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Inbox: Every draft pick is an investment into both the player and the person

Ron Wolf was direct, and correct, in his player evaluation

Packers GM Brian Gutekunst
Packers GM Brian Gutekunst

Mark from Bettendorf, IA

Mike was gone and no big news. You let us down, Wes.

There's still time. I'm in the driver's seat for one more day. Let's see what Monday brings.

Brian from Twain Harte, CA

This ain't no party. This ain't no disco. This ain't no fooling around. This is the II!!!!!!!

You have no idea how tempted I was to title today's column "Inbox: This ain't no disco". Maybe this offseason…

Dar from Mansfield, TX

As I've previously mentioned here, I'm much more in the "be perennially strong" camp than an "all-in" guy. That said, I perceive the biggest factor in the Rams' Super Bowl win was not that they were all-in, but that they had their best players available (I'll count OBJ vs. Robert Woods as a wash.) The playoff Packers had a reshuffled O-line, quarter-speed Jaire Alexander and Z, and no MVS. So, I agree with Gutey that the team isn't lacking, especially after adding a bona fide ST coach. What say you?

The Packers had a season for the ages given all the injuries they had, but it's still disappointing we never got to see the whole gang together. That's still no excuse. The 2010 team overcame 16 guys on injured reserve to win a Super Bowl. Again, the window is still open. Every clerical move the Packers made over the last week was done with the intention giving them a chance to win the next one.

Chris from New Canaan, CT

I don't pretend to understand the cap and how it is calculated, but it is interesting to watch the fiscal gymnastics of restructuring contracts to free up space. This seems to be an exercise that moves today's problem into the future. As a GM, when does the impact of that catch up with you? Is cap deficit essentially a debt that can be constantly restructured, forever deferring the impact like a debt that never really comes due? Clearly, I'm missing something. What is that something?

You pretty much covered it. As Brian Gutekunst said, eventually you gotta pay up. A team creates larger cap hits down the line, and potentially dead money, by restructuring base salaries into signing bonuses. The Packers are counting on a rising cap to help alleviate that stress in the future, but tough calls still await them.

Donald from Aledo, IL

What would be our next best option if we don't keep De'Vondre Campbell for ILB?

Then, I think it's probably best to invest a draft pick into the position. Krys Barnes is a good NFL player, especially on early downs, but the difference Campbell's size and speed made on defense was obvious. I suppose the Packers could try to find another bargain in free agency but not every offseason is a proven guy like De'Vondre Campbell available, let alone in June at a team-friendly price.

Tom from Walker, MI

When are compensatory draft picks announced?

They were announced on March 10 last year, so sometime between now and the start of the new league year. And before anyone asks, the Football Outsiders project the Green Bay will receive a fourth-round pick for Corey Linsley and possibly a seventh for Jamaal Williams.

John from Livermore, CA

How much attention do you place on the combines? Is what we see there anything more than just a benchmark?

I place quite a bit of emphasis on it. I know Gutekunst and the Packers' scouts do, as well. That's not to say players can't play beyond their 40 time (e.g. Micah Hyde) or other red-flag measurables, but a lot of questions get answered in Indianapolis every winter. Medical evaluations and interviews are a critical part of the process, as well. Every draft pick is an investment into both the player and the person. It's critical teams know what they're getting.

Susan from Oak Creek, WI

The combine has never been that interesting to me, but since I will have to watch it with my family, give me something to look for. Thanks.

I have some questions about the qualifier, "Since I will have to watch it with my family," but if you truly are obligated to watch the combine, the 40 is my favorite event in Indy.

Terry from Sun Prairie, WI

What group of players are going to impress the most at the combine?

Quarterbacks. As long as they don't have small hands, every QB is going to be destined for Canton by next Sunday.

Craig from London, UK

Firstly, thanks for answering my Bobby Tonyan question. It was my first reply! Secondly, apart from the obvious, which of our WR group should be a priority to re-sign? For me, it's Allen Lazard. In my opinion, he's a massively underrated WR. He does so much of the dirty work to free up both No. 17 and the run game.

