Aug 9, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Does Ted Thompson Hold Key to Reggie McKenzie's Free Agency Plan?



For the Non-Football geeks, allow me to introduce Packers General Manager Ted Thompson. A Ron Wolf disciple like Reggie McKenzie, who took over as Packers GM in 2005. Thompson has built a reputation as one of the top General Managers in the league, and helped build Green Bay into a Playoff contender year in and year out.

In a great article by Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press Gazette, he highlights a very similar resentment by Packers fans towards their very successful GM Ted Thompson. He especially pinpoints many Packers fans outright disdain for Ted Thompson’s philosophy on Free Agency.

Thompson has a reputation of being stingy with Cap Money and not making big free agent signings, especially with players from other teams.

Vandermause states “I believe, as Thompson does, that it’s foolish to pay inflated prices for players that for one reason or another weren’t retained by their former teams. I think Thompson is wise beyond his years to resist the temptation to start throwing money around like a drunken sailor.”

See where this is going? This is only the second offseason we have seen from GM Reggie McKenzie, and to be honest last year was hard to judge due to cap restraints. But in 2014 we are finally getting the answer we should have known all along….Reggie McKenzie is following the Free Agency blueprint of his mentor Ted Thompson.

Reggie will avoid overpaying, signing big names, and rushing in on the first day of Free Agency.

Something also very interesting, yet similar to Thompson is…Reggie will pay players based on how he values them, not what the market deems their value. Meaning only the people behind the Raiders shield know how or what value they place on individual players. Reggie will not be forced into overpaying for “assumed top talent” in the free agent market.

Many experts, former scouts and players, as well as fans will determine the value of each player in Free Agency. Sometimes those evaluations match what the GM’s in the league see, but sometimes they are way off.

Case in point Lamarr Houston and Jared Veldheer, two young players apparently in their primes. Value should be high, according to fans and the so-called experts. Instead Reggie offered low ball offers to both players, and both signed with other teams. We obviously were way off on how much Reggie valued both players.

Did the market agree with Reggie? Well both Brandon Albert and Eugene Monroe were paid significantly more than Veldheer, as was Reggie’s own signing of Rodger Saffold. Lamarr Houston received a nice payday, but not nearly at the level of Everson Griffen, Michael Johnson, and even Michael Bennett who took a discount.

The article concludes….”But the early portion of free agency, generally speaking, is not the best time to restock the cupboard. Let’s allow the entire offseason to play out and see how Thompson addresses the Packers’ needs before throwing him under the bus.”

The same sentiment should be applied with Reggie McKenzie, time is the only judge of moves made in the offseason. This offseason is far from over and despite losing two good young players, Raiders fans should take solace that there is a “Plan” in place. A plan that works, and a plan that has proven to be very successful





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Tags: 2014 NFL Free Agency Oakland Raiders Reggie McKenzie Ted Thompson

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