To find success in free agency is to walk a narrow line, with which Ted Thompson has had mixed results.
For the wildly successful acquisition of Charles Woodson in 2006, there was the disappointing signing of Jeff Saturday in 2012, who was benched before the season even ended.
For the most part, Thompson has avoided the two potential pitfalls of free agency: getting caught in a spending trap for a player who doesn't perform at the level he's paid to, or avoiding free agency altogether and placing 100 percent emphasis on the draft. Yes, Thompson's ratio is skewed, and his strategy is by and large that of draft-and-develop.
Thompson chooses to place an emphasis on paying and locking down his own top-tier players, rather than other teams' lesser-tier ones. Then, young home-grown players fill in the rest of the holes. Sure, some don't pan out, but that's a safer strategy than a multimillion-dollar free agent who similarly doesn't pan out.
That's why the Packers will have Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews for years to come; next year, they'll likely be able to add Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson to that list.
In that sense, spending Jairus Byrd money this offseason—a deal that would amount to upwards of $7 million or even $8 million per year—seems out of the question for Thompson and the Packers, especially when he has 17 of his own to pay or let walk.
But if an intriguing prospect presents himself who won't break the bank, Thompson should be willing to take a closer look.
From what Thompson told Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, that's not impossible. "If an opportunity presents itself and it helps us be better, then yes," Thompson said. "But I think doing it for the sake of doing it is a waste of time and energy."
When a team ties up a large percentage of its cap space on its marquee players, money is at a premium. But Thompson owes it to this team—which is in dire need of a veteran presence at so many positions, including safety and, depending on what happens in free agency, offensive line—to take a serious look at who's out there.