1. Welcome to Green Bay Packers NFL Football Forum & Community!

    Packer Forum is one of the largest online communities for the Green Bay Packers. You are currently viewing our community forums as a guest user.

    Sign Up or

    Having an account grants you additional privileges, such as creating and participating in discussions. Furthermore, we hide most of the ads once you register as a member!
    Dismiss Notice

What TT Gets Right and Wrong about FA

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by El Guapo, Jan 4, 2016.

  1. El Guapo

    El Guapo Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Messages:
    3,519
    Ratings:
    +1,990
    Free agency is like the stock market. Smart investors stay away from stocks that are the hot performers, they do their research and pick stocks before they become hot performers. When you buy something at its peak, you will more than likely experience its decline.

    The NFL free agent market has many similarities. The best players often hit the market at their physical and statistical peaks. Part of this is due to how rookie contract lengths are now structured and part of this is due to players playing their hardest just before becoming an unrestricted free agent.

    There certainly are lots of great examples of players that continue to peak and perform after becoming free agents. Reggie White is probably the best example in the Packers history. However, it's akin to playing against the house casino. You will eventually lose if you keep plucking prime FAs from the market. The salary cap ensures this outcome and history verifies it in teams such as the Redskins and most recently the Eagles.

    The smartest way to play the FA market is to find the gems before they become good (Ryan Pickett), when they could benefit from a different system (Woodson), or when the market deems them to be Week 2 FAs meaning they aren't the cream of the crop (Peppers & Guion). TT gets this and is constantly looking for value. That's a great mindset.

    Where I feel that TT gets it wrong is his aversion to jettisoning drafted players in favor of FAs. Mike Neal and Nick Perry are good current examples of this aversion. They can be good players but TT often can't push them aside fast enough in search of better replacements.

    TT has an above average eye for players in the draft. I think that he recognizes that he has a below average eye for players in the FA market, and uses a stingy approach to keep from making costly mistakes. He and Russ Ball have done a great job of keeping the Packers in good cap shape, have been able to re-sign most of our top players, and keep the team competitive. I still don't see TT stepping out for a high priced FA in 2016 but would like to see him take a few more swings at value FAs. They won't play much worse than the drafted players they are replacing but could provide the upshot that this team needs each year.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2016
    • Like Like x 3
    • Agree Agree x 1
  2. TJV

    TJV Lifelong Packers Fanatic

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2011
    Messages:
    5,389
    Ratings:
    +4,176
    Good post El Guapo. An important difference between the stock market and free agency is while other investors can drive the price of a stock up, it only takes one foolish GM to set the price of any UFA beyond reason and that can happen even after the first week “frenzy” is over.

    I don’t know if Thompson believes he and his staff have a below average eye for free agents. After all, it’s easier to evaluate players who have played in the NFL than those who have only played in college. I truly believe it’s because of his philosophy of team building as we’ve discussed many times – perhaps ad nauseam here. I have previously referred to an article before Super Bowl XLV that contains what I consider a very revealing Ted Thompson quote. The article quotes Mike Holmgren saying when he, Thompson and Mike Reinfeldt were in Seattle they agreed on about 90% of their personnel decisions. But on occasion when Holmgren would suggest filling a hole with a vet free agent, Thompson would invariably say, 'I can find better in the draft'. When the hole in question doesn’t have to be filled immediately, I think Thompson has a very good point. However, when there’s an immediate need, I think that’s the wrong approach and it hurts the team when he counts on either the drafted rookie, or more likely, the ‘next man up’ to fill the hole. Unless the next man up has very bright prospects.

    As I’ve posted I’d like to see a vet LT added via free agency. What I would like to see Thompson do is target one or two below the highest priced LTs and go after them hard, knowing the Packers will have to somewhat “overpay” for one. Alternatively as I’ve said before if Cleveland would accept just a first rounder for Joe Thomas – I doubt they would – I would make that deal but I'm sure Thompson wouldn't.

    BTW, I think the acquisition of Woodson deserves an asterisk: The reason only two teams were interested in Woodson in 2006 was in his last two seasons in Oakland he played only 19 games and finished each season on IR. He hadn’t played a full 16 game season since 2001 and had suffered knee and hip injuries and a broken leg. I believe he was also seen as a malcontent. The Bucs wanted Woodson as a safety and the Packers really had the “market” to themselves as a team willing to pay him to play CB.

