Stop Overreacting About the Packers Offseason

If I had a nickel for every time someone tweeted a variation of Vince Lombardi’s “what the hell is going on out here?” soundbite, I’d at least be able to buy myself a coffee, maybe two.

Fans, bloggers, and even some beat writers are screaming bloody murder about how the Packers are handling free agency so far, even though we’re less than 24 hours into the new league year as of this writing.

In the famous words of Aaron Rodgers, I feel like we can run the table. I really do.

Wait, that’s the wrong quote. What I mean to say was this: R-E-L-A-X. Relax.

Perception versus reality

We need a quick dose of perspective on where the Packers stand here on day two of the new league year.

So far, the Packers have re-signed their top pass rusher, retained a versatile backup lineman, and brought back a punter who improved over the guy who did the job previously.

The Packers have also lost a backup defensive back and a backup defensive lineman who played fewer than half the games for which he was eligible since he was drafted.

That is what has happened. For all the speculation over Jared Cook (ours included), T.J. Lang, and Eddie Lacy, those five things are truly the only substantive events of the last few days. But that’s not what you’d think if you only read Twitter.

The secondary would have been terrible even if Micah Hyde stayed. We know that because the secondary was trash last year with Micah Hyde playing the best football of his career. The secondary’s problems weren’t about Micah Hyde and they wouldn’t have been fixed by keeping Micah Hyde.

The edge rush is an issue, but guess what? Ted Thompson shored that up by retaining Nick Perry on a very team friendly deal. That’s great general managing. Thompson (and Russ Ball) should get enormous credit for that.

As far as getting Rodgers more weapons, remember that we’re on the second day of free agency. Sure, Rodgers needs weapons, but Jared Cook isn’t the be all, end all. He was great last year, but that says more about how poor the Packers tight ends have been over the last few years than about Cook himself.

His own stats were basically in line with his career averages. Whether it’s Cook or someone else, the Packers do need an athletic tight end, but there are plenty available for cheap in free agency (hi Lance Kendricks!) or in the draft. The world won’t end if Cook leaves.

Why people are upset about the Packers

People are going to be upset about things that the Packers do, and I think that’s justifiable at times, but not this time. It’s important to understand the origin of these feelings.

Fans (and their counterparts in the media, to an extent) are falling victim to a false choice. It seems to be the common understanding that the Packers are choosing between signing free agents and doing nothing. That is not correct.

The Packers are choosing between signing free agents and not signing free agents. That’s a small but significant difference. To choose not to re-sign Micah Hyde (or Cook or whomever) is not the same as doing nothing.

In so many of these cases, the Packers evaluate a player (one with whom they are usually intimately familiar) and decide not to bring him back. That is a choice just as much as deciding to offer someone a contract.

We need to collectively divorce ourselves from the idea that the Packers brass is just sitting in their offices at 1265 Lombardi Ave. twiddling their thumbs.

These decisions are calculated and planned. It’s okay to disagree with a decision on its merits, but don’t fall prey to the idea that the Packers are doing nothing.

I remain confident that the Packers’ future success will not be determined in the first 24 hours of free agency:

  • Julius Peppers signed on March 15.
  • Jared Cook signed on March 28.
  • Charles Woodson, the greatest Packers free agent signing since Reggie White, didn’t sign until April 26.

There is a plan in place. That plan will be worked. The Packers will not enter 2017 with just the players they currently employ on their roster.

Deep breaths, everyone.