Packers Won’t Go After Mario Williams?
Houston Texans outside linebacker Mario Williams is expected to become one of the hottest free agents on the market this offseason, and will vastly improve the defense of whichever team he signs with. However, he will command a contract that could make him the highest paid defensive player in the league. One of the teams that could use Williams on the roster, the Green Bay Packers, reportedly won’t pursue him.
Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel responds to the notion that the Packers should make a move for Williams. “Don’t count on the Packers unloading a huge contract to anyone in free agency,” he says. Dunne also mentions that the Packers will continue their philosophy of “draft and develop” which has been in place since general manager Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy have been in Green Bay. In fact, the only notable big-name free agent the Packers have signed was cornerback Charles Woodson in 2006, McCarthy’s first year and Thompson’s second with the Packers.
Additionally, Dunne notes that Williams could potentially get a $50 million signing bonus, then rhetorically asks readers if “Ted Thompson would really like to hand over that kind of dough?” The answer is clearly no, since Thompson offers large contracts (but not $50 million signing bonus large) to players he drafts that become top tier. One example of this is wide receiver Greg Jennings, who was selected in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft, and signed to a four-year deal worth less than $3 million. Three years later after solid play, he got a three-year extension worth just over $26 million. I will guarantee that quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the 2011 NFL MVP and Thompson’s first ever draft pick, will be offered a hefty contract when his current deal is done.
Lastly, “the Packers have plenty of their own contracts to worry about,” adds Dunne. Currently, starters Ryan Grant, Scott Wells and Jermichael Finley are set to become free agents. There’s also Jarrett Bush, Howard Green, Pat Lee and Erik Walden that the team wants to work out deals with. Matt Flynn isn’t expected to be back next season.
Even though Williams would add a much-needed pass rushing threat opposite Clay Matthews, he’s worth a price the Packers can’t, and quite frankly won’t, pay. They will likely draft an outside linebacker in the early rounds, hoping to draft and develop him into a top player, just like they did with Matthews.