Lockout closes the NFL but College Football remains

By Rick

With the Lockout still looming and College Football starting soon who are some players a Packer fan should keep their attention on. Who are the hybrid players or the “Packer” players that TT seems to go after. I mentioned after the draft the COD ( Change of Direction) can be a factor in how TT sets his big board. Here are some players to keep tabs on this college season to see how they may do.

Zach Becker TE/FB Hybrid back Illinois (Big 10)

At 6’2” and 250 he looks DJ did at Arkansas. Last year he was supposed to be a starting TE but fractured his foot and redshirted. This is the year to see if he can become late round gold. Plays in a competitive Big 10 and will have great film to see if he can get it done. Currently projecting as a UDFA or 7th rounder, my gut says 5th rounder with a good 2012 season or undrafted if he lays an egg.

Ryan Tannehill QB, Texas A&M (Big 12)

Ryan was to be a back up QB and a starter at WR last year but when the starter sputtered he was thrown in and looked pretty darn good last year. 6’4” 220 runs in mid 4.6s. He has a strong arm and completed passes well. A hard worker and is putting a lot of time in the film room. Release looks good. My pre-season look has him rated close to where I had Aaron Rodgers before his senior year. This may mean he becomes a spot light player and is taken in round 1 by somebody but right now I see him as a solid second round QB that Green Bay can develop into a back up starter role over the next few years. Currently 2nd-3rd rounder.

Jared Crick DE/DT, Nebraska (Big 10)

Played next to Suh and looked great until a knee injury shut him down last year. A perfect DE for a 3-4 defense. The Patriots, Steelers, and Packers will be fighting to see which can draft him. Assuming a solid and healthy performance he may even reach the first round.

DeAngelo Tyson, NT Georgia (SEC)

He plays NT in a 3-4 defense for Georgia in the SEC. Numbers were only okay but this should be the year where this possible 7th rounder shines. A great depth pick up for any 3-4 defense team. He realizes that his numbers will be down but projects to be similar to Raji, with more time and coaching is a possible starter in the NFL.

David Pickard, OT Southern Illinois (Missouri Valley Conference)

A 6’5” 298 Left Tackle starter on the Salukis, David has received much acclaim in this small conference. Possess decent mobility and able to handle pass block duties well and is solid in run blocking, this player is a do anything kind of player. Projects into the 5th or 6th round.


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  • Steve Cheez

    How is their pad level?

    • Thats going to be a hard one for MM to live down, if ever. Great to watch these kids develop (or not), Rick.

    • Rick

      Ouch!! 🙂

      That is mean and funny Steve

  • Gee, do you think Underwood being cut will be the Pack’s first personnel move?

  • Rick

    Underwood cut.

    Jenkins to Redskins

    James Jones to Vikings

    I have more thoughts but I need to hear the FA rules. It sounds like 4 years for FA and that would mean almost 500 Free Agents on the market. Wow

    • That senario leads me to thoughts of a prior life. The NFL personnel departments would double and the players become a bunch of job hoppers. No team stability, no loyalties, and watch fan support dwindle. Its happened before with pro sports. To say nothing of teams jumping markets. I’ll always have the memories of the “sport” years after the “business” aspect fully takes over. When the Rooneys, Meras, Halases, even the Davises, Krafts, and Joneses are gone, forget it! This pre is taking a toll on my fan support for the league; only thing that matters now is the Packers. I’m down!

  • Larry

    Where are 500 FA going to go? GB is currently at or very close to 80 signed ..(counting rookies who aren’t signed but will be) I’m thinking many teams are in similar shape. even if the CBA allows training camp rosters to balloon to 90 that’s only 320 slots and no teams has signed any UFA’s yet.

    I’m thinking the first act of owner vengeance is for owners to sign as many cheap players as possible and for many veterans to sweat out their next job if one comes along. The big name players will get their offers but smaller fish are going pay.

    Interestingly the leadue has always embraced younger players and IF a rookie cap gets implemented it will make younger even cheaper, a better incentive to keep younger players.

    • Rick

      I would agree but the salary cap floor at 90% will rear its ugly head and make midlevel veterans more valuable.

    • Rick

      A slight correction Larry.

      32 teams at 80 players = 2,560 players in training camp

  • Rick

    I am going to add one more to the college watch list.

    Ladarius Green TE/WR Louisiana Lafayette (Sun Belt)

    6’6″ and 230lbs 4.6 40yrd dash. Most college football fans have never heard of him but many of the NFL scouts have as he is one of the most prolific receiving TEs in college last year. In fact he led all tight ends nationally in receiving yardage with 794, receiving yards-per-catch at 18.0, 7 games with 80 yards or more receiving, and 7 receiving touchdowns. He made a catch of 20 yards or longer in all but one game he played, despite being double-teamed on over 90% of his routes and catching from 3 different QBs. I actually see him as a slot WR and TE. His blocking is questionable and he played in a small conference on on of the worst teams in the country. But he has the moxie and guts to go over the middle, runs great routes, and shields the ball with his body. All while taking the best shot of every defense the Cajuns play.

