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Here’s Where Ted Thompson Gets Ripped

Ted Thompson

We’ve been doing it for a while. That is, ripping Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson for building the team only through the draft.

Free agency? What’s that?

Well, apparently the rest of the league has taken notice of how the Packers operate. Bob McGinn wrote an opus about how the rest of the NFL has passed the Packers by.

It contained this nugget.

“They have no pro department up there,” an executive in personnel said. “Ted does some good things in drafting but they don’t do (expletive) in personnel.

“Ted has shut it down lately. They’ve gone stone cold. They have not been utilizing all the markets. Now it’s caught up to him.”

Technically, the Packers do have a pro department. Eliot Wolf, the son of former general manager Ron Wolf, is pro personnel director.

If you recall Wolf’s tenure, he signed all kinds of free agents. Reggie White, Sean Jones, Santana Dotson, Desmond Howard, Don Beebe, Mike Prior. I could go on.

The last guys of note that Ted signed in free agency were Charles Woodson and Ryan Pickett… in 2006.

The funny thing is, if you look at Ted’s protégées — John Schneider in Seattle, John Dorsey in Kansas City and Reggie McKenzie in Oakland — they all utilize free agency. Schneider, especially.

Seattle, the best team in the NFC, signed guys like Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett last offseason to bolster an already-stout defense.

The Packers? They signed tight end Matthew Mulligan, who didn’t even make the final roster.

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. Derek January 13, 2014

    Wow. if this has any truth to it, wow. that actually explains a lot.

  2. Tucson Packer January 13, 2014

    WHY do we not use FA? Thats what I want to know. What EXACTLY is the logic behind ignoring it?

  3. PackAttack January 13, 2014

    But…..But…….But…….Ted is the greatest GM of all time — we should stand behind everyone of the moves he does and doesn’t do — thats’ what true Green Bay Packers fans do. They accept mediocrity and applaud Ted for all the times he doesn’t improve the team and draft scrubs like Brohm and Harrell in the early rounds then never picks up anything but practice players. That’s what true Packer fans do. They never complain about Ted — Ted is the greatest — McCarthy is the greatest —- ohhh no, how dare we ever question the great Ted!

  4. Ivomitonvikingfans January 13, 2014

    Be careful! The TT Honks will be out for blood with this one. They will be throwing around “Dan Snyder” and “Dream Team” insults at anyone who dares question Ted’s approach. As if the only options are to completely shun free agency or to make it rain like Pacman at da club. I read this article and McGinn makes some good arguments. Unfortunately I don’t see any budging on Ted’s part.

  5. James January 13, 2014

    For you TT bashers out there it is easy to only mention the failures while ignoring the last 5 years of success. The draft and develop philosophy of TT it is the only way to sustain success. And because of this the Packers have been able to retain most of their own players and keep the team together. If you want to fault TT, fault him for overvaluing his own players. When you spend in FA you will have to lose one of your own eventually. This year they will lose a lot of our own but that will be GBs choice. Hopefully TT will use all available options to improve that defense including signing FAs if they fit. Keep in mind Cobb and Nelson both need new contracts soon.

    1. Vijay January 14, 2014

      If by sustaining the ass kickings we routinely get from the NFC elite and non-conference or divisional opponents, then yes…you have a point…chuckle, chuckle.

      I was right all along with my hatred and disdain for the way he (Ted) has handled the team-building. And I only need to look at our playoff record and post 15-1 (record setting offense) record to be vindicated and proven 100% correct. No argument, none can beat me or my kind of people with any legitimacy. Well, unless of course you want to use injuries as an excuse (weak) or you want to lay the blame on the solid coaches which he did hire who do the best they can with what little we have at season’s end.

      I expect Championships with Rodgers talents, not division titles in a now vulnerable NFC North.

      1. Phatgzus January 14, 2014

        Sure, you only ignore the two best seasons under TT to validate your point-that’s some excellent cherry picking I tell you what.

        Between that and your second paragraph it seems as though you just wolfed down a big old helping of zealotry with a side of denial and washed it down with a tub of psychosis.

