Are Packers willing to add free agents?
It's still early in the NFL offseason, but the Green Bay Packers' roster has gotten younger in a hurry. During the past month, the team has cleared out its three oldest players with the release of Charles Woodson and the retirements of Donald Driver and Jeff Saturday. The Packers now have only two players signed for the 2013 season who are over the age of 30: defensive lineman Ryan Pickett (33) and fullback John Kuhn (30). Green Bay had the NFL's second-youngest team in 2011 and the sixth-youngest team in 2012. If no veteran players are added to offset the loss of Driver, Woodson and Saturday, the Packers could open next season with the youngest team in the league. It hasn't been by accident that Green Bay's roster has lacked veteran players. For years, general manager Ted Thompson has shown his preference to have a young team that is built through the draft, while letting players with more experience -- who therefore make more money -- continue their careers elsewhere. This offseason could be different for Thompson, though. During the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, the GM may have tipped his hand a bit about his upcoming plans to fill out the roster. "I don't think we're going to be too young when it's all said and done," Thompson said at the end of his answer when asked about having only two players over 30 signed for 2013. Notice how Thompson summarized his statement: "When it's all said and done." That is the key. "I think we've got a lot of leadership," Thompson said. "We have a good core and it's made up of veteran players. But the game continues to evolve. Your team continues to evolve. You have to be prepared for it, and I think we have been." The NFL draft in late April will only make the Packers younger. There's no Brandon Weeden in this year's draft class, so picking up a 28-year-old rookie isn't going to be an option. Therefore, Thompson's statement could be an indication that Green Bay's front office intends to deviate from its typical team-building game plan and make a splash in free agency.
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