM in the league. ...


yeah, i would definitely argue with that. ted has a less than stellar success rate in rounds 1-3 where expectations are high, and does a pretty decent job of finding players in rounds 4-7, where less is expected. but these are not blue-chip players. these are guys who make the roster and oftentimes end up starting because we have no other choice.

Really?

Aaron Rodgers
Nick Collins
AJ Hawk
Greg Jennings
James Jones
Jordy Nelson
Jermichael Finley
BJ Raji
Clay Matthews
Brian Bulaga
Mike Neal
Morgan Burnett
Derek Sherrod
Randal Cobb
Nick Perry
Jerel Worthy
Casey Hayward

Not exactly "less than stellar", the draft is an inexact science and nobody bats a 1.000. Yes he has missed on a few but that list looks like the core of our team to me. Considering that we are usually drafting toward the end of each round, TT has done a masterful job of  selecting players with talent, that fit our scheme, have a strong work ethic, and are good team mates. Not an easy thing to do. Josh Sitton, TJ Lang, and Desmond Bishop are also really good later rd picks. You can also include Sam Shields to this list since acquiring UDFAs falls under the draft evaluation process.


i'll start with the obvious:


justin harrell
brian brohm
pat lee
terrence murphy
aaron rouse
abdul hodge
jason spitz
brandon jackson


now, let's look at your list of guys that you think have lived up to round 1-3 status:


Aaron Rodgers - best in the biz. no argument.
Nick Collins - blue chip for sure. tragic loss.
AJ Hawk - not even close to living up to a top ten draft pick. not a playmaker. a good low 2nd/high 3rd third round talent.
Greg Jennings - i'm very borderline on this, but i'll give it to you.
James Jones - great value for a third round pick.
Jordy Nelson - i like him. he's turned out better than many thought he would.
Jermichael Finley - vastly overrated and not even close to living up to the hype.
BJ Raji - he had a couple good years, but i'm beginning to have doubts.
Clay Matthews - blue chip for sure.
Brian Bulaga - good, but has durability issues (missed nearly 25% of possible games).
Mike Neal - really??? a guy who has played in 20 out of a possible 48 regular season games?
Morgan Burnett - another guy that i'm on the fence about. he looked good when he was playing with collins, but since then ?


out of these next five guys, only one has played two full seasons. three of them haven't even made it through one full season. how can you even judge them?

Derek Sherrod - really? ??? ? based on what?
Randal Cobb - appears to be a good value pick.
Nick Perry - haven't seen anything that makes me believe this was a good pick yet.
Jerel Worthy - worthy of a 2nd round pick? maybe. tough to tell. 14 tackles in 14 games.
Casey Hayward - based on what we saw this season, this looks like a good value pick.


the only other round 1-3 picks were alex green and darren colledge. i don't think either one has lived up to their draft status, but that is debatable.


in my opinion, and i want to stress the word "opinion", these are very mediocre results for the 27 picks that ted thompson has had to work with in rounds 1-3.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2013, 02:36:17 PM by realitybytes »
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Antonio Andolini

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Re: TT doesn't sign free agents
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2013, 05:30:12 PM »

i'll start with the obvious:


justin harrell
brian brohm
pat lee
terrence murphy
aaron rouse
abdul hodge
jason spitz
brandon jackson


now, let's look at your list of guys that you think have lived up to round 1-3 status:


Aaron Rodgers - best in the biz. no argument.
Nick Collins - blue chip for sure. tragic loss.
AJ Hawk - not even close to living up to a top ten draft pick. not a playmaker. a good low 2nd/high 3rd third round talent.
Greg Jennings - i'm very borderline on this, but i'll give it to you.
James Jones - great value for a third round pick.
Jordy Nelson - i like him. he's turned out better than many thought he would.
Jermichael Finley - vastly overrated and not even close to living up to the hype.
BJ Raji - he had a couple good years, but i'm beginning to have doubts.
Clay Matthews - blue chip for sure.
Brian Bulaga - good, but has durability issues (missed nearly 25% of possible games).
Mike Neal - really??? a guy who has played in 20 out of a possible 48 regular season games?
Morgan Burnett - another guy that i'm on the fence about. he looked good when he was playing with collins, but since then ?


out of these next five guys, only one has played two full seasons. three of them haven't even made it through one full season. how can you even judge them?