  6. Jack Vainisi January 13, 2014

    Kudos to McGinn for an excellent piece in the Journal-Sentinel. Ted had better get off his ass and do something or he should be gone. He has been way too conservative (see Marshawn Lynch). If we don’t have two safeties and a pair of LBs (take your pick, ILB or OLB), then we are going to look just as silly on defense next year. Eliot Wolf is hardly more than a kid, but I’ll bet he has the same philosophy as the old man. Ted had better get the pro scouting going or he should be out on his ass. I’m getting tired of listening to McCarthy blow smoke up our asses all the time.

    1. Vijay January 14, 2014

      Elliot Wolf is likely a sheep in wolves clothing…excuse the pun. He’s nothing more than a “yes” man. When Schneider (the real brains) and Dorsey left the organization, there was no one left to question or challenge Ted’s authority–The net result = diminishing returns.

      1. Phatgzus January 14, 2014

        The phrase is actually a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”; clever (in all sincerity) but not a pun.

  7. CB January 13, 2014

    Free Agency,,,ahh the gold mine,,,ok.

    Why do guys hit free agency???
    Pretty simple, cuz their CURRENT team, who know that player better than ANY other team, has decided they don’t want him anymore.
    Sure, now and again, there is a Reggie White where the current team wants to keep him but can’t. But, the majority of free agents are available because their current team deems them to be expendable.

    Are there ANY viable free agents out there. Well of course there are. And those guys typically have atleast 3 to maybe 6 teams that will compete for the guy. At that point, the player usually gets more than he is worth. The original team, and it’s fan chuckle as the new team hoots and hollers over their big acquisition. Want 3 examples,,,,dez Bishop, Erik Walden, Greg Jennings.

    Never say never on FA deals. But, the 2 points above explain why MORE free agent deals end up with downside on the deal instead of realizing upside. Then what? The team cuys thy guy and sits with dead money against their cap for years afterward. This dead money means u can’t sign anymore free agents, and you can’t even keep your own guys!

    Careful what you ask for in clamoring for free agents….u just might get it,,,and have to live with it.

    1. Vijay January 14, 2014

      That is an idiotic argument if I’ve ever heard one. Other teams who blow their wad on Free Agents routinely suck badly. It’s a delicate balancing act between bringing the right kind of affordable vets in and placing them with your established, drafted players. Same old formula. Look at the teams in the playoffs—are they all built like Ted’s? No, they all recognized areas of importance and then loaded up on those areas. Oh yeah, it didn’t hurt that they drafted better players in the high rounds either than we have of late. Their high draft picks mysteriously seem to work out very well, while ours take turns on IR and injury reports. That’s because they (elite opposition) don’t choose to have a weakness–they address and address it until they get it right. Nobody on my side is even talking about paying 1 FA player top dollar. That’s too much risk, we all know that.

      Here’s a short list of FA signings by teams still in the hunt…

      WR Percy Harvin (trade/Minnesota), DE Cliff Avril (Indianapolis), DE Michael Bennett (Tampa Bay).

      Denver Broncos
      WR Wes Welker (New England), G Louis Vasquez (San Diego), DT Terrance Knighton (Jacksonville), LB Stewart Bradley (Arizona), CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Philadelphia).

      WR Anquan Boldin (trade/Baltimore), DL Glenn Dorsey (Kansas City), S Craig Dahl (St. Louis).

      New England
      RB Leon Washington (Seattle), WR Donald Jones (Buffalo), WR Danny Amendola (St. Louis), T Will Svitek (Atlanta), S Adrian Wilson (Arizona).

      Maybe we should analyze how and why they chose to attack Free Agency to better understand what, if anything, we might do.

      1. Phatgzus January 14, 2014

        Charles Woodson, Ryan Pickett, Howard Greene, Dujuan Harris, Jarrett Boykin, Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, EDS, Scott Wells, Matt Flynn; seems Teddy knows how to use free agency, especially seeing as he was largely responsible for tutoring Schneider and Dorsey.

    2. E. Wolf January 14, 2014


  8. Phatgzus January 13, 2014

    Tramon was a free agent. Shields was a free agent. Boykin was a free agent. So were Harris, Banjo, and Richardson. The list goes on. Now if you mean “veteran” free agents, then yeah, TT doesn’t aggressively pursue them very often. If you want to know why, ask Tom Dimitroff.

