Ted Thompson is a Hall of Fame GM

Green Bay Packers General Manager Ted Thompson has led the franchise to one of the most successful runs in league history. The Packers have made the playoffs for seven consecutive seasons (tied with the Patriots for the longest active streak). To put that in historical perspective, the longest streak in league history is nine by the 1975-1983 Cowboys and 2002-2010 Colts.

Thompson took over an aging roster with major salary cap issues, and quickly turned them into one of the youngest teams in the league. He hit a homerun on his first draft pick with Aaron Rodgers, and navigated a very awkward transition from Favre to Rodgers. While famously being stingy in free agency, Thompson has made a franchise altering move in signing Charles Woodson, and some solid moves in acquiring Ryan Pickett, Letroy Guion, and (hopefully) Jared Cook.

So, where does the fire TT rhetoric come from in Packer nation? I believe it started with fans being upset about the handling of the Favre situation, and has continued with his refusal to spend big in free agency. Not capitalizing on the opportunities to trade for Randy Moss or Marshawn Lynch continued to anger a certain segment of fans. Thompson has continually refused to risk the future by going “all in” on the present. As a result, the Packers have only one Super Bowl victory over the course of time when they have been one of the dominant teams in the league.

So, is the Packers inability to win another Super Bowl a testament to the team lacking enough talent, and thus a strike against Thompson? I would argue it is not. The 2011 team went 15-1 season before fizzling out in the playoffs. The defense struggled mightily down the stretch, but the problem was amplified because emerging Pro Bowl Safety Nick Collins was lost for the season (and eventually his career). The injury bug bit the Packers for the next two seasons, but Thompson continued to provide the depth necessary to get the Packers into the playoffs. 2014 was the season where the Packers seemed set to make another Super Bowl run, before the team had an epic collapse in the NFC Championship Game against the Seahawks. Thompson had again put together a roster set to complete on the highest level, but on field mistakes cost them the chance at another Lombardi trophy.

While a portion of Packer nation clamors for Ted Thompson’s job, the Packers have achieved a historical level of success under his leadership. Making the Hall of Fame may well rely on the Packers winning another Super Bowl, but he has set them up for continued success in the foreseeable future and the Packers are lucky to continue to have one of the best General Managers in the game.

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 host of the Pack-A-Day podcast and a writer for PackersTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter @andrewmertig
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3 thoughts on “Ted Thompson is a Hall of Fame GM

  1. I don’t buy it. The Packers have had an enormous advantage by playing in the NFC North division which has rarely produced more than two winning teams each season year after year during the Packers’ run under Thompson. You can argue the same for Patriots–rarely facing more than ONE quality challenger in their own division. Thompson’s biggest flaw is KNOWING the Packers’ weaknesses and failing to address them in FA especially after the team’s drafts didn’t successfully fix a problem. It’s NOT necessary to jump into FA headfirst with big contracts for aging veterans, Thompson has repeatedly overlooked younger potential quality FA’s who could’ve been signed at team friendly prices. Instead he chose to sit on picks and fill out rosters with lower level talent and contracts that were far cheaper. Of his picks from 2010 to 2013, he only has 11 of those 36 picks still have a job on this roster. Make no mistake, Ted Thompson has done an excellent job for Green Bay but I agree with Mike McCarthy–Thompson passed up quality FA players available for team friendly prices that could’ve put this team in SUPER BOWLS, not just finishing ONE AND DONE in playoffs too many times.

    1. I agree with much of what you said. While I think TT is the absolute best Cap Manager in he NFL and more times than not letting a player walk a year early rather than 2 years too late. But to have NOTHING but HOF QB’s on your roster and have just one SB appearance doesn’t quite cut it. His 2011 and 12 drafts were downright terrible considering the number of picks he had.

      Thompson has had rosters where a “Mid Tier FA” might have been just enough to help get them over the hump. For example, had he signed Owen Daniels in 2014 instead of keeping Bostick for the THRID year, do the Packers make the SB? Or the years he actually had MD Jennings and McMillan as his safeties. He finally addressed the TE postion but only signed him for a year and didn’t address it in the draft. Instead of FA MM is given UDFA and the Packers have had a ton of success with UDFA, but you still wonder if a FA wouldn’t have helped more.

      This is a make or beark year IMO for TT and MM. Obviously there’s a tension between TT and MM and one between MM and AR. If the Packers play anything like the 2015 Packers it might be time for change. One year is an anomoly, 2 is a pattern.

    2. Just as a comparison of how many players other teams have on their rosters from their 2010-2013 draft classes:
      Patriots – 9
      Panthers – 6
      Seahawks – 11

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