Derek Sherrod - really? ??? ? based on what?
Randal Cobb - appears to be a good value pick.
Nick Perry - haven't seen anything that makes me believe this was a good pick yet.
Jerel Worthy - worthy of a 2nd round pick? maybe. tough to tell. 14 tackles in 14 games.
Casey Hayward - based on what we saw this season, this looks like a good value pick.


the only other round 1-3 picks were alex green and darren colledge. i don't think either one has lived up to their draft status, but that is debatable.


in my opinion, and i want to stress the word "opinion", these are very mediocre results for the 27 picks that ted thompson has had to work with in rounds 1-3.


You are entitled to your opinion and I have agreed with a lot of what you have posted in the past, but we clearly disagree on this subject.

The 1st list of busts I'll give you. 8 busts out of 27 picks in the top 3 rds still rates TT in the elite GM category just on that batting average alone. Most GMs would love to have that success rate. The great draft guru Bill Belichik has a much higher strikeout rate in the first 3 rds (thanks for CMIII and Casey Hayward Bill!) I will say that J Spitz and B Jackson were both productive players for us, yes more was hoped for but they weren't complete busts.

Hawk-no he is not elite, but when he was drafted he was considered one of the safest, most NFL ready players in the draft. I have always contended that if he was a 2nd rd pick he would be a fan favorite, much like Demeco Ryans and D'Qwell Jackson are for their respective teams. Hawk has never missed a game due to injury and he is one of few LBs who have successfully made the transition from the 4/3 to the 3/4.

Jennings-our best receiver for the last 5 yrs, actually deserved to go to the Pro Bowls he went to, and is generally considered to be one of the top 5 WRs in the league and he was taken in the 2nd rd. If that draft were redone not only would he be taken ahead of every WR taken ahead of him, I guarantee he would be a top 10 pick. But you're "borderline" on him as a good pick. WOW! What does it take to impress you? Would we have had anywhere close to the success that we have had without him on our team the last 7 yrs?

Finley-"vastly overrated and not even close to living up to the hype" would be a fair assessment if he was a top 10 pick. He has produced better than any 3rd rd TE in a long time. Yes he is our head case player but he also just set a team record for TE production in a season. I'll take this type of talent from TT in the 3rd rd all day long.

I agree that it is too early to accurately evaluate the last 2 drafts but:

Cobb-"a good value pick" Truly high praise from you. ::) An electrifying young slot receiver that has most analysts and fans excited about what is to come. Would he get out of the 1st rd if there was a do over? Not bad for the last pick in the 2nd rd.

Hayward-"a good value pick" again I think he rates higher than that faint praise. 5th in INTs in the league, didn't give up a TD pass, and held QBs to one of the leagues lowest rating when throwing at the WR he is covering. His stats rate him as one of the top shut down corners in the league, so does the eye test. TT moved up to get him when most "experts" had a lower rating on him.

Offline vegas492

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Re: TT doesn't sign free agents
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2013, 12:16:06 PM »
Careful on Finley.  Plenty of stud TE's go in the third round or later.  Top of my head...

Jimmy Graham, third round.
Aaron Hernandez, third round.
Jason Witten, third round.
Antonio Gates, undrafted.
Jared Cook, third round.
Dennis Pitta, fourth round.
Owen Daniels, fourth round.

Finley was a stud before the injury.  Not so much afterwards.


Offline Terranimal

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Re: TT doesn't sign free agents
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2013, 08:32:25 AM »
...
TT has a proven track record of drafting really well, arguably better than any other GM in the league. ...


yeah, i would definitely argue with that. ted has a less than stellar success rate in rounds 1-3 where expectations are high, and does a pretty decent job of finding players in rounds 4-7, where less is expected. but these are not blue-chip players. these are guys who make the roster and oftentimes end up starting because we have no other choice.

Really?

Aaron Rodgers
Nick Collins
AJ Hawk
Greg Jennings
James Jones
Jordy Nelson
Jermichael Finley
BJ Raji
Clay Matthews
Brian Bulaga
Mike Neal
Morgan Burnett
Derek Sherrod
Randal Cobb
Nick Perry
Jerel Worthy
Casey Hayward

Not exactly "less than stellar", the draft is an inexact science and nobody bats a 1.000. Yes he has missed on a few but that list looks like the core of our team to me. Considering that we are usually drafting toward the end of each round, TT has done a masterful job of  selecting players with talent, that fit our scheme, have a strong work ethic, and are good team mates. Not an easy thing to do. Josh Sitton, TJ Lang, and Desmond Bishop are also really good later rd picks. You can also include Sam Shields to this list since acquiring UDFAs falls under the draft evaluation process.


