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Packers Reaping UFA Rewards


Like the players themselves who are acquired via free agency after the draft, Ted Thompson’s efforts in acquiring quality players who were missed by the draft is a largely unappreciated part of his game.

Wait a minute, you might say. The media talks all the time about the undrafted free agents that have started for the Green Bay Packers and how every year a UFA makes the team.

In fact, with Packer fans that is kind of an inside dig of TT, right? Oh, don’t worry about losing this guy in free agency or not hitting on a first rounder because TT will find some UFA to take their spot. That’s what the haters say with sarcasm.

True, but what is not getting talked about is how the Green Bay Packers’ UFA reputation is giving them an advantage on teams once the draft is over.

The NFL Draft is set up to promote parody in the game. A perennially successful team with a Hall of Fame quarterback can expect to draft near the end of every round with most teams in the league getting to pick in front of them.

However, when the draft is done, then similar to college football, the better and more successful organizations have the advantage, and beyond that, the thing that free agents care about the most is the opportunity that a tryout is going to lead to an actual job. The agents and the players know by now that their best chance is going to be in Green Bay.

According to ESPN.com, since 2005, the Packers have more than 20,000 snaps from undrafted players than the next closest team in the league. The Packers signed 17 undrafted rookies this offseason, and it is a virtual certainty that one or more will make the roster. That reputation is a strong advantage for the Packers when it comes getting their pick of the players left over from the draft.

At 6’5″ and 325 pounds, undrafted offensive lineman Matt Rotherham has the kind of size that got about half the teams in the league calling for him after the draft. Rotherham claims to have turned down more bonus money elsewhere in order to sign with the Packers. Why? Because the Packers offer the best chance to stick, which is a telling statement considering the Packers aren’t exactly weak along the offensive line.

Free agent running back John Crockett claims to have had 20 teams interested in him after the draft. Again, he chose the Packers because he saw them as willing to give him the best chance at making the team.

Signing the best undrafted players doesn’t excite the fan base, but it is an advantage that is bearing rewards for the Packers. If it continues to, the Packers will continue to mitigate the leveling factor of the draft and maintain their competitive advantage over most the teams in the NFL.



Shawn Neuser attended UWGB and lives and works in Green Bay. He enjoys long walks on the beach and being intimate with game film.



  1. MGP May 11, 2015

    Very good post Shawn.

    But now you have to face the anger of Monty, the great TT hater…

    1. Savage57 May 12, 2015

      In the end, I don’t give a shit if they zipline down from spaceships so long as they can help the team win.

  2. Dan May 11, 2015

    It’s parity, Not parody.
    -Stannis Baratheon

    1. Davos May 11, 2015


    2. Shawn Neuser May 11, 2015

      True, Dan.
      Kind of a humorous mistake since it is entirely possible that the NFL Draft promotes “parody” as well, but yeah, I meant parity in this instance. I will leave as is because of that and because I think the confusion invoked is minimum.

      1. LD May 12, 2015

        It’s “minimal,” not “minimum” ;)

  3. David May 11, 2015

    Another aspect of this is… how many guys that managed to just make the Packers practice squad find playing spots at other teams within 0-2 years? How man players that miss out on the Packers practice squad find themselves on another teams Practice Squad that season?

  4. Dan May 11, 2015

    Good article Shawn, I think parody fits perfectly.

    Davos – Forget it. You didn’t get it the first time at the Blackwater either.

  5. PF4L May 11, 2015

    When you sign about 150-160 UDFA’s. The law of averages says you should get a decent player or two out of it.

  6. Fritz fm WI May 11, 2015

    maybe we could economize by going to all-male cheerleaders– those 100 or so hopefuls who didn’t quite make the prx squad, but are athletic enough to do acrobatics in circles around the frumpy milk maids GB presently employs as cheese[leaders].

  7. Nate May 11, 2015

    This article reads like a sack of shit. Do you even proof read? There is a sentence with FIVE freaking commas in it. Pretty sure you were supposed to learn not to do that in… what… 3rd grade?

    1. Shawn Neuser May 14, 2015

      I am a fan of the comma, myself.

  8. Savage57 May 12, 2015

    So go start a writing and grammar blog, bitch.

  9. rebelgb May 12, 2015

    Great article!

    I see what you did there Dan! (Stanis the Grammar King!, what the hell happened to that show? Did Monty become one of the writers in season 5?)

    Nate go finger bang your ugly sister dink.

  10. vj May 12, 2015

    Soooo…other teams draft better and we find better scraps leftover, is that it? Ahh…actually it’s done purposefully by Ted to be cheap, pay less $ for avg at best players who weren’t day 1 or 2 worthy picks.