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Inbox: He's clearly done that now

Everybody can and will

CB Carrington Valentine
CB Carrington Valentine

Don from Cincinnati, OH

How long do you have to read II until you start catching all the inside jokes? Asking for a shy friend.

The dead zone is almost here.

Jeff from Wentzville, MO

In an answer about Tom Clements from Rick from Trempealeau, WI, Spoff said, "...I interviewed Clements recently for a feature story going into this summer's Packers Yearbook..." Do you currently have any idea when/how said Packers Yearbook will be available for purchase?

Provided all deadlines are met, it should be in the Pro Shop and at various stores around the state a few days before training camp starts. At some point before that, the Pro Shop website will start taking advance orders, but not yet.

Jason from Boulder, CO

I found the "Winter Warrior" moniker the Vikings are giving their alt uniforms very amusing given they play indoors.

You weren't the only one.

Josh from Newhall, CA

I just saw on the Vikings unveiled a new alternate uniform. So they're really going to call them "Winter Warrior" uniforms? And they're going to wear these in December … inside their cozy, warm indoor stadium? They sure like to make it easy. If I had a Twitter/X account, I would love to post a reply to the Vikings' post, featuring the Packer's "Winter Warrior" uniforms, with a picture of … our regular uniforms.

I like that idea.

Fredrick from Okatie, SC

I'm of the belief that once you sign a contract you need to live with it for the life of the contract. Having a great year doesn't mean you'll be great the next year. If everyone who has a great year gets a new contract, the reverse should be if you have a bad year you should get a cut in pay. I really think the owners need to make it clear that you need to accept what you agreed to. Maybe if an owner said if you don't like it then go home and not get paid.

Except clubs can terminate contracts at any point when they feel the player, as long as he's healthy, isn't living up to it, and the owner is only on the hook for the guaranteed money in the deal, not every dollar of salary. Clubs do less honoring of contracts than players do in the NFL, believe me. The financial parameters are very different in the MLB and NBA. I never begrudge an NFL player for trying to get what he can when he can. It's a cut-throat business with the shortest of careers.

Joe from Liberty Township, OH

With Corey Linsley announcing his retirement, it's a good time to remember how valuable he's been to the Packers. As a fifth-round pick (No. 161) he was good enough to start at center for seven years in Green, allowed the Packers to let JC Tretter leave in free agency rather than pay a second contract, and then when Linsley left for the Chargers he yielded a fourth-round comp pick (No. 140) that turned into Zach Tom. All from a fifth-round pick. That's draft value.

He didn't just hold down a starting spot for seven years, either. He made the PFWA All-Rookie Team ('14) and earned first-team All-Pro ('20). All the best to Corey and his family in retirement. Was always told he was the strongest O-lineman on the team but I regret never getting a chance to see him actually work out in the weight room.

CJ from Cedar Rapids, IA

Could Aaron Jones get away with a Lambeau Leap in a Viking uniform?

I'm hoping we don't have to find out.

Steve from Lake Stevens, WA

Aside from being younger, which is not no big deal at the position, what dynamic does Josh Jacobs bring to the offense that Aaron Jones may have lacked?

There's more power to his overall game without being much, if at all, slower than Jones. The Packers also decided to play the odds, age-wise, on durability with the investment. While Jones had put many of his early-career injury issues behind him, missing only four games from 2019-22, he did miss a personal-high six games last season and was limited in several others, carrying the ball fewer than 10 times in six games he appeared in. Jacobs did miss four games last year but has missed only eight over his five-year career.

Walt from Skandia, MI

A couple weeks ago there was talk from the NFL about the 18-game schedule. It seemed kind of out of the blue. Now the past week the NFLPA talked about the new offseason schedule they are looking for. Do you think there are already ongoing talks to reopen the contract and make those two changes?

It's entirely possible. The union's idea has yet to be made into a formal proposal, though, as far as I know. If/when that happens, then we'll see.

Jason from Austin, TX

If colleges are producing starting-caliber wide receivers in the later rounds, I think the position to pay a premium for is cornerback. I know CBs are already a premium position, but their cap value is less. Jaire is the highest at $21 mil and Ward is second at $20 mil. I think the combination of Jaire and Ward for $41 million would be better for a team than Tyreek Hill for $30 million. What do you think?

I'd tend to agree, but getting two corners of that ilk on your squad is next to impossible. It's difficult enough for most teams to find one. Top-flight corners are a lot harder to come by. I think what's happening in the receiver market is only going to jack up the prices for top corners. The cycle just needs to get there.

Dave from Rockford, IL

I have read many positives articles about our new defensive coach. That brings back memories of my reading many positive articles about Coach Barry before his first season, but seeing the other team march up the field with no problems his first game. I am hoping the new coach has much better results. Our opponents are now busy preparing for our new defense. Do you think they have any chance at finding holes?

Oh, they'll find holes. Everybody can and will. The crux of it is whether the defense can stem the tide when that happens, disrupt an offense's rhythm when it finds one, and as I always say, make key plays at key times.

Marc from Holmen, WI

Agree with you that replay discussions will not go live. Turning to another sport as an example, in Oct. 2023 there was a huge controversy when the English Premier League released the discussion associated with an incorrect VAR decision that adversely affected Liverpool. Exactly the scenario you envisioned transpired where the officials did not seem to understand or interpret the rules correctly, leading to mistrust in both VAR and the officials. Can't see the NFL making that mistake.

Not a chance.

