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Inbox: He sure looks the part

It’s a different discussion


Dennis from De Pere, WI

Good morning, have you both placed dibs on the coaches offices that will be opening up once the construction is complete?

Ha, I wish we ranked high enough around here. In all seriousness, as much as I'd love to have an office instead of a cube, it wouldn't make sense for us to move to third floor with our recording studio here on second.

Keith from Fishers, IN

If they make a movie about the Packers' offseason moves this year, will Jennifer Garner play Melanie Marohl?

What have I done?

Steve from Cedar Falls, IA

Good morning. With the NFC appearing to be becoming "watered" down, will wins against the AFC appear to be more quality wins next fall?

Only if you care about "power rankings."

Connor from Minnetonka, MN

Who's the biggest threat in NFC?

This doesn't mean much before free agency and the draft have taken place, but it's the end of the week so I'll indulge. As things stand right now, I'd say the top five teams in the NFC, in whatever order, are the Rams, Packers, Cowboys, Cardinals and 49ers, but San Francisco comes with the caveat of QB uncertainty.

Oliver from Munich, Germany

Hey II, nothing about the Oktoberfest, but the difference of franchise QBs in the AFC: Maybe this is just a result of the NFC being the better conference for a few years and therefore higher draft positions for the AFC. Now it could be turning the other way.

In part, but not entirely. As far as draft order and the conferences go, remember the Bears chose Trubisky before the Chiefs got Mahomes in 2017, and the Cardinals took Josh Rosen before the Ravens grabbed Lamar Jackson in 2018. Also, the 2019 and 2020 drafts each had three first-round QBs, all chosen by the NFC in '19 and the AFC in '20. The first trio was Kyler Murray, Daniel Jones and Dwayne Haskins. The second trio was Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert.

Scott from New Orleans, LA

While I hope they re-sign Campbell and if they do, do you see MLB still being high on the Packers' needs list?

Certainly not as high, but De'Vondre Campbell will turn 29 this summer, so it wouldn't hurt to get another young, developing player to join Krys Barnes at that spot.

Evan from Vancouver, WA

I'm more excited about the Alexander/Stokes combo in '22 offseason than I was about the Alexander/King combo in '20. I think we could legitimately have the best corner duo in the league. I'm just hoping we find a way to keep Douglas because at that point wide receivers may as well not even come to the stadium on game day. And I know we can't afford it, but could you imagine a Wagner/Campbell ILB room?

There's a reason it's called fantasy football.

Mark from Sturgeon Bay, WI

I believe contract matching rules for tagged players changed throughout the years. I remember an offensive lineman was offered a contract whereby he got a huge bonus for every game played in the state his team was located in. The team who tagged the player obviously couldn't match so they were in another state. I seem to remember the two teams involved were the Vikings and Seahawks.

You're recalling the famous "poison pill" saga involving Minnesota and Seattle in 2006. Guard Steve Hutchinson was given the transition tag by the Seahawks, and the Vikings signed him to an offer sheet that included a poison pill – it guaranteed Hutchinson's entire seven-year contract if at any point he wasn't the highest-paid offensive lineman on the team. Seattle had just signed future HOF LT Walter Jones to a record-setting deal, so the Seahawks couldn't match the Hutchinson offer because the poison pill guarantee would've kicked in from Day 1. The Seahawks got their revenge by signing Vikings WR Nate Burleson, who was a restricted free agent, to an offer sheet with its own poison pill guaranteeing Burleson's entire seven-year deal if he played five games in the state of Minnesota in one season, so the Vikings couldn't match. The 2011 CBA mercifully did away with poison pills.

Gary from Cross Plains, WI

Good morning! Please clarify how the cap works with the June 1 date. I get that a post-June 1 cut means a team can spread the remaining cost over this year and next year while a pre-June 1 cut means we count it all this year. Does a team just say they are going to cut a player after June 1 and the cap relief happens right away? Is there a limit on how many players you can cut now with a post-June 1 date?

Teams are allowed to designate up to two players as post-June 1 cuts even if those players are released before June.

Nathan from Manitowoc, WI

Who is the best pure run blocker on the roster? My vote is for Yosh Nijman. Gets movement on drive blocks, gets to the second level with ease, and tries to finish all the time.

I'd have to say Elgton Jenkins, with David Bakhtiari not far behind. I'm very curious, though, what we'll be saying about Josh Myers down the road. He sure looks the part and doesn't even have a full, healthy season under his belt yet.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

Are you surprised that the Bears only got a 2 and 6 for Khalil Mack? A premier EDGE rusher such as this is always talked about with first-round draft picks involved. Do you think it was his cap or injury that caused this?

Mack is 31 years old, coming off a season-ending injury, and is owed $64M over the final three years of his deal. I think all of that factored into the Chargers not having to give up a first-round pick to get him.

V from Middleton, WI

Has there been a position that's never been franchise tagged? If there is, would that position be considered the least valuable?

I'm not aware of a position that's never been franchise tagged in the nearly 30-year history of the tag.

