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Inbox: Happy new league year

The best moves often are those made closest to home

LB Quay Walker and DL Kenny Clark
LB Quay Walker and DL Kenny Clark

Dar from Mansfield, TX

Well, all quiet on the Weston front so far.

I'm just sitting here, eating my pancakes, waiting for 12 p.m. CT.

Sal from Hailey, ID

Wes! Wes! I decided to let Aaron Rodgers make his decision before I let myself succumb to the drama of it all, but last night I watched a 46-minute YouTube video on every possible ramification of each of Rodgers' scintillations and I am DONE denying myself the objective good of the Inbox for the undeniable chaos of immediacy. Deal lord, I have missed you all. And my takeaway was either we have one year, or the Jets get two. Either way, Go Pack Go.

Come on in, Sal. The (Inbox) water's fine.

Evan from Durango, CO

The feeding frenzy has started. What reported deals intrigue you the most? I had my eyes on Jesse Bates (Falcons, $64 million). Javon Hargrave to the Niners and Tremaine Edmunds to Chicago are good signings. Obviously, Las Vegas needed a QB.

Happy new league year. Jamel Dean going back to Tampa. A reader asked me Monday if money was no object which free agent I would pursue. Dean was my answer…before he re-signed with the Bucs and I had to delete it. I think Dean is one of the league's most underrated cornerbacks. I know fans enjoy the big-name free agents going to powerhouse franchises, but in my 12 years covering the NFL, I've found the best moves often are those made closest to home.

Jeff from Indian Lake, NY

Just saw the 49ers "reportedly" signed Javon Hargrave. What a case of the rich gets richer. That D-line is ridiculous on paper.

John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan enjoy tossing as many eggs as possible in that defensive-line basket and it's obviously led to a lot of success. Frankly, I cannot think of another team in NFL history that has spent more on its defensive front than San Francisco. If Brock Purdy is the real deal and plays two seasons on a minimum deal, things could get really interesting for the rest of the NFC.

Kristian from Aarhus N. Denmark

Dear Mike and Wes, is it possible to draw an inconsequential guesstimate from the two of you on the question of the nature of the Packers' draft? Are we a) Going heavy on defense, b) Going heavy on offense or c) Drafting in a balanced way and divvying up the picks between O and D? Please, motivate your answers. Thank you for our Daily II Bread.

My guess is C. The Packers have actually drafted more offensive players (24) than defensive (22) during the Brian Gutekunst Era. The largest discrepancy was in 2019 when Green Bay selected twice as many players on offense (six) as defense (three). Ultimately, I think the coming days and weeks will determine which way the scales tip. The Packers have several mainstays among their 16 pending free agents and we all know how March subtractions can influence April additions.

Doug from Lafayette, OH

Good morning, Wes. Much appreciation to Allen Lazard and admiration for his journey. What are your thoughts on the deal the Jets gave him?

Lazard is one of my all-time favorites in Green Bay. He's a gifted athlete who did things his own way, including his commitment to Iowa State when he could've easily gone to a high-profile program. Lazard's story of sitting in Buffalo Wild Wings with his family and friends on draft night, only to not hear his name called, is one that'll stay with me forever. He could've let that disappointment define him. Instead, Lazard regrouped, entered the NFL as a college free agent and made himself undeniable. If all the reports are true, Lazard earned every penny coming his way. He was a total pro who always addressed the media with respect and dignity. I wish him a lifetime of success.

Derek from Sheboygan, WI

Will the Packers bring in a top prospect at safety this offseason? Seems it would bolster this defense with some young talent!

How do you mean? On a pre-draft visit? I would expect the Packers will. They like to cast a wide net on prospects and Gutekunst has been more aggressive than Ted Thompson when it comes to bringing top prospects to Green Bay. In regard to free agency, I'm more lukewarm on whether they'd sign someone. The Packers have to be smart about how they allocate their cap dollars.