    Probably a 3rd or 4th rounder if he stays healthy and has anything close to the same numbers.

  • Larry

    10 additional spots for 32 teams means 320 additional players over the standard 80 per team IF the CBA allows for 90 this year. The problem with paying more for midlevel vets is that their pay when compared to late round players or UFA will seem high…would you rather have Zombo or Waldens contract on the books if both were considered of like talent. How about 7th rounder Guy versus Howard Green or Justin Harrell…Brady, Manning, Brees and Rodgers will keep earning mega dolllars but I expect the average NFL career to shorten as “midlevel” pay rises to where significant savings can be had by bringing in more young guys. Maybe that’s the big picture plan to reduce serious retired veteran injuries…get them out of the game after 5 or 6 years by pricing them out of the market.

    Curiouser and curiouser!

    • Rick

      However with a salary floor now at 90% of the salary cap, an all “rookie” team is to far under cap. Or you over pay your top veterans….

      I am not a salary cap guru, but I have tracked spending and player contracts for over a decade.

      My opinion on the way this seems to be shaking out is a Salary max team at $128 mil averages to $2.4 per 53 players, but that is to broad of a statement because we know the Brady’s and Manning’s will make much more. So…

      With rookie contracts at $380-410k; 25 rookie contract pay players will cost a team $10.025 Mil and the other 28 players will average out to around $4.4 per player. That seems to be the economic model that most teams will use. You will still pay $6-10 maybe even 20 mil for a top tier talent player but that looks to be how it will settle out on average for the teams under the the new proposed CBA.

      That is also why a backup almost starter calibre player like Wilhelm pulled down about $3 mil per year when he signed last year with the Packers. His time and NFL experience allowed for a quicker turnaround to get him on the field and productive. I see much more of that happening. A mid level guy may not get FA signed at the beginning of the year but with the injuries that happen can be well paid to come in and reinforce a team. An off the street rookie can have all the talent in the world but could not do that in the middle of a season.

  • iccyfan

    In a show of solidarity with LT, I’m going to adopt a much-maligned player as my personal cause! Dagnabit Larry – Justin Harrell’s rookie contract was front-loaded and he’s at veteran’s minimum for this season. Why in the world would you want to see him replaced on the roster by a raw rookie who should have gone back to college? Harrell has been betrayed by his body; it’s not a lack of talent or smarts holding him back! I’m really hoping Justin Harrell can get / stay healthy and flash the talent that convinced TT to draft him in round one.

    • Rick

      And he has a Super Bowl Ring too….. LOL

      Seriously I hope Justin can do it. The pressure is off, just can his body do it?

    • I have to admit in all these years I can only remember one really good outing for JH, and that was the Titan game when I thought he outplayed Haynesworth (long time ago). He has got to come out smoking and fresh in whatever pre we have to justify a roster spot. Agree, iccy, its sure not the money anymore, its the count. I don’t think its a question of needing him so much as is he better than the other guys. No more sentiment now.
      On another subject concerning the Titans they’re in desparate need of a veteran backup QB(or someone who could compete to start with a top draft choice). I do not see a Flynn deal there simply because I don’t think Flynn would go for a backup spot and all we could get would be draft choices. Add to that the fact that we would then put ourselves in the same spot of needing a veteran backup. No deal possible there.

  • Larry

    Iccy…I’m not a JH fan (obviously)…but as a 4th year player he will make the 4th year veteran minimum or his contract amount whichever is greater…which is more than the first year rookie 7th rounder minimum for Guy. JH has done nothing and although his reason is health as opposed to lack of talent (although who knows) he simply isn’t available.

    If he makes the 53 or whatever number that’s great….better yet if he’s part of the rotation. But some unfortunate like Wynn or Green (maybe) will be out on the street come cutdown time and we’ll be counting on Harrell to play some serious snaps…IMO been there and it hasn’t worked out.

    Rick…a different scenerio has GB loading up its contracts (by necessity) for Rodgers, Raji, CM3, Jennings, Sitton, Finley…all top 5 players at their position and allowing middle level players to come and go, replaced with rookies and first contract players. In this option the rich get richer..the young get slotted and the rest of the money buys whatever you can buy.

    First to test this theory are Barnett in 2011 and Grant in 2011 or 2012…”mid-level” players who can still play at a high level but have young talent SEEMINGLY able to replace them at a much cheaper rate.

    The NFL is a star driven league…IMO everyone will look closely at the Indy/NE model where the stars get paid very well and the team around them is cheap labor.

    Thank goodness for TT who drafts for the future and at least so far hasn’t had many misses of consequence and some great late round finds.

    Nice to talk football again so gladly take your shots!!

    • Rick

      Your scenerio is very plausable Larry.

      Also I agree that it is nice thinking there may football after this weekend.

