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Inbox: It's a win-win for both sides

The Packers have continued to stay true to the trenches

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TE Robert Tonyan

Steve from Wauwatosa, WI

I sure am glad Mike is gone again so we can get some wide receivers!

Let's see what Week 2 of Spoff-cation has in store for all of us. Good morning from Palm Beach!

Bil from Stateline, NV

Wait. What? Wes will be "working" from Florida next week? Does he get paid for that? Does the team fly him down, or does he have to carpool with Larry? Watch out for Larry's coffee, if you're carpooling, Wes.

Yes, yes, yes and yes (once we flew into Palm Beach). And Bil, I answered this question from the Austin-Straubel airport approximately 30 minutes after you sent it at 3:58 a.m. CT. Sounds like you had a good Friday night/Saturday morning.

Scott from Grovetown, GS

Greetings. It seems to be that the Packers organization is setting up a stout defense and a focus on a run-heavy offense with a QB who is always a threat. Physical football at its finest. Do you share this line of thinking?

I do. You have to play to your strengths and the Packers have continued to stay true to the trenches this offseason. The team will evolve throughout the offseason, but Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon are two of Green Bay's biggest skill-position playmakers regardless of position. Matt LaFleur wants the ball in their hands, but that doesn't necessarily mean running it 35 times a game, either. Both can catch the ball out of the backfield and create plays in space. The Packers have some retooling to do at receiver but there's still plenty of other playmakers to help give this offense, and team, its identity.

Jeffrey from Taylors, SC

How many receivers have the Packers drafted in the first or second round that have made significant contributions to the team during their rookie year?

Sterling Sharpe had 55 receptions for 791 yards and a touchdown as a rookie in 1988. Ten years earlier, James Lofton had 46 catches for 818 yards and six TDs. More recently, Greg Jennings caught 45 passes for 632 yards in 2006. If you throw in James Jones (third round), JJ racked up 47 receptions for 676 yards and two TDs in 2007.

Craig from La Center, WA

With no heir apparent to the aging Aaron Rodgers on the roster, does Gute by default switch to a "win-now" strategy on draft day? It's tough to build a championship team with rookies in key roles.

I don't think there will be a major shift in the Packers' approach to this draft. Gutekunst and Co. are always looking for players who will contribute sooner than later. Teams may have a good idea of what a player's ceiling is, but no one knows for certain what that development process will be like until the team is back on the grass.

Dan from Kenosha, WI

Relative to the questions about limiting the contract of a player by only allowing a position to account for a fixed percentage of the cap – it will happen when the owners feel they can no longer manage the cap or turn a profit under the current construct. (e.g. rookie wage scale) Until then, keep building banks because free agent contracts are gonna break 'em.

I don't see the NFL ever implementing a fixed rate on a position. Not only because it caps a player's earning potential, but it also goes against everything that's made the NFL great. Quarterback is king, but there's more than one way to peel a potato. I think one of the things the league has going for it is that teams can still compete for championships even if they don't have a traditional franchise QB.

Roger from McGrath, AK

Mike Pettine and Mike Smith went to Minnesota and Za'Darius Smith and Chandon Sullivan followed. Luke Getsy went to Chicago and EQ St. Brown and Lucas Patrick followed. Nathaniel Hackett went to Denver and Billy Turner followed. Who am I missing that did the same? I suspect familiarity adds comfort and confidence in the new situations for both players and coaches.

That's usually how these things go when a new head coach and/or GM is hired. There's familiarity there with both the system and the player, and that can be attractive when there's so much other turnover. In Turner's case, he's also played in Denver before coming to Green Bay in 2019.

Craig from London, United Kingdom

Hi II, sorry for another question about Bobby Tonyan, but I seem unable to find any details about his new contract. Has there been any announcements about the length of his new contract that I seem to have missed? GPG

Robert Tonyan returns on a one-year deal, allowing him time to bounce back from the knee injury in hopes of landing a long-term contract next offseason. Meanwhile, the Packers get back a proven playmaker Rodgers trusts implicitly. It sounds like Tonyan's rehab is going well, so I think it's a win-win for both sides.

Thomas from Salem, MA

Hi Insiders, what do you read into when Gutekunst shows up at a specific school's pro day? Do you feel that means that the Packers are heavily considering spending a high pick on a player from that school, or is that just Brian doing standard due diligence on major college programs?

A little of both. There's obviously a method to the madness. Gutekunst's time is too valuable to waste on prospects Green Bay has no interest in. He wants to see what he feels he needs to see. At the same time, Gutekunst is a frequent flier. That's in his DNA. He doesn't leave many days open on his calendar in the month of March and early April.

Steve from Land O Lakes, FL

Good morning Wes and welcome to Florida. Now that Tom Brady and AR will be facing off against each other again this season, