This off-season has almost been an off-season of wonder for Green Bay Packers fans. A new front office, new general manager (Brian Gutekunst), new acquisitions and a new style. The Green Bay Packers are sending a message. The message from the Green Bay Packers is clear, and the fans are lit about it. They’re loving it up there in Wisconsin, eating on their cheese heads and waving green flags of victory.
Seriously, though. Packers fans have never seen such a busy and productive off-season from this organization. It’s been a new experience to see big free agents get signed, being involved in major trade discussions and now signing Aaron Rodgers to the biggest contract in NFL history.
The message from the Green Bay Packers is simple. We’re competing this season like a normal NFL team. Let’s talk about how this is different.
The Message From the Green Bay Packers
How the front office normally works
I’m sure as anti-Packer faithful, you are probably wondering what the heck I am talking about. The Packers seem to be in the playoff hunt at all times, being willed to victory by one of the best quarterbacks the league has ever seen in Aaron Rodgers. Before Rodgers, it was the soon to be Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre.
The Green Bay Packers don’t normally sign big free agents to lucrative deals during the off-season. They restock through the NFL Draft, keep their talent local and avoid big personalities outside of their quarterback. The quarterbacks in town mold receivers. Think Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson. All early to mid round picks who built incredible chemistry with the Packers quarterbacks.
They take big, awesome defenders in the early rounds to keep the defense fresh. They hit on almost every pick, so it seems. This is what Packer faithful are accustomed to seeing year after year.
The Free Agent frenzy this season
Green Bay got aggressive this off-season, however, landing two big names in NFL circles. Tight end Jimmy Graham was made into a household name by New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, as Grahams power forward basketball frame made him a favorite target. Graham has somewhat disappeared the past few seasons after being traded to the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks system doesn’t utilize the tight ends quite like the Saints system did.
The Packers have gotten the very best out of average tight ends for years. Remember Jermichael Finley? Richard Rodgers? These guys didn’t have careers outside of Green Bay and they were household names playing in the green and gold. Jimmy Graham is going to produce like he did in New Orleans this season.
Muhammed Wilkerson was one of the biggest defensive names available in free agency this season. Wilkerson had produced for a couple of years with the New York Jets before struggling the last couple of years. The talent on the defense around him was lackluster, and offenses were able to focus on him almost exclusively. This won’t be happening in Green Bay. The Packers stole him for just $5M this year.
Aaron Rodgers record setting deal
Green Bay has never been a franchise that dished out a lot of money. Most seasons they are farther under the cap then any other playoff team. No longer.
The Packers have dished out almost $134M in salary to Rodgers, spread over four years, a whopping $33.5M per year. $100M is fully guaranteed, meaning that is all dead cap space no matter what. That means that Green Bay is using their cap space, and a lot of it.
The Last Word
The message from the Green Bay Packers front office is that the Packers aren’t growing home talent. The message is really clear. We are getting aggressive, we are attacking and we are becoming a formidable team. They have the best quarterback in the NFL, now they want to give him talent around him. Green Bay is taking calculated risks and going all in after a Super Bowl. Look out, NFL. The Packers are contending.
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