    • iccyfan

      I’m not certain Jermichael Finley is in that “loaded contracts by necessity” category. He’s young and as physically gifted as any TE in the game, but he’s brash and has had recurring knee issues. When he went out last season, the passing game found balance and they won a Super Bowl without him. If Quarless improves as much between years one and two as Finley did, we might have quite a player there. Plus Ted drafted two more TE’s…

      I think Finley might be the first test for you theory. If the new CBA gives unrestricted FA after four years, decision time is now. Do they look to extend him now, let him play it out and try to resign him after the season, let him walk after the season and take the compensatory picks, or look to trade him now (while his stock is high). Interesting dilemma…

  • Does anybody think TT gave Jenkins or his agent a call today? Everything I read implies that he will be replaced by committee (Neal, Wynn, Wilson) and sometimes Green sliding out on running downs (ie; 1st down?). Also, hear that Guy could be a pleasant surprise like Wilson evidently was last year.

  • Larry

    Just read and article…ESPN I think, that GB was virtually dead on the proposed 2011 salary cap of $120M and although the article stated the cap may get to 127M or as low as 117M the article indicated GB should not have a problem given two vets Barnett and Tauscher have 8-9 of that total.

    Pulling from my last posting it would appear that the mid-level vets mentioned above and I’ll venture Jenkins (not under contract but expensive) and maybe Grant (Starks, Green, Nance, Kuhn in the wings) could feel the pinch given rookies need to be signed and operating space made for TT and staff to find hidden gems.

  • Larry

    I just voted for the “greatest Packer” and want to go on record during Harry Potter week that my vote was cast for “He must not be named” Essentially he was the first domino that brought GB back from the depth…his play helped sign Reggie, Sean and got keith Jackson un-retired. He certainly wasn’t alone, like I say the first domino.

    How many Packers fans would have given up had the 90’s and beyond been a repeat of the 70’s and 80’s. FYI the other choices were Hudson, Starr, Nitschke and White. Those are in the order I considered them.

    This should start some banter!

    • Yeah, I’ll bite. Starr turn around was as great as BF and REGGIE was the one who made it happen anyway. Sure, granted Bart had a Hall Of Fame cast around him but it wouldn’t have happened in either case w/o Lombardi and Holmgren/Wolf. Holmgren brought RW in, with W writing the check and WHITE brought in Jackson with Wolf enticing Sean. I’ve gotta go with Bart (but my heart is with REGGIE).

    • My heart is with Starr but I have to go with Hudson. He was well before my time but the numbers speak for themselves as the greatest player. I don’t know how anyone could be so dominant. Jerry Rice was part of a great pass offense throughout a long career. Randy Moss had the most physical talent I ever saw but Hudson showed the NFL what recieving was all about.

      • He truly had to be the best in his day.

  • Rick

    Banter begun 🙂

    My vote is for Curly Lambeau as the greatest Packer.

    As the Packers founder, player, and coach; the DNA he created is the Packers.

    Next up on te list would be:
    The “HTMNBN” (He That Must Not Be Named) – He relaunched GB as a contender for 15 years.
    Bart Starr – He helped take a losing Packers organization to greatness and was Lombardi’s field general.
    Nitschke – Just seeing a picture of him with no front teeth on the field still scares you 50+yrs later.
    White – One of the greatest Defensive Players ever
    Hutson – The true beginning of WR in the NFL. He was a top receiver in a land of single, double, and triple wing attacks. His records are just not going to get broken.

    • As a player, player-coach, coach or wheatever else he was then. Truly no Packers without him, but even before my time………..!

  • Larry

    The Lambeau/Lombardi question is also posted and draws a mixed response as well…No denying the origin of the team was Lambeau but would GB have a team still if Lombardi hadn’t had the success he did or worse, failed badly? At the risk of being political…Washington or Lincoln? Perhaps both is the answer!

    • Its my opinion that the two cannot be combined due to conditions at each time. Lambeau was there when the entire league was trying to establish itself. Lombardi came in when the collapse was eminent and the team was about to fold. Hence, no team today w/o either.
      When I first answered Larry’s query I was thinking player but its true he did say “greatest Packer” not greatest Packer player.
      A true irony that we can only evaluate history from books, and rate only what we have gathered from our own experiences. I don’t know how to compare the two!

    • I think the question started from an internet poll of best player from each team. For instance I voted for Largent as the greatest Seahawk. No coaches just players. Lombardi was my hero, I never had any experience with Lambeau except what I’ve read. Really tough, really old school. Closest I can come is my memories of Halas.

  • Larry

    For clarification…the poll being conducted only listed the 5 player mentioned…I like others would have voted for Lombardi if he was a candidate on the Fox sports poll. A different poll again on Fox Sports asked the Lambeau/Lombardi question…

    LT said it best…I don’t know how to compare the two having my reference to lambeau from articles only and Lombardi references being somewhat fresher given the SB win, broadway play and resurrection of player stories.

    It’s nice to have such a rich history!

    • True Larry. Some team’s top players in that poll of 5 best weren’t very good. Only the Bears match us historically. And, except for ’85 have been pretty average since the ’50’s. The NFL is pass oriented and Sid Luckman was their last good QB.

