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Free agency is a marathon, not a sprint

The Packers' decision to re-sign Nick Perry made too much sense


Jason from Toronto, ON

Insiders, everyone is ranking Nick Perry's deal based on his history, which includes a few injury-plagued years followed by a very good year. But they forget that new contracts are awarded based on future potential, just like the draft. Shouldn't it be clear to everyone that Nick Perry's arrow is pointing straight up?

Exactly. Perry is in the prime of his career. He first turns 27 years old next month and arguably was the best available pass-rusher on the market after JPP, Melvin Ingram and Chandler Jones got the franchise tags. Pass-rushers are so critical to a defense. If Perry would've departed, the Packers likely would've had to bring in somebody to help fill his void. In that case, they likely still would've been paying top dollar anyway. This move rewards an up-and-coming player for his work ethic and keeps a budding playmaker in Green Bay. At the end of the day, the Packers needed to re-sign Nick Perry. It just made too much sense.

Ryan from Hayward, WI

Have you seen some of these contracts being handed out? Just when you thought teams were getting smarter about free agency, all heck breaks loose. Kudos to the Packers for not giving out $35 million guaranteed to some mediocre wide receiver.

It's been my experience that there are two types of NFL teams – those that view free agency as a one-stop shop and those that view it through a wider lens. You want to get the best players available and sometimes you have to break the bank to keep or acquire them. It's just important to recognize when you're putting good money behind good players and when you're doing it just to do something. Free agency is a marathon, not a sprint. Every team takes a different approach, but I think the proof is in the pudding for the Packers under Ted Thompson.

James from Long Island, NY

Hey guys. Good job as always. Really how does TT let Micah Hyde go? Randall and Rollins are OK but not great corners!

As much as Ted Thompson and Co. would like to bring back all their top free agents, you can't re-sign everybody. Hyde had a remarkable career with the Packers. His departure means Green Bay will need its young defensive backs to step up in 2017. On the back end, Kentrell Brice's role becomes even more important behind Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Morgan Burnett. It's a long offseason. There's still plenty of time for the Packers to get better. It just won't happen with Hyde.

Henry from Jackson, WY

Very sad to see Hyde go. He rapidly rose as my favorite Packer over the last few seasons. Very happy for him to be rewarded with his new contract with the Bills. He's worked his tail off for everything he's earned. Bittersweet!

I'm going to miss Micah. I guarantee he led the locker room in total minutes met with the media in 2016. I can't tell you how many times he'd finish up talking with a group, only to have another descend upon him a second later. He never once raised his voice or expressed frustration. He met every request with a smile and an "of course." Win or lose, he was always the same guy and a pleasure to cover the past four years. As I said a few months ago, the world could use more Micah Hydes. He's going to go far in life whenever his football career is over. He's a very well-spoken individual with natural leadership skills. He'll go down as one of Thompson's best third-day draft choices.

John from Denver, CO

I see Peppers not wanting a change of scenery in what is most likely his last shot at a ring. Jones is a great human and a good football player, but would I even know his name if he played elsewhere in the NFL? What do you see in the green-and-gold crystal ball for Julius and Datone?

It's difficult to say right now. We know Julius Peppers wants to play a 16th NFL season, but it might take a little time for his market to form. Jones' situation is interesting. He led the Packers with quarterback hits, but only had one sack. The coaching staff was pleased with the progress he made as an outside linebacker, though. Time will tell.

Logan from Jefferson, WI

I'm not sure how often this gets mentioned but I think it's a big factor as to why the Packers get so many compensatory picks. The fact that the Packers structure contracts to prevent major cap hits in the last couple years allows them to keep players for the full duration of the contract. That way if they do leave for another team in free agency, they count towards the compensatory-pick formula instead of having to cut them early, in which case they wouldn't. Thoughts?

The Packers have been one of the most fiscally responsible teams in the league when it comes to handling their salary cap. The benefit of that is players usually see most, if not all, of their guaranteed contracts and hit the market as unrestricted free agents rather than street free agents. Hyde and JC Tretter should garner respectable compensatory picks a year from now.

Tim from Madison, WI

I have always wondered why NFL teams did not trade players to get rid of an albatross contract, a la NBA trades. I was glad to see that happened when the Texans sent Brock Osweiler to the Browns. NBA GMs have always been more creative than NFL GMs, and it is good to see the Browns' front office acting as change agents.

I liked the move. I thought it was shrewd. If the Browns are going to turn things around, they need to think outside of the box. I'll admit I had to triple-check the report before I brought it to Spoff and the rest of our digital department. The Browns have a ton of cap room, so it makes total sense. It's exactly the type of "Moneyball" move I'd expect Sashi Brown and Paul DePodesta to make.

Eric from St Louis, MO

Take care of the cap or you might find yourself trading a player and a nice draft pick just to unload said player's contract. Use the extra cap space to sign another big-money free agent for an extra dose of irony.

Pretty much.

Jared from Ucon, ID

Sorry to detract from the pre-draft activities, but they don't interest me. Daniels' struggles to get into the Pro Bowl has me thinking. How does an interior DL get into the Hall of Fame?

Defensive line is an important position, but it doesn't always get the proper respect. It's a blue-collar job and doesn't come with the same glitz and glamour of its pass-rushing counterparts on the outside. Daniels is one of the top playmakers in that defense. Anyone who plays against him can tell you how much of a headache he is for opposing linemen to deal with. The recognition is starting to come, but the Pro Bowl is still hanging out there. Stay patient.

