Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Brown County officials welcome the end of the NFL lock-out.
It's finally over.  Months of bickering, animosity and greed finally culminated in what most observers figured would ultimately prevail: common sense.  There was simply too much money at stake for the two sides not to agree.  The league generates $9 billion per year today, but, barring an unexpected groundswell in Australian Rules Football that steals away TV audiences, the NFL will generate well over $100 billion over the 10-year life of this deal.  That's a lot of cheddar.  They had to get a deal done.

As a quick side rant, our friends in Washington D.C. would be well-served to follow the NFL's lead.  It's a sad statement that the NFL owners and players association look reasonable and mature compared to our federal elected officials.  One of many differences between a business and the federal government is that a business can see and measure when it is destroying its own equity through its own obstinance and idiocy.  The government can't -- at least not until our bonds get downgraded to junk status.  Regardless of your political leanings, there's really only one word that can be applied to Washington D.C.: dysfunctional.  Maybe we just need Jeff Saturday to get in there and give John Boehner a big 'ol hug.

Can't the politicians just hug it out like the NFL?
Back to football... tomorrow and the ensuing week or so is going to be unprecedented in terms of player movement.  And, unfortunately for the Packers, many of those players may be moving out the door.  The only Packer free agent who seems like a lock to re-sign is Mason Crosby.  Two of the most painful, and most likely, departures will be Cullen Jenkins and Daryn Colledge.  Given the up-and-coming young players the Packers have at both these positions, I'm not sure I'd pony up what either guy will command in the open market.  But both could leave big holes if the younger guys fail to step up.

The next crop of losses that will hurt but are more survivable are James Jones, Brandon Jackson, and either Korey Hall or John Kuhn.  Jones gets a bad rap among Packers fans for his untimely drops this season, but he will be hard to replace.  Randall Kobb could be good, but he's unproven and has a very different body type -- not really a replacement.  Jackson feels more expendable, assuming Grant returns to health and Starks keeps rolling.  Suspect Kuhn and/or Hall will be re-signed since there isn't a frothy market for FBs, but both are unrestricted free agents and could get scooped away.

Finally, there are several back-up defensive players who could exit in seek of starting roles elsewhere, including Nick Barnett, Atari Bigby, Matt Wilhelm, Brady Poppinga, and Brandon Underwood.  None of these guys would be big losses, and several could easily be re-signed if they don't find a new home in this compressed free agent period.  But more players out means a loss of depth and continuity that was key to the Packers weathering the perfect storm of injuries last year, which happens many years.

Unfortunately, I don't hear the Packers coming up in the discussion for many top free agent prospects.  This comes as no surprise, given Ted's inclination to build via the draft rather than free agency.  There are no glaring holes that they need to fill, although there may be some backfilling to do.  But it would be fun to see the Packers make some moves in next few days/weeks.  As reigning Super Bowl champions, they have a persuasive selling point to lure players they want.


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