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Green Bay Packers continue to ignore free agency

The Packers were whispered about as a team ready to make a splash in free agency, but that never happened.

Fewest UFAs from other teams since March 2010
Team
No. of players
5
13
17
18
21

Continuing a long-standing tradition of open-market inactivity in Green Bay, general manager Ted Thompson didn't sign a single unrestricted free agent this offseason.

The addition of Julius Peppers is promising, but he technically didn't qualify as a UFA after being released by the Chicago Bears. Same goes for Letroy Guion, who was cut by the Minnesota Vikings in March.

Green Bay's hands-off approach borders on the epic. Since March 2010, the Packers have signed just five unrestricted free agents from other teams, by far the lowest in the league behind the Falcons (13), Bengals (17) Cowboys (18) and Steelers (21).

And it's really just four signings for Green Bay after kicker Ryan Longwell inked a straw-man deal last summer that allowed him to retire a Packer. It's been 748 days since the last true UFA, Anthony Hargrove, was added on March 30, 2012. The three others -- Charlie Peprah in 2010, and Jeff Saturday and Cedric Benson in 2012 -- hardly were impact signings.

There's a method to Thompson's madness. Weston Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette noted that the team's top decision-maker would rather accrue compensatory picks, which are triggered by losing more unrestricted free agents than you sign.

Not surprisingly, the Packers have the most stable roster over the past two seasons. Fans might balk at the open-market silence, but Thompson's methodology has generated an 86-57-1 regular-season record since he took over in 2005, with a 44-19 mark (plus a Super Bowl win) since 2010.

Four of the five teams on this list have made the playoffs since 2010, with the Packers making it all four years. The Falcons and Bengals have earned three trips to the postseason in that span, with the Steelers making the playoffs twice.

On the flipside, the five most active teams in free agency this offseason -- the Buccaneers, Giants, Redskins, Raiders and Bears -- all missed the party in 2013. It's obvious: Losing teams have more holes to fill, while squads stocked with talent use more salary cap dollars to keep their own.

In Green Bay, Thompson's track record speaks for itself.

The latest edition of the "Around The League Podcast" covers the Aldon Smith arrest and analyzes the offseason movers and shakers in the NFC East and NFC South.

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