Aaron from Seattle, WA

After seeing what Okung signed for, Bakhtiari's contract seems like a great deal. Is it simply desperation that is causing so many teams to pay a premium price to players that are average or only a little above?

The Packers worked a phenomenal deal with Bakhtiari last September. They leveraged the final year of his contract in the extension, making it more palatable to pay for a franchise left tackle and still leave resources available for all the other contracts coming due. It also provided Bakhtiari with security in case something would have happened before he hit free agency. To the second part of your question, I think Leigh Steinberg hit it on the head earlier this week on Twitter when he said most of the top players never reach free agency. They're either extended beforehand or re-signed. That leaves a lot of B-plus players getting A-plus contracts. So true.

Darrell from San Antonio, TX

I believe the secondary would be much better if we could improve our pass rush. Pressure on the QB helps take the pressure off coverage. To improve, should the Packers look at DEs or OLBs in the draft?

Re-signing Perry was a good first step, though the Packers are going to need more than just him and Clay Matthews to get after the quarterback. They'll need at least two or three others in that outside rotation. Kyler Fackrell likely will play a role and should be a year better with a full offseason in the weight room. There's also a chance Peppers, Jones and Jayrone Elliott could be back. It wouldn't surprise me if the Packers still dove into the draft to find another prospect. The possibilities are endless this time of year.

Scott from Palatine, IL

With the re-signing of Perry, Ha-Ha making second-team All-Pro, and the rising play of Clark, do Packer fans back off about how Thompson "can't draft in the first round"?

I wasn't aware that this was a thing. You'd think drafting Aaron Rodgers in 2005 and trading back into the first round to take Clay Matthews in 2009 would be enough. Regardless, the Packers hit home runs with Bulaga, Perry and Clinton-Dix over the last few years. It's even more impressive considering they were all in that final third portion of the first round. It took Perry a little more time to develop, but he's there. The Packers were patient with him and now they stand to reap the benefits.

Ben from Denver, CO

Player X signs a five-year deal worth $20, with a $5 signing bonus. Year 1 his cap hit is $2. Year 2 his cap hit is $3. Year 3 his cap hit is $4. Year 4 his cap hit is $5. Year 5 his cap hit is $6. What is his "guaranteed money" and why? What is his "dead money" if he is released after Year 1 and why? What is his "dead money" if he is released after Year 2 and why? And so on. Just trying to understand how all these contracts work!

Signing bonuses are spread across contract years (up to five). In the case you present, the signing bonus would count $1 against the cap each season. If the cap hit is $2 in Year 1, then the total sum of Player X's in-season compensation (base salary and bonuses) is $1. Guaranteed money is the sum of the signing bonus and any guaranteed base salaries. Assuming only the signing bonus was guaranteed and Player X is released after Year 1, his "dead money" cap hit would be $4 for the next season because the signing bonus prorated is accelerated to the upcoming year (though it sometimes can be deferred to the next cap if a team so chooses to kick the can down the road). Complicated, I know, but that's my best stab at trying to explain it.

Dave from Hartford, WI

Mike said, "Many players are not physically mature when they enter the league, no matter what college they come from, especially as more and more turn pro a year early." Kenny Clark is only 21 now, right? His upside is enormous.

*There were a few guys at the combine who are only 20 years old and every one of them talked about how they consider their young age to be a strength. It works both ways, but I think it definitely favors Clark. While he's still growing into his body, Clark is mature beyond his years and understands pursuit and leverage. It's a young man's game and he's only going to get better in years to come. *

Joe from Asbury, IA

Now that Perry is back, if one of you interview him could you please ask him if he'll consider wearing a fake cast next year? The reason being his "pet the cast" sack celebration is awesome and we're going to miss that.

I blew it. I already had the interview with Perry on Thursday evening before I'd had a chance to go through the Inbox. His "pet the cast" celebration is one of the best I've witnessed.

Braden from Brookfield, WI

I see a lot of Packer fans laughing that the Bears are signing Glennon. My thought is the Bears still draft a QB in one of the first three rounds and they continue trying to find the long-term solution, "The Man." In the meantime this is a filler signing. Do you think fans see contracts too concrete and get over excited or overly upset by them? Reality is most contracts never make it to the final year.

The price of quarterbacks continues to go up with every team in the market trying to catch lightning in a bottle. I'm very interested to see how Glennon fares. He's been one of the league's most popular backup quarterbacks for two years. Now, it's his time to shine.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Flash back with me to the 1999 draft. The Packers needed cornerback help. Round 1, they nabbed Antuan Edwards, a CB. Round 2, it was Fred Vinson, another CB. Round 3, it was Mike McKenzie, yet another CB. History will show that McKenzie was the best of the three. What is to be learned from this?

Don't be afraid to overload at cornerback. You never know when you might need to trade one for Ahman Green.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

The Packers had a 59/41 pass/run ratio in the regular season and a 68/32 ratio in the postseason. Was there an intentional change in game plan or did that just happen to be how it played out?

They fell behind early in Atlanta and needed to keep passing the ball in an effort to get back into the game. I think that largely contributed to that slanted ratio.

Jason from Wausau, WI

I wish all the Christian McCaffrey hype would stop. There are far better prospects on the running back draft tree.

That train has already left the station. It stopped to refuel in Indianapolis.

Palash from Dublin, CA

Insiders, looks like there are some serious "Shawshank" fans out here. Being a Packers fan, losing twice in last three years for a shot at the Super Bowl, I must say "Hope is a wonderful thing." Which is your fav line?

Get busy livin' or get busy dying.

Jonathan from Saint Joseph, MO

"Let the games begin." You said that in a Bane voice, didn't you Wes?




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