Insider Inbox


That was the ultimate sign of trust

Posted Mar 3, 2018

If you have talent, teams will find a place to put you

Dan from Grand Rapids, MI

In regards to Ted Thompson’s tenure as GM, which do you think is a more difficult decision: What Ron Wolf did in going out on a limb to acquire a QB that he thought would be a star? Or what Thompson did in transitioning from a star QB that brought relevancy back to the franchise? I originally thought Ron Wolf, but after seeing what the Patriots did this past season I would have to believe what Ted Thompson chose to do had to have been harder because he knew what he had in Favre.

Thompson trading Brett Favre and moving in all-in on Aaron Rodgers. It’s not even close. The Packers had nothing to lose when Wolf swapped a first-round pick for Favre. Yes, he staked his career on it, but the franchise was stuck in nowheresville. It needed someone like Wolf to stoke the fire. Favre made Green Bay relevant again, which eventually made Thompson’s job more difficult. Coming off a trip to the NFC title game, how many GMs would’ve trusted their eye and stuck with Rodgers? That may be the greatest move in NFL history because Thompson had everything to lose. He would’ve lived in infamy if Rodgers didn’t work out. Instead, he set the course for the future of the franchise. That was the ultimate sign of trust.

Mike from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Insiders, no question, just a statement. I hope Packers fans realize the level of humility and teamwork it takes for a man like TT to step down and become a contributing follower after being the leader for a decade. A testament to his character and that of Packers' leadership team.

Without incident, either. Transition isn’t as easy as Thompson and the Packers made it look this offseason.

Sean from Milwaukee, WI

A player like Ty Montgomery is (in my eyes) an offensive player with no "true" designation as RB or WR. Does the NFL require the Packers to just put a position label on him regardless of where he lines up?

Pretty much. I think that’s why the earth almost caved in when the Jaguars designated Denard Robinson as an “offensive weapon” in 2013.

Brian from Schertz, TX

Do players get invited to the combine, or do they apply? Obviously, not every single draft-eligible player is in attendance.

This party is invitation-only.

Ken from Wolcott, CT

What was the biggest reason why Montravius Adams didn’t play last year? Was he hurt or we couldn't fit him in the 53-man roster? He looks like a big kid that can really help out our line. Do you expect him to play a role in our defense this year?

The Packers are high on Adams’ upside. He had an untimely foot injury at the start of camp, which sidetracked his rookie season. Brian Gutekunst told reporters Wednesday the team still “expects big things from” Adams.

Jim from Fairview Heights, IL

How come Wes or Spoff didn't ask Larry what his best bench press was?

I actually did ask him about this whole process off-camera. Back in the early ’70s, there was no such thing as the NFL Scouting Combine or pro days. All that existed were senior bowl games, with the NFL Draft set for the first week of February. So most guys finished their college season and waited to see where they’d end up.

Lee from Conifer, CO

During draft day when a trade is proposed between two teams for picks, is it legal/allowed for the team receiving the offer to ask the other team making the offer who they are looking to draft in that spot that is getting traded for?

You can ask. It doesn’t mean I’m gonna tell ya.

Malcolm from Corona, NM

If Quenton Nelson somehow slips to No. 10, is it worth working a trade up to grab a guard that high?

I’d be leery trading up to take a guard, but maybe that’s just me. Nelson is a great talent, but there are two reasons I wouldn’t part with the pick it would take to get him at 10: the Packers have pressing needs elsewhere and they’ve had success developing good interior linemen from the late rounds and college free agency.

Jim from Lima, OH

Lots of interest in tight ends this year. I have been enjoying Packer highlights here and there and one player shows up over and over – Richard Rodgers. Let's keep getting better at every position but folks, don't look past what we already have in front of us.

It makes complete sense for the Packers to bring back Richard Rodgers if it works out for both sides. If Green Bay drafts a tight end, the presence of Kendricks and Rodgers would give that rookie time to adjust.

