According to Spotrac.com’s running tally, about $1.866 billion had been spent on free agents as of Monday evening. In its two free-agent moves, the re-signings of running back James Starks and outside linebacker Nick Perry, the Green Bay Packers had spent a mere $11.05 million of that staggering total.
To put that in perspective: If the total amount of free-agent spending were $100, the Packers would have contributed about 59 cents.
Officially, the Packers are one of only two teams to have not signed a free-agent who played a game last season with another team. Unofficially, the Packers are the only team, with the Bengals reportedly agreeing to terms with suspended safety Taylor Mays last week. (A contract has not been signed.) Regardless, that’s pretty much standard operating procedure for the Packers, for which general manager Ted Thompson struck a semi-apologetic tone during the league’s spring owners meetings in Boca Raton, Fla., on Monday.
“Just because we don’t sign somebody doesn’t mean we don’t consider people,” Thompson told reporters. “We did a lot of considering, and we do all the time [and] wherever we felt like we could make our team better in the grand scheme things, we’ve tried to do that. So far, it’s been kind of quiet from a fan’s standpoint, and I’m sorry to say that.”
Since the start of free agency, the Packers rank 29th in spending. In all, 24 players signed contracts with more guaranteed money than the Packers had spent in total. Of course, it’s important to note that Thompson took care of the heavy lifting in advance, with the in-season extension for Mike Daniels and the re-signings of kicker Mason Crosby and defensive tackle Letroy Guion before the start of free agency.
“It’s interesting that people keep score,” Thompson said. “It’s still ongoing. There are still surprises down the road, I’m sure. I hope they’re good surprises as opposed to bad. But, yeah, you have to kind of wait this thing out and see how it goes. We feel pretty good where we are in terms of getting some of our guys back.”
Speaking of keeping score, here is the scorecard:
Meanwhile, Thompson promoted Eliot Wolf to director of football operations and Brian Gutekunst to director of player personnel.
Wolf is in his 13th season with the team. He spent the last year as director of player personnel and the previous three years as director of pro personnel. Wolf, the son of Hall of Famer Ron Wolf, joined the team in 2004 as a pro personnel assistant.
“He’s very capable,” Thompson said. “He’s doing a great job in a business that is hard to be on top of all the time. He’s a smart guy, as everybody knows. He really likes what he does, he’s been doing it for a long, long time even though he’s [still young].”
Gutekunst steps into Wolf’s old role. He’s in his 18th season with the team, having spent the past four seasons as director of college scouting. Before that, he was the team’s Southeast regional scout for 11 seasons.
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.