Everyone hates this part of the offseason. There’s nothing to report on so everyone does a big series on roster rankings or other nonsense.
Over the last few days, Packers Vice President of Football Administration and chief negotiator Russ Ball has been the topic of conversation.
According to Zach Kruse, some unnamed agent says Russ always sends a low offer and has a reputation for being cheap. Unnamed Agent also says it’s a point of consternation for fans.
Fans are upset because the guy who negotiates contracts for the team starts with low offers?
The real sad thing is that the answer is yes. I hear Packer fans talk like that all the time.
Do we lose players? Yes, but who wants to overpay?
Kruse claims that when Lang got bigger offers from Seattle and Detroit, Russ Ball and Ted Thompson “bluffed.”
That’s hypothesis at best, total b#llsh!t at worst, and probably just made up nonsense.
Scene: Ted Thompson and Russ Ball huddled at the end of a table sharing hushed whispers in a dark, smoke filled room illuminated by a single pendant light that give the appearance on infinite blackness in all directions.
They know they can’t live without TJ Lang, but they’re so arrogant and cheap and bursting with hubris that they refuse to believe anyone will pay a 29 year-old Pro Bowl lineman more than the veteran minimum.
Ball clears his throat and straightens his posture. “You have our offer,” he says, brow furrowed and jaw set.
Lang’s agent smiles sheepishly and shrugs. “B-but we have these others offers. TJ loves Green Bay, he wants to stay. He’s a person with feelings and he would never want to go to Detroit to play in his hometown. He just wants seven dollars and forty-three cents more than you’re offering.”
Thompson shifts back in his seat and spits on the floor. He raises a brow and stares silently at Lang’s agent.
Ball sucks his teeth and glares at Lang’s agent. “What did I tell you?”
Lang’s agent lets out a whimper. “I’m really sorry, guys, are you sure you won’t reconsider? It’s just the price of a small order of Applebee’s boneless buffalo wings?”
Thompson slowly shakes his head. “You’re bluffing.”
Lang’s agent lets out a deep sigh. “I don’t think there’s anything else we can do. I’m afraid TJ is going to have to sign with Detroit. Well, have a good day, and thanks for the coffee.”
Lang’s agent gathers his things and leaves.
As soon as the door closes, Thompson bangs both fists on the table and silently mouths the F word. Packer twitter is already erupting with vitriol – Mark Murphy is going to be so p!ssed!
Russ Ball gets up and paces while running his hands through his hair .”It’s ok, it’s ok, we can get through this – we have Don Barclay.”
Thompson flips over the table. “I don’t want Don Barclay, you fool!” He folds his arms and glares into the darkness.
Ball looks to each side of the room, he leans in behind Thompson’s shoulder and lowers his voice “I’ll bet we could lowball Jahri Evans…”
A smug grin spreads over Thompson’s face as he starts nodding and laughing grimly.
Yup, that’s the picture we get of Tightwad Ted and Russ LowBall.
You know what’s more likely? Ball and TT set a price they were willing to pay and stuck to it (Kruse, to his credit, mentions that the Packers frequently do this in his closing paragraph), just like they always say they do. That’s old-school no-nonsense business. Sorry millenials, there’s no exciting hemming and hawing here, no so-crazy-it-just-might-work creative idea that pops up at the last minute like some stupid #ss movie (I’m looking at you, Draft Day), just a value-based approach to building a competitive football team.
A healthy cap is critical to sustaining success in the NFL and shrewd negotiating is a big part of that.
Has that shrewd negotiating led to players leaving via free agency?
You know what else it’s led to? Young players getting more game reps and coaching attention so they can develop faster and realize more of their potential. Its led to a Super Bowl championship, 9 straight winning seasons, and 8 straight playoff appearances. It’s led to a cap so healthy that the team never has to let a critical star leave in his prime because they couldn’t afford him.
And radio blabberfaces and chuckleface journalists want to complain because the guy negotiating contracts starts with low offers?
Really? How do you negotiate?
Wanna buy my used car?
Let’s sign Jarius Byrd.