Regardless of any gripes you may have about the Green Bay Packers' front office and their overall strategies for building up the roster, one thing is certain: under Ted Thompson, they have been pioneers in contract structures.
In today's Cheese Curds, we find a national NFL writer prominently mentioning the organization in the context of how the NFL has set up distinct classes for their players - superstars and everyone else. One of the factors he cites in this discussion is the advent of per-game roster bonuses, which protect teams against players who have risks for injury or suspension. Guess who was at the advent of those bonuses? It was the Packers, and in particular Andrew Brandt, who was the team's contract structure specialist.
After using those bonuses heavily for star players like Ahman Green and Charles Woodson, they caught on across the NFL, leading in part to the current situation.
Meanwhile, the Packers are also embracing another growing trend across the NFL: playing versatile individuals in multiple positions. Perhaps the best example of this is - again - Charles Woodson, who played everything from boundary corner to slot to safety to linebacker. Still, they are doing so on both sides of the football to this day, and the NFL as a whole is growing to do the same.
Players like Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery have gradually reshaped the running back position in Green Bay, but it's not limited to just the offense. The elephant linebacker position and Morgan Burnett's time at inside linebacker and in the slot are examples on defense as well.
This is a fascinating look at the current free agency market. In short, teams are giving huge deals to the very top few players, while the rest are looked at as pieces on the scrap heap. What makes this really interesting is that this effect is one of the key things that the 2011 CBA was intended to prevent. Also interesting: the Packers were one of the first teams to use per-game active roster bonuses as a major contract tool.
It's a big role to fill, and Lynch had a massive personality to go with his production on the field. In fact, Lynch is still technically on the Seahawks' roster, though he has expressed no desire to return to football.
Wait, WHAT? A Raiders broadcaster alluded to the team digging around a certain running back without naming him, but Adam Schefter confirmed that it is indeed Lynch who is under discussion.
Would the Packers actually use a first-round pick on Washington cornerback Sidney Jones, knowing that he will miss most or all of his rookie year with a torn Achilles tendon?