Congrats going 2-for-2, Craig. Assuming Davante Adams is retained, it'll be interesting which direction the Packers go with Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. It's possible they keep both. But if it's only one, that decision likely will impact the draft and how the 2022 offense is built. Their respective skills can't be easily replaced.

Portia from Somerset, KY

Is there any hope Randall Cobb will be back one more year? Please!

He's the only vested veteran at receiver who's under contract at the moment, so…

Craig from Elkton, MD

Good morning Insiders! Why do we need OT in the regular season? As long as there is a path to a tie in OT, why not just call it a tie at the end of regulation? Is there a logic I am not understanding? Sorry, I know we don't want to fan the OT debate in the Inbox.

If you've ever attended a tie at Lambeau Field, you know it's an odd postgame experience. You have 75,000-plus people paying hundreds of dollars for a seat. They understandably want a winner. I don't think two teams playing for 60 minutes and calling it a day would be good for business. It also would lead to some really strange records and less drama at the end of the regular season.

Steven from San Diego, CA

Can the Packers find a new QB who can be successful without killing the salary cap numbers?

There's the haystack, Steven. Go find me the needle.

Steve from Ankeny, IA

I am not sure why everyone has no faith in Jordan Love? We haven't seen him play except for meaningless snaps and times he never had first-team reps in practice before he played. I compare him to Josh Allen: big guy, strong arm, a little wild but proficient in college. Allen was doubted at the start, with a 67 QB rating his first year. I hope AR stays, but if not, I say let's give the kid a chance!

The amount of overthinking going on about a player who probably has 14 total minutes of NFL tape is mind-boggling to me. Regardless of the decision Rodgers makes, we're poised to see a lot of Love this offseason. Give him a chance.

Jordan from Virginia Beach, VA

No speculation, just a hypothetical question. You, Wes, are in Gute's position and Rodgers says to you, "Trade me or I retire." Which team can offer you enough to accept a trade? If the Eagles offer Jalen Hurts and two first-rounders in the upcoming draft plus one each in the next two along with a second-rounder next year I think I'd have to take the deal. Especially if Smith comes too. Capital and a young, semi-proven QB is a good return if we can't retain "12" and let Hurts learn/teach alongside Love.

If it's not Rodgers, then it's Love for me. So, I say picks over players. The only trade offers I'd entertain would be with a team that has at least one first-round pick in each of the next three seasons. So, there goes the Rams.

Joe from Las Vegas, NV

Hi Wes. As a Packers backer and owner, I would sure like to see the return of AR next season because he gives us the best chance for a successful season. Seeing every year we bring in a handful of quarterbacks, I wonder if AR will have any input of who or is it whom they bring in? So, if AR eats a deep-dish Chicago style pizza what rumors would start up?

I can just see the headlines now: "Chicago-area business owner branches off into pizza industry."

Sean from Bondurant, IA

While I agree with the answer of Nick Collins for the career-ending injury question, I have to be honest in that my first thought was Jermichael Finley.

With all due to respect to Finley, there's no comparison here. While it can be argued Green Bay hasn't had a tight end with Finley's tools since his neck injury, Rodgers still had a plethora of high-end receivers to throw to. The reverberation of Collins' injury was felt for years on defense. The Packers committed a lot of money and resources to the safety position between when Collins' career ended in 2011 and when Adrian Amos was signed and Darnell Savage was drafted in 2019.

Clem from La Crosse, WI

With all the talk about salary, etc., I'm reminded of a comment former Packer Brian Noble made once. "Ron Wolf once told me, no matter how good you are you're only here until I can find someone better." Apply that to your life/work. Tough business.

They don't make 'em like Ron anymore. There are no hanging chads on his rhetoric. He was direct, and correct, in his player evaluation.

