And they all tie together…
First, the big news out of the NFL was the owners deciding to opt out of the current collective bargaining agreement.
This assures an uncapped – and most assuredly insane – 2010 season. The future beyond that is uncertain. There may be a walkout or work stoppage, which no NFL fan will be looking forward to. It’s hard enough for me that they don’t play year round.
That said, I have to believe that the owners, league and players will realize they have the best sport going right now and will work something out. Something that doesn’t turn the NFL into the freakshow that is Major League Baseball, where teams with bottomless pockets (i.e. Washington, Dallas) spend wildly while leaving smaller market teams (Green Bay, Buffalo) in the dust.
Those of you who have been critical of Ted Thompson for not spending cash on name free-agents should consider this situation and appreciate the discipline and foresight he has shown so far. He has managed players salaries and the draft cleverly, putting Green Bay in a position to remain formidable in the post-CBA world.
By steering clear of massive back-loaded contracts, Thompson will be in a position to keep some of the Packers key players when 2010 rolls around. Of course, the team isn’t going to be able to keep everybody and that’s why I found the Packers’ draft to be interesting, especially the controversial picks of receiver Jordy Nelson and quarterback Brian Brohm.
The pick of Nelson spelled doom for Koren Robinson, but he may have actually been brought in to replace Greg Jennings. Say what? Jennings four-year deal expires after the 2009 season, freeing him up to go after a monster deal in 2010 unless Green Bay can tie him to a long-term deal soon.
It’s something to keep an eye on. If he has another 12 touchdown season, let’s hope the Packers can do something to keep him around.
Ditto for the long-haired heir apparent, Aaron Rodgers. So, the selection of Brohm provides two-fold insurance. He’s a backup option with a huge upside in case Rodgers bombs this year and he can step in as the Packers new quarterback if Rodgers bolts and signs a ludicrous deal in 2010.
Speaking of Jordy Nelson, I don’t believe Robinson’s departure means the Packers return game will flounder. In fact, I thought it was in good shape by mid-season last year.
Will Blackmon and Tramon Williams returned kicks for scores last year, not Robinson. I especially like Williams’ explosiveness. Let’s see if he can live up to his potential and billing as the fastest player on the roster.
Oh yeah, and if anyone questions Jordy Nelson’s ability as a return man, watch this.