Josh from Seattle, WA

Rather than look at it like not having a No. 1 wide receiver, how about we look at it like each receiver is the No. 1 talent at something. Watson is straight-line speed, Doubs is best hands, Reed is the quickest or most athletic, Wicks is the strongest and most physical, Heath is the best blocker, Melton is the best route runner, and IDK about DuBose and Toure. Also, we may be safe to say the GBP have the No. 1 most competitive receiver room. What do you think about my evaluation?

It may not be too far off, but I admit all these receivers are so young it's hard for me to pinpoint a specific superpower that separates each from the others. What occurred to me the other day watching practice was how similar, physically speaking, certain guys looked. Reed and Melton, Doubs and Wicks, Heath and DuBose, Toure and Stanley. They aren't carbon copies of one another but reasonable pairs. The guy there's no comp for is Watson. He's the one who makes defenses play the Packers differently, which makes him a No. 1 in the X's and O's/chess match definition. Production-wise, it's anybody's label to snag.

Al from Green Bay, WI

In "Three Things" Larry told us that Carrington Valentine went from last year's playing weight of 180 pounds to over 200 pounds during the offseason. Is there an ideal or target weight for cornerbacks? How big is too big to play the position?

The ideal is to be as strong as you can without sacrificing speed. Bulking up and losing a step won't help at that position. Valentine is only 22 years old. He had room to grow into his body, and he's clearly done that now.

Frogger from Marinette, WI

It seems that everyone has Eric Stokes and Ja as the starting corners. Does Carrington Valemtine have a chance to surpass Stokes?


Michael from Winfield, IL

Offense looks deep, defense looks deep, only real question on ST is kicker. Do the Packers need to do more to address ILB? Seems to be the weakest position on the team heading into training camp.

If by weakest you mean unproven, that's probably correct, because nobody really knows how Cooper and Hopper will do as rookies. The Packers spent their free-agent dollars elsewhere and addressed inside 'backer twice in the top 100 in the draft. That's a significant investment to go with a previous first-round choice in Walker and two experienced role players in McDuffie and Wilson. They form a quintet I can live with when only two will be on the field most of the time.

Jim from St. Pete Beach, FL

Hello Mike! There's been a lot of talk about competition at the kicker position. Could a young kicker benefit from sitting behind a veteran, much like the QB position? I realize it takes a roster spot, but in the case that a kicker like Carlson, with a potential huge upside, gets "out-kicked" this summer, would a team like the Packers ever make that investment?

I doubt it. Kickers don't develop without kicking in games.

Vinny from Green Bay, WI

Mike, regarding the NFL and money Wes stated, "I get it's a bottom-line business but I'm growing increasingly disenchanted with the league's need to wring every cent out of fans' wallets." I'm curious as to your thoughts re: the future Vegas A's. Vegas is paying $1.5B for the stadium, and now the A's are petitioning to play eight games (10% of home games) at a neutral site to expand their fan base. Pay for our stadium, but we don't want to play all our games there. Seems like a slap in the face.

I get where you're coming from. But if growing the fan base means more fans making treks to Vegas to see them play there, I get that, too.

Kyle from St. Charles, MO

Randomly topical. We had two subs for softball this past Sunday prompting me to say, "So, we've got Derek, Doug, Dev, Dave . . . and Derek. The 5 D's of softball." Anyhoo, with the offseason FA and draft signings where do you think we've most improved our roster since the end of last season considering the players that have since moved on? I'd wager the secondary with Xavier and the draftees. But, I'm also interested to see the new RB mix and an entire healthy offense (fingers crossed).

I expect the Packers' safety position to be most improved, maybe not right away, but certainly by midseason after McKinney and a starting rookie get a handful of games under their belts in Hafley's system.

George from Olympia, WA

Do we cut any WRs?

There are currently 11 on the roster. Injuries aside, four or five will not make the 53, with a couple being retained on the practice squad.

Craig from Brookfield, WI

It's shocking to see the NFL toying with the idea of an 18-game season! With all the attention paid to reducing injuries – concussion protocols, banning hip-drop tackles, kickoff rule tinkering, etc. – how is an 18th game even a consideration? With the size and speed of today's players, we're getting to a point where surviving a full season without injury is highly unlikely. Can the NFL step back from this cliff before Lombardi Trophies are mostly decided by who has the fewest players on IR?

Money trumps player safety, whether it's an 18th game, Thursday night games, Christmas games on Wednesday, and the list goes on. The player safety movement has always been separate from the game's economics.

Doug from Woodington, OH

Mike, I'm guessing you collected your fair share of baseball cards during your youth (and beyond, perhaps). Is there any type of sports memorabilia you currently own that means the most to you? Maybe that could be an inquiry in this year's IO?

I think that's been used in IO before. From my baseball card collection, I treasure the rookie cards I have of the Hall of Fame players I admired in my youth – Yount, Molitor, Ripken, Henderson, Gwynn, Boggs, Sandberg, Mattingly, and many others. I know cards were mass-produced then, so it's not as though any of those rookies will allow me to retire early, but they mean a lot to me.

Dwight from Brooklyn, NY

My question is about charter flights/airlines. Does the NFL contract them out to a carrier or is this done on a team basis? And, related, how are seatings arranged? Obviously given the size of players we're more looking at first-class seats as opposed to cattle car economy. And then, as for people like you, what is your status?

Teams have their own charter deals. Coaches and executives get the first-class seats. Everybody else is everywhere else, with middle seats generally empty. Wes and I are always near the back. It really helps us when they open the back door after we land, but that doesn't always happen.

Russ from Henrico, VA

It's just the planes that are limited to one touchdown, right?

Please see yourself out. Happy Friday.

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