February and March have historically been two of the toughest months to be a Packers fan during the reign of Ted Thompson. Aside from 2011, where many were riding the high of a Super Bowl victory well into the new year, the story is often the same each offseason.
Respected veterans leave, stars take off for bigger markets and fan favorites do not get so much as a call from Packer management to work out a deal. Fan’s pipe dreams of landing that flashy wide receiver, running back or tight end often remain just that, as those players take deals in Jacksonville, New York and Chicago among others.
On a mid-January edition of his radio show “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” host Colin Cowherd made an excellent point about why offensive stars especially are not flocking to Green Bay to play with Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre before him.
“You can get rich in Boise, but it’s a heck of a lot easier in New York and Chicago…more people, more commerce,” Cowherd said. “Offensive players want to get attention. Offensive players historically get endorsements. Offensive players are worried about market size and profile.”
What Cowherd is essentially saying is that although the potential for Packers players to earn major endorsements is certainly there (Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews as examples), those opportunities are much greater in larger markets. Nielsen released estimates of the top 210 television markets in the United States at the beginning of 2017. Green Bay ranked last among NFL cities and 68th on the list, with the next lowest being Buffalo at 53rd on the list. Most other NFL cities ranked highly in the top 30.
Smaller markets mean fewer advertising dollars to go around. If players themselves are not thinking of these factors, their agents certainly are going to remind them.
And before readers claim that money would be made up for in the loyalty of Packers fans picking up their jersey, consider that jersey sale revenue is split evenly among the players anyway. This means the financial gain for jersey sales is negligible compared to the potential of a local, regional or national endorsement opportunity.
Obviously each negotiation and player are different. However, the lack of endorsement money to be made, coupled with a lack of nightlife for young athletes, weather seen as undesirable for much of the year by many outsiders and a general stinginess in handing out big contracts by Packers staff, make Green Bay an unappetizing free agent destination. And with Aaron Rodgers at the helm comes the confidence among management that he will make the most of what he is provided through the draft.
So as much fun as it is to sit around a dream about how an Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson or Martellus Bennett addition could make Green Bay’s offense an unstoppable force, the money may be too much to pass up elsewhere.
Let me know what you feel Green Bay’s biggest free agent needs are, and who you hope they will pursue in the comments below.