Jeff from Oceanside, CA

Following up on the comments by Phil from Bettendorf, IA, and your response about the John Hadl trade. It was a panic move by GM/HC Dan Devine after the trade for Archie Manning fell through in the 11th hour. Devine made the trade without the approval of the executive committee, which he was supposed to get (they had already approved the trade for Manning). It set the Packers back for at least a decade.

Most fans think what might have been with Archie Manning in a Packers uniform. Me? I envision Peyton wearing a Green Bay West jersey.

Andy from Kalamazoo, MI

Dear Insiders, love the QB HOF debate. It makes me want to add how Tom Brady's success has distorted other HOF resumes. QBs on or near the HOF bubble (Rivers, Wilson, Newton, Flacco, McNair, McNabb, and Ryan) were all playoff/SB losers to Brady. It would have much better chances had they had the success they likely would have had in a non-Brady era, with other top QBs only dominating to an average degree. On the flipside, fewer QBs racking up HOF credentials has probably helped a few non-QBs edge in.

Possibly. Again, I'm not detailing who's getting in and who isn't. Maybe none of them do. My point was it's a conversation the HOF voters will need to have. It's not cut and dry. We'll see what Spoff has to say this week. He's seen 15 more years of football than I have.

Richard from Farmington Hills, MI

There is a privately funded plaque honoring Jack Vainisi at the corner of Lombardi Avenue and Ridge Road. This Lombardi-era Packers owner believes he belongs next to Ted Thompson on the façade of the stadium in the northeast corner. I'd also add Harlan to that corner. And Pete Dougherty has nominated Vainisi for the "contributors" category for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

No lies detected on any of this.

Dan from Cross Plains, WI

Who's the best Dan to don a Packers jersey?

Dan Currie.

Ron from Mitchell, SD

Good morning Wes. Any Tom Petty songs ever make the playlist at the offices?

This time of the year? "The Waiting" is high on my list, while also being the hardest part.

Matthew from Clarkston, MI

Just wanted to give my cousin, David Samsa from Suamico, a shout out as he'll be participating in the Beijing Paralympics in curling. Here's hoping to him and his team bringing back gold.

Let's go, David! Do it for the 'Mico!

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

Jonathan from Medina, TN, got me thinking as to whether I had missed an Inbox since I started reading before Vic left us. It dawned on me that it is one of the few things that I do every day and sometimes at the same time. Is reading Inbox an everyday thing for either of you, even while on vacation?

I love you, Margeaux, but I think Spoff and I both use our vacation weeks to take a small vacation from Inbox. I do read all Spoff entries when I'm on the clock.

RJ from Fort Wayne, IN

Regarding the discussion of Packers fans around the world, I work at a GM truck plant that has workers that have transferred in from all over the nation. A large contingent of Wisconsin workers from the Janesville plant transferred here in 1987. There are large groups of Bear fans, Bills fans, Raiders and more. When the Packers won, a couple of guys would drive around in a cart with a huge Packers flag! The Bears fans soon followed, but not with the frequency of us Packers fans!

That's awesome. I love the camaraderie.

Lori from Heredia, Costa Rica

So are both Spoff and Biff heading to Indiana this week on a road trip? If so, what part of the trip are you most looking forward to?

I have some personal commitments requiring me to stay in Green Bay this week but Spoff is heading to Indy this year. In fact, he might be driving there as you read this. I'm still working from afar.

Dar from Mansfield, TX

The Power of Inbox: An Offseason Anecdote. My brother and I attended the Week 2 Lions game. At a pregame party, I was given a "Hi My Name Is" tag and absentmindedly filled in "Dar from Mansfield." Surprisingly, six different people asked if I was the same Dar from II, four of them dying to learn if I know you and Spoff. A nice couple even asked after my sun-and-squirrel-loving dachshund, Nickel. Wes, (in my best Ron Burgundy voice) I don't know how to put this, but you're kind of a big deal!

That's neat to hear, Dar. It was a fun week. Thanks to everyone who helped us get from Point A to Point Indy. We're one week closer to the answers you can't live without.