    Also, Nick Perry is in the last year of his rookie deal so I had/have no problem with Thompson not jettisoning him. I also thought Neal was worth re-signing for two years before the 2014 season.
     
  3. thisisnate

    thisisnate Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2012
    Messages:
    831
    Ratings:
    +504
    You're not going to find in free agency a LT that is better than Bakh without paying him a boatload of cash. That doesn't exist. There are maybe 4 or 5 on the market that would be comparable or better than Bakh is and they're all either going to be paid a crapload of money as a free agent to a new team, are almost guaranteed to be retained by their current team, or are old or injury-prone.

    If your team has an "okay" left tackle, you're not using free agency to upgrade at that position unless you're willing to spend the money or gamble on a guy with ACLs like string cheese.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. Mondio

    Mondio Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2014
    Messages:
    2,820
    Ratings:
    +1,787
    The thing is, there is no guarantee with any approach. IMO, if you like to play the FA game, you can hit, you can also loose. I think it lends itself to more up and down and swings from year to year. It's probably higher stress to the staff, players, Front office, fans etc. Can it work? sure, but I think once you start down that road, you almost have to commit too it because going after the big name FA's usually means you're overpaying for any particular player. It also means you're probably not good at evaluating talent in the draft, or maybe other circumstances have created a "hole". It probably means you've committed money to a weak spot and if that player doesn't work, you've also lost out on a decent player somewhere else on the team, at least from a depth level to a quality starter even. If we've learned anything, depth and quality starters are important to last a season in this league. But if it works, your weakness becomes instant strength.

    on the Flip side, being good at picking players in the draft keeps a replinishable and sustainable base to your roster at a price you can afford. It also allows for more stability which creates a better atmosphere as far as I'm concerned for everyone. There's less volatility, less pressure, less stress overall. I'm not saying stress and pressure aren't good for a football team, because you absolutely have to have pressure on players, coaches, staff, etc for them to perform and some stress. Everyone needs to be pushed, but I think it's easier to manage those things when you have stability because the pressure and stress comes to a person in a way they can directly affect the outcome by working harder.

    Everyone needs to worry about their jobs and that stress should come from the job, but I don't know that wild fluctuations from year to year with staffs, coaches, players etc added in, is beneficial to a team at all. I don't know if I"m explaining it well, but if I"m working somewhere and I know that by doing my job, I'll continue to be able to do my job, I like it. If I'm always worried the guys next to me are going to be gone, or the guys upstairs are always going to be gone, mentally I might be looking to go somewhere else too, and that's going to affect my daily performance. It's not unique to football or any other profession, i think it crosses them all.

    I think players knowing that if they practice hard and play well, they can earn a spot, is better for a team long term from everything to how they show up to practice everyday to how they treat fans and negotiate contracts before they're FA's.

    Obviously we know how Ted approaches things. I think he does try to use FA, but in the way he does, things have to line up, or he commits to his process that has worked better than most for quite a while. When things line up, he pulls the trigger, when they don't, he walks and we probably never know how close or how far away this team was from making something happen in the FA market. Just look at the Peppers signing, nobody had a clue that was happening. I didn't even really believe the radio when I first heard it.

    I would like to see some other players come in here for sure. I'd love Joe Thomas here and i'm sure if all those things could line up, he'd be here though it would have to be a trade at this point and no FA, but regardless it's kind of the same. There's a cost in terms of money and development of another player and each have to be weighed. Then there's the issue of the player fitting what the team is trying to do, the mindset, the character, the desire to even be here, age of the player, the level the staff thinks they can play and maintain and how that fits into their future draft projections, future roster turnover, current and future player developments. Amounts of money dedicated to a certain position or side of the ball, how is that changing in the future, how does bringing a guy on board affect that. and on and on.

    I don't think any criteria is absolute in it's weight on Ted's decision making. I think they all play a part and probably differently for different players.

    In terms of FA, I'd love LT and TE this year. I've had doubts on Bahk, and I thought RR would develop more than he has. Maybe Backman makes a jump next year?? I don't see a LT on this team and I don't think we're drafting anywhere to get one we could realistically rely on to start day 1.

