Anyone is who a fan of or follows the Green Bay Packers agree on one thing: they’re going to have to spend in free agency.
The trick is not to spend too much.
Teams that go on lavish spending sprees in free agency often not only hurt the team’s short term health but also long term as well. While the Packers definitely should be in a “win now” mode with franchise quarterback Aaron Rodgers at 35 years old, general manager Brian Gutekunst would be wise to not gamble his team’s future too much at the expense of the present.
Take a look at the New Orleans Saints, who were in salary cap hell for a good chunk of time after winning Super Bowl XLIV. Drew Brees’ prime was wasted on very mediocre teams until the last few seasons when he was 39 and 40 years old.
Green Bay can’t make that mistake retooling the roster for the final five-ish years of Rodgers’ career. Gutekunst’s best bet is to build a team that can carry his quarterback, not vice versa, much like the Denver Broncos did in John Elway’s final playing years.
That means adding talented but not overpriced free agents and hitting on a few drafts. If this sounds familiar, it should. The problem is that a young GM like Gutekunst might be too tempted to make a big hit in free agency to prove to his team, fans and quarterback he means business and that could jeopardize the long term stability of the team.
Don’t do it, Gutey. Be smart. Follow the model your mentors did. Spend, but spend wisely.
You can read more on the risks of the Packers spending big in free agency and how one current Packer’s contract is making him a strong candidate to be released in today’s cheese curds.
Gutekunst should learn the lessons the New York’s Giants did when they hired Ben McAdoo away from Green Bay: expensive free agency moves might make good press, but sometimes the results are just the reverse on the field.
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