Insider Inbox


At the top of the market, you never know

Posted Mar 13, 2018

It's time to look forward, not back

Keith from Sheboygan, WI

Mike and Wes, have you guys ever tried swapping your names on your Insider Inbox articles to see if we could tell the difference between the two of you in your answers? It would be an interesting experiment, sort of like an Insider Inbox version of “The Parent Trap.”

I think it would be pretty easy to tell. What might be more fun is me trying to write as Wes under his byline, and vice versa, and see how long we could get away with it. Not the case today, though. Wes took a day off, so you’ve got me for a second straight column.

Eric from Alexandria, VA

Good morning! I saw that we tendered Justin McCray and Michael Clark. What exactly does "tendered" mean?

Offered the contract the CBA dictates to retain them. McCray and Clark are exclusive-rights players, so with the Packers tendering them a contract, their only option at the moment is to sign with Green Bay.

Jake from Greenville, NC

The increasing value of versatile players is clearly a response to the increasing amount of time players are missing because of injuries, but is it also maybe an avenue toward solving the league’s injury problem? “More versatile” is another way of saying “less specialized,” and the less specialized guys are, the less injury-prone they are too, right?

I wouldn’t make that leap, but with the list of offensive and defensive sub-packages getting longer and longer, versatile players are needed to make the constant weekly adjustments required to deal with the injury list so teams aren’t tossing out entire portions of their playbook on a regular basis. That’s a long sentence, but that’s how I see it.

Perry from Campbellsport, WI

Do you think they will ever play a Super Bowl in a cold region outdoor stadium again?

I’ll never say never, but I give it a snowball’s chance in a warm-weather venue.

Jason from Syracuse, NY

Do you guys ever get the feeling certain outlets throw the Packers name around as being "interested in...(insert high-priced free agent name here)" just to drive up web traffic? I'm sure Gute is doing his homework on everyone, but let’s be realistic here, they aren't going to sign Watkins, Graham, Suh, Sherman...

Throwing click-bait at Packers fans? Why would anyone do that? Gutekunst said he wants to be in on every conversation. Agents are going to drop the word on anyone they’ve talked to, because more activity is good for their clients. But exploring a price tag and being truly interested are different steps in the process.

Mike from Whitefish, MT

Hey Insiders, the Packers either need to make some moves (i.e., releases or restructuring) to create cap space or they'll be very limited in what they can do in free agency. Do these moves have to be made in advance of signing a free agent whose salary would put us over the cap or is there a grace period for "adjustments" afterward?

There is no grace period, but the moves can correspond if necessary.

Tony from Bronxville, NY

Just to pile on the Randall posts...remember when MM had to take Woodson off the practice field and talk it through? I assume MM did the same with Randall but it didn't go anywhere? These situations could be apples/oranges.

Or apples/pistachios. Woodson was a Heisman Trophy winner, NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, four-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro by the time he came to the Packers. A first-year head coach is going to give a player like that some rope.

Dan from Wausau, WI

Comment about the answers given about the Kizer trade stating the Packers filled a need at backup quarterback and Coach McCarthy stating he wanted competition at the backup quarterback position. I think in fairness we have no way of knowing if Kizer fills a need at backup quarterback and from what we have seen he has a ways to go. From what we have seen of Hundley, it's hard to be optimistic. So, while I want to be optimistic, and want competition, I want good competition. I feel we're closer to two Pintos at backup rather than two Corvettes. What good is that?

Good luck fitting a Lamborghini and Corvette inside the same salary-cap garage. Look, the Packers are getting a second-round pick at QB who was thrown in to play as a rookie on a rebuilding team without his Hall of Fame left tackle and star receiver for most of the season. Does he have a ways to go? Of course. McCarthy restructured his offensive staff. Let’s see what they get out of him.

Troy from Westminster, CO

It seems for so many fans, every word, move, non-move or adjustment made by the coaching staff and front office is somehow an indictment of being wrong or dishonest previously. Why is that? Do fans not understand roster shaping and talent evaluating is a fluid process and is never firm. At one time we may think we have a great car, then we start putting money into it and suddenly begin to think we need a new car to replace the supposed former great car. It hardly means we lied about the old car, we just have more information. Agree?

What is it with the cars today?

Bill from Liverpool, NY

Dear Insiders, the one aspect of the Randall-Kizer trade I haven't seen mentioned is now it's unlikely the Packers will draft a QB this year. That means they have one more “swing” for a player at a position we hope he'll eventually play rather than for a player we hope will always be a backup. And thank you for regularly meeting my need for some Packers news at lunch time!