i'll start with the obvious:


justin harrell
brian brohm
pat lee
terrence murphy-was looking good until the injury and forced to retire like Collins
aaron rouse
abdul hodge
jason spitz- Another player that was making the turn, until back surgery
brandon jackson


now, let's look at your list of guys that you think have lived up to round 1-3 status:


Aaron Rodgers - best in the biz. no argument.
Nick Collins - blue chip for sure. tragic loss.
AJ Hawk - not even close to living up to a top ten draft pick. not a playmaker. a good low 2nd/high 3rd third round talent.
Greg Jennings - i'm very borderline on this, but i'll give it to you. How can you be borderline on Jennings?????? He's been a top 10 NFL WR.
James Jones - great value for a third round pick.
Jordy Nelson - i like him. he's turned out better than many thought he would.
Jermichael Finley - vastly overrated and not even close to living up to the hype.
BJ Raji - he had a couple good years, but i'm beginning to have doubts.
Clay Matthews - blue chip for sure.
Brian Bulaga - good, but has durability issues (missed nearly 25% of possible games).
Mike Neal - really??? a guy who has played in 20 out of a possible 48 regular season games?
Morgan Burnett - another guy that i'm on the fence about. he looked good when he was playing with collins, but since then ?


out of these next five guys, only one has played two full seasons. three of them haven't even made it through one full season. how can you even judge them?

Derek Sherrod - really? ??? ? based on what?
Randal Cobb - appears to be a good value pick.
Nick Perry - haven't seen anything that makes me believe this was a good pick yet.
Jerel Worthy - worthy of a 2nd round pick? maybe. tough to tell. 14 tackles in 14 games.
Casey Hayward - based on what we saw this season, this looks like a good value pick.


the only other round 1-3 picks were alex green and darren colledge. i don't think either one has lived up to their draft status, but that is debatable.

Colledge was always under-rated by Pack fans. He got big money from the Cards and is one of or their best OL currently.


in my opinion, and i want to stress the word "opinion", these are very mediocre results for the 27 picks that ted thompson has had to work with in rounds 1-3.

IMO, Thompson has done better in the first 3 rounds then Wolf did when RW was here. Really the one pick questioned from the start and was sadly proven right on was Justin Harrell.

Hawk's draft was different. There wasn't much for choices when we picked, though really like Veron Davis, but it took him a few years to catch on.

Offline Jeremy

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Re: TT doesn't sign free agents
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2013, 09:07:04 AM »
...
TT has a proven track record of drafting really well, arguably better than any other GM in the league. ...


yeah, i would definitely argue with that. ted has a less than stellar success rate in rounds 1-3 where expectations are high, and does a pretty decent job of finding players in rounds 4-7, where less is expected. but these are not blue-chip players. these are guys who make the roster and oftentimes end up starting because we have no other choice.

Really?

Aaron Rodgers
Nick Collins
AJ Hawk
Greg Jennings
James Jones
Jordy Nelson
Jermichael Finley
BJ Raji
Clay Matthews
Brian Bulaga
Mike Neal
Morgan Burnett
Derek Sherrod
Randal Cobb
Nick Perry
Jerel Worthy
Casey Hayward

Not exactly "less than stellar", the draft is an inexact science and nobody bats a 1.000. Yes he has missed on a few but that list looks like the core of our team to me. Considering that we are usually drafting toward the end of each round, TT has done a masterful job of  selecting players with talent, that fit our scheme, have a strong work ethic, and are good team mates. Not an easy thing to do. Josh Sitton, TJ Lang, and Desmond Bishop are also really good later rd picks. You can also include Sam Shields to this list since acquiring UDFAs falls under the draft evaluation process.


i'll start with the obvious:


justin harrell
brian brohm
pat lee
terrence murphy
aaron rouse
abdul hodge
jason spitz
brandon jackson


now, let's look at your list of guys that you think have lived up to round 1-3 status:


Aaron Rodgers - best in the biz. no argument.
Nick Collins - blue chip for sure. tragic loss.
AJ Hawk - not even close to living up to a top ten draft pick. not a playmaker. a good low 2nd/high 3rd third round talent.
Greg Jennings - i'm very borderline on this, but i'll give it to you.
James Jones - great value for a third round pick.
Jordy Nelson - i like him. he's turned out better than many thought he would.
Jermichael Finley - vastly overrated and not even close to living up to the hype.
BJ Raji - he had a couple good years, but i'm beginning to have doubts.
Clay Matthews - blue chip for sure.
Brian Bulaga - good, but has durability issues (missed nearly 25% of possible games).
Mike Neal - really??? a guy who has played in 20 out of a possible 48 regular season games?
Morgan Burnett - another guy that i'm on the fence about. he looked good when he was playing with collins, but since then ?


out of these next five guys, only one has played two full seasons. three of them haven't even made it through one full season. how can you even judge them?

Derek Sherrod - really? ??? ? based on what?
Randal Cobb - appears to be a good value pick.
Nick Perry - haven't seen anything that makes me believe this was a good pick yet.
Jerel Worthy - worthy of a 2nd round pick? maybe. tough to tell. 14 tackles in 14 games.
Casey Hayward - based on what we saw this season, this looks like a good value pick.


the only other round 1-3 picks were alex green and darren colledge. i don't think either one has lived up to their draft status, but that is debatable.


in my opinion, and i want to stress the word "opinion", these are very mediocre results for the 27 picks that ted thompson has had to work with in rounds 1-3.

How does that compare to other GMs?  If you were to take who you would consider the best drafting GMs in the business (say Ozzie Newsome, or someone else who's done it for a while) and did the same excercize, would it look a lot better, I wonder?  I honestly don't know. 

I want to say half of the players picked in the top 10 of drafts are busts or close to busts.  So it's probably crazy to expect that kind of success rate for the top 3 ROUNDS.  But maybe you can show me a GM who does hit on that many.   

AldenRoche

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Re: TT doesn't sign free agents
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2013, 09:48:43 AM »
I also think that in comparing TT's hits and misses on his draft choices, you have to factor in his disdain for acquiring veteran talent through free agency or trades the past 6 years.

Whatever Ozzie Newsome's record as a drafter, the Ravens free agent acquisitions of Jacoby Jones (who caught the Hail Mary TD against the Broncos), Bernard Pollard (who literally knocked out the Patriots last hope with his crushing blow on Ridley), McKinnie and Birk (who gave Flacco so much time to throw in these playofffs), Corey Graham (a starting CB who held up pretty well against both Manning and Brady), and trade for Anquan Boldin (he of the 2 TDs in the AFC Championship game) would seem to add to his stature as a GM.

By comparison, when looking at the current roster TT acquired Pickett and Woodson back in 2006 (both critical to the Pack's Super Bowl win), traded for Grant in 2007 and signed Benson and Saturday (the former for the veteran minimum and the latter when most teams thought he was already done). Saturday has now said he will retire. There is an excellent chance that Grant and Benson will not be back and it would not be a surprise if (and I'd personally love to see) Woodson was cut given his salary. Only Pickett looks to be back for 1 or 2 more years.

I do not believe you can measure a GM based solely on his drafting and a comparison of Ozzie Newsome and TT's roster explains why.

Offline JimATX

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Re: TT doesn't sign free agents
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2013, 10:36:45 AM »
Hawk - There were few who didn't think Hawk was the right pick at that time. The problem with AJ is that he hasn't improved one iota since his rookie year.
Finley - 3rd rounder and he's {mostly} played like a 3rd rounder.
Neal - Injuries truly hurt him early, but this past year he has again shown us why he was picked in the 2nd. I can;t call that a failed pick at this point.

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Offline Jeremy

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Re: TT doesn't sign free agents
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2013, 11:09:58 AM »
I also think that in comparing TT's hits and misses on his draft choices, you have to factor in his disdain for acquiring veteran talent through free agency or trades the past 6 years.

Whatever Ozzie Newsome's record as a drafter, the Ravens free agent acquisitions of Jacoby Jones (who caught the Hail Mary TD against the Broncos), Bernard Pollard (who literally knocked out the Patriots last hope with his crushing blow on Ridley), McKinnie and Birk (who gave Flacco so much time to throw in these playofffs), Corey Graham (a starting CB who held up pretty well against both Manning and Brady), and trade for Anquan Boldin (he of the 2 TDs in the AFC Championship game) would seem to add to his stature as a GM.

By comparison, when looking at the current roster TT acquired Pickett and Woodson back in 2006 (both critical to the Pack's Super Bowl win), traded for Grant in 2007 and signed Benson and Saturday (the former for the veteran minimum and the latter when most teams thought he was already done). Saturday has now said he will retire. There is an excellent chance that Grant and Benson will not be back and it would not be a surprise if (and I'd personally love to see) Woodson was cut given his salary. Only Pickett looks to be back for 1 or 2 more years.

