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Happy Free Agency Day! What will it bring?

Will Percy Harvin trade cause Vikings to sign Greg Jennings?


Dave from Oskaloosa, IA

I hate to admit this, but I love watching Belichick's press conferences and his complete disregard for the press. As a fan, I find myself growing weary of the ridiculous questions, such as, "How does this loss make you feel?" Hmmm, I wonder what the answer could possibly be. Stupid questions get stupid answers like, "We are only taking this one week at a time." It is all the same old song and dance.

Dave, if a coach doesn't want to communicate his thoughts, it doesn't matter what questions the media asks him.

Paul from Burlington, NC

Admittedly, I missed the answers to problems two and three, so could you show the math that brings you to those answers? Knowing the answers doesn't help me find out how to solve the problems.

Problem No. 2: 2013 old cap charge--$13 million salary plus $4 million signing bonus equals $17 million hit; 2013 new cap charge--$.75 million salary plus $4 million old signing bonus plus $5.4 million new signing bonus equals $10.15 million hit; 2013 cap savings--$17 million old cap charge minus $10.15 million new cap charge equals $6.85 million savings. Problem No. 3: 2014 cap charge--$1 million salary plus $3 million signing bonus plus $5 million roster bonus plus $1 million NLTBE incentive from 2013 equals $10 million hit. Because the contract voids after the 2014 season, all of the remaining bonus amortization, $9 million, accelerates onto the 2015 cap. All of the salaries for 2015-17 are extinguished because the player is no longer on the roster.

Mark from Stewartville, MN

Vic, you mentioned that the middle linebacker position has changed greatly. Is that because the NFL is so much more pass-oriented than it was in the days of Butkus and Nitschke?

That's correct. In the Butkus/Nitschke era, teams ran the ball more than they threw it. The opposite of that is true now, and it's usually better to have a defensive back on the field against the pass than a middle linebacker. If Butkus and Nitschke played today, they might play fewer than half the downs.

Koigi from Lynchburg, VA

Do you think we are moving into an era when the free agency talent pool will get bigger year by year? The fact that you no longer have to pay your first-round draft pick $50 million will change how teams treat player contracts.

More and more, free agency will become an old folks home.

Shawn from Albany, NY

I wouldn't mind if the Packers picked up a veteran running back as a bit of insurance to go along with whomever they choose to draft. Other than that, I don't find any free agents the least bit enticing. I know you have the same general feelings on draft and develop as I do, but I was just wondering if there are any free agents you think would be worth taking a risk on?

Tony Pauline likes Shonn Greene for the Packers and I like two things about Greene: He's young and he's a pounder.

Michael from Rapid City, SD

Percy Harvin to the Seahawks. Good move?

It's an easy trade to figure. The Vikings played their best football without Harvin. What the Vikings figured out last season is that instead of finding ways not to give Adrian Peterson the ball, just give him the darn thing. I suspect the Vikings will take a swing at a free-agent wide receiver they believe will provide more dependability than Harvin did. The migraines had become a headache for Leslie Frazier. From the Seattle perspective, Pete Carroll has never shied away from raw talent, regardless of the red flags that might accompany it. He's building a strong roster in Seattle, and Carroll has always had the kind of player's coach personality that gets the most out of his players. Be that as it may, a first-round pick for a wide receiver? Remember Deion Branch? I'll take it every time and use it on a big guy, then go get the wide receiver I need with the mid-round pick the Seahawks also gave the Vikings. I like what the Vikings are doing.

Bill from Fords, NJ

I think the Packers should make a move up and get Chance Warmack. I'd give next year's No. 1 if I had to. What do you think, Vic?

Trade away a first-round pick to move up and draft a guard? I'll sit and let the picks fall as they may.

Bryan from Superior, WI

What do you think about the Packers drafting tight end Vance McDonald from Rice?