You may be right, but I wouldn’t dismiss drafting a quarterback on Day 3 if the value is there with the pick.

David from Los Angeles, CA

Dean from Orlando's stats regarding the Packers first four rounds of draft picks over the past six years was astounding – 19 on defense and only five on offense. It tells me that either Thompson doesn't understand what it takes to build a great defense OR the defensive coaching leaves a lot to be desired. Which is it, one of these or simply an assortment of bad breaks and circumstances?

Injuries and bad breaks certainly played a factor, but there’s plenty of other blame to go around. Your first-round picks from 2013 and 2015 are no longer on the team, and the defensive coaching staff was just overhauled. It’s time to look forward, not back.

Matt from Palm Beach Gardens, FL

You are not alone with your love of Seinfeld. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Oh, I’m aware as far as the Inbox is concerned. I was referring to my fellow Insiders, who wouldn’t know a Penske file if I tossed it on their desk.

Brian from Sussex, WI

Not doing what is right with Rodgers’ contract goes beyond making him mad. Every player and agent in the league would see how the team treats the best player in the league, which would impact the Packers’ negotiations with all their own future FAs as well as any outside FAs they want to sign.

That, too.

Adam from Branchburg, NJ

After reading a lot of the comments on the Randall trade, I think people need to realize the way the front office and coaches handled the situation was full of class, regardless of the outcome. Whether he was an issue or not, you have to stick by your players and keep a sense of unity, otherwise airing dirty laundry would just cause unnecessary drama during the season and take focus away from the games. You can't change the cards you're dealt until the next hand, but you sure can bluff with what you got to stay in the mix. That said, I admit I do like the trade.

The Packers went into Week 15 with a shot at the postseason and their QB coming back. When that didn’t work out, McCarthy made it clear the evaluations were underway. It was obvious to me at that moment this would be an offseason unlike any other I’ve seen in my 12 years in this chair, which I tried to convey at the time.

Jeremiah from Denver, CO

Are player interviews part of FA signings in a similar vein to draft picks?

Can be. It depends on how fast the market moves. Sometimes players can have multiple visits scheduled, but on the first visit he might be offered a contract he can’t refuse and knows won’t be there later. Other teams can sign higher priorities and cancel visits. At the top of the market, you never know.

Drew from Oakdale, MN

Who is going to start at QB for the Packers in Week 1?

Um, Wes?

Steve from Las Vegas, NV

Regarding Perry from Campbellsport’s question and your answer regarding Mike Mayock, you forgot to mention in addition to making more money, he does not have to face his mistakes. No one goes back and critiques draft analysts’ picks and predictions. A GM and his staff live with their picks and face media and fan criticism when they do not work out. And then they lose their jobs. Media personalities like Mr. Mayock have a more stable future even if they are wrong.

True enough.

Mitchell from Edmond, OK

Mike and Wes, where do you see the future of the Insider Inbox? Are you planning on making any changes to the current format? Not that you need to, just curious.

We tendered the Inbox an exclusive-rights contract, if you’re worried.

Timmy from Chicago, IL

As Packers fans we have to be happy with the Bills-Bengals trade, yes? Another quarterback hungry team picking before 14?

Looks that way.

Marty from Cuenca, Ecuador

The Vikings contacted Drew Brees. Potentially a Favre-like push for a title? How ironic that it’s the guy that crushed their last push.

And should have crushed their most recent one, if not for a miracle.

Josh from Wanamingo, MN

I owe you an apology. Believing I was being uniquely clever, I recently submitted a question suggesting Ty be moved to cornerback. This before reading the Inbox all the way through. How could I be so obtuse?

Nice recovery.

Ernie from Santa Maria, CA

Mike/Wes, been a Packers fan for a very long time here in California and have managed to raise most of my children and grandchildren to be Packer fans. One of my granddaughters is a senior at a Dallas/Fort Worth area university. Her major is business with an emphasis in sports management. As with many students, she needs internship credit for graduation. She will be working at the NFL to meet part of that requirement. Needless to say, she is very excited to be going.

Kudos to your granddaughter, and best of luck. I hope she gets out of it what she needs. It’s both a thrilling and exhausting industry to work in. I think Roger Goodell started at the NFL as an intern. Just sayin’.

George from North Mankato, MN

Do you find it ironic that the NFL and NCAA pair up this week to give us one of the most unproductive work weeks all year long? Between March Madness and the start of free agency, how does anything get done?

The Inbox still gets done.


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