With Favre back, Pack won't spend wildly

Team Infidel

Forum Spin Doctor


Associated Press

GREEN BAY, Wis. - With quarterback Brett Favre committed to another season in Green Bay and the Packers' salary cap situation in good shape, it must be time to go out and sign free-agent playmakers to make one last playoff charge.
Right, Ted Thompson?
"Whoever the quarterback is, whether it's Brett or whoever it might be, we're going to try to get better," the Packers general manager said. "And if we can do that in free agency, we'll do that. And we'll try to do that. It doesn't always work out. It takes two to tango."
Even with Favre, Thompson isn't about to abandon his build-through-the-draft philosophy and mortgage the team's long-term prospects by signing high-priced free agents.
When asked whether Favre could be useful in recruiting players to come to Green Bay, Thompson made clear his dislike for free agency.
"That's the funny thing about free agency: Sometimes it's the almighty dollar sign that has the most influence," Thompson said. "I think each free agent decides where he wants to go for his own reasons, but I think Brett Favre is a good teammate to have and I'm sure there are people around this league who think that."
The Packers appear to be making progress under Thompson's youth-oriented plan. After winning their last four games to finish the season 8-8, a playoff run isn't out of the question next season.
"I think everybody goes into the New Year with aspirations of being in the playoffs," Thompson said. "But there are 32 other teams, or 31 other teams, that will be thinking the same way. But we feel like we're getting better as a team, and certainly I think it's good to be having Brett coming back."
Thompson said he didn't make any promises regarding personnel moves in an attempt to entice Favre to come back.
"He didn't ask for any, either," Thompson said.
But with the Packers scheduled to begin formal planning for the NFL draft on Saturday morning, there are key holes that the team must fill if the Packers are to return to the playoffs.
Green Bay was among the league's worst teams in the red zone last season and has a need for playmakers to complement wide receiver Donald Driver on offense.
The Packers are believed to have more than $20 million available under the salary cap - but even if they were inclined to, where would they spend all that money?
One tantalizing free-agent target, tight end Tony Gonzalez, went off the market when he signed a five-year contract extension with the Kansas City Chiefs last month worth about $17 million in guaranteed money.
Beyond that, Oakland wide receiver Randy Moss has complained about his situation with the Raiders and is believed to be interested in a trade. But there is no indication that he would be interested in playing for the Packers - or if the Packers are interested in him.
That means it will likely be up to Favre to make a group of young teammates better.
Thompson is convinced Favre still has it in him.
"I think you watch for those kind of things," Thompson said. "I haven't seen any evidence of any decline of his physical ability playing the game. I think he's one of those rare birds who you see once in a generation who can play at a very, very high level for an extended period of time. When that time comes for him when he cannot produce that way, I don't know when it's going to be, but I don't see any evidence of it."