Number of points I wanted to respond to. Get ready to be bemused.
uffda udfa said:
This idea that Green Bay is okay/good enough is deadly to winning another SB. The whole we have Aaron Rodgers and our O is going to be great sounds eerily similar to the many years Packers fans said the same exact things when Favre was under center. Net result...1 ring in Favre era. We got our 1 ring in Favre era when we went for it by signing Reggie White, Sean Jones, Santana Dotson, etc... Our ring in the Rodgers era seems to be a totally anomaly. Haven't been back to an NFC Championship game since, or even sniffed one. We aren't good enough, haven't been good enough and adding Julius Peppers is a potential right kind of move to help get us back. Graham is on that same line of thought. This Ted Thompson "we think we're pretty good and we like the guys we've got" has been bought by the fanbase. Rodgers covers a multitude of sins.
During Ted Thompson's time here as GM, only the Giants and Steelers (who have been another proponent of draft and develop Packers style) have won multiple Super Bowls. Other top teams including New England and San Francisco have not won a title during that time frame. There have been many great teams over the years that have failed to win a single title, most humorously for us being our purple friends to the west and their teams in the late 60s/early 70s.
Scoffing at our 1 ring under the Rodgers era is ridiculous. Period.
Are there things we could do to improve the team, to improve our chances at winning another title? Yes. Absolutely. And there has been much discussion on this forum over the years as to what exactly those things are. This neither changes the fact that we will still be a contender this year nor does it, in and of itself, make it right to give up two first round picks and sign Graham to a contract that will likely lead to us cutting others to make it work long term.
uffda udfa said:
What's the precedent? Ted Thompson tried trading for Tony Gonzalez years back...same for Randy Moss. If there is the potential to add a special player, Ted Thompson will do his "due diligence".
Those were cases in which we were potentially offering a single 3rd/4th round pick. That's quite a bit different situation than giving up two 1st round picks.
uffda udfa said:
The GREAT teams go out and add things... Seattle kept adding last year Avril, Bennett...did they really need to trade for Harvin? No. Went to the SB without any help from him, and then used his help in it and thrashed Denver. Did SF need Anquan Boldin? Did the great Niners and Cowboys of old need Deion Sanders?
Avril and Bennett were free agents and were signed to pretty manageable deals for Seattle, especially considering that for the last few years they've been operating with many of their key players on their rookie deals still. That gives a lot more cap room to make short term free agency moves.
As you admit, Harvin had effectively nothing to do with Seattle's season. They won in spite of that trade doing nothing for them in the first year. As of right now, Minnesota has got the better end of that trade.
Anquan Boldin cost San Francisco a 6th round pick and was on a reasonable salary. Again, not the same as giving up two 1st round picks and paying a huge salary.
Deion Sanders was a free agent both times.
Great teams have made the roster decisions where the expected return ouweight the risk, where the benefits outweight the costs. Offhand, I'm struggling to think of many, if any, moves where giving up a bundle of high end draft picks and signing a huge contract for a player has payed off with a title. I can think of a number of rather infamous moves that have utterly failed. Though not exactly analgous, there's a couple recent examples of a team giving up bunch of draft picks to move up that I expect to ultimately fail despite the player turning out to be very good: Atlanta with Julio Jones and Washington with RGIII. They just have too many other holes to fill.
I can't think of nor did I find in a cursory search, an example of a team signing another team's franchise tagged player and giving up two first round picks. We're talking about a situation that is effectively free agency, plus giving up two first round picks. Free agency already has a spotted track record before you even contemplate giving up draft picks.
uffda udfa said:
Graham has started 36 games and amassed 41 TD's. So, about every 2.5 games you can count on a TD from Finley. Meanwhile, in every game, on average, you can count on one from Graham.
Graham has "started" 37 games according to NFL.com. Then again, he's actually played in 62. I'd bet the vast majority of those non-"starts" were cases in which the first lineup used by New Orleans didn't involve a tight end so he didn't technically "start" the game. He was probably pretty involved in most if not all of those games. For instance, he didn'st "start" week 14 against Carolina but had 6 receptions for 58 yards and 2 TDs.
So you can actually expect roughly 2 touchdowns every 3 games (0.66 per game) from Graham, which is still fantastic; but let's be accurate about it if we're going to highlight his production. For reference, that's more or less the same as Nelson the last 3 years (30 TDs in 44 games or .68 per game).
uffda udfa said:
Packers are an esitmated 13.6 million under the cap. We could cut the following players at these cap savings to improve our standing...plus cap is going to go way up over the next few years.
1) Tramon Williams-- 7.5 million (would have to eat 2 mil to gain the 7.5 but might be worth it)
2) Brad Jones-- 1.925 million
3) Jarrett Bush--- 1.7 million
4) Derek Sherrod--1.25 million
5) Jamari Lattimore--1.43 million
6) BJ Raji-- 3.5 million
7) Andrew Quarless-- 900k
8) Bryan Bulaga--2.66 Million
****Hawk's release would net us 1.9 million, but I can't see the Packers eating 3.2 million for him not to play for us****
If you cut any of these players, who do you bring in to replace them and at what cost?
If you cut Bulaga are you content with Barclay as your top right tackle or do you look to free agency? Sherrod is our top backup at left tackle and the potential starter. Bulaga and Sherrod are both free agents after this year. Either they pan out, or we need to replace them with someone else. We pay our offensive line as a unit very little. At some point that's going to have to change. Paying big bucks to three receiving targets does us little good if Rodgers is on his back all game.
