"In Ted we trust."
Since Ted Thompson became General Manager for the Green Bay Packers in 2005, those four words have been the backbone of the Packers' fanbase. It seems Thompson can do no wrong as GM of Green Bay, and the end results of his moves (or lack of moves) prove he knows what he's doing.
The Packers have been relatively quiet throughout this year's free agency. Today we'll break down the Packers' decision to stay quiet in free agency, and show why Thompson remains one of the best GMs in the league.
Square Pegs in Round Holes
While the 2013 class of free agents certainly has depth, there was no player that seemed like a perfect fit. Whatever elite talent there was to be had was either too expensive (see Mike Wallace) or at a position that Green Bay didn't need help (see Andy Levitre).
Any big-name players the Packers could have signed simply wouldn't have been a good fit in Green Bay. They would have been forced to change roles, which is always a little dicey with free agents.
It would have been like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. You can certainly make it work, but it's rarely worth all the effort it takes.
But What About Steven Jackson?
The biggest free-agent name thrown out as a possibility for Green Bay was the running back from the St. Louis Rams. Jackson has been one of the better running backs in the league for the past handful of years, and looked like a great fit for the Packers.
Jackson even took to Twitter to inform all that he'd be heading to Green Bay:
To whom much is given, much is required. Green Bay bound! Blessed & excited to speak to the amazing winners of the @rawlingssports contest.— Steven Jackson (@sj39) March 5, 2013
Unfortunately, Jackson eventually agreed to a three-year, $12 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons. It appeared as if Thompson and the Packers had missed out on a player that would instantly make them a much better team.
However, Jackson will be 30 years old when the 2013 season starts, and already has nine seasons of being an every-down running back to his credit. The biggest question surrounding Jackson is how much does he really have left in the tank.
With James Starks, Alex Green and DuJuan Harris still on the roster, Green Bay still has plenty of talent at the running back position. Throw in the possibility of finding a gem in the 2013 NFL draft, and passing on Jackson begins to look like a better and better move.
How Will the Packers Improve?
So, if the Packers are planning on staying quiet in free agency, how can the team improve? Simply put, Thompson and the Packers have never looked to improve via free agency.
They've always looked to fill their needs through developing players and the NFL draft. The biggest name Green Bay signed last year in free agency was Jeff Saturday, who was benched late in the season and retired after it.
Few GMs work the NFL draft like Thompson does, and when you're as good at drafting and developing as Thompson is, who needs free agency?
Sure, the Packers missed out on Jackson, and it would have been nice to see Chris Canty, Kenny Phillips or Cullen Jenkins wearing green and gold next year.
However, if there is one thing Packers' fans are reminded of year after year it's "In Ted we trust."