McDonald was best in class at the Senior Bowl. He caught a deep-seam pass on the final day of full-pads practice. I circled his name. If you want a pass-catching tight end, he's your guy, and you can probably get him in the second round.

Bryan from Superior, WI

No Don Hutson on the Packers Mt. Rushmore?

I think you're looking for representatives of great eras when you do something like this. In my opinion, Curly Lambeau is the representative of the Hutson era. The Lombardi era was so big it needed two representatives, Lombardi and Bart Starr. The next great era in Packers football is the Wolf-Holmgren era that produced a Super Bowl title and two Super Bowl appearances. I chose Reggie White to represent that era simply because I think he was the player that defined it. His arrival made the Packers a Super Bowl champion, and his departure signaled the end of that brief but glorious run. I think we're now in the midst of a fifth era.

Felipe from Edinburg, TX

With all the free agency talk going on and trades happening, the stagnant approach we have isn't really exciting.

Shaping a roster isn't supposed to be entertainment. Be that as it may, Happy Free Agency Day!

Frank from Orange, CA

I ran a correlation analysis on information provided by to examine if there was a negative correlation between free agency acquisitions and winning percentages. I wanted to see if it were statistically true that more free agents negatively impact winning percentages. Using data between 2007 and 2011, there is, in fact, a negative correlation of -0.477. Although this is a relatively weak correlation, it did pass a significance test with Alpha = 0.05; the odds are less than five out of 100 that this correlation occurs by chance, however I cannot concretely conclude that the correlation value is statistically significant. I would have to run another correlation analysis to see the correlation between Super Bowl appearances and/or playoff winning percentages and free-agent acquisitions to make further conclusions on the statement, "He who wins the offseason loses in the postseason." More info to come. For now, given an undetermined amount of intangibles that are involved in the free agent process, it can be superficially deduced that indeed draft and develop is the way to go.

Ah, the moneyball drama of human confrontation; mathematicians going head to head. Bart Starr comes to the sideline and says he thinks he can sneak it in. Lombardi says, "Wait a minute, Bart. I want to run that through the computer to get a statistical analysis of the probability of success." The computer guy crunches the numbers and then tells Lombardi, "Tell him to run it and let's get the hell out of here."

Adam from Santa Barbara, CA

Vic, can you please explain what exactly the Redskins did in 2010 that has the league coming down on them now?

They ignored a league directive warning teams that if they restructured contracts to dump cap hits into the uncapped year, 2010, they would have to account for that money should a new CBA provide for a continuation of the salary cap system. They challenged the league directive and lost.

Ty from Whitefish, MT

Vic, for someone that is a baby to the green and gold, you literally put the best four faces on Packers Mt. Rushmore. I don't think any true Packers fan could dispute those four faces. Bravo!

You should see my inbox.

Paul from De Pere, WI

So was there an immensely talented quarterback out there who lacked courage? Or are those guys weeded out long before making the NFL? How about a courageous QB who lacked talent?

Billy Kilmer was all guts. I don't think he ever threw a spiral, but he found ways to complete passes and he won. The game is full of guys with great arms but who failed. Pocket courage is one of the most underrated skills in football. Players know when a guy doesn't have it, and he can never be that team's leader.

Dave from Los Angeles, CA

Would it have been smart to tag Jennings and then trade Jennings to the Vikings for Harvin?

First of all, I don't know that the Packers wanted Percy Harvin, but the bigger issue in tagging a guy to trade him – aside from the fact that it is in violation of the spirit of the rule – is that you effectively set a price for him. If another team isn't willing to pay the equal of that price, and give you a draft choice, you're going to lose a lot of cap room. If you treat players fairly, they have no reason to complain about the decisions a team makes. I'll use James Harrison as an example. Four years ago, he made one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history; it might be the greatest play in Super Bowl history. This past weekend, he was cut by the team that will forever include him prominently in their history. It's just the nature of the game. As I've said, it's the cold, hard edge of professional football that makes the game what it is.

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