Let's look at the guys on the current roster that I believe are overpaid for their production and might be able to get some money back by reconstructing their contract, or trading them. Off the top of my head Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila comes to mind. He is a one dimensional player that's only a pass rusher and that's only against quarterbacks that can't run and are sitting ducks. His inability to be a force against the run was exposed over and over all season last year. He is what he is and they can't pay him for being something he is not. So I believe this is where Thompson can start first because this is about business and everyone knows it.
Next they should slide over to the other side of the ball and make a visit to Robert Ferguson and either ask him to take a serious pay cut or say good-bye. Robert has brought nothing to the table but empty promises and bad execution. He thought he could be the man, but never could make the big play when his number was called. So that's among the dead weight that I would clean up first and see what I could get for them.
My first step after that would be getting Aaron Kampman's name on a long-term contract. This may be hard to do because of the fact that he had an awesome year that I believe woke a lot of teams up to his ability to rush the passer, as well as be an every-down player. His hustle was never-ending and his work ethic are the things that other teams are looking for so we might not be able to keep him, especially if Thompson doesn't put the same value on him as myself and others do.
My next step would be to talk to Ahman Green and be real with him. The conversation would be something on this line: ‘How healthy are you? Can you play? This is what we will offer, but if someone else makes you a better offer let us know because the offer we will make will be incentive based. Play well and you get paid, which is the way it really should be anyway.'
After Green I would go to Ryan Longwell and make him a very respectful offer because he has earned that. He has been Mr. Automatic 95% of his career here in Green Bay. If it wasn't for him how many wins would this organization really have had over his years here? Yes, he struggled this year but then again wasn't he due, especially with the changes in holder that he had to deal with? Trust me, I'm not making any excuses for him, but fact is fact.
After Longwell, the next step would be to try and sign Grady Jackson back because, like him or not, he is the type of player the Packers need to plug up the middle so that the linebackers can roam and make plays. I think about the goal line stands and then I look at who's available in free agency and I don't really see anyone better than him. Like Green, I would give him an incentive-based contract filled with playing time bonuses and some bonus money up front, enough to make him happy. Yes, the Packers might have to spend a little more for him but his role is very important.
Then there is William Henderson who still has so much value to this team, especially the fact that as a new coach Mike McCarthy wants the players to buy into what his vision. If he was smart he would let William help him sell it. I remember when I came to the Packers as a player in 1992 and Mike Holmgren was bringing in a new attitude. My role was to help losing players learn how to win. We did that with work ethic and changing standards and not accepting anything but the best. It took a while but it worked. I hope they use William in this role because he can still play, but much more, he can still lead and it won't be costly.
For quarterback security I think they should try to re-sign Craig Nall. If Brett doesn't come back you can't expect Aaron Rodgers to be ready to handle it all, especially with injuries being part of the game.
Besides these guys, the rest of the free agents are replaceable. This doesn't mean that they are good guys, or I don't wish them well, but it is what it is. BUSINESS IS BUSINESS!!!!!!!!!
Editor's note: Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. If you have a question for Harry, e-mail it to PackerReport.com managing editor Todd Korth at firstname.lastname@example.org, and he will forward it to him.