Connor from Grand Rapids, MI

I read the nine proposed rule changes, several to expand what can be reviewed and challenged as well as the XFL rule to have a fourth-and-20 to retain the ball after scoring. I thought we were going to get at least a proposed change to the QB sneak and pushing from behind rule?

That was not among this year's proposals and I'm happy about that. Like last year, I don't trust the officials enough for the NFL to implement a fourth-and-20 alternative to the onside kick. One five-yard defensive holding penalty gives the offense possession of the ball and a new set of downs.

Daniel from Toronto, Canada

Apropos of nothing in particular, what do you do to cope with impatiently waiting for news updates? How do you hear from the personnel department when players get signed/traded/released?

I stay off Twitter and wait for Ryan Hartwig to send me something in our Slack channel.

Ron from Trempealeau, WI

Once the future of Aaron Rodgers is confirmed, what's the over/under for Inbox submissions the following day?

Pick a number…and over. And for those who reside under minerals, Rodgers will be live on "The Pat McAfee Show" later today. Content is sure to follow. Coincidentally, it's also the one-year anniversary of his contract extension with the Packers.

Dana from Monument, CO

I'm writing this before any real news comes out about AR's decision. I am a lifelong Packers fan and I'd love (no pun intended) to see AR back for another year with the Packers and finish his career with this one special team. While it worked out pretty well in the Brett Favre to Rodgers transition, in the long run, it just doesn't feel right to have our MVP move on to the Jets (or any other team) again. Am I in the minority?

You're a Packers fan. You've watched two Hall of Fame quarterbacks play at the highest level of this sport for 30 consecutive years. Majority or minority, it's completely understandable to feel whatever emotion you may feel.

Chad from Pottstown, PA

I understand the sentiment, "...he's a first-ballot Hall of Famer, he has earned the right to take however much time he needs to make the decision." My question, are there any rights being a first-ballot Hall of Famer hasn't earned him? I highly respect all professional athletes for their abilities but look at the retirement of an individual playing a "solo" sport (golf, tennis) differently than one playing a team sport when it comes to "rights."

I know several of you got riled up by my comments on Tuesday, but I stand by what I said. Within the realm of football, Rodgers has earned the right to do what he wants because he's done it all in this sport. I want a decision just as badly as you do, but at the end of the day, it's his health, his money, and his decision. Assuming this appearance on McAfee isn't an emergency book club gathering, I'm guessing you'll get the answers your seek soon enough.

Karl from Valparaiso, IN

This may be a moot point by the time you answer it, but I'll ask it anyway. Knowing the Jets are all-in on getting AR, and with other QBs now off the market, wouldn't that give the Packers the opportunity to raise their asking price? Or do you think the details of a trade would have already been agreed to and could not be revisited?

But there are only so many contenders that can afford Rodgers' contract. That's the trade-off. It is a unique situation because I have no earthly idea how the Packers and Jets go about determining the right compensation for a future Hall of Famer who's one season removed from winning back-to-back NFL MVP awards. If something materializes, I'll be just as interested as you to how this all shakes out.

Joel from Kalamazoo, MI

Wes, Favre's first year was 9-7; Rodgers was 6-10. What will be acceptable for Jordan Love's first season?

Favre and Rodgers showed promise in their first seasons as starters. To me, that matters so much more than records.

Matt from Omaha, NE

Pretend you're Brian Gutekunst for a moment, aside from awarding yourself extra vacation days, assuming Love is QB1, how do you approach filling QB2 and 3?

Like I said earlier, Green Bay must spend wisely. Personally, I don't feel Love needs an established veteran as his backup. The guy just spent three years learning from one of the best to ever do it. Instead, I'd draft a QB, maybe even two, like Ted Thompson did in 2008. The Packers also bring back Danny Etling, who has a full year in Matt LaFleur's system.

