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Inbox: Green Bay is his Gotham

There's an art to kicking in the cold

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LB De'Vondre Campbell

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, what is the best beverage to consume while writing II?

It's 9:45 p.m., Lori, and we're drinking a Starbucks flat white that I picked up on my way home from the office after realizing Friday's Inbox wasn't quite done yet after all.

Mike from Baraboo, WI

The Davante Adams trade news was shocking to me in how fast it took place. What is your take on if the Packers made a good trade?

I don't have a take right now, Mike. There have been a series of deals that have fallen through in recent days, so I'm going to pause and wait for some confirmation on all this stuff before commenting on what the future holds for the Packers and Davante Adams. As I stare into this laptop, I do have a lot of thoughts fluttering through my mind. But they're mostly memories. Whether I was working at the Press-Gazette or for the team, Davante always has been cordial to me and pretty much everyone on the beat. I remember I gave him a D-minus in my 2015 grades at the Press-Gazette and then started working for the team three months later. Awkward. But Davante never held it against me. Fans see the All-Pro receiver, but Adams is also one of the friendliest guys I've met in the Packers' locker room. There was one time a few years back I was in there during off-hours for an interview when Davante called my name from across the room. I darted over to his locker because I thought he needed something. He just goes, 'Nah, I'm just saying what's up.' That's Tae. Over the years, we got to know more and more about his upbringing and backstory. What you learn is Davante is a young man who overcame a lot of adversity to get where he is and I think those humble beginnings shaped him into the man he is today. The profile I did on him for the 2017 Packers Yearbook remains one of my favorite stories I've written since coming over to packers.com. So, if there's a contract out there that's going to make Adams the highest-paid receiver in the NFL, I'll be the first to say congratulations and that he deserves it. All the other football analysis can wait. I have two more Inboxes to knock out before Spoff is back. For now, my only comment is just a simple thank you to Davante. Thanks for being cool. Thanks for treating us reporters with respect. Thanks for giving us a peek into your world the past eight years.

Ethan from Iowa City, IA

Joe Schobert was released by the Steelers. I was a fan of him on the Browns and would love to see him get signed and paired with De'Vondre Campbell. What kind of market do you think he would demand? But, as a counterpoint, how do you feel Krys Barnes has developed?

Schobert has played so much football relative to his young age (28), so I think he'll continue to have a good market. At the same time, I felt having Campbell in the every-down role brought out the best in Barnes last year. Remarkably, Barnes has 161 career tackles on just 947 snaps. He's a smart, savvy player who plays faster than whatever time he was clocked at. And I'm excited that Campbell is back, too. I feel like the Packers and Campbell were meant for each other. Last year, Campbell talked about this being the first time he's been allowed to be "Batman" in a defense. Well, Batman is here to stay and Green Bay is his Gotham.

Kyle from Pittsburgh, PA

With so few high draft picks at O-line over the years, but almost perennial success across that front, it's clear that our O-line coaches are effective teachers. It's too easy to suggest other teams just missed on all these guys. Our coaches are transforming hidden potential into success! How much will Adam Stenavich still be able to work with the linemen as the O Coordinator this year? Or does he have to basically hand the reins to Luke Butkus and trust in having "taught the teacher?"

GMs, head coaches and quarterbacks have changed, but the one constant has been Green Bay having talented offensive linemen – and offensive line coaches. James Campen and Stenavich are two of the best in the business. Stenavich and Butkus have a great rapport and working relationship. While Butkus will handle the day-to-day development of the offensive linemen, Stenavich is still an O-line coach at heart. He'll continue to work with that unit in some fashion.

Evan from Marquette, MI

I am so proud to have Randall Cobb on our team! This man is an undoubtedly loyal weapon for the Green and Gold. We've had to endure the developmental stages and drops for years of our other wideouts, but Randall has wowed us from the very beginning. We should all be excited and grateful to have such a talent here simply because he wants to be a Packer and not the millions of dollars that could be made elsewhere.

Cobb's interview with Taylor Rogers on Packers POV near the end of the season was powerful and reinforced what everything it meant to the veteran receiver to come back to Green Bay. Because even though Cobb is a pro athlete, I think most of us have been in a situation at some point in our lives when you'd like a second chance. Cobb got that last season with the Packers and he proved to be an excellent addition to this roster on and off the field. You can never have enough Randall Cobbs on your roster, especially now.

Nathan from Philadelphia, PA

Good morning, Mike! After the past week-plus, I never want to hear again how the Packers are unwilling to go all-in to chase a championship. Also, looking at your free agency article got me wondering, since other teams aren't necessarily as cautious in how they break "news," what source do you need to see before you report that another team has signed a Packers' free agent?

There are three sources I go off: another NFL team's website, confirmation from a GM or head coach, or the NFL transaction wire. That's important now more than ever with everything that's happened over the past few days.

Tom from Douglassville, PA

Now that Za'Darius Smith backed out of his Ravens' deal, any chance we sign him to a one-year prove it deal? He is coming off the big injury year.

I doubt Z backed out of a four-year deal with Baltimore to take a prove-it deal elsewhere. Edge rushers are making serious money this offseason. I'd imagine there's a bag of cash awaiting Z on the open market.

