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Forget about how it was done in the '90s

Only one day of free agency has passed


Rich from Grand Rapids, MI

Three free-agent acquisitions were key to the Packers' Super Bowl win in the '90s: Reggie, Sean Jones and Desmond Howard. If Vic were writing at the time of those acquisitions, what do you think he would have written about them? Has the evolution of the salary cap from then to now changed your view on free agents, even expensive ones like Reggie?

He would've written the Packers' immediate grasp of the impact of free agency, coupled with the Eagles' lack of understanding of the initial process, helped the Packers win a Super Bowl. Let's not pretend the Packers' other free-agent additions were the difference-makers. It was Reggie White. Without having signed him, the Packers would not have won that Super Bowl. The difference between then and now is White would not make it into free agency today. Teams are doing a much better job of retaining their star players. If then was now, the Falcons might not be willing to eat Brett Favre's amortization in a trade, and White would remain in Philadelphia. Packers fans continue to use Favre and White as examples of how to do it, but that was more than 20 years ago and the personnel landscape has changed dramatically. Ron Wolf took advantage of a system he understood but others didn't.

Matt from Waukesha, WI

Vic, if the Packers (would've signed) Forte, would the signing count against the compensatory pick calculation next year?


Jordan from Nevada, IA

I'm surprised both Neal and Perry made it to free agency. Are you?

No, because you can't sign everybody. It's about price point. You have to be willing to allow players to reach the price you're willing to pay for them. Managing the cap is a disciplined science. You don't fly by the seat of your pants. You stick to your strategy. It's not over. Only one day has passed. Relax!

Take a look at some of the unrestricted free agent signings Green Bay has made since 1993.

Bruce from Norfolk, MA

What is the best measure of assigning value to a UFA? How does the team know it's getting a good deal on signing a UFA to a contract?

It can't know for sure. All it can do is evaluate a player's talent, project how it might fit on the roster and in the team's scheme, and then assign a price the team is willing to pay for the player. If evaluation, player and price meet, you cross your fingers and sign him. A lot of teams took major risks yesterday. Most of those teams will regret having taken those risks.

Thomas from Linz, Austria

Vic, I've just seen the list of Green Bay's free agents and I'm stunned John Kuhn is on it. I mean, he has proven to be one of the best, if not the best fullback in the league. So why let him go? I know they drafted Ripkowski last year, but I still think this is a mistake.

This is nothing new for Kuhn. He knows the drill. It's about the position he plays. It's not a first-day-of-free-agency position.

Gareth from Madison, WI

Vic, why is there a cap minimum?

It guarantees the players get the money they negotiated to receive. It's not monopoly money. It's real money.

Sal from El Paso, TX

Vic, go to the wedding.

I'd love to go to that wedding, but airfare isn't monopoly money, either.

Karen from Winthrop, WA

Vic, Matt Forte made a point of wanting to sign with a championship contending team. So he signs with the Jets, a team with a QB shopping his services. What am I missing? Was it really all about the money, after all? Say it ain't so.

Karen, please don't be naïve. It's about the money, and as George Young said, "and when they say it's not about the money, that's when it's really about the money." I wrote in yesterday's column that I liked what Forte could bring to the Packers as a complementary back, but I questioned whether he'd be willing to accept that role. With the Jets, he'll have a chance to be their feature back.

Steven from Racine, WI

What will happen if the Packers don't sign a TE? Drafting one won't help us this year; they usually aren't good the first year.

I agree, the Packers need to address the tight end position. Only one day of free agency has passed. The Packers have a plan.

Brad from Mounds View, MN

Vic, at what point do the Packers say it's time to quit sitting on our hands and do something in free agency?

At what point do fans stop asking this silly question? It's been answered over and over. At the combine, Ted Thompson said the team wasn't going to chase ghosts. Come on, you had to know what that meant. The team you love believes in a disciplined approach to the management of its salary cap and its roster. When they find a free agent whose price and potential contribution complement each other, they'll sign him. When you fall in love with this team, you sign up for its approach to free agency. It's about beliefs. You commit to them.

Ryan from Menomonie, WI

In response to Geordie from Canada, how's that QB situation in Denver now? Maybe he should wait and see how Denver does in the upcoming seasons.

The Broncos took a major hit yesterday, but they have the Super Bowl win. They were aggressive; they took big risks, but the end justifies the means, right? The bill has come due, as I predicted it would. The Broncos knew it would. I tip my hat to them. The bill has come due for a lot of teams that don't have a Super Bowl title to show for it. What if that Steelers running back hadn't fumbled? For a game as tough as it is, football can be a very fragile thing.

Chad from Stoddard, WI

Is there any limit on how many compensatory picks a team will be awarded? Looks like the Denver Broncos might be in line for a bunch of comp picks next year.

They might break the comp picks bank. Maybe that was their plan: Spend big in free agency, win the Super Bowl, then let the players that won that title leave in free agency and receive a lot of comp picks that can be used to trade up next year, draft "The Man" and begin the reconstruction of the roster. I actually like that plan, but it's got more ifs in it than what if that Steelers running back hadn't fumbled the ball.

Jacob from Houston, TX

If RG3 doesn't get signed for a few weeks, do you consider bringing him in as a backup, GM Vic?

I think the Packers have their backup quarterback, but if I'm the GM of a team in need of a backup, I'm looking at every guy available. We haven't heard the last of RG3. He'll resurface.

Isiah from Portland, OR

I just want to say I'm thankful the Packers haven't been in a situation like the Texans have been for many years. They are taking on a very big risk.

When the Packers paid Aaron Rodgers Aaron Rodgers money, they knew he was Aaron Rodgers. The Texans are paying Brock Osweiler Aaron Rodgers money but they don't know if he's Aaron Rodgers.

Tim from Madison, WI

Fifty-two million guaranteed for Olivier Vernon. You have to be kidding me! That's more than J.J. Watt. Do I hear something in the distance?

The thing that would worry me the most if I paid a player that kind of money goes back to something a personnel director friend of mine said to me a long time ago: It's tough to get out of bed in the morning when you're wearing silk pajamas.

Ben from Alameda, CA

On average, a team will win the Super Bowl once every 32 years. Can the howl of the wolves ever be held in check for an average team?

If a team loses long enough, the wolves go to sleep. It's the worst thing that can happen to a team. It's good when the wolves howl. You just have to not hear them.

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