This is a change for Green Bay Packers fans.
We’re not used to seeing tweets fly fast and furious that describe the Packers as shoppers in the free agent market. But they are happening.
— Evan Massey (@massey_evan) March 13, 2018
— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) March 13, 2018
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 12, 2018
But as the new Green Bay Packers GM has made it clear, these are not Ted Thompson’s Packers anymore.
Brian Gutekunst said on his first day at the job that unlike his mentor who believed almost exclusively in draft-and-develop, Gutekunst realizes he will need to dive in much more often in the free agency pool.
“Our foundation is going to be the draft, but I think (free agency is) an absolute must as an (additional) piece,” said Gutekunst on January 8.
“We have to be prepared enough to pull the trigger.”
Gutekunst also stated during a media session at the NFL Combine that he hopes to be “really aggressive” with plans to get in on “every conversation” in the free agent market this off-season.
Does this mean the Packers will dive into every free agent opportunity that comes their way, with deals like Kirk Cousins’ $28 million/year guaranteed with the Vikings? Of course not.
The salary cap will decide a lot of that, and the Packers don’t have a huge amount in their cap coffers for 2018 – just a little more than $15 million at this point, some of which has to go to drafted players.
That could change with a restructured contract for some of their veterans, including Aaron Rodgers. The all-world quarterback’s new deal will certainly make him the highest paid football player in the history of the planet Earth, but they could structure it to be cap friendly for the next few years.
But with limits on the cap, the Packers have to be choosy with how they spend. They need to focus on greatest needs, including the defensive side of the ball as well as the tight end position.
The Packers won’t turn into free-spending free agent buyers. But they will buy some free agents. That will be a change from the Thompson years.
And if they shop right, the dinner buffet could be Super.