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Inbox: Everyone came to learn it in retrospect

Nothing ever comes easy nor without some good fortune along the way

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WR Christian Watson

Mark from Vienna, VA

Quadrillion-dollar question! This rampant inflation has now hit the Inbox.

Don't worry, we will not be raising subscription rates.

Drew from Tucson, AZ

I guess the big news is breaking while Wes is gone this year.

Perhaps.

Brian from Pensacola, FL

Is Aaron Rodgers allowed to talk to other teams while under contract with the Packers? If there truly was interest is he allowed to speak to coaches like Hackett without permission from his employer?

Assuming the multiple reports are indeed accurate about Rodgers engaging in discussions with the Jets – and they were confirmed by just about every major media outlet throughout Tuesday – the Packers had to grant permission for such talks to take place.

Jared from Rochester, MN

Saw reports today that both the Packers and Rodgers have talked to the Jets organization. All signs point to Rodgers at least playing again this year. It also looks like it might not be for the Packers. If this is how the Rodgers era ends, I will appreciate everything he has done and wish him luck. However, I do admit I am excited to see what Jordan Love has to offer. From everything I have heard the kid is ready to play.

All my sentiments exactly.

Jeff from Indian Lake, NY

As we approach QB1 decision day 2023 I feel I have come to peace with both possibilities. Aaron was/is an amazing talent who brought us a Super Bowl victory and countless memories, which have subsequently made me wealthy. If he wants to come back for one more run I would wholeheartedly support him. However, if he is ready to move on I'd love to see what kind of team Gutey could build around Jordan with the extra draft capital.

The Packers would take a substantial cap hit by trading Rodgers now, but the pain is absorbed for a year and it's done. If Love is playing on the fifth-year option or a new deal in 2024, the cap picture shifts dramatically then, and I'll be very curious to see how Gutey & Co. go about building around him.

Steve from Soda Springs, ID

Hello II, you guys have probably already answered this question before and I missed it but, in the instance of a trade why does the team that trades a player take a salary cap hit? It seems the new team should have to pay the said player. Love the column.

Any bonus money the original team has already paid the player, but cap-wise is being spread out over multiple years, accelerates to a single, immediate cap charge when the player is traded (unless the trade occurs after June 1, in which case the pro-rated bonus money can be spread out over the current year and the next year).

Gary from Sheboygan, WI

Insiders, a certain QB is talking to people in NY. If he is traded, no matter what we get in compensation, what percentage of fans will think it is not enough?

A good majority. If a trade goes through, I'm not expecting the compensation to be some big bonanza, not for a QB turning 40 with a complicated contract and year-to-year outlook.

Shannon from Ovilla, TX

A year ago today Rodgers announced his plan to return. Any chance today brings news of him changing neighborhoods? If he does do you think he will be able to hack it with the NY press? I will see myself out.

Please do.

Greg from Long Beach, CA

Good morning Mike, in your response to Dave from Edina, you mentioned the Dolphins were docked their first-round pick this year for tampering. My question is, if they had already traded this year's first-round pick to another team, how would the league have handled that? Thanks!

The league would have either taken away a first-round pick in a succeeding year, or docked multiple picks in the current year to compensate.

John from Worthington, OH

It seems to me the Dolphins being docked a first-round draft pick should not result in one less first-round pick. Each "round" should be defined as the next 32 draft picks, especially since potential pay depends to some degree on the round drafted. Will the 32nd pick this year be on a different pay "scale" than he would have been had the Dolphins not been docked a draft pick?

Nope, and the fifth-year option will not apply to pick No. 32 either.

Rick from Trempealeau, WI

When do rules changes get discussed and decided? And will you/we know if making it illegal to "push the pile" (aka Eagles' favorite play) is included?

Discussions and possible votes will take place at the owners' meeting the last week of March. Wes will be there to cover it for us.

Evan from Durango, CO

The worst jersey in the league is that off-white, spoiled cream look the Rams wear. What are some classics you'd like to see brought back for a game? I like the Oilers' jersey, the Eagles' Kelly green look, and I wouldn't be opposed to seeing the Seahawks wear their old Steve Largent-era uniforms.

Now you're just making me more nostalgic for my youth. I also wish the Falcons had never ditched their red helmet with the black bird. That was always a sharp look, too.

Tucker from Temple, TX

In regard to the Titans wearing the throwback Oiler uniform, there are more than a few people in Houston upset that the name rights and franchise records weren't gifted to the Texans. Growing up in Houston, there is no love lost for the team in Tennessee for most.

I can respect that.