      • Rick


        How true Mark, how true

  • Larry

    Think of the HoFers not mentioned….Taylor, Horning, Gregg, Lofton, Davis and the very very good players like Sharpe, Green, Kramer, Wood, Butler, Dave Robinson and old timers lost in lore…GB could field a few “all star teams” that could compete with others teams best players.

    This lockout really needs to end! I’m ready for some football!!

  • Picking (5) opens it up a little. No particular order but for me its Starr, White, Favre, Hornung, and Gregg. Tough to leave off Taylor at 5B but you can only have five. My picks have nothing to do with Super Bowls, these guys were just that good. Remember – top five only. For all his faults and lack of char-ah, forget it, you cannot leave Favre off a top 5 list. Maybe not the best, but certainly top 5.

  • Rick

    For me in a player only top 5 it really comes down to Starr and HTMNBN for the top slot.

    Nitschke and Reggie White next. I gave Nitshke credit for amount of time with team and put him just ahead.

    Hutson as #5. There are many many top all star players in Packer history. The advent of the passing game and what he did just will not be touched by any player in the NFL ever. EVER, as in forever. That is just to good to not have him in the top 5.

    • For sure, thats where the personal predjudices start coming into play – most tend to remember what they have seen…..!

    • See, Rick, thats my point. Think time and stats look at Gregg, Favre, Starr, and Hutson. Think leadership and contribution think Nitschke and White. Taylor, more stats, contribution, leadership, toughness and guts. Then comes Hornung; run, block, pass, punt, kick, did I miss anything? Oh, yeah, playing on weekends and soldiering during the week. Impossible!

  • Larry

    My top 5a&b …HMNBN, Hutson, Starr, Gregg, Sharp 5a, Taylor 5B. Sharp for a period of 5 years was unstoppable with bit players on the other side. I just can’t get Reggie on this list given 6 years tenure at the end of his career. He had less than 70 sacks with Pack and 120+ with Eagles. He was an ALLTIME GREAT player…but better with Eagles IMO.

    • Packer’s Advocate

      REGGIE did more than sacks. He “required” two players to block him in the passing game on anything other than a quick passes and the offense dared not run too close to his spot cause he dominated his area. He also recruited/helped recruit players like Keith Jackson, Santana Dotson, and others. Ask yourself why players started signing w/Green Bay……………….. because of Favre or REGGIE???

    • I have no order, there are too many legitamately great Packers. Hutson, Starr, #4. These guys are trancendant. Who knows maybe CMIII will be our greatest defender or #12 might continue on to a long storybook career and pass(pun intended) the others. I loved REGGIE but we only had him at the end of his HOF career.

  • Rick

    Reggie White enabled the defense to be one of the best in the middle 90s. Offenses had to double team and account for him and he help make the secondary so much better.

    I think he was more important to that run in 1995, 1996, and 1997 then almost anyone but Brett.

    • Was Reggie the greatest DE ever? There was Lee Roy Selmon, Deacon Jones, Gino Marchetti, Doug Atkins, Bruce Smith. If REGGIE hadn’t played in that stupid USFL he might be the guy. As things are there’s some pretty tough competition. Atkins for example was a viscious agile 6’8″ monster who lasted 17 years.

      • Rick

        All amazing players in their certain time period, but Reggie was a top player and instrumental in the Packers becoming a dominate force in the NFC. With the FA rules changing the landscape in the early 90s he was one of the most dominating DE since.

    • Great video of Atkins in ’85. He’s driving a beer truck for a living. He’s not one of the broken down ex-players we’ve seen. He looks to be in good shape. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlHkwS7fJAk

  • The mention of so many prior greats should help you guys appreciate what it has been like watching the Pack reload three times since the fifties. The Pack did not have a monopoly of greats but we sure have had more than our share.

  • Larry

    Rick you are absolutely correct that he was one of the most dominating DE’s but my only reason for not including him on my Packer player top 5 is that most of those dominating years were spent with another team. He’s as much an Eagle as a Packer. It probably is not the smartest reason but it’s a reason.

    Brian Billick (former Raven coach chose Hutson) and he’s the one who chose the 5 “candidates” for the poll on Fox Sports.

    I’m hoping when it’s all said and done A-Rod ends the debate!!! A few SB titles, career completion %, a few MVP awards, lowest TD to Int %, highest QB rating…All could be his if TT can find and keep the players around him.

  • iccyfan

    I’m not even fifty yet but I have an old-person’s mentality when it comes to naming the five greatest Packers or even having your Packer jersey number retired. Non-Packer fans do not understand how special our franchise is; by all logic the Green Bay Packers should have faded into history with the Duluth Eskimos, Portsmouth Maroons and Rock Island Independents. But we didn’t, and it has nothing to do with Brett Favre or Reggie White.

    In my mind, the greatest Packers had an obligation to represent the franchise well both on and off the field, both during and following their careers. Following this rationale, Don Hutson and Ray Nitschke are at the top of my personal list. There are too many others to list, but Favre & R. White aren’t in my top ten…

    • Cannot argue against H/N v. F/W, but gut wrenching. Great players all and is it not back to personal favoites since its impossible to measure full impact? So many impact players with a franchise this old.