Matt from Des Moines, IA

There has been a lot of talk of the Packers’ lack at the TE position. What are the thoughts on Trey Burton? Obviously a slightly unproven talent, but with his current market value, he wouldn’t take a lot of cap room. If he pans out he could be a great contributor. Am I the only one thinking this?

I’m going to be honest with you. I know next to nothing about Burton and even less about what the Packers think of him. He had some production, but Rodgers seems like a more polished and experienced option to me.

Rene from San Diego, CA

While speculating about the draft fills the offseason void, the reality is probably the first three picks might have an impact next season. So shouldn't we be talking about the 4-7 picks from the past two or three drafts and where they are in their development and how they might impact this year's draft needs?

You’re starting to see the return on that investment with the likes of Corey Linsley, Blake Martinez, Dean Lowry and even Aaron Jones. The reason the Packers don’t have immediate needs at those spots is because they filled those holes through the middle rounds in recent years.

Jake from Oxford, WI

I see "draft charts" referenced frequently to determine the value of a draft pick, but who writes the draft charts everyone consults? Do scouts just hand over information on prospects and then are cut out of the loop, or is there an exchange of information with the GM about his intentions?

As legend has it, the Cowboys developed the chart in the early-’90s under Jimmy Johnson. They gave each pick a numerical value as a guideline for trading draft picks. The process has since evolved from there.

Chris from Dillon, TX

Would Hercules Mata'afa be a good fit for Pettine's defense? He is projecting around the fourth round.

Mata’afa was a big-time playmaker at Washington State but probably will have to transition from defensive tackle to edge rusher in the NFL. Still, he’s shorter than you’d like for an edge rusher at 6-1. A lot of projection will have to go into determining where he’ll fit in the pros. The production is undeniable, though. If you have talent, teams will find a place to put you.

Lee from Marshfield, WI

Why have the NFL and fans not learned anything from the Brock Osweiler deal?

Because teams constantly are running in the rain, trying to catch lightning in their Coke bottle.

Kent from Leavenworth, KS

How contentious are negotiations for restructuring and reducing a player’s salary? Is it normal for players to get offended, or are most practical about the matter?

It’s business. It helps that very few NFL players actually represent themselves, so negotiations typically are filtered through the agent. There is one key variable to restructuring contracts, though. If you try and they decline, you better be prepared to release the player. That’s tough to come back from.

John from Los Angeles, CA

If the Vikings don't win the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes, do you think they're looking for “The Man” in this draft? If so, do you think they'd aggressively go after one of the top prospects?

It may be dicey for the Vikings to find “The Man” picking where they’re picking. Those top four quarterbacks could be off the board before the Packers pick at No. 14. Minnesota has a veteran defense and emerging weapons on offense. Cousins or one of their returning quarterbacks makes the most sense to me.

Scott from Las Vegas, NV

Isn’t McCarthy’s statement that Hundley wasn’t ready and the team wasn’t prepared for playing without Rodgers an indictment on himself? He’s the coach. Shouldn’t he have known this and been ready? Especially when much of your offensive line is hurt?

The part of the quote that isn’t getting as much traction is McCarthy saying he’s not going to play “the blame game.” It also falls on the coaches and the current landscape of the NFL. As John Schneider told reporters Friday, it’s not easy for young quarterbacks to develop in 2018. If you’re behind Aaron Rodgers on the depth, you’re not getting many meaningful snaps in-season and there’s no NFL Europe to play in afterward. The offseason program is shorter and players only are allowed in the building for so long. It’s a process. I mean how many times did Case Keenum or Nick Foles falter before becoming the QBs they were last season?

Chris from Minneapolis, MN

I bought a new package of coffee, and set it by the coffee maker. This morning, there was no coffee waiting for me, as it turns out coffee doesn't take care of itself. Why does Gute think that a contract for Rodgers will take care of itself? I hope he's putting a lot more effort in to those negotiations than I put into making coffee.

Coffee ain’t contracts, bro. Man, that felt good to say.

Dayv from Hustisford, WI

If a team drafts five Hall of Famers, how many would it realistically lose when their rookie contacts are up? If you could manage to do that, 75 percent of your cap would be tied up in five players.

