For the past seven years, general manager Ted Thompson has been about as active on cutdown day as a college football fan on a Saturday afternoon in late September. Just how inactive has he been? The Seahawks’ John Schneider made as many trades in three hours on Friday as Thompson has made this decade.
Unless you’re either a diehard Packers fan and/or follow me on Twitter, you probably don’t even remember those two deals orchestrated by Thompson. In 2011, he dealt backup fullback Quinn Johnson to Tennessee and backup offensive lineman Caleb Schlauderaff to the Jets. Both were for conditional late round picks. And that’s it. So in the past seven years, he traded away two players and didn’t acquire a single one. That’s hard to believe.
What’s even harder to believe is how few players Thompson has claimed off waivers in the hours following cutdown day. Since 2010, the answer is one. That’s right, one. Running back and kick returner Jhurrel Pressley was claimed off waivers from Minnesota last summer… and then promptly released nine days later. Prior to that, the last player to arrive in this manner was some guy by the name of John Kuhn in 2007.
What makes this inactivity even more unusual is the fact that Schneider, John Dorsey (Ex-Chiefs) and Reggie McKenzie (Raiders) – three very aggressive general managers – worked under Thompson during some of those years. And you can be 100% certain they were working the phones hard and making plenty of suggestions – suggestions that wound up being largely ignored by their much more conservative boss.
So in the past seven cutdown days – days in which thousands of players were available via trade and/or waivers – Thompson found only one who he felt could upgrade his roster. Hey, unless he was presiding over the ’67 Packers or the ’72 Dolphins during all of those years – he wasn’t – that level of inactivity is startling. To be fair, he may have claimed some players who were ultimately awarded to other teams, but still.
We all talk about Thompson’s reluctance to use free agency to upgrade the Packers roster, but we never talk about his reluctance to use days like today to do the same thing. These next 48 hours will afford him the opportunity to add much-needed depth on the offensive line – something he chose not to do two summers ago. The end result was having to play Don Barclay at left tackle in a critical late-season game in Arizona.
Four trades were made yesterday and many more will be made today. Dozens of players will be claimed off waivers starting tomorrow afternoon. Let’s hope Thompson gets involved. It’s OK to be loyal to your own guys, but when that loyalty means going into a season with Jason Spriggs as the backup left tackle and Barclay as the backup at all three interior offensive line positions, a much more accurate word to use is negligent.