Many Packers fans are in panic mode. On the surface, you can see why. In the NFC, powerhouses San Francisco, Atlanta and Seattle have landed some of the big fish, with Anquan Boldin going to the 49ers, Steven Jackson to the Falcons and Percy Harvin and Cliff Avril to the Seahawks.
However, it's critical to look at history. The Free Agent Champions of late March do not become Super Bowl Champions in early February.
Don't believe it? Packer Report examined the offseason transactions of the last 10 Super Bowl champions. Did those teams make a big splash or did they stay on the sideline? We boiled it down to the most simplistic measuring stick of all — games started. Here is what we found.
Key veterans lost (starts in parentheses): WR Lee Evans (two), G Ben Grubbs (10), DE Cory Redding (11), OLB Jarret Johnson (16), CB Chris Carr (one).
Key veterans acquired: WR/KR Jacoby Jones (three), CB Corey Graham (eight).
Bottom line: The Ravens lost 40 starts and acquired 11.
Key veterans lost (starts in parentheses): FB Madison Hedgecock (three), WR Steve Smith (seven), WR Derek Hagan (four), TE Kevin Boss (13), G Rich Seubert (16), C Shaun O'Hara (six), DT Barry Cofield (16), DT Rocky Bernard (zero).
Key veterans acquired: G Stacy Andrews (three), C/G David Baas (11).
Bottom line: The Giants lost 65 starts and acquired 14.
Key veterans lost (starts in parentheses): RB Ahman Green (zero), DE Aaron Kampman (nine).
Key veterans acquired: S Charlie Peprah (11).
Bottom line: The Packers lost nine starts and gained 11. The Packers had no interest in retaining their free agents and Peprah started only because of Morgan Burnett's injury.
Key veterans lost (starts in parentheses): RB Deuce McAllister (six), FB Mike Karney (eight), WR David Patten (three), DT Brian Young (three), DT Hollis Thomas (two), CB Mike McKenzie (six), CB Jason David (six), FS Josh Bullocks (six), FS Kevin Kaesviharn (11).
Key veterans acquired: FB Heath Evans (five), TE Darnell Dinkins (three), CB Jabari Greer (eight), S Darren Sharper (14), S Pierson Prioleau (one), K John Carney.
Bottom line: The Saints lost 51 starts and gained 31. (Carney kicked in 11 games before being replaced.)
Key veterans lost (starts in parentheses): FB Dan Kreider (four), WR Cedrick Wilson (one), TE Jerame Tuman (one), G Alan Faneca (16), OLB Clark Haggans (16), ILB Clint Kriewaldt (zero), KR Allen Rossum (zero).
Key veterans acquired: QB Byron Leftwich (zero), RB Mewelde Moore (four), C Justin Hartwig (16), DE/DT Orpheus Roye (zero).
Bottom line: The Steelers lost 38 starts and acquired 20.
Those are the five years in which a full list of offseason transactions are readily available. In 2007, the Giants signed linebacker Kawika Mitchell (16 starts) and lost Carlos Emmons (12) and Luke Petitgout (nine). That's a net of minus-5 starts. In 2006, the Colts swapped out kickers, didn't sign anyone else of consequence and lost running back Edgerrin James (15 starts), linebacker David Thornton (16) and defensive lineman Larry Tripplett (four). That's a net loss of 35 starts. In 2005, the Steelers lost guard Keydrick Vincent (16 starts), receiver Plaxico Burress (11) and cornerback Chad Scott (six) and gained receiver Cedrick Wilson (one) and safety Tyrone Carter (none). That's a net of minus-32 starts.
The Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2003 and 2004, and their full list of transactions for those seasons was available. In 2004, the Patriots acquired running back Corey Dillon (14 starts) and nose tackle Keith Traylor (10 starts) and lost guards Mike Compton (two starts) and Damien Woody (14 starts), defensive end Bobby Hamilton (16 starts), running back Antowain Smith (six starts) and nose tackle Ted Washington (10 starts). That's 24 starts added and 48 starts lost for a net of minus-24.
The 2003 Patriots are the last team to have won the Super Bowl after being major shoppers in free agency. They added fullback Larry Centers (three starts), running back Mike Cloud (one), linebacker Rosevelt Colvin (two), safety Rodney Harrison (16), center Russ Hochstein (one) and cornerback Tyrone Poole (16), while losing cornerback Terrell Buckley (two starts), tight end Cam Cleeland (one), fullback Marc Edwards (10), safety Victor Green (six) and center Grey Ruegamer (one). That's 39 starts added and 20 starts lost, for a net of plus-19.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.