The first weekend of free agency is always fast paced and sees a lot of players changing teams. It also sees the biggest names signed. This year, those players were Julius Peppers, Antrel Rolle, Karlos Dansby, Dunta Robinson, etc.
Now that the big names and their huge contracts are taken care of, the second tier of free agency begins – the guys who aren’t Pro Bowlers or big names, but solid players will start to find new homes in the next week. Other than resigning Chad Clifton, we didn’t expect the Packers to make much noise during free agency’s opening weekend, but now that phase two is about to begin, you may hear some noise from Green Bay.
The fact of the matter is, Packers general manager Ted Thompson simply hasn’t been willing to pay big money to other team’s players during his tenure as general manager. The one exception was Charles Woodson in 2006. Thompson’s recent free agent signings were third tier free agents (if you could even call them that).
While Thompson hasn’t been active with the second tier of players in recent years, it’s possible this year could be different. The top tier of free agents weren’t affected by the NFL’s uncertain labor situation, but the New York Times’ Judy Battista suggests the second and third tier of players could be.
“It was a frenzy compared to nothing, but it was not a frenzy compared to last year or previous years,” the agent Brad Blank said. “The upper crust got a lot of money, but I’m worried for everybody else involved that it will run out of gas. In the last few years, it has had second waves and third waves and even fourth waves. I’m afraid that won’t be happening this year and if it does, it will be plugging in holes at lower salaries.”
The Packers certainly have some holes to plug and we all know Thompson loves a bargain, so it’s possible the Packers could make a move for someone with more talent than, say, Frank Walker or Duke Preston. The main thing that’s likely to hold Thompson back is the Packers still have several restricted free agents to sign, including safety Nick Collins, who will demand a substantial contract.
Still, if the market tilts in favor of the teams and the players who remain on the market aren’t getting huge offers, the Packers may bite.