In an off-season that can be described as “busy” by Ted Thompson’s standards, the team has still seen more players leave than sign. The defense will benefit from Davon House but he certainly isn’t a playmaker and the young pups Randall, Rollins, and Gunter will push him. The biggest signing was on the offensive side of the ball and with Marellus Bennett, but that meant passing on Jared Cook, who presumably will get a contract elsewhere eventually, the Packers are in a position to make a haul in the compensatory draft pick realm in 2018.
I made a bet that Ted Thompson would not make a big move early in free agency and I was wrong. The signing of Bennett was a top-flight signing and Ted locked down Perry before the FA period began. But more is needed. http://www.greenbaypackernation.com/hedging-a-bet-will-ted-thompson-make-a-move/Packers fans want to win now and with most of the defensive studs already in new teams or, as is the case with Hightower, back with their old teams, the state of the Packers defense is not great. The draft is as deep at the cornerback position as it has been in years, but the team still has money to bring in another defensive vet that could help the defense get over the hump. So is Ted fishing for compensatory picks? Perhaps so. Here is the situation as it stands:
The “formula” for Compensatory draft picks
While never really revealed by the league, the formula for compensatory draft picks seems to be a combination of the compensation each player receives with a little adjustment for the number of snaps they take and the possibility of post season awards. So basically matching the cap numbers of players gives the best estimation of whether they will count (for or against). First, the player has to qualify as a “compensatory free agent” (CFA), or a free agent whose contract will count toward possible compensatory picks. Players who remain with the same team and players who are released are not counted as CFA’s so the Packers situation is very favorable. Players are counted as CFA’s who leave their team of their own volition, after that, the contract number, snaps, and post-season honors kick in. Each team then has either a net loss or a net gain and for the Packers, it is a net loss right now.
UFAs the Packers brought in that count against them
- Martellus Bennett – with Davon House and Lance Kendricks released by their teams (the Jaguars and Rams respectively), they don’t count against the Packers for compensatory picks. All the current players the Packers signed are off the list as well so in terms of CFA’s, Bennett is it. And depending on how the salary count is calculated, the loss of Micah Hyde may very well cover the gain of Martellus Bennett or close to it so from there on, the Packers are picking up compensatory draft picks for each FA that leaves (up to a maximum of four). That bodes well for the situation (if not necessarily for the Packers overall).
UFAs that left the Packers
Yesterday was another day of losses for the Packers. With Eddie Lacy going to Seattle and Datone Jones to Minnesota, the Packers added two more names to the list of exiting players. The list now looks like this:
- TJ Lang
- Micah Hyde
- JC Tretter
- Julius Peppers
- Eddie Lacy
- Datone Jones
All of these players left of their own will and Lacy, presumably to be a feature back so his reps won’t be an issue for compensation, though his weight might. Hyde also will presumably get plenty of playing time and Datone Jones in Minnesota will too. Tretter is presumably a favorite for the starting center position in Cleveland and while Peppers won’t probably get all the reps with Carolina, they signed him for a reason.
The Packers then, have well over enough exiting players to yield them their 4 compensatory draft choices. Lang will probably bring a 4th rounder and Tretter a 5th, we will see about the rest as Jones has not exactly shown an affinity for getting to the quarterback and Lacy weighs almost 270 pounds. But if Ted Thompson is trolling for comp picks…he has them. With money still available the Packers could sign a difference-maker for their defense and still get all the picks that makes Ted a happy man.
The Packers will likely have plenty of talent to choose from in this year’s draft and that is exciting. But wouldn’t it be more exciting if Thompson doesn’t hold back (as is his MO) and brings in another defensive player who can help shore up a unit that was just bad much of last year? At the same time, the need to replace a veteran presence and leader on the field like Julius Peppers is something no one is talking about, but with Micah Hyde also gone, where will the leadership for the defense come from? It’s anybody’s guess at this time.
It may be that Thompson is holding back money for contracts that will need to be taken care of next year, but the cap grows each year and when a team is this close to going all the way, saw a ton of players leave…shouldn’t those gaps be addressed? If not, the Packers and their fans will go into another season just hoping that the new rash of rookies holds up.