    Furthermore, as has been said numerous times, TT did
    sign a significant number of free agents, early in his tenure when the Pack were “rebuilding” and he had a metric butt ton of cap space. So far Schneider and Dorsey have followed this pattern, only time will tell if they deviate from it.

  9. peter January 13, 2014

    If you actually read the article he makes the point that the fa who have made the biggest impact are not the marquee guy per say

    A secret to the Packers’ continued success has been their ability to identify core players early and sign them to slightly below-market contracts. Thompson’s decision to give Morgan Burnett a big-money extension in mid-July and then watch him perform like a free agent should have rocked the franchise’s draft-and-develop model.

    As good as the Packers have been acquiring extra draft picks, there usually aren’t enough of them to close all the holes. The safety position in Green Bay the past two years is a perfect example.

    Thompson’s aversion to veteran acquisition, whether through unrestricted free agency, street free agency or trade, must end for the Packers to hang with the top teams.

    John Schneider, Dave Gettleman and Trent Baalke, the personnel-oriented GMs in Seattle, Carolina and San Francisco, have their teams among the final four in the NFC partly because of their veteran additions.

    In the trades of 2013, look what Anquan Boldin did for the 49ers, what Alex Smith did for the Chiefs, what LeGarrette Blount did for the Patriots, what Jerry Hughes (10 sacks) did for the Bills, what Carson Palmer did for the Cardinals and what Jon Beason did for the Giants.

    In free agency, some of the wise signings on offense were tight end Martellus Bennett by the Bears, guards Louis Vasquez by the Broncos and Matt Slauson by the Bears, and running back Danny Woodhead by the Chargers.

    The list on defense includes ends Michael Bennett by the Seahawks and Mike DeVito by the Chiefs, nose tackle Glenn Dorsey by the 49ers, inside linebacker Karlos Dansby by the Cardinals, outside linebacker John Abraham by the Cardinals, cornerback Keenan Lewis by the Saints, safety Glover Quin by the Lions, kicker Phil Dawson by the 49ers and receiver-returner Ted Ginn Jr. by the Panthers.

    Green Bay’s only signing was Matthew Mulligen

    1. Vijay January 14, 2014

      Brilliantly put, peter.

  10. Iltarion January 13, 2014

    Peter, you need to use quotes or something if you are gonna direct quote half the article, which you just did.

    John Schneider, yeah, that $25 million guaranteed for Percy Harvin looks pretty good right now. Money well spent, John. Let’s wait and see how aggressive Schneider is after he has to give Russell Wilson the $15 to $20 mil he’ll be asking for.

    1. Table Top Pack Man January 13, 2014

      Aren’t the seahawks in the NFC title game? Who cares if one person is overpaid. Hey, you win some and you lose some… I’d rather have a GM who tries instead of one that sits on his thumb and banks on UFAs to be difference makers…

      1. Vijay January 14, 2014

        THANK YOU!!! I’d rather have a GM who tries!!! THANK YOU!!!

        1. Phatgzus January 14, 2014

          Because the only way to try is to actually acquire veteran FAs? Screw sending out scouts; draft some young talent? Pfft, fuck no, trade all our picks for some FAs. Acquire UDFAs? fageddaboutit!

    2. Vijay January 14, 2014

      OK, by your logic, we should sit on our hands again for next year, right? They needed an explosive #1 WR to be complete and took a chance. Oh looky, looky, turns out with that nasty as hell defense and beast of a running back, they don’t even need to throw the ball to kick most teams—including the Packers—ass!

      1. Phatgzus January 14, 2014

        So you’re saying they spent $25M on something they didn’t even need, is fragile, and likely won’t use but occasionally? That’s an intelligent move that is, yes indeedy. Alright I’m gonna go out and by a $25M jet and then ride my bike tk visit my family 3,000 miles away next February (note the air-ground, SB references). And then, when the mortgage on my house or property tax (Wilson’s contract) increases 20-fold I’ll either have to get rid of my jet for half the price or move into it and let the bank foreclose on my house. Brilliant!

  11. Table Top Pack Man January 13, 2014

    Dipshit Ted wants to give BJ Raji $8M and he won’t even look at the free agent market? Makes sense, in a David Lynch sort of way….but A-Rod won him a superbowl so no packer fan dare question the polar bear.

    The problem with only developing through the draft is these players need time to develop while our all pro quarterback is in his prime. Time is not on our side. Gotta strike while the iron is hot – otherwise, we will just be a team who wins between 6 and 10 games every year and can’t make it to that upper level. Time to double down. Why not? if we lose, can’t be any worse than watching this Packer team this past November…

  12. Ivomitonvikingfans January 13, 2014

    I guess Ron Wolf never should have picked up Sean Jones, Sanatana Dotson, Keith Jackson, Bruce Wilkerson, Ron Cox, Eugene Robinson. Those clowns were complete wastes. As with all acquisitions there are risks. God knows TT takes risks with his draft picks. Why not with some FA’s.

    1. Phatgzus January 13, 2014

      No one’s saying don’t acquire FAs, just don’t get in a bidding war for the most popular names and end up overpaying and destroying your cap.

      For all his FA acumen, Wolf only won one Super Bowl (if you can count that’s the same number TT has). Here’s a list of all his acquisitions, go ahead and tell me how many of those worked out.


      Way to forget Desmond Howard, btw.

      If it weren’t for TT’s ability to find cheap talent in the draft as
      well as free agency (Woodson, Pickett, Greene, Peprah) we
      may very well still be rebuilding. What he has accomplished in such a short period of time to right the ship that Sherman
      scuttled is nothing short of incredible.

      1. Ivomitonvikingfans January 13, 2014

        So you are saying Wolf shouldn’t have signed any of them then? What is with the all or nothing fucking arguments? One can’t hope that Ted can maybe sign a free agent or two without going all Dan Snyder? Who said anything about bidding wars? How about just seriously making some attempts to improve the team through all means available. Jesus. All I know is this team has some major fucking holes that drafting alone (unlike 2011 and 2012) won’t fix. This isn’t about hating Ted I love what he has accomplished so far and I will be more than happy to be proven wrong.

        1. Phatgzus January 14, 2014

          Lol holy shit, are you kidding me? “All or nothing fucking arguments”? I truly hope you’re attempting to troll-read the first sentence of my “fucking argument” and then the second sentence after the link.

          I believe in using free agency to compliment your team, but not as the primary method to build the core of it. The point of that list being that there are far more FAs who didn’t contribute significantly than those that did-thus free agency is a greater financial risk than drafting (especially with the rookie contract provisions enumerated in the current CBA).

          1. Ivomitonvikingfans January 14, 2014

            Right dumbass. My point being that anyone who wishes Ted would at least explore free agency is immediately met with disdain by Ted’s thin skinned girlfriends. For the last time. I don’t think he should spend like an idiot. I don’t think the core of a team is built with big name free agents. I just think if the opportunity exists to spend a little on a guy who can fill an obvious hole then why not? In my opinion I think this team has too many holes to address with draft picks alone. If Ted can fill these holes exclusively with the draft this year and they can be a legitimate contender, then I will be happy to be wrong.

      2. Vijay January 14, 2014

        Yes, Wolf only won one Super Bowl with an unpredictable albeit extremely gifted QB at the helm. Give Rodgers the same kind of defenses we had back in our 90s run and we’d have title after title, after title…a literal, what’s the word? Dynasty?

        And I recall that we had several good runs in the playoffs those days (90s) as well, not just one miraculous run with A-Rod playing out of his mind.

        1. Phatgzus January 14, 2014

          Yeah and that was a 9-year run as compared to the A-Rodge era’s 6. Don’t worry Vij, we still have 3 more years to make several good runs and lose in the Super Bowl or to the Cowboys or Niners.

          Sure we had a lot better defense, but our offense wasn’t nearly as talented.

        2. Phatgzus January 14, 2014

          So the conversation has devolved to hypotheticals has it? Okay, here’s one: Give Favre the weapons on offense that Aaron Rodgers has and we win every Super Bowl from ’93 ’til Favre’s retirement.

          Screw the fact that it’s damn near impossible to have elite talent on both sides of the ball for two decades in a row because of the salary cap.

