Ted Thompson was willing to admit this much about the Green Bay Packers’ running back situation: “We need some more guys,” the general manager told reporters on Monday in Phoenix during a break from the NFL annual meetings.
“We’re a little short in a couple of areas. So from a personnel standpoint, we’ve got to get some more bodies. But we like the guys that we have, it’s just that we’d like to get some more.”
When it came to Adrian Peterson, Thompson clammed up.
“We don’t talk about players that are not on our team,” he said. “We never have. We never will. It doesn’t serve a purpose, I don’t think.
Peterson and other veteran running backs remain on the market, but there’s no indication the Packers have pursued or will pursue any of them. Peterson said he’s in no rush to sign and denied a report that he’s seeking $8 million in first-year money to play in 2017. The Minnesota Vikings declined to pick up Peterson’s option that would have paid him $18 million this year, thus making him a free agent.
Thompson, who lost running back Eddie Lacy to the Seattle Seahawks in free agency, re-signed Christine Michael last week to a one-year deal that included just a $25,000 signing bonus. That means he’s far from a lock to be on the team come September. At this point, the Packers have essentially the same running back depth chart they did when the season ended: converted receiver Ty Montgomery, Michael and fullbacks Aaron Ripkowski and Joe Kerridge.
Last year, Montgomery led the Packers in rushing with just 457 yards, while quarterback Aaron Rodgers was second with 369. The Packers finished the season ranked 20th in the NFL in rushing yards per game.
“We’ve got a little time here to get some more [running backs],” Thompson said.
Thompson did not say whether that would come from the group of available veterans such as Peterson, Jamaal Charles and LeGarrette Blount or via the draft, which has a strong class of running backs.
“Well, we’re always looking at stuff,” Thompson said. “I don’t think anybody ever believes me, but we look at players every day. … We’re always looking to upgrade our personnel, and that happens during draft preparation and during free agency.”