Green Bay Packers Roster Building: Super Bowl Edition

There are some lessons for the Green Bay Packers to learn from watching the Super Bowl. Aggressiveness and play calling are certainly at the top of the list, but it’s also interesting to study how the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots constructed their rosters to see areas the Packers are lacking.

It would be easy to identify that Green Bay has not utilized free agency enough. But this study demonstrates that perhaps trades are an equally underutilized player acquisition method. I took at look at starters from each team (23 for the Eagles – including their #3 WR and 24 for the Patriots – their #3 WR and nickelback included). Here are the results:

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Draft – 10
  • Free Agency – 10
  • Undrafted Free Agents – 0
  • Waiver – 0
  • Trade – 3

New England Patriots

  • Draft – 12
  • Free Agency – 7
  • Undrafted Free Agents – 2
  • Waiver – 1
  • Trade – 2

You can see both teams have been aggressive in the free agency market, but both Philly and NE have been willing to deal players or picks to get immediate impact players. The Eagles brought in impact players like Jay Ajayi and Ronald Darby and the Patriots went out and got guys like Brandin Cooks and Kyle Van Noy. NFL General Managers have been reluctant to part with draft picks to get established players and their (either bloated or soon to expire) contracts. As a result, the Eagles and Patriots have been able to get impact starters for significantly less than their market value.

Both of these teams have been good at finding other teams castoffs to create depth. Players like Lawrence Guy, Dion Lewis, Nigel Bradham, Chris Long, and LeGarrette Blount came at relatively low sticker prices, but made invaluable differences to their team. Even Alshon Jeffrey was signed at a below market value. After 25 years of free agency, it’s become apparent that you don’t have to spend big to find value in the market.

With the Packers potentially sitting on 11 draft choices this year, Brian Gutekunst needs to be aggressive in finding veteran players on the trade market to fill glaring roster weaknesses. As fans, we have to be patient if he doesn’t make big splashes in the first month of free agency, and insteads waits to strike reasonable deals with solid veterans. There’s certainly more than one way to successfully build a roster, but the Eagles and Patriots have laid our two highly successful blueprints the Packers should follow.

Andrew Mertig is a a lifelong Packers fan and draft enthusiast. He has covered the NFL draft for radio and television stations in Green Bay. He is currently a writer for PackersTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter @andrewmertig
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