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Fiscally prudent Ted Thompson

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by net, Oct 20, 2006.

  1. net

    net Cheesehead

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    Packers, Bates settle on buyout

    By Rob Demovsky
    rdemovsk@greenbaypressgazette.com

    The Green Bay Packers paid Jim Bates a lump sum of about $1.1 million in July, even though the former defensive coordinator turned down at least one other job in the NFL and is out of coaching.


    In a telephone interview on Thursday, Bates confirmed he and the Packers reached a settlement this summer but refused to divulge the details. Through interviews with various NFL sources, the Press-Gazette learned how the settlement went down, the terms of it and why the Packers felt compelled to pay him.


    When the Packers passed over Bates for their head coach job in January, they agreed to fulfill his contract, but did so knowing he would be a hot commodity and almost certainly would get a job as a defensive coordinator with another team, if not a head coach job. That would mean the Packers would be off the hook for most, if not all, of his annual base salary, which was about $900,000.


    Bates, who was under contract with the Packers through the 2007 season, was offered at least one defensive coordinator position — with the St. Louis Rams. Bates turned that job down, because he thought he was in line for the same position with the Dallas Cowboys, which might have been a better stepping stone to a head coaching job, but the job in Dallas surprisingly fell through.


    "There were jobs that I thought I was going to get, and it was a weird deal and kind of crazy how it all went down," Bates said. "There were a couple of jobs that I thought I had secured and ended up going in another direction."


    Had Bates taken the job in St. Louis, the Packers likely wouldn't have owed him a dime, because the Rams were prepared to offer Bates more than $1 million a year.


    Bates desperately wanted the Packers' head coaching job that General Manager Ted Thompson gave to Mike McCarthy. Shortly after McCarthy was hired, he offered Bates the defensive coordinator job, but Bates turned it down.


    At the time, there was some debate in the Packers' organization about whether they owed Bates anything, because he technically wasn't fired. The Packers took the high road and honored the contract in part because they figured Bates would work somewhere in the NFL in 2006 and in part because they knew trying to get out of the contract completely would look bad and might send the wrong message to other potential coaching candidates.


    As the offseason wore on and it became evident Bates would be out of football this season, the Packers contacted Bates to find out why. That's when the negotiations began and a settlement for about 65 percent of his total remaining salary was reached.


    "I really don't want to get into the details, but everything between (him and the Packers) is fine," Bates said. "We're on good terms."


    Packers officials declined to comment on Bates' settlement.


    Because the Packers paid Bates a lump sump, they won't get any relief even if Bates works in 2007, which he said on Thursday that he may do.


    "I'll approach it with an open mind, and I'll see what's out there," said Bates, who turned 60 in May. "I do have an interest, and I'm going to search out everything at the end of this year."


    In the grand scheme of the NFL, a payment of a little over a million dollars isn't huge and could be chalked up to the cost of doing business, but on the other hand it isn't a pittance. The Packers also are paying a large chunk of former coach Mike Sherman's $3.2 million annual salary. Sherman, who was under contract with the Packers through 2007, was hired by the Houston Texans as their assistant head coach. Sherman's salary with the Texans likely is less than $500,000, meaning the Packers have to pay him the difference between his head-coaching salary and his salary this season.


    With Bates running the defense under Sherman last season, the Packers ranked seventh in the NFL in total defense and No. 1 in passing defense. Because McCarthy wanted to keep the same basic defensive scheme intact, he hired Bob Sanders, a defensive assistant under Bates since 2001. Despite apparent upgrades in the secondary with free-agent pickups Charles Woodson and Marquand Manuel and at linebacker with first-round draft pick A.J. Hawk, the Packers defense has regressed and currently ranks 31st (or second-to-last) in the NFL in total defense.


    Bates, who still is living in the Green Bay area, said he hasn't seen enough of the Packers to offer an opinion on why they're struggling.


    "I only watched the Philadelphia game," Bates said. "I've been so busy traveling. Sure I miss it, but it's been good for me as far as being able to do some things that I haven't been able to do over the years. I'm getting some rest for the first time in a long time."
     
  2. net

    net Cheesehead

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    Mods-please delete.
     

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