Ben from Pensacola, FL

Fully aware of what Adam Thielen has done to GB at many points in the past, I don't think it would be wrong for GB to entertain a conversation with him. If Laz and Randall Cobb do leave, we need another veteran in the room for the youngsters to glean off of. Obviously, it would have to not break the bank since he's 32 and has had injuries recently. He may also not be interested in coming if "12" isn't on the team anymore. But who knows?

Gutekunst did say in Indy he'd like a veteran in the receiver room. Thielen would fit the bill of an experienced wideout with pelts on the wall.

Brian from Twain Harte, CA

To add to Louis from Milwaukee's post: When Ryan Longwell was signed by the Packers, he was assigned No. 8 because the number he wore at Cal (4) was already taken.

Time is a flat circle and the butterfly effect is very real.

Take a look at photos of Green Bay Packers S Darnell Savage during the 2022 NFL season.

Ray from Phoenix, AZ

I was glad to hear that I am not the only one high on Jacksonville. It is starting to surround an excellent "can't miss" young QB with some talented players. Do you see the Jaguars as one of the top teams in the AFC next year?

I do…and I feel like they're positioned to run that division for the next few years. As I've said before, Christian Kirk proved to be an excellent signing. I was wrong. I'm sorry, Trent Baalke. Also, I don't think I've ever seen a quarterback throw a ball harder than Trevor Lawrence. That's a "99 Power" arm if I've ever seen one.

George from North Mankato, MN

Good morning, Wes. Which Monopoly money deal has left you scratching your head?

I'm happy for Matt Gay, who was my kicker in fantasy football last season, but I did not have the Indianapolis Colts making him the highest-paid kicker in NFL history on my "Hod's Big Predictions" bingo card.

John from Los Angeles, CA

While I respect everything Davante Adams gave to the organization, I can't help but feel a bit of schadenfreude over his current predicament with the Raiders. Why do you think he forced the trade last year? Wouldn't it make more sense to re-sign with the Packers (especially if they offered more money) and then demand a trade when Rodgers left? Based off his recent posts, he definitely doesn't seem happier now.

Ifs and buts, John. I didn't want Adams to leave, either, but he felt moving back West was in his best interest. Adams had a big 2022 in Vegas and very much remains on a Hall of Fame pace, but I'd be lying if I said going from Aaron Rodgers to Derek Carr to Jimmy Garoppolo is a two-year upgrade.

Michael from Madison, WI

Call me a traitor, but my favorite helmet is the old school Tampa Bay Buccaneers of a pirate with a dagger in his mouth. It was the colors that threw it off. Also, my favorite logo is the Minnesota's viking with the horned helmet. What's your favorite helmet?

I was never a fan of Tampa Bay's old helmet and unis, but I am intrigued by your submission: Which colors would you favor instead? My favorite helmet is either the Packers or Raiders. I'm not sure if the Vikings are in my top 20.

Ed from Minneapolis, MN

Hey Wes, top o' the muffin to ya! Can deals be structured past a player's days on the field? A $34 million cap hit prorated for a million over 34 years would be easier to deal with for some of the premier positions.

NFL signing bonuses can only be spread out over five years for that very reason. There are no Bobby Bonilla deals in this sport.

Jeffrey from Eveleth, MN

Wes, I was thinking the other day (oh boy). I've had multiple Inboxes where I have hit the three things that Jimmy V said to do every day: Laugh, think, and be brought to tears. When that happens, I think, wow, that's quite an Inbox.

That's a full day, Jeffrey. That's a heck of a day.

Nate from Manitowoc, WI

With the Packers' "Timeout for Reading" event coming up in a couple weeks, which past or present Packers player had the best reading voice for children's story time? I would go with Blaise Winter.

Bull's eye. You took the ink from my pen.

Jared from Andover, KS

Seeing how mobile QBs have gashed us so much, is there cap space available for Lamar? The defense and WRs all grew so much last year. Will management pounce?

Spoff...if you're reading this…please come back.

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