Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bedard on "Shuffle and Replace"

I just caught up with a Bedard piece from last week on the "Shuffle and Replace" (sub req) method of roster/salary management.

They have talent. A lot of it. Maybe not as many elite players as a team would like, but the Packers have a lot of "pretty good" players. In the salary-cap era, that's not bad at all.

Now it's time for the release and replace stage.

Do not be surprised over the next year or two to see the Packers not re-sign many of their free agents.

Yes, you read that right.

Thompson's philosophy, and it's followed by other salary-cap savvy teams like the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers . . .

I agree that Thompson will start letting Packer free agents walk and that many of these decisions will be unpopular with fans.
A student of recent Packer history knows that this philosophy was pioneered by Ron Wolf long long before there was a name for it (and  it would makes sense that Thompson, a Wolf-protege, would follow the same philosophy). 

In the offseason after the Packers won the Super Bowl, Ron Wolf let go of the following players:  Edgar Bennett, Wayne Simmons, Desmond Howard, and Chris Jacke.

The following offseason (after the Super Bowl loss) Wolf let go of: Doug Evans, Gabe Wilkins, Aaron Taylor, Craig Hentrich, and Eugene Robinson. 

That is (obviously) a lot of key players.  

According to Wolf, Hentrich was the only one he regrets letting slip away.

ADDENDUM: When I say that Wolf "pioneered" the philosophy, I mean that quite literally.  The Packers were the first Super Bowl champion of the free agency era that did not watch their salary cap explode leading to an extended period of losing.  Both the Cowboys and the Niners eventually found themselves in that position.  

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