      • iccyfan

        I never saw Hutson play and barely saw Nitschke; hard for me to identify with them as personal favorites!?! My opinion – Without Hutson, Herber, Isbell, Michalske, Dilweg, McNally, Hinckle, Canadeo, etc., there is no Green Bay Packers franchise for Favre & White to rejuvenate. They’re gone as a footnote to history. Plus, guys like Hutson, Canadeo and Nitschke continued to have a positive impact on the Green Bay community and Packer organization after their retirements. I have a Reggie White jersey and various Brett Favre mementos; they are / were personal favorites of mine – I just don’t think they measure up to their predecessors in terms of long-term importance to the franchise. JMHO…

      • Had to chuckle at the word impact. Didn’t you ever consider Fuzzy’s? But now I’m confused; wasn’t Thurstons place originally called the Left Guard or am I losing my memory, been a long time since I was up there?

        • iccyfan


        • Gee, I thought the bar was a favorite GB community night spot. Sorry, didn’t mean to offend you.

        • iccyfan

          I’m not offended; just didn’t understand the response. Was Fuzzy’s place a positive community impact kind of bar? Do you think Fuzzy deserves consideration on the all-time great Packer list? Should we all contribute to pay off his delinquent taxes?

  • Steve Cheez

    That James Harrison sure is a dick.

  • Larry

    A real team player is James Harrison. !!! The Rooneys’ are team first owners and a historical partner to the league that recognize that the good of the league outweighs one individual player or team.

    They moved from the old NFL to the new AFL to make the merger work 50 years ago…to disparage teammates and the commish that way is not going to sit well in that organization.

  • Rick

    Not to defend him but if you hung out with a reporter for a couple of days can you imagine some of the hot water you would be in. John Rocker pulled the same boneheaded stunt and look what happenend to him.

    Harrison was direct and blunt in some of his statements. Also I think a lot of his diatribe is echoed by players across the league. The slurs were unnecessary but unfortunately are part of his vernacular of swear words and insults.

    • Rick

      So I guess I am of the opinion that it is a non story. He (Harrison) said some stuff that had his personal truths in them and while I may not agree I do not demand PCness in his personal life. Reporters are not friends they are payed to sell stories and something juicy like this does that. The reporter is looking for the slip up and profits by it.

    • iccyfan

      While the “band of brothers” mentality is a nice concept on paper, I doubt it happens very often in reality. I’m sure there are “factions” on the Packers and players who flat out hate other players. In short, I agree it’s not newsworthy other than Harrison’s breach of etiquette by airing dirty laundry in public.

    • Exactly right about some reporters Rick.

  • Larry

    Harrison seems to feel the world is out to get him…interceptions thrown to deny him a SB,,,How dare BR put him in that situation. The league has made it clear what it expects…How dare RG fine him for flagrant hits….It’s gotta be tough being James Harrison! I thought I read where Harrison’s SB stats..were 1 sack and 1 tackle….How dare Mike McCarthy spread out the offense to take Harrison out of the game! The nerve of all these people!

    I find it a shame that a guy who has worked as hard as JH has to stay in the league and finally excell has such a lack of respect for his teammates, owner, league and commisssioner.

    • Rick

      Harrison was well blocked in the Super Bowl and was schemed against his overly aggressive style of play. He did only have 1 tackle.

      He has a chip on his shoulder – an us against them mentality- and it gets him to keep pushing and not settle. Again not a PC viewpoint he was expounding on but it is what gets him out of bed in the morning and rise to the chalenges and pains a football player goes through.

      A wise man once said, ” Cocky ain’t cocky if you can back it up!”
      Harrison does generally back it up. I don’t agree with him but I will not fault him as to his right to say it and the more private venue in which he was saying it.

  • Larry

    Harrison has the right to speak his mind…does he have the mind to rightly speak…. not in my opinion.

    • Rick

      I’ll agree

    • Steve Cheez

      Yes, he does have that right. Just like the rest of us have the right to call him out when he says stupid stuff.

  • Larry

    Pretty exciting…rookie wage scale agreed to this p.m.

    • If it’s a useful wage scale then that’s the most important part of the deal as far as I’m concerned. The agents have been holding the most desparate teams hostage to rediculous demands. I don’t think it helped Bruce Clark to go to Canada and this probably goes back even further.

      • iccyfan

        A blast from the past Bruce Clark reference! NBA stars are threatening to take their game to Europe next season. My response – Can I help you pack? Possible loss of NFL season – Catastrophic! Possible loss of an NBA season rates right up there with the recently lost NHL season – Who Cares?

      • Iccy, it wasn’t far enough in the past for me. The guy and his agent were morons. The big contracts for a few top rookies is bad for the sport, the teams and usually the players who you find years later in bankruptsies.

        • Steve Cheez

          I’m not usually one to hold a grudge, but when it comes to my GBP I sure do. I still hate the Redskins because of ’72. (Of course, if I’d been old enough to really know what was going on my hate would instead be directed at one Mr. Devine.)

