GREEN BAY — The week of final cuts always are Ted Thompson’s least favorite time of the calendar year and it never gets any easier.
On the eve of his 12th roster cut-down as Packers general manager, Thompson knows the task before him. Each NFL team needs to pare down its roster to the 75-player limit by Tuesday afternoon and then the final 53 on Saturday at 3 p.m. Central Time.
The Packers began their cuts earlier this week with Green Bay native Peter Mortell being among the six players released on Monday.
“It’s not only a hard time – it’s a confusing time,” Thompson said. “You’re spending all this time building guys up and building the team up and getting stronger, and then all of a sudden you have to start going the other direction.”
Thompson, a former undrafted free agent himself, knows how stressful the week of final cuts can be on rookies looking to make their NFL dreams a reality.
It’s up to him to determine who prevails from a competitive field of undrafted rookies to crack the final roster, balancing needs at certain positions with required depth at others.
Then, there’s also injury flareups to consider.
“It’s difficult to say the least,” Thompson said. “You have to make long-term decisions sometimes based on short-term (situations). We might get the report that it’s going to be two or three weeks and then they’ll be OK. Then, you’re two or three weeks and they’re not any better and you’re three weeks in.”
Thompson will be a busy man in the coming days, which was evident when his phone rang twice during his Tuesday morning news conference.
“If we were in the draft room, that would cost me 50 cents,” Thompson quipped.
Thompson admitted there is “a lot of fishing” that occurs as the clock ticks closer to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Over the next few days, both he and his personnel department will field prospective calls from across the league.
The last time the Packers made what could be deemed as a “significant cut-down trade” was in 2011 when they shipped rookie offensive lineman Caleb Schlauderaff to the New York Jets for a conditional draft pick.
While Thompson says he tends to be conservative in nature, he wouldn’t rule out making a trade in the coming days.
“I don’t know whether we all have too much information or not enough information but there are teams that are a little more aggressive trading,” Thompson said.
“I would classify us as not very aggressive and it’s probably my fault. Like I said I’m a builder … I’d rather work with the guys we have and get them better than trade them to get somebody else’s guy.
“But we have made trades and certainly have conversations making trades. It’s possible we can make one in the next few days.”
In the end, it’s all done in the interest of attaining his ultimate goal – winning another Super Bowl.
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