No doubt, one of the Green Bay Packers’ biggest offseason losses was guard T.J. Lang.
Lang ended up signing a three-year deal with the Detroit Lions, averaging $9.5 million per season. That’s clearly more than the Packers wanted to pay, even though they could have afforded the number.
The Packers’ offer, which didn’t come until just before free agency opened, was $8 million per season. It was also heavily incentive-laden and Lang was reportedly offended by it. After visiting with Seattle and Detroit, Lang offered the Packers an opportunity to compete with their offers and they didn’t budge.
In fact, they reportedly didn’t even respond.
The Packers don’t look much better from there, either. In addition to offending one of their most loyal players — a guy who constantly played through injury — it sounds like the front office (GM Ted Thompson and chief negotiator Russ Ball) lost some coaches and players in the process.
Lang had been talking to James Campen, his position coach for all eight seasons, throughout the process. You’ll be subjected to all that “next man up” happy talk for months to come. The truth is that the Packers’ coaches were incensed, and no doubt some of the players were, too.
We will assume the coaches referred to there are offensive line coach James Campen and perhaps offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett. By now, head coach Mike McCarthy surely knows how things are done upstairs.
Of course, there has been rumored friction between McCarthy and Thompson over the years and we’re sure McCarthy would have loved to have Lang back.
As for the players, many of them find the Packers to be cheap. In many cases they are.
When it comes to contract negotiations, the Packers will have a number in mind. They typically draw a line in the sand and don’t budge above that number.
So unless you’re Aaron Rodgers or guys like Clay Matthews and Randall Cobb, who are now being overpaid, then you probably do think the Packers are cheap.
It’s frustrating the way these guys do business. It may be even more frustrating watching Lang’s fill-in at right guard this season.