      • iccyfan

        I agree with you Mark. A rookie wage scale benefits EVERYBODY except the top of the heap first-round rookies and agents. All rookies need to attend OTA and training camp if they have any hope of contributing immediately. Too many of those top guys hold out, miss out and flame out (Jamarcus Russel, Aaron Maybin, etc.). Unfortunately, the teams they’re generally hurting are those who can least afford it (Bills, Raiders, etc.), with the added “benefit” of financially “hamstringing” them.

        As for Bruce Clark, without looking it up I think that debacle took place while I was still in high school. I attended my 30-Year Reunion last weekend and my “serious” HS girlfriend still looks fine, but ‘ya can’t go back and right old wrongs (unless you’re Michael J. Fox). My wife of over two decades, who has no connection to my home town, was not amused by old stories from classmates and youthful romantic interests. I’m sure I’ll get my come-uppance when we attend her reunion in October!. Moral of the story – let the early ’80’s go! 🙂

        • Steve Cheez

          I think a meaningful rookie wage scale/cap will be one of the biggest contributors to long-term competitive balance that we’ve seen in quite some time. All it takes is a couple bad years and your top picks put you in salary-cap hell so that even competent management can’t put together the rest of a decent team.

          Not that the Lions and Raiders have been the epitome of well-run organizations, but their perpetual high draft picks have, to quote iccy, hamstrug them.

          If I were a GM with the #1 pick, I would do everything in my power to trade it away.

        • Iccy , you’re probably right about a grudge but that doesn’t make these guys smart. I also ask how much good the big bonus did for Ryan Leaf and our own Tony Mandarich.
          Steve, if they get this agreement right a GM won’t be afraid to take that great college player and he’ll be more likely to pan out.

          • Steve Cheez

            Thanks, Mark, my (poorly worded) point was referring to the current system.

  • Rick

    Happy NFL Lawyer langauge day (aka Saturday)

    72 hours to resign your own FAs. Then let the pandemonium begin. Rosters are going to be 90 for camp. Bears and Rams will be screwed because their training camp opens the 23rd and FA probably will happen right after camp starts. I have 478 as legitmate FAs/UDFAs and 73 as doubtful FA/UDFAs.

    The front offices have to be losing their frickin minds. Thank goodness the team starts with more “depth” due to the IR this season. Green Bay has only at best 10 serious UDFAs and FAs they want to workout.

  • Larry

    Plus it appears the cap is set at $120M which will make some decisions easier to make. Keeping all of Tauscher, Barnett and Jenkins isn’t possible given money needs to be freed up to sign the rookies/UFA’s (maybe one stays) …we’re not going to see a big name FA coming in…not that TT has gone that route much and having a veteran team with loads of experience will help GB start off strong.

    GB’s picture becomes pretty clear once the CBA is signed.

    • LarryTex

      Guessing Tausch has hit the wall, Barnett will want to stay, Jenkins’ constant injuries will curb his value, and that last year’s UFA’s are better than this year’s (just a hunch). If I’m right the roster will not change much other than IRs back and new draftees. We have very few holes (make that desparate holes) to fill on a SB team. A lot will sure depend on how healthy we come out of camp.

  • In Ted we Trust. Let free agency begin.

  • Larry

    If I had my preference, I’m hoping TT and company sign the following undrafted FA’s: Cornerbacks…We seem to be able to find gems that weren’t drafted i.e Shields and Williams (undrafted by Houston and cut) Woodson can play safety too….OLB’s- we seem to get LB’s injured so lets stock up.

    A wideout or 2…How about a big target for the red zone. And a D lineman to push the pocket.

    • LarryTex

      I’d like a OLB and WO or two also, but we’re out of space unless that 90 is firm. We have 85 on the roster now including Bush and Underwood. (8) corners w/ 2-6 yrs exp other than House and Woody. A lot of us would like to see Woody at S but who would he replace, Peprah, Collins, Bigby, or Burnett. We have (7) safeties w/ 2-7 yrs on the job next yr. Tough to see where an UFA would fit in back there. Not sure how the practice squad plays into this. I like your wish list, just don’t see replacing Bush with a UFA. I think Underwood is gone in any case.

    • iccyfan

      I’m having a hard time visualizing Nick Barnett in a Packer uniform going forward (too much money dedicated to the ILB position group) so I’d like to see them pick up an ILB for possible stashage on the practice squad or bottom third of the roster. We’ve had great luck with MAC kids and Nick Bellore from Central Michigan is out there. This high-effort Wisconsin native would be a nice addition to special teams if nothing else…

  • Rick

    Just to clarify. With the anarchy of Free Agency about to desend on the NFL, the Packers don’t have to do anything with these contracts. The ability to trade or discuss trades for future draft picks will be in TTs plans.

    We can let things shake lose on the first couple of days and then find value.

    GB has a solid MLB that has played in both a 4-3 and 3-4 defense. If Green Bay trades him we eat about 1/2 his contract but does a Buffalo Bills team lose Pulz to FA? Then then trade them Barnett.

    • LarryTex

      Well, excellent choice but if he goes FA look for a hell of a lot higher payday than either Barnett or Jenkins. What would you do with Hawk/Bishop, P would not be a backup? I think Barnett would rotate but not the others.