I do not believe you can measure a GM based solely on his drafting and a comparison of Ozzie Newsome and TT's roster explains why.

Well, the discussion was specifically rounds 1-3, but I agree.  But despite Ozzie's success in free agency and trades, he hasn't outshone Ted Thompson.  Even now after injuries and the salary cap realities have eroded the Packers, I think we're at least as good as the Ravens.  Granted, they're in the Superbowl and we're not, but the AFC isn't as deep as the NFC.  Had we prevailed and gotten to the SB, I think we'd be a slight favorite.  And of course the Packers have won a SB under Thompson, and the Ravens haven't yet. 

The problem with free agency is that you usually have to pay top dollar, and there's usually a reason that team doesn't want that player anymore.  If you draft well, you can get a player like Hayward or Matthews very cheap for 3 or 4 years.   As Andrew Brandt says, "free agency is the price you pay for not drafting well".  So ideally, you'd like to get as much accomplished through the draft as you can. 

AldenRoche

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Re: TT doesn't sign free agents
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2013, 11:39:36 AM »
I also think that in comparing TT's hits and misses on his draft choices, you have to factor in his disdain for acquiring veteran talent through free agency or trades the past 6 years.

Whatever Ozzie Newsome's record as a drafter, the Ravens free agent acquisitions of Jacoby Jones (who caught the Hail Mary TD against the Broncos), Bernard Pollard (who literally knocked out the Patriots last hope with his crushing blow on Ridley), McKinnie and Birk (who gave Flacco so much time to throw in these playofffs), Corey Graham (a starting CB who held up pretty well against both Manning and Brady), and trade for Anquan Boldin (he of the 2 TDs in the AFC Championship game) would seem to add to his stature as a GM.

By comparison, when looking at the current roster TT acquired Pickett and Woodson back in 2006 (both critical to the Pack's Super Bowl win), traded for Grant in 2007 and signed Benson and Saturday (the former for the veteran minimum and the latter when most teams thought he was already done). Saturday has now said he will retire. There is an excellent chance that Grant and Benson will not be back and it would not be a surprise if (and I'd personally love to see) Woodson was cut given his salary. Only Pickett looks to be back for 1 or 2 more years.

I do not believe you can measure a GM based solely on his drafting and a comparison of Ozzie Newsome and TT's roster explains why.

Well, the discussion was specifically rounds 1-3, but I agree.  But despite Ozzie's success in free agency and trades, he hasn't outshone Ted Thompson.  Even now after injuries and the salary cap realities have eroded the Packers, I think we're at least as good as the Ravens.  Granted, they're in the Superbowl and we're not, but the AFC isn't as deep as the NFC.  Had we prevailed and gotten to the SB, I think we'd be a slight favorite.  And of course the Packers have won a SB under Thompson, and the Ravens haven't yet. 

The problem with free agency is that you usually have to pay top dollar, and there's usually a reason that team doesn't want that player anymore.  If you draft well, you can get a player like Hayward or Matthews very cheap for 3 or 4 years.   As Andrew Brandt says, "free agency is the price you pay for not drafting well".  So ideally, you'd like to get as much accomplished through the draft as you can.

I don't know that Ozzie Newsome has "outshone" Ted Thompson. I also agree that NFC is currently more competitive than the AFC. However, the Ravens have had a serious contender in their own division Pittsburgh -- a team that has gotten to 3 Super Bowls and lost only one thumbsup) since Newsome took over as GM. We get the bumbling Bears (who to be fair have made it to one Super Bowl), the enigmatic Vikings, and the mostly hapless Lions every year. 

I take issue that in free agency you "usually have to pay top dollar" for free agents. For the big-time players, probably. For a Jacoby Jones or a Corey Graham, not so much. Many teams supplement their roster with lower-priced free agents and some like NE and the Giants have had considerable success using this method to stock their rosters for years. Moreover, a team can just as easily overpay its own players -- I submit TT has overpaid Hawk throughout his time in GB but especially on the second (inexplicable) contract.

Finally, if free agency is just the price you pay for NOT DRAFTING WELL, how do you explain the 49ers? Have the Niners not drafted well in selecting the likes of Gore, Kaepernick, James, Crabtree, V. Davis, Iupati, Davis, Staley, A. Smith, P. Willis, I. Sopoaga, N. Bowman, C. Culliver, T. Brown, D. Goldson? I submit they have drafted very well, but they have also done very well in free agency -- Justin Smith, Donte Whitner, Carlos Rogers, Randy Moss, Mario Manningham, Jonathan Goodwin.