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Mike Wallace

The Packers should also get some better cornerbacks

The Green Bay Packers have been following the Pittsburgh Steelers lead for a few years. They build almost exclusively through the draft, they converted to the 3-4 defense, and the Packers even hired the architect of Pittsburgh’s original 3-4 defense to run theirs – Dom Capers.

Last week, the Steelers made the announcement that even though the NFL won’t have a salary cap this season, they will. That is, the Steelers will have a self-imposed salary cap determined by calculating what the salary cap would have been this season, had the collective bargaining agreement not expired, and using that number to cap their player expenditures.

“We will operate as we always have. We will operate as if we have a cap,” Director of football operations Kevin Colbert said. “You don’t know what you’re going to be dealing with. First of all, no one’s been in an uncapped year since 1993, so it’s a whole different era and no one knows how this will play out. We don’t know, if there is a new [labor] deal at any point, what the new rules are going to be.”

On the surface, it’s possible the move will put the Steelers at a competitive disadvantage. Certainly, NFL teams have to be wary of assholes like Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones and Washington Redskins’ owner Dan Snyder, who may well throw caution to the wind and throw around tons of money to gobble up the best free agents on the market.

However, in the long run, taking a cautious approach in an offseason of uncertainty makes a lot more sense. Considering Packers general manager Ted Thompson has a pretty cautious record in free agency to begin with, we expect the Packers to follow the Steelers’ lead.

Although the salary cap as we know it may never come back, there is a real possibility some sort of salary restraints will be in effect once the owners and the player’s union finally agree on a labor deal. If or when that happens, the owners who spend superfluous amounts of money this season could be in real trouble, having to dump salary and cut players they just can’t afford anymore.

When the salary cap was imposed in 1993, it took teams several years to adapt. Neither teams nor agents knew how to properly structure contracts to ensure 1. teams could keep quality players for the duration of that contract, and 2. players were really taken care of long term. Year after year, quality veteran players were being cut or renegotiating their contracts simply because their team was over the salary cap.

With the uncertain labor situation it doesn’t make sense to spend astronomical amounts of money in free agency. Sure, the Redskins will probably do their best to buy a title again this offseason, but the Packers would be wise to take the more forward-thinking approach.


Monty McMahon

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.


1 Comment

  1. sparkyo February 18, 2010

    I have a different take on the upcoming uncapped year. This year is actually an opportunity to front load long term player contracts in the event that a salary cap is reinstituted at some point in the future. Players like getting their money up front so the teams that offer good money up front may have a unique opportunity to sign both their own players as well as some other teams’ valuable free agents to long term deals this year. The Packers also have a competitive advantage vs. the Cowboys for example in that they are not under restriction as to how many free agents they can sign due to the fact that they were not one of the eight(?) final playoff teams this year. Pack would be well served long term to aggressively sign as many good players to front loaded, long term contracts this year. These players, e.g. Jolly, Kampman, etc. would be great trade bait in future years and the Pack could conceivably get some future draft choices for these stars should the Packers choose to go in a different direction in the future; remember, the league is committed to reducing the cost of rookie salaries under the next CBA which will make future draft choices an even more valuable commodity than they are at present.