Going “all-in” might be largely subjective, but there are some reasonably objective standards that can be applied. Although a general manager almost always could have done a little bit more, there is a clear continuum with regard to how aggressively a GM is building a team. As a working definition, going all-in means assembling more talent for a given season or a set of years than a team would normally be able to do.
Three main ways of going all-in occur to me: 1) the way a team structures, re-structures contracts or extends players; 2) the way a team handles their draft picks; 3) the way a team uses free agency. Let us look at each in turn.
Pushing cap hits into future years is the primary way to get more proven talent on the field for a given set of years. For the last decade the Packers have structured their contracts so that the large cap hit numbers start to approach the AAV in year two and exceed it in years three and four. The Packers usually just convert base salary and roster bonuses into signing bonuses on an as-needed basis. If the team starts using option bonuses, void years, and guaranteeing money in the out years, that would be much more aggressive than anything the Packers have done to date. Those things and just the sheer amount of cap space the Packers elect to generate will tell fans how all-in the team is for 2021 and beyond.