    I see other weaknesses too. OLB could be one. ILB is one, but the only way i could see us going FA for olb is if we cut peppers, which we may. I do not see us going FA at ILB, not big name anyway and probably nobody that would get anybody excited.
     
  5. TJV

    TJV Lifelong Packers Fanatic

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2011
    Messages:
    5,389
    Ratings:
    +4,176
    I was high on Bakhtiari during and after his rookie season because for a 4th rounder he did well at the lines toughest position. But he regressed this season and there's no guarantee that regression was injury related only. If he doesn't improve significantly from this season's performance the Packers don't have an "okay" LT. Here's a list of 17 UFA LTs: http://www.spotrac.com/nfl/free-agents/left-tackle/ Of course some will be re-signed by their current clubs and after the draft some other vet LTs may be cut loose. Even a LT like Joe Thomas may be available. So at this point you really can't say "maybe 4 or 5 on the market that would be comparable or better than Bakh..." because you don't know who will be available. What I can say is you and I have a different standard for what kind of play is "okay" at LT.
     
  6. thisisnate

    thisisnate Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2012
    Messages:
    831
    Ratings:
    +504
    Yeah, I read the free agent list. Maybe 4-5 of those are appreciable upgrades to Bakh. Maybe. Most will be retained. Rest will be expensive, old, or injury-prone as stated. Pick me some names out of that list that don't fit one of those categories.

    And no, I'm not high on Bakh. I've said many times through last year and this year that he was a weak link.
     
  7. Mondio

    Mondio Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2014
    Messages:
    2,820
    Ratings:
    +1,787
    I'm just going to say, everything I say, I say without a clue who is on a list or not :) Way to early for me to even begin to pay attention. Lots will happen between now and then.
     
  8. Vrill

    Vrill Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2011
    Messages:
    1,782
    Ratings:
    +828
    TT seems gunshy in FA. If its not a for sure thing (ie Peppers etc) then he wont pull the trigger. It has to be a for sure thing before he will.
     
  9. El Guapo

    El Guapo Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Messages:
    3,519
    Ratings:
    +1,990
    Well there have certainly been a few that weren't sure things: Jeff Saturday, Ben Taylor, Frank Walker, Adrian Klemm, Marquand Manual, etc. He tries to identify value so that if he misses, it's not a colossal cap hit.
     
  10. Jerellh528

    Jerellh528 Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2015
    Messages:
    140
    Ratings:
    +78
    In my opinion, what he gets right is not falling victim for overpaying on guys just for the sake of it, like some teams do where they try to add as many big names as possible.
    What he gets wrong, is I think he's become a victim of his own ego as far as the "TT never signs free agents" thing. I feel like he tries hard to live up to that to keep that homegrown vs free agent stat that we have.
    Just my opinion though and maybe that thought doesn't even cross his mind when considering whether or not to sign someone.
     
  11. JBlood

    JBlood Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2004
    Messages:
    3,157
    Ratings:
    +1,312
    Look at what Arians has done in Arizona. Hired in 2013 he has assembled a team with nearly as many free agents (21) as draft picks (24). Throw in a trade that brought Carson Palmer and you have arguably the best team in the NFL in 2 years. And it appears he can coach.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Like Like x 1
  12. RRyder

    RRyder Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2014
    Messages:
    682
    Ratings:
    +505
    Sounds like what I heard about how great the 49ers model was.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Patriotplayer90

    Patriotplayer90 Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2015
    Messages:
    910
    Ratings:
    +340
    Does Arians have control over selecting players?
     
  14. Mondio

    Mondio Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2014
    Messages:
    2,820
    Ratings:
    +1,787
    yes, and right now they look pretty good. They're my favorites to win the Superbowl, but what if someone catches them and puts them out? What if they don't win it all? I don't think they look any better at this point, than GB looked going into last year. Maybe they win it this year and never get back, does this mean the AZ way is the right way? If they win this year and follow it up at 15-1 regular season and then go on to win the super bowl, I guess I'll change my tune, as of now, they haven't done anything GB hasn't done multiple times.
     
