The 2012 NFL free agency period started on March 13th and has begun with quite a flourish for some teams. Just ask the Tampa Bay Bucs, who have already signed WR Vincent Jackson ($55.55 million contract), G Carl Nicks ($47.5 million deal ), Eric Wright ($37.5 million) and QB Dan Orlovsky.
Or look at the Buffalo Bills, who just signed Mario Williams to a $100 million contract. And $50 million of that deal is guaranteed as well.
But then you have the Green Bay Packers and Ted Thompson. If free agency were a race, Thompson would be the tortoise. Always moving slowly. The Packers still haven't signed anyone, and they lost C Scott Wells to the St. Louis Rams via free agency.
Up to now, in seven years, Thompson has signed 10 unrestricted free agents. Thompson hit gold in 2006 when he signed Charles Woodson and Ryan Pickett.
But Thompson has missed on free agents like Adrian Klemm, Matt O'Dwyer, Marc Boerigter and Marquand Manuel. Those free-agent misses happened during Thompson's first two years on the job as general manager.
But again, Thompson did hit on Woodson and Pickett big time in 2006. Both players are STILL with the club, too.
Since 2007, Thompson has only signed three unrestricted free agents: CB Frank Walker, LB Brandon Chillar and C/G Duke Preston. Chillar was the only one of those three who really made an impact on the team.
Now Thompson does sign a lot of "street" free agents or rookie free agents. Players like Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, Frank Zombo, Erik Walden and Tim Masthay fall into this classification.
Ron Wolf did a nice job adding pieces to the Packers in the 1990s via free agency. He had a few misses, but overall his track record was VERY good.
Mike Sherman was not as fortunate. In fact, Sherman did not fare well in free agency, nor did he draft well when he became general manager. Sherman was a decent coach, but his decisions in the front office came back to haunt him.
Three out of the five worst free-agent signings in Green Bay history came under the watch of Sherman, in fact.