Steve from Eatonton, GA

I know that players receive their annual salary in game checks. When a contract is restructured and salary is made into a signing bonus, for cap reasons, do the players receive the entire amount of the "new" signing bonus up front and thus have smaller game-day checks? Or does the payment schedule remain the same? If they receive the new bonus up front, it would seem to be a "no-brainer" to always accept an offered restructure. Money in hand, so to speak.

Generally speaking, if salary is converted into signing bonus, the player gets all the money immediately, though there can be a payment calendar built into the agreement as well. If a team is trying to maximize its cap room, it'll take a $10M salary, convert $9M into a signing bonus that gets paid right away but spread out for cap purposes (perhaps with void years if necessary), and then the player collects a $1M league-minimum salary over the course of the season.

Jeff from Brooklyn, WI

Hi guys, when a player goes on IR do they still collect a paycheck every week and does it still count towards the cap hit?

Yes, they still get paid and the money gets capped. Whether or not they get their full salary depends on their contract, if there's split-salary language based on injury status. Many rookie contracts contain split-salary provisions. Most veteran contracts don't, though some have weekly roster bonuses for being active on gameday, which serve as a pay/cap reduction in the event of injury.

Dwight from Brooklyn, NY

Russ Ball's name has popped up a lot lately, and with good reason. Given how important he is to the organization, since we fans know so little about him, will we be seeing an article about Mr. Ball anytime soon?

Russ prefers to stay out of the spotlight and not make himself available to the media. I've been fortunate enough to interview him twice for feature stories – one for the website not long after he arrived here in 2008, and one for the Packers Yearbook in 2018. Both chats were highly educational.

Rod from Chugiak, AK

Lingering effects of injuries contributed to Aaron Rodgers' dip in performance, driving BG's drafting of Jordan Love. AR's return to form was then not only a matter of physical recovery and likely some psychological motivation, but let's not forget that in the offseason before his bounce-back, Rodgers' film study revealed to him a subtle fundamental mechanics error he had been committing. Correcting it appeared to immediately bring back accuracy, contributing to two MVP seasons and now a monster contract.

If I recall correctly, a big assist in correcting the fundamental flaw was the leg workouts mentioned yesterday, so the physical recovery and mechanical reset were tied together to some extent.

Jason from Austin, TX

Insiders, it'll be interesting to see how far Jameson Williams falls in the draft because of his ACL. He was a projected top 10 pick before the injury and now he could fall to the bottom of the first round. If you're a team that's in "win now" mode, like the Packers, would you pick him up if he fell that far? He likely won't recover enough to play until the last quarter of the season, but he could be a high-impact player in 2023. Is that worth a first-round pick for a team like the Packers?

If you believe he's a generational talent at the position, you don't pass him up, even if he can't play as a rookie until December. If he's just one of several impressive receivers with high marks on your board, it's a different discussion.

Joe from Wausau, WI

Aaron Rodgers will turn 39 in December, and apparently will have a contract that could take him several years into his 40s. Does he at some point become the oldest player to don a Packer uniform? Or is he that already?

This is a better question for Cliff, but I do know that kicker Jan Stenerud turned 41 during his final season with the Packers in 1983.

Subhadeep from Middletown, CT

I was keeping a close eye on Tyler Huntley and the Ravens smartly extended the tender to keep him as their backup QB. No disrespect to Love, but Tyler Huntley was the backup QB that I felt was ready to take a starting position with another team. Smart move by the Ravens.

Huntley was an exclusive-rights free agent, so he remains basically on a league-minimum deal. The Ravens would've had to go brain dead to not keep him as an ERFA.

Rex from Laramie, WY

Larry's "Rock Report" mentioned the Pack's defense last year as ranking fourth in the league in "havoc" stats. Is that a real thing the league tracks, or did he just make it up? It certainly sounds plausible, but I've never seen that reported before.

It's not an official league stat. It's a category created by Pro Football Focus that combines several statistics that are officially tracked. Larry rattles them all off in the video.

Kirsten from Madison, WI

My British husband became an American citizen today. The only way to celebrate is to fly to London this fall for the Packers game, right?

That'll work.

Aaron from Brooklyn, NY

My guess is that the only thing that could blow Gute away enough to trade Love would be a player that he just has to have (ala Ted Thompson and Clay Matthews) that he knows won't be available at 28. For me that guy would be Jordan Davis, but there's a reason I get paid to write software rather than run a sports franchise.

And there's a reason I just write about it all.

Brandon from Imperial, MO

Good morning, I have to ask, is this the first offseason in some time the "sign everyone" crowd is quiet or are you both still getting those submissions? The Mack to the Chargers trade is interesting especially because he's out of the NFC North. Is there a contingent who wanted him traded to the Pack? What other insanity are you seeing as we wait for next Wednesday?

I think enough folks understand the Packers' cap situation right now to temper the "sign everyone" mentality, but I'm sure it'll ramp up again, at least a little, next week.

Linda from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Good morning, Mike. Or is Wes back? Are the two of you done with breaks for awhile? Time to back to the daily routine now? (Seems like things were happening when only one of you was covering II.)

I'm vanishing again and Wes will be back at the controls. I guarantee plenty of news with the league year starting while I'm gone. Have a great weekend, everybody.


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