  15. JBlood

    JBlood Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2004
    Messages:
    3,157
    Ratings:
    +1,312
    Are you referring to the 5 Championships they won in 14 seasons? I'd take that.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. JBlood

    JBlood Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2004
    Messages:
    3,157
    Ratings:
    +1,312
    Don't know. The point is that free agency has been a big part of the roster. But maybe it's all Arian's coaching. They were 5 and 11 the year before he was hired.
     
  17. 4Ever4Favre

    4Ever4Favre Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2015
    Messages:
    94
    Ratings:
    +53
    I know TT has decision making authority on drafting and FA's, but the responsibility of evaluation, presenting the evals to TT and MM, and player recruitment land on the Director of Player Personnel.

    I know Packer fans clamor over Eliot Wolf but I think he certainly has some responsibility in this as well (to include successful and unsuccessful draft picks).
     
  18. El Guapo

    El Guapo Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Messages:
    3,519
    Ratings:
    +1,990
    I'm pretty sure that he's referring to the Kaepernick years, in which the 49ers catapulted to the top of the league and then did a Triple Lindy right back to the bottom.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Winner Winner x 1
  19. TJV

    TJV Lifelong Packers Fanatic

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2011
    Messages:
    5,389
    Ratings:
    +4,176
    I appreciate you qualified this as your opinion which may be wrong, but I just don't understand why this comes up as often as it does. In my opinion, Thompson seems to be on the lower portion of the ego-driven GMs in the league. From everything I've read, heard, and seen, he is very collaborative when it comes to player acquisition - everyone in the room during draft evaluations has their say. And it's not as if he seeks the spotlight.
     
  20. RRyder

    RRyder Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2014
    Messages:
    682
    Ratings:
    +505
    Nope. Referring to the comments posted about how they were the model to copy 2 years ago
     
  21. El Guapo

    El Guapo Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2011
    Messages:
    3,519
    Ratings:
    +1,990
    You're right in your first paragraph.

    However, I'm not sure that you can nail E. Wolf with the responsibility unless you know that his picks/suggestions are the ones that TT is going with. For all we know TT is a maverick, listening to his personnel guys but then selecting whomever he wants. I'm sure that he values his staff's opinions but I'll be frank, I doubt that a 62 year old TT takes much direction from a 33 year old Wolf. We just don't know how the internal mechanics work to indict someone either way. All we know is that as a group, they draft better than average and are very reserved in the FA market.
     
  22. captainWIMM

    captainWIMM Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2012
    Messages:
    12,655
    Ratings:
    +6,613
    I think the best way to have success over an extended period is to use all ways available to acquire talent and the Patriots are the prime example for it. It allcomes down to bringing in the right players no matter if a team decides to use the draft, free agency or trades to do it. Ignoring two options to improve your team doesn't make a ton of sense to me.
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
  23. TJV

    TJV Lifelong Packers Fanatic

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2011
    Messages:
    5,389
    Ratings:
    +4,176
    As I posted in another thread, Eliot Wolf became director of player personnel in January of 2015. So according to your standard he would only have responsibility for the last draft and my guess is from the early returns on that draft he'd be happy to accept credit responsibility. Before that Eliot was director of pro personnel, by name the personnel department that has the least to do with the draft.

    Along those lines, it's worth noting the Packers personnel department has had a large "brain drain" over the past several years.
     
  24. 4Ever4Favre

    4Ever4Favre Cheesehead

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2015
    Messages:
    94
    Ratings:
    +53
    Yes, you are correct. But he was the Director of Pro Player Personnel for a few years, which by name, has the most to do with existing NFL talent, which includes FA's, which is what this thread was about.
     
  25. Pokerbrat2000

    Pokerbrat2000 Opinions are like A-holes, we all have one.

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2012
    Messages:
    4,691
    Ratings:
    +2,909
    As much as we all want the Packers to win the Super Bowl every year, no team/organization is THAT good to be able to stay on top every year. TT has been with the Packers over 10 years now and if you evaluate how the Packers have done over that stretch, I'm pretty happy with TT.

    I also don't think that "the sky is falling" on the Packers and they will be back next year strong and maybe with few less expectations to live up to by all.

    warning, this article does not take into consideration this year.....

    http://ftw.usatoday.com/2015/08/nfl...ndianapolis-pittsburgh-which-nfl-team-is-best
     

Share This Page