      • 4205

        The only way Barnett stays is if he shows ability to play outside (unless someone gets hurt obviously). Could he be getter than Zombo, Jones, Walden, et al? If so, move him…Chillar backs up inside and the aforementioned best on special teams backs up on outside.

        Of course if they get a shot at big name corner, then cap room necessity sends Barnett packing anyhow.

  • Rick

    Unrestricted FA:
    K Mason Crosby – Resign him to a two year contract. He is affordable and consistently long in kick offs which takes advantage of new rules.
    P Tim Masthay – After the punting issues of the past, Green bay signs him to a 2 year deal.
    S Atari Bigby – Gone. No interest in signing with Burnett coming back and Peprah’s performance.
    S Charlie Peprah – An affordable lower veteran resigning. I would sign him for 3years
    RB John Kuhn – Fan favorite but he only gets a camp contract and has to try to stay on team. My gut says he doesn’t beat out new guys.
    RB Brandon Jackson – I am on the fence. In spread offense his blocking saved the day a lot in the mid season. I say gone.
    FB Korey Hall – Best FB on team. It is either him or Quinn Johnson as the only true FB on the team this year. My gut says Hall is gone.
    OL Jason Spitz – He lost out due to injuries to Wells. He is an excellent line man and will get a chance to start elsewhere. Hate to see him go though.
    OG Daryn Colledge – Probably should be resigned when you look at what he did in games but the youth movement is beginning and he will be out.
    DE Cullen Jenkins – Welcome to the Washington Redskins
    WR James Jones – Welcome to Minnesota but maybe Chicago

    Exclusive rights:
    WR Brett Swain – Will fight like heck to stick on team against the practice squad guys.
    TE Spencer Havner – Just not needed but maybe a camp body to stay in the fight and push up the level of play in the new hybrid players. My gut says a team like the Bills or Lions will sign him.

    Green Bay Moves:
    OL Mark Tauscher – Either cut and resigned to a veteran minimum contract or retires and should be immediately grabbed as a developmental coach. He is an excellent teacher and his work with Bulaga bares that out.
    LB Nick Barnett – Trade bait. I see Buffalo or Denver as best landing spots. Probably a 2nd rounder or 3rd in trade.
    WR Donald Driver – Resigned to a more cap friendly contract.

    • Rick

      Also, Ryan Grant’s contract pay him a decent sized roster bonus on the 15th day of the new NFL year. Normally that would be before the draft in early April.

      This year it will be in training camp. The advantage is that MM and TT can see what shape and if there are any lingering effects of injury in Ryan Grant before the bonus kicks in.

    • 4205

      Good summary – shows that there will more tough choices than in the past. Too bad no OTA’s / rookie camps to gauge potenial of new people and IR returnees first hand. The trend of GB cast offs landing with other teams (but rarely starring) will likely continue (although a few may be starting this year – just hopefully not starring).

    • LarryTex

      Rick, I think you just said between the lines that Woodson will retire as a CB who sometimes lines up as a blitzer.

    • Rick

      Woodson as the #2 CB is probably still the plan this year; but can he slide back in to a safety spot in certain formations or as the opposite side LB from CMIII… heck ya.

  • Rick

    I think the 90 camp roster is very Packers friendly to see how everyone is responding from IR and should drive up the competition between back ups and rookies to a whole new level.

  • Rick

    In looking at more Barnett trade scenerios last night his value is lower than I thought. It is closer to the 4th rounder because of age and injury.

    If TT can get a 2 or 3 from someone they need to jump on it, otherwise I think it is a 4th rounder.

  • Rick

    It was me. I did it. I contacted the Players….

    Next story please 🙂

  • Larry

    Rick, did you talk about their pad level!!

    • Rick


  • iccyfan

    Tom Petty’s wailing voice keeps drifting thru my mind, “The waiting is the hardest part.”
    The players association hopes to ratify the new CBA today and the owners are to do the same on Thursday. Do we dare to hope for real NFL News by Friday? C’mon, I can’t wait to see the rookies in camp and which undrafted free agents Teddy brings to us this year! I’m tired of people guessing about the status of Kuhn, Colledge, BJax, etc. ‘Git ‘er done!!!

  • Packer’s Advocate

    Thoughts from the summer:

    The Pack should try to get Finley signed to a reasonable contract before he stays healthy for a whole year and tears up the league.

    Don’t be surprised to see Grant get cut near the end of camp if Alex Green looks good. Alot of money for a guy who doesn’t make anyone miss. And they’ve got some guys coming up that they’ll want to be resigning and will need that money. This is where the cap might force a move that they’d rather not make. Then again, they’ve got a chance at back-to-back SB’s and maybe more, so they have to be very careful in their choices.

    Sam Sheilds gets his contract if he has another year like last.

    I hate to see any Packers go but Tausch is probably done, Barnett is too small for OLB, Poppinga is great for the locker room but way over paid.