          Don’t quit your day job, Vij-but maybe quit with your amateur GMing, or at least get a whole heckuva lot better at it before you make your ignorance public knowledge. You pretty clearly don’t understand the concept of the salary cap or perhaps finances in general, and you’ve already proven you can’t ID relative talent level-e.g. last year’s mock draft. You got one pick correct-coincidentally it was Datone Jones-you didn’t even correctly identify the number 1 selection.

        3. E. Wolf January 14, 2014

          2010, the miraculous run, featured a dominant defense as well. It has been the only year where this defense was. 2009 was good statistically, but they shat the bed against every quality quarterback they played.

  13. Phatgzus January 13, 2014

    Mmhmm, we’ll be a 6-10-win team every year if our All-Pro QB goes down every year. Why not? I dunno, how ’bout decades of mediocrity? Do you really want to (re)experience the ’70s and ’80s?

  14. CO Bob January 13, 2014

    Yeah lots of arguments here that are valid. You can look at the Mike Sherman signing of Joe Johnson and argue that TT is on the smarter path. If you make a big FA mistake it kinda fucks a team for quite a few years. “Gambled money has no home”
    Not sure where I sit on this argument. Dang…..

  15. Jack Vainisi January 13, 2014

    Remember how Seattle was always a pretty good team when Thompson got made GM, but never in the top echelon? Kind of reminds me of the Pack right now. Better find some safeties and LBs, Ted.

  16. Phatgzus January 13, 2014

    Remember how Ted Thompson helped maneuver the Packers to the pinnacle of success 6 years after he returned to the organization, and built a team that had the second-best winning streak in the history of the pro game and is one of 2 current organizations (the other the holder of the longest winning streak) to reach the Playoffs 5 years running?

    Jack Vainisi is rolling in his grave.

    1. Vijay January 14, 2014

      Except the 49ers have reached the NFC Championship game like 3 years in a row now…and how ’bout them Patriots, aren’t they almost always in striking distance of a Super Bowl? They always have a ton of roster turmoil, turnover but that Brady and Belichek…man, oh man. They just keep on making things exciting for that NE fanbase.

      1. Phatgzus January 14, 2014

        “I expect championships with Rodgers[‘] talents…”

        When was the last time SF or NE won a Super Bowl? Sure they’ve had opportunities (NE twice) but they failed, how far you go doesn’t really matter if you don’t win it all, except you get an even lower pick. I’d be willing to wager that if you were a Pats fan you’d be taking Belicheat to task.
        BTW, the AFC East has been garbage for years and the NFC West was one of the worst divisions in the NFL until 2 years ago.

  17. Richard Cranium January 14, 2014

    Stop ignoring the facts vijay.. You’re making too much sense. Ted is the greatest. He led us to the pinnacle. He will do it again… Even if in reincarnation.

  18. tedtomato January 14, 2014

    Well..they got the same out of harvin as we did that turd burnett..why ted paid that turd and not shields is beyond me. This mess couldve been avoided if the dipshit drafted harrison smith instead of perry. At least he was an impact player right away!! Yeah he was hurt last year..but..if he was here..oh wait never mind..wouldve gotten hurt on family night that year!!

  19. E. Wolf January 14, 2014

    Good god the Ted haters are coming out of the woodwork. This creates added incentive for the Pack to bounce back next year–to shut them up, at least for the time being. But without retooling the defensive coaching and schematics, I am pessimistic.

  20. Richard Cranium January 14, 2014

    The off season has yet to begin …. Wait and see. No movement in the ‘veteran’ non current GBP free agent market this year will prove foolish. Unless you enjoy divisional round exits each season. If so, carry on. The problem is not coaching… It’s the players. When they players are there (Collins, Woodson, Jenkins, Pickett, tramon) the coaching is great. We all understand how TT operates… A make sense FA signing is due.

    1. E. Wolf January 14, 2014

      You mean like 2009. Statisically the defense was good, getting fat on shit teams like the Browns and the 2009 NFC West. When we played any decent quarterback (Berty, Palmer Roethlsiberger, Warner), we were ripped apart.

  21. Richard Cranium January 15, 2014

    No I mean like 2010…when we could win a 21-14, 24-20 game because the d kept us in it. I’m all for shit canning capers too…a change in voice sometimes helps (Kevin Greene?). Just not likely to happen. It’s a combo of both… Players and coaching not just one or the other.