If there is one team that has not been overspending as of late in the National Football League, it’s the Green Bay Packers. The Pack is thrifty, as they are $13.3 million under the league salary cap. Are they setting up to make a marquee player an offer next season? Or are they simply trying to store away cash to extend player contracts of current players like they did to wide out Donald Driver two days ago? “Quite frankly, every team goes at it differently,” general manager Ted Thompson said. “If you think you’ve got a shot to do something, maybe you become like the Yankees and say, ‘OK, fine. We’ll go for it.’ I’m not knocking the Yankees, but they can throw some money at it and fix it.”
Of the 90 players currently on the Green Bay roster, 71 already have deals beyond 2007, meaning that if the team can mature and start to make noise again in the NFC North, they should be in good shape come 08, 09 and beyond. Of course if they go south, then they have some dollars they can spend on the open market for big name free agents following the 2007 campagin. Either way, the cheeseheads should be in good shape with money to burn. 19 players have deals that will be up at the end of 2007, but Thompson does not seem rushed to get many deals done. “We’re always involved in something,” said Thompson. “But I wouldn’t categorize anything as pressing.”
Bubba Franks, Aaron Kampman, Donald Driver, Scott Wells, Al Harris, Nick Barnett and Cullen Jenkins have all gotten extensions since Thompson has jumped on board back in January of 2005, making the Pack a better team after their runs in the NFC in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. “We want to make sure we’re in a position where we can make decisions based on football merit as opposed to dollar signs,” Thompson said. “We don’t want to be in that type of position ever. So we try to make good decisions, sign our own players and go forward.
“If we need to do something or have an opportunity to do something we’re in a position where we can do that and not stretch ourselves too thin. Simple as that. Same way someone would with a budget anywhere.” If Thompson keeps up storing money away, like it or not, the Pack could be back sooner than anyone thinks.