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Packers remain only team without UFA signing

Apr. 3, 2014
 
Ted Thompson's biggest splash this offseason has been signing defensive end Julius Peppers. File/Press-Gazette Media
Ted Thompson's biggest splash this offseason has been signing defensive end Julius Peppers. File/Press-Gazette Media

Outside UFAs signed:

11 – Tampa Bay, New York Giants
10 – Washington
8 – Chicago
7 – Oakland
6 – Tennessee
5 – Atlanta, Buffalo, Cleveland, Miami, San Diego
4 – Arizona, Carolina, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Minnesota, New York Jets, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh
3 – Denver, Detroit
2 – Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, New England, New Orleans, St. Louis, San Francisco, Seattle
1 – Baltimore, Cincinnati
0 – Green Bay

More

This was supposed to be the year Ted Thompson finally made some noise in free agency and he has to a certain extent.

While the Packers general manager has been more active in this year’s free-agent market than last offseason, Ted Thompson is still Ted Thompson.

Some of the philosophies might have changed, but the proof is still in the pudding. Three weeks into the new league year, Green Bay remains the only NFL team that has yet to sign an unrestricted free agent other than their own.

In fact, it’s been 733 days since Thompson last signed an unrestricted free agent. You have to go back to the signing of Anthony Hargrove on March 30, 2012 for the most recent. The signing of center Jeff Saturday two weeks earlier is Thompson's only other unrestricted pickup in the last five years.

Last month, Thompson added two defensive linemen in Julius Peppers and Letroy Guion, but both players were signed off the street after being released in March from Chicago and Minnesota, respectively.

So why does that matter? It means more compensatory picks for Thompson next offseason if he stands pat in not signing a player with an expiring contract off another team.

After holding out from unrestricted free agency last offseason, the Packers were awarded third- and fifth-round selections for May’s NFL draft after losing receiver Greg Jennings (Minnesota) and linebacker Erik Walden (Indianapolis) last year. That gives Thompson nine bites at the apple next month.

The Packers have lost four unrestricted free agents so far this offseason: center Evan Dietrich-Smith, receiver James Jones, defensive lineman C.J. Wilson and offensive lineman Marshall Newhouse. Dietrich-Smith and Jones alone could net two picks.

As history indicates, Thompson deals in draft picks – the more, the better. So much so if either the New York Giants or Tampa Bay add another unrestricted free agent this offseason, they’ll have matched Thompson’s entire total (12) since being hired in 2005.

There was some thought the Packers could break the bank to fortify their roster this offseason and they still could, but Thompson doesn’t dip into unrestricted free agency unless he has to.

So it's probably best to start dusting off those draft guides. The Packers go on the clock in 36 days.

About this blog

Get Green Bay Packers updates as they happen from our reporting team: (from left) Mike Vandermause, Wes Hodkiewicz and Pete Dougherty.

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