INDIANAPOLIS—It’s become scouting combine tradition for Packers General Manager Ted Thompson to spar with reporters in a press conference that is best described as stealth.
“It was scintillating, wasn’t it?” Thompson said as he left the podium on Friday.
Scintillating? No, but Thompson’s address touched on at least two burning questions: 1.) Is it a concern that 16 Packers players are scheduled to become free agents? 2.) What are the Packers going to do with all of their salary cap room?
“We try not to get too worked up about what could happen,” Thompson said in answering the first question. “It’s been our policy that we’d like to keep our own free agents. The market is different from year to year. We’ll work it out.”
One of those players targeted for free agency is cornerback Sam Shields.
“Sam is one of the fellas we’d like to have back,” Thompson said.
Tight end Jermichael Finley, who is recovering from a neck injury and subsequent surgery that ended his year at midseason, is another key Packers player headed for free agency.
“I think it’ll work itself out. Things will sort themselves out as we go through the spring,” Thompson said, which made it sound as though the Packers will allow their free agents to test the market before trying to re-sign them.
The Packers have the cap room, about $30 million, to make a splash in free agency. When he was told Packers fans want to know how the team is going to use that cap room, Thompson said: “There are a lot of people that would like to know that. We don’t make decisions based on cap room. We make football decisions.”
Addressing needs in the draft?
“We don’t attack the draft looking at needs,” he said.
“He fit into a lot of our sub packages and we’re looking forward to having him do more next year,” Thompson said.
Most everything else fell into the category of proprietary information, which Thompson won’t discuss.
“I’m not going to tell you what our real answer is,” he said, drawing a hearty laugh. More from the scouting combine: