I've been watching the transactions for the NFC North to see what moves are being made this offseason. Chicago has been busy trying to keep LB Lance Briggs, trading away RB Thomas Jones, and letting all their safeties leave in free agency. Detroit appears to be trying to corner the market in mediocre running backs. The Packers have let RB Ahman Green leave and have otherwise been standing pat.
But something weird is going on in Minnesota. You have to go back to when they fired former VP of player personnel Fran Foley. He was supposed to make personnel decisions with Brad Childress and VP of football operations Rob Brzezinski, but instead he acted like he was the general manager and then he took head coach's office for himself. I know who has what office sounds about as important as which 2nd grader has which lunchbox, but in the game of office politics, this is stuff that consumes people and brings out the big egos. By the time Minnesota had dumped Foley in May 2006, their front office had been turned upside down. They soon hired Rick Spielman to replace Foley, but Spielman is probably best known for drafting RB Curtis Enis 5th overall in Chicago and trading two 1st round picks for RB Ricky Williams in Miami.
This offseason Minnesota made two of the craziest free agent signings in the NFL. First was former NY Giants TE Visanthe Shiancoe. He's a former 3rd round pick and apparently a pretty good blocker, but he only has 35 catches in 4 NFL seasons. He sounds like someone who should be a backup somewhere, but instead Minnesota gives him a contract with $7 million in guaranteed money. That's as much as WR Joe Horn got from Atlanta. More teams should look for players who have been buried on another team's bench and just need a chance, but the beauty of that strategy is that you don't have to pay them like a Pro Bowl tight end until they actually make the Pro Bowl. Then they sign WR Bobby Wade for $4 million guaranteed. Wade was good in Tennessee last season, but he was the worst receiver in the NFL in 2005 and 2004. The guy should be lucky just to still be on an NFL roster.
These moves are so bad that a local columnist wondered if these moves are trying to sink the team so it can move to Los Angeles. The Daily Norseman thinks this is a tin foil hat type theory. I agree with him completely. I think the sabotage isn't intentional, but that Rick Spielman shouldn't be allowed to pick players for a kickball team much less build an NFL roster. It doesn't matter if this is intentional or just plain old incompetence, a badly built team in Minnesota is always good for the Packers.