Well, which positions are they playing? That is going to significantly affect how many you can sign if one of those Hall of Famers is a quarterback. Spit-balling, I’d say you might lose two of them.

Dante from Fredericksburg, VA

Since Bryan Bulaga suffered his injury close to the back end of the season and this not being his first ACL injury, should we expect him to start on PUP?

That’s where Bulaga would start the season if he’s not medically cleared to return for the start of camp.

Ryan from Noblesville, IN

When I see people submitting questions about the Packers’ stable of receivers, why am I not seeing Geronimo Allison's name? I think he's outstanding and has more talent and chemistry than any other No. 4 on our team.

Allison is part of the puzzle. He has the physical gifts to be a player in this league. He just needs to be more consistent. I really thought Allison was on the verge of something special after that 122-yard performance against the Bengals, but he was quiet the rest of the year.

Louis from Warrington, UK

If it was Alex Smith rather than Aaron Rodgers who dropped to No. 24 in the 2005 draft, do you think the Packers would’ve drafted him?

That’s an interesting question. I reckon so.

Chad from Tarpon Springs, FL

With all your knowledge and information that you possess, what does it take to elevate your draft-hitting accuracy to a level of a Packers' GM? Or am I missing something because the first round is much easier than rounds 4-7 and UDFA?

I like what Larry McCarren said during our “Three Things” video from Thursday. He could watch Harold Landry dominate college tackles all day and not be able to tell you whether he can do that against the likes of David Bakhtiari or Joe Thomas. That’s the question every GM and scout must ask themselves. Scouting isn’t just watching all-22 and saying what you see on film. It’s processing the film and making sense of what it means. 

Alan from Madison, WI

Who are some of the most pleasant Green Bay Packers players you have dealt with?

Andy Mulumba and Jayrone Elliott might be the two nicest people I’ve ever met.

Dan from Wisconsin

Everyone is concerned about defense intentionally taking PI penalties to avoid long gains. What about the QBs that throw the ball long to draw the penalty? Works both ways.

They rarely throw the flag, though.

Nick from Spencer, IA

Have you ever seen pass interference on a Hail Mary? I have. College intramural flag football. I made the catch only to see the flag on the ground. We declined the penalty and we won the game.

I stand corrected.

Kevin from Chilliwack, Canada

A comment on the discussion on today’s Inbox about allowing coaches to challenge PI calls. In the Canadian league coaches can challenge PI and roughing the passer. It’s dragged down the pace of play, and the number of calls overturned are in the minority. The negatives far outweigh the positives in my opinion.

Which is why I still believe status quo is the way to go on DPI. It’s not perfect, but few solutions in a subjective game are.

Frank from Fox Lake, IL

Today, at 29 years old, I laid my father to rest. As hard a week as it has been, I have looked to this column for a reprieve in everything going on. He was a Cowboys fan, so it's hard to say but I will also root for them this year unless against the Packers, of course. Just want to say thank you guys for doing what you do, it means a lot too many of us on so many levels.

I cannot imagine what you and your family are going through right now, Frank, but that means so much to Mike and I that this space has provided you with a small reprieve during this extremely difficult time. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. I hope you find peace in your father’s rest. I’m sure he’ll be proud when you’re cheering for those Cowboys next season – unless they’re playing the Packers, of course.

Seamus from Omaha, NE

Would it be possible to offer Aaron Rodgers a contract that is reasonable in cost over the next five years but pays him, let's say, $400,000 a year for the next 40 years? Crazy, I know. Is it possible?

First, I don’t know if that’s legal under the CBA. Second, just ask the Mets how well that worked out for them with Bobby Bonilla.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, will Mike drive home after the combine?

There will be a ceremonial coin-flip after prospect interviews wrap up on Sunday evening. It’ll be broadcast on NFL Network. Getcha popcorn ready.

Craig from Castle Pines, CO

To get Vic to come back to WI, could Wes offer to pump gas for him in the winter?

Welcome to the Insider Inbox Hall of Fame, Craig.



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