Joe from Wausau, WI

Everybody remembers the loss to Detroit at the end of the year. But the real reason the Packers missed the playoffs was losing five in a row in the middle of the year. What do you think was the biggest reason why this team was unable rebound from losses the way they had done in LaFleur's first three seasons here?

The reasons were numerous, but if I had to single out the biggest, it's one nobody could be sure of at the time, but everyone came to learn it in retrospect – the absence of Christian Watson. He missed the second half of the London game with his recurring hamstring injury, and the offense fell apart. He missed the next two games, returned at Buffalo, and got concussed on the opening series. Then he was held out for precautionary reasons due to a wicked hit late in the Detroit game when the Packers were trying to rally (and had already lost Doubs in the first quarter to injury as well). That's your five-game losing streak. His touchdown binge started the following week vs. Dallas and the season turned around. Watson's health issues played a huge role in the offense's midseason struggles.

Eric from Springfield, VA

According to NFL combine results I saw the results for only one lonely FB. Is that position becoming extinct with the nature of the game? How many teams even have a FB on the active roster? Just SF? And how long do you predict until no team has a FB? When I have a child, I will tell them to stick to RB.

I don't have a list in front of me, but with all due respect to our friend John Kuhn, the traditional fullback is a dying breed. When in need of a lead blocker, most teams (Packers included) shift a tight end into the backfield. He's able to do everything required of a fullback – lead block, pass protect, catch passes – whereas fullbacks aren't generally considered effective on-the-line blockers to replace tight ends up front. So it's a matter of maximizing versatility to save a roster spot.

Tony from Davenport, IA

Who do you think the Packers might use the franchise tag on?

On whom, you ask? There doesn't appear to be an obvious candidate this year. The franchise tag carries a large one-year salary that must fit under the cap unless and until a longer-term deal is worked out. Even if the Packers wanted to apply the "special teams" tag to Mason Crosby, the $5.4M tender would eat up a lot of their current cap space. I don't think it's even an option for Keisean Nixon because he plays defense as well as returner, so I don't see it.

Take a look at photos of Green Bay Packers T David Bakhtiari during the 2022 NFL season.

Chuck from Gold Canyon, AZ

Hi Mike. This is probably better geared to the Prospect Primers but in reference to Ray from Phoenix question and your crystal ball answer a couple answers later, many have Van Ness as first-round potential. Some have even mocked him to GB. His combine numbers didn't jump off the page and he didn't even start for the Hawkeyes so what makes him attractive? It would seem that he wouldn't fit into a BAP but rather need if he goes in the first round.

I don't know about the "not starting" thing with Van Ness. It's irrelevant. He led a stout Iowa defense in tackles for loss and sacks last year, blocked a couple of kicks, and was second-team All-Big Ten. Van Ness is a high upside guy, having played only two years in college after redshirting in 2020. Scouts see an already well-developed body (6-5, 272 – almost identical in size to Preston Smith) with room for growth in his game, and 4.58 in the 40 for a 270-pound man is not exactly slow.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

Morning Mike! As I sift daily through the Inbox it's amazing how most of us see the Packers steps and missteps in a vacuum. I admit I don't watch much football but the Packers. I decided to watch the playoffs this year for some reason and was amazed that the playoff teams were also prone to dumbassery. Thanks for keeping us grounded as we combat expecting perfection in an imperfect world.

Every game produces a losing team, and every losing team has an innumerable list of regrets as to what it could've done better or differently to swing the outcome. It's the nature of sport at the highest competitive levels where the margins are forever small. It was mentioned recently how many good teams the 49ers have had over the last decade under two different regimes, but they have no Lombardi Trophy to show for it. Buffalo has been darn good the last three years but hasn't made it to a Super Bowl. The Cowboys have posted double-digit wins eight times in the last 20 years but haven't even reached an NFC title game in that time. The Seahawks blew a second straight championship at the 1-yard line and haven't been back to the conference title game since. Drew Brees and Dan Marino got to only one Super Bowl apiece. I could go on and on. Nothing ever comes easy nor without some good fortune along the way. That'll never change.

Ron from Trempealeau, WI

As usual at this time of year I see many people asking you who the Packers will draft. Since they believe you know what the Packers will do, maybe just publish the list of who the Packers will draft now and be done with it.

I'll get on that.

John from Del Mar, CA

Good day, Mike. Like the pitch clock, bigger bases, meh. With you on the shift. But remember, it's no longer the "ghost runner" at second base. It's the "Manfred man."

Revved up like a deuce, another runner in the night.

Christopher from Carmel, IN

A perceptible air of restraint hangs over the Insider Inbox as Mike and Wes refuse to get drawn into insane speculation. Gotta be an essential occupational skill at this point.

Happy Wednesday.

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