    Tough calls: Colledge, plays decent and is durable but has some WTF plays every game. His resigning depends on $. I think James Jones is the guy I’d sign and let Donald Driver go. I like DD but I’m thinking he is near the end though and James Jones looks pretty good to me especially if he gets his concentration up. Hate to see Jenkins go, hope that doesn’t back-fire, but I understand it. Brandon Jackson gets resigned if the $ is right. He looked pretty good on dump-offs and assignment sure in blocking.

    I think Kuhn gets resigned (if $ is right) because he can play HB too. The other two will be gone.

    Think offensively we’re going to see a funkier version this year w/all those TE’s and it will work. Aaron Rodgers will tear things up. Every year of experience improves him a little more.

    Time permits, I’ll have to do a guesstimate of this year’s roster………

    • iccyfan

      Most Packer fans seemingly don’t see the DD versus JJ argument the same way you do! I like “the Donald” as much as anybody; he has been an awesome Packer both on and off the field. Having said that, I didn’t agree when they reworked his contract two years ago; he was 34 years old and they had drafted talented young WR’s. Now it’s come to a head. Donald is old, injury-riddled and grossly overpaid. If you let the young and inconsistent, but undeniably talented Jones walk, you run the risk of having him signed by a division rival where he can hurt you for years. If you parted ways with DD, he’s not going to hurt you down the road. Do you reward DD’s career achievements at the cost of losing a part that could propel you to more championships? You and I are probably going to be in the minority on this, but I’d take Donald’s money and use it to resign Jones, Sitton, Finley, etc. (not all of them obviously). Same thing with Ryan Grant. It’s a young man’s game, the replacements are in place and there’s no room for sentimentality in you want to win championships…

      • LarryTex

        Totally agree with you guys with maybe one exception. I don’t see RB by committee, but if we did I’d go Kuhn rather than Grant ($ consideration of course). A move, by the way I would not make until after camp and really test Stark. Stark has what, three reg and three playoff starts? Tough, tough, call on Jones/Driver; you could pro/con that one all day w/ every plus/neg being valid above.

        Can’t prove it but it seems to me I remember more good D, OK O winning more SBs than good O and so-so D. That being said its a harder conversation for me regarding Jennings and Barnett than Driver and Jones. Thirty-five year old injuries did affect DD last year whether anyone wants to admit it or not, he wasn;t the same. Balance that w/ potential but lack of concentration (think?) of Jones makes it a very tough call in the short term.

        • iccyfan

          I believe it was Rick who informed us recently the Packers will owe Ryan Grant a $1.5M roster bonus payable 15 days after the league year begins. If they keep him thru TC, they won’t have that money which would go a long way toward signing all of our late-round draft selections!

          I don’t think Ted will dump Driver, and MM would come off looking like a major liar if they cut Ryan Grant. The conundrum is both these guys wanted contract extensions for big $; they got it but now those same contracts are like a boat anchor around their necks from the club’s perspective. The opportunity cost of keeping these guys looks like it could be pretty steep if it means losing important role players like Kuhn, BJax, James Jones, etc. Ted has always built for the future; this is the first time I can recall him having to face this type of situation since he first got here (Rivera, Wahle). It’ll be interesting to see the outcome.

          I have to disagree with you when it comes to Barnett; Hawk & Bishop are simply better and not all their tackles take place five yards downfield! I like what I’ve read about the tackling machine they got from Appalachian State and it’s time to move onward and upward. Nick doesn’t garner the same consideration that DD and RG deserve…

          • Packer’s Advocate

            Just the way I’m looking at things and glad I don’t have to make any decisions. My memeory isn’t the best but it seems DD had a fumble and INT off his foot in the playoffs last year and injured this year. And it feels to me like JJ had a knack of getting open down the sidelines for big plays even if he dropped a couple of them.

            I forgot CMIII. Before the last year of his contract, if he’s outplayed it, it’s standard practice to give a new one and he’s gonna get a good one!!!! I think $ is going to make for some interesting decisions this year. Some they don’t want to make , I’m sure……..

  • Larry

    Its a good argument, DD or JJ. I like DD’s quick twitch, even at this age he’s more sudden and that seems to make the defense a little more conservative or cautious. Lose DD and I see only Cobb as a quick receiver and a rookie without OTA’s is maybe a 35 catch guy.

    There is a chance both go (not very likely I’ll admit)…leaving Jennings, Nelson, Cobb and Finley as the 4 receivers and perhaps DJ Williams as a H back to make 5.

    In the end I see losing Driver as a bigger hit than losing JJ.

    • iccyfan

      What about long-term?

    • Rick

      How about talking with DD about a cut and resign ala Hawk, or you cut him if he doesn’t. That decides the J Jones offer to stay in GB. In which case Cobb, Jones, Nelson challenge DD for the #2 spot in the rotation.

    • LarryTex

      In a way its a pleasant problem to have. Jones beats DD downfield opposite Jennings. DD more reliable (?, last year) over the middle with someone else other side from Jennings. Long term, I guess, has to favor JJ. What the heck, we lived thru Lofton and Walker losses and this time we have a stable full….! Not really a position of concern.