Bret from Hertel, WI

Dear Wes, what was the biggest surprise for you during this early part of free agency for the Packers? With the cap issues, could the Packers use 2023 draft capital to improve or provide extra players in this year's draft? Thanks for leading us through this exciting week!

The Packers reportedly signing Pat O'Donnell. If everything checks out, it would be the first time since 2000 Green Bay signed a punter during unrestricted free agency (Tom Hutton). It again shows Green Bay's commitment to improving on special teams. To the other part of your question, I don't see the Packers moving 2023 draft capital. Not only is that something Green Bay rarely does but the team also has a bevy of picks at its disposal in this year's draft.

Shannon from Ovilla, TX

Wes, please tell us the new punter is one of the two external free agents you predicted on Thursday. At least he has a lot of experience punting since he was with the Bears for so many years!

Again, nothing's official until it's official but I've been a fan of O'Donnell for a long time. Punting in Green Bay and Chicago is a different animal. There's an art to kicking in the cold. I think that's a big reason Mason Crosby and Robbie Gould grew so close. It's a unique fraternity. Kicking in Lambeau and Soldier Field in December and January is as difficult as it gets. While a native Floridan, O'Donnell adopted the cold and has been one of the league's most consistent punters. He's also an experienced holder who can handle kickoffs in a pinch.

Joseph from Combined Locks, WI

Hi Wes. Hope things are going well for you. When I was a concierge for the Packers for almost 25 years, I was asked many a times by some of the Packers fans why the players participating in the combine aren't required to wear a NFL full uniform (Helmet and all) before participating in the combine. Some of the Packers fans felt that by not requiring the combine participants to wear an NFL full uniform diminishes the accuracy of the combine players true talents. What do you say…Thanks Wes!

If you're fast, you're fast. When we talk about how guys play faster than they're timed, it's not because they're more athletic in a helmet and pads – it's because of their football IQ. Plus, one of the things I like most about the combine is it takes the helmets off the players and you get to see the real person – both on the field and at the podium.

Mark from Canton, GA

Aaron Rodgers signs an extension with the Packers. Russell Wilson traded to Denver. Tom Brady comes out of retirement. Deshaun Watson is cleared on criminal charges and meeting with teams. Is there anything better for football writers/pundits than an offseason with consecutive stories regarding star quarterbacks?

Quarterbacks are king. What else is there to say?

Greg from Deadhorse, AR

Has the howl of wolves been calling Julio Jones' name in the inbox yet?

Yep, and they were howling even louder on Thursday night.

Andrew from Clearwater, FL

Trying to understand the void years better. If the player has three void years, ($3 million/void year) does the $3M go on the cap each year or all at once in the first void year ($9M)?

If the player is on the roster, yes. Once the player is released or his actual contract runs out, then those void years accelerate to that year's cap.

Mike from Manitowoc, WI

Just wanted to let you know, I was going to Photoshop an image of Mike in the PTO lifeboat being lowered from the sinking Titanic. Wes, gentleman that he is, goes down with the ship with a group of violinists wearing No. 88 jerseys, a buffet of high-priced free agents (and the sign-everyone crowd), oglers staring at the bow's laser goalposts wondering what will happen when they touch water. The only comfort Wes has is he's still holding his lunch. It's the thought that counts, right?

That analogy crossed my mind again before going to bed on Thursday night.

Dave from Lake Zurich, IL

Soda is not good for you. It's loaded with sugar and chemicals. On the other hand, beer (in moderation) is a healthy beverage. It's very un-Wisconsinlike for Wes not to drink beer.

There are so many better ways to waste carbs, Dave.

Kevin from Jacksonville, NC

What a great Paul Harvey reference. The days of him telling "The rest of the story" on AM radio are the days of old that I reminisce about to my early adult years with my dad and stepdad. Now, we got that outta the way, I was curious to know if the guys on the practice squad get a shot at making the roster during training camp, and if they make it, are they offered a new contract? Love the II, would love to buy you both a beer on my visit to Lambeau!! Best read in all of sports. GPG!!!

How that works is practice-squad players sign "future" contracts once the season is over. That's the contract they'll play under if they make the 53-man roster (e.g. Robert Tonyan). If a player is cut at the end of camp and comes back on the practice squad, then he signs a new contract.

Jessi from Sterling, KS

During the next edition of Outsiders can you "designate" a day for those of us who are just fellow root beer drinkers? We need to know we are not alone Wes.

Outsider Inbox is a full week now. We have the time.

Chad from Gold Coast, Australia

Hey Wes, I'm a bit over a year sober. I'm wondering if what you guys call root beer is what we call ginger beer over here. I'm more partial to a kombucha these days though.

I'm also a big kombucha guy, Chad. Congrats on your sobriety.

David from Riverside, CA

Wes, I loved your Paul Harvey reference to close out Thursday's Inbox. My dad and I used to carpool to work together when I was just starting my career and we both lived and worked near one another. "The rest of the story" would come on the radio during our drive home every afternoon, and we enjoyed listening to, and then discussing each story as we inched toward home through the gridlock. Thanks for this wonderful reminder. I am calling dad tonight. Memories make us rich, indeed!

Same deal for me. My dad used to listen to Paul Harvey all the time and I grew to enjoy him, as well. I also enjoyed paging through YouTube Wednesday and listening to old clips. That was a stroll down "Memories make us rich" lane.

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