Tramon isn't worth 7.5M but he's a free agent after this year and he does have value to the defense. I personally like having a deep stable of corners. I'd rather they just rework it to something more friendly and extend him out 2 years, which would probably take him through his useful years.
Brad Jones and Jamari Lattimore are nothing special to write home about, but what are our options at an alreadly thin position if we cut either or both? Who is still out there in free agency?
BJ Raji has been a huge disappointment the last few years. I would have been fine letting him walk in free agency, but I would have wanted a replacement at nose tackle. We don't have many options that are suited to play a 0 or 1 tech as their primary position. We have more 3 and 5 techs.
Julius Peppers' cap hit accelerates significantly the next two years. We can cut him if he doesn't pan out, but if he does play at high level, it would really help our defense to maintain a significant pass rush threat opposite Matthews.
You mentioned in another post that none of the above is necessary to bring in Graham. True for one year. After that, you'd have to cut someone or let someone go or you're probably not resigning at least one of Cobb and Nelson.
uffda udfa said:
The Packers did try featuring Finley many times and he simply did not and could not put up numbers like Graham. The guy is 6'7. 6'7! Red zone issues...SOLVED. That is such a HUGE part of the NFL game. The difference between a FG attempt and a TD is gigantic.
The red zone issues that are a stasticial anomaly under Rodgers/McCarthy era? Last year was the first year New Orleans was better than Green Bay in red zone TD conversion rate since 2010, when Jimmy Graham entered the league. Interestingly, New Orleans was better than Green Bay in red zone TD conversion in 2008 and 2009 with no Jimmy Graham.
uffda udfa said:
Trying to compare Jordy Nelson to Jimmy Graham is odd to me. Graham was ruled a TE not a WR. For the sake of argument Graham is now being considered a WR? That doesn't make much sense. Finley was as much a hybrid TE as Graham. If memory serves, in the past, Finley groused about how he should be viewed when it came to paying him as he felt he was more of a WR.
The reason people compared the two is because both are the primary receiving target in their respective offense. On passing plays, how often does he stay in to block? He's almost exclusively a receiver. Plus, it seems to be annoyng you... trollers gonna troll.
uffda udfa said:
I just keep thinking if Rodgers could make something for James Jones with his limited speed and athleticism how much could he do with someone who has tons of it?
Probably similar to what Brees does with Graham as far as effectiveness. I'd expect marginally better but similar nonetheless.
uffda udfa said:
The mindset of not wanting to give up 1st's just because they're firsts is ludicrous. Go back through draft history and look at how often you really hit it big with a 1st rounder. Would it be fair to say it's 50% or less? I think that's more than fair. Scroll back through Packers history on 1st rounders. I'd say hitting it big in Round 1 is way less than 50%. I would argue since Ted Thompson started drafting for us in '05 that the only guy he really hit it big with was Rodgers. Yes, we hit it big with Matthews but he was a trade up, not our natural selection. ONE time in TT's tenure did he pull us a superstar. Once. You get Graham you get another superstar without rolling the dice that aren't in your favor in two consecutive years much less all the others he didn't strike gold. You're basically trading 2 less than 50% chances on finding a special player for one GUARANTEED superstar.
In Ted Thompson's tenure as, here are his #1 picks:
'05: Aaron Rodgers - All world. Nothing more need be said.
'06: AJ Hawk - 8 year starter; Named to 2010 pro bowl; May become Green Bay's all-time leader in tackles if he plays 2 more seasons; I know you're not the biggest fan, he's not flashy but he has been a steady, consistent starter for us.
'07: Justin Harrell - Injury risk before taking him and injuries derailed him before he ever really had a chance; they knew the risk and it bit them.
'08: Traded back to get Jordy Nelson - Has been named as an alternate to the pro bowl; arguably a top 10 receiver in the NFL; You'll point to it being 2nd round but we don't get him if we don't have a 1st round pick to trade back.
'09: BJ Raji - Started off very well his first two years and was a major part of our Super Bowl winning team, we might not win that title without him; been named to a pro bowl that he didn't deserve to be in but could and probably should have been named our Super Bowl year; been an utter waste of space from 2011 unward.
'09: Clay Matthews - You try to remove him from the list but if the point is assessing the ability to draft in the first round it's completely nonsensical to do so; multiple pro bowls and all-pro nominations; premier pass rusher.
'10: Bryan Bulaga - Named to the all-rookie team and started at right tackle on our championship team; took huge strides forward in his sophomore year; injuries derailed half of third year and entirety of last year; if he can return healthy, he's a good tackle.
'11: Derek Sherrod - Has been injured most of his career; no significant injury history to speak of in college.
'12: Nick Perry - Has been sidelined by injuries; no significant injury history to speak of in college; has flashed when healthy.
'13: Datone Jones - Didn't play much rookie year; niggling injuries didn't help; hard to judge after only one year but needs to take a big step forward.
'14: Haha Clinton-Dix - Just drafted.
Excluding Haha from the count, 4 of the 10 have been named to at least 1 pro bowl and a 5th has been named as an alternate. 2 of those 5 are at or above Graham's level (Rodgers and Matthews). 4 of the others have missed significant time if not almost their entire career to date due to injury while only 1 of those was flagged as a significant injury risk coming in. The remaining player has only had his rookie year. The first round picks have not been as bad as you're making out. There's no guarantees, but they do have a pretty high expected value and that's what you use in any cost-benefit analysis of a transaction. And keep in mind that under the new CBA, first round draft picks are very cap friendly for their first 4 years.
Bottom line: two first round picks and a contract that means we probably have to let a couple other pieces go is a hefty price tag for any player.