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Here are some under-the-radar LBers

Why call a free agent if you don't want to sign him?


Ryan from Menomonie, WI

Do the Packers get a hold of all free agents they are interested in, or do they only get a hold of ones they feel they have a legitimate shot of signing for what they want?

This isn't recruiting, it's targeting. You target a player or two in whom you have interest, and then you open dialogue with his agent. Why would you call a player you've evaluated and in whom you don't have interest? My inbox wants the Packers to call everybody and have a chat. "Hi, free agent. We don't want to sign you, but I thought I'd call and ask how much it would cost to sign you if we did want to sign you?" That's stupid.

Dario from Novi Marof, Croatia

What do you think about Oakland's and Jacksonville's offseason so far? Are they becoming a force to be reckoned with in the AFC?

The longer teams draft near the top, the closer they get to the playoffs. Free agency? Yeah, they both got better, but the Jaguars' and Raiders' futures rest with Blake Bortles and Derek Carr, and they're each draft picks. So is Khalil Mack.

John from Sheboygan, WI

What's the difference between B.J. taking a year off and signing with another team? Raji was a possibility to lose to free agency and I'm certain the Packers considered this. Did you?

I got the sense Raji was a Packer for life.

Don from Weaverville, CA

The Bears were $44 million under the cap. Have they spent their money wisely? I see them as a team on the rise next year.

They've gotten better in free agency. The question is how much better? This draft will go a long way toward answering that question. At the end of the day, you are what you draft. I think that got lost with the Broncos. What would they be without Von Miller?

Donne from Arlington, WA

I like the draft-and-develop Packers concept very much, but a minor league like baseball has, or a rookie league, sure would help in development. Am I crazy?

No, but the liability costs for a football minor league are too great to make it a reality. The practice squad is football's minor league. I think it's a wonderful system for development. I'd like to see it expanded.

Kelly from Placerville, CA

The Bears have made some big moves in free agency. Do you see them as the biggest threat to the Packers in the NFC North?

Let's not forget who the division champions are. The Vikings are the target now. I think the Packers are the biggest threat to the Vikings.

Jon from Warsaw, IN

I can't remember a single player from a "Prospect Primer" video on this site ever taken in the draft. Has there been one?

Ha Ha is one; I'm sure of that. We wore his "Primer" out, Jack.

Ryan from Denver, CO

Vic, I noticed Nick Perry's contract was one year for $5 million, but he receives a $2.3 million in base salary and $1.5 million in signing bonus (the rest coming from workout bonuses and incentives). What's the purpose for a signing bonus/salary split, since it's all going toward the cap this year anyways and it's highly unlikely he'll be cut? Is it so Perry can have a little spending cash for the summer?

Everybody wants guaranteed money. You want guaranteed money? I want guaranteed money. What if all of the money was in his salary and the Packers drafted a pass-rushing outside linebacker in the first round? I'd be very angry at my agent. I'd ask him why I don't have guaranteed money. Nothing beats guaranteed money.

Andy from Tomahawk, WI

With "March Madness" coming up, do you care to share any of your rich memories that involve college basketball, or basketball in general.

I roomed with three basketball players in college. The NCAA playoffs were a big deal. Our room was littered with gigantic, stinky tennis shoes and not-always empty pizza boxes. Stuff a slice of day-old pizza into a stinky tennis shoe. "March Madness" reminds me of that smell.

Jerod from West Fargo, ND

I actually believe the Packers have the most pressing need at their most important defensive position, outside linebacker. Peppers has one year left, Perry is signed to a one-year deal and Matthews will be 30 this spring. I'd rather they left Clay inside to solidify that spot and pursue young talent on the outside.

I disagree with you. Clay Matthews has plenty of sacks left in the tank. I do acknowledge, however, the need to draft pass-rushing outside linebackers. If you're going to play the 3-4, you must be vigilant in your pursuit of pass-rushing outside linebackers. They're the stars of the show.

Matthew from New Berlin, WI

Vic, I just read a shocking note, that only three of 18 players drafted by the Packers in 2011 and 2012 are still on the roster. For a team that prides itself on draft-and-develop, what is your honest assessment of that fact?

They were replaced by picks from other drafts. Some years are better than others. What's the big deal?

Tony from Hamilton, Ontario

You seem to know a lot about the CFL. I didn't think Americans really cared about it, although after seeing Russell Wilson in the stands during a Grey Cup in Vancouver a few years ago, and Chris Berman making appearances to games in my hometown, I'm starting to think differently. Do you actually somewhat follow it? By the way, Hamilton is like Pittsburgh's little brother, a blue-collar, hard-working steel town.

I know Tom Clements and Cookie Gilchrist played in Hamilton. The CFL has played a good brand of professional football for a very long time. It's done what the WFL and USFL couldn't do. I respect the CFL's contribution to the game I love.

Steve from Lake Stevens, WA

Vic, aside from the first-round talent, are there any linebackers who intrigue you that would fit where the Packers draft in later rounds?

I asked that question to Tony Pauline. This is his response: "ILB, Steven Daniels, Boston College, and B.J. Goodson, Clemson; OLB, Antonio Longino, Arizona State, and Yannick Ngakoue, Maryland."

Joe from Bloomington, IN

How could the Cardinals be so ignorant as to give up a second-rounder?

They wanted a pass rusher, and it's difficult to find those guys where they'll be picking. Their team was built on picking high. Now they'll have to sustain it by picking low.

Peter from Mount Horeb, WI

Vic, if you could pick your body type and play any position, what would it be?

I've always considered running back to be the position that defines the essence of the game of football. If I could be Johnny Unitas or Jim Brown, I'd be Jim Brown.

Chris from Stony Mountain, Manitoba

Love the column, Vic. In reviewing the Packers' cap, it appears we are projected to be about $12 million below the cap after the draft (not including possible free-agent signings). I can't help but think we might have made a mistake letting Hayward go for what appears to be a very reasonable contract. Thoughts?

It's a mistake to think of the cap in terms of one year. Think of it in terms of all years. Why? Because all years aren't even. You've got contracts coming up in 2017. You'll need that cap room then. Good cap-managing teams have a long-term strategy that keeps them from wild swings in cap room. For example, what good is it to have $40 million in cap room in a year when the free-agent crop is weak? Everything has to be strategized. The Packers believe they have depth at cornerback. The money that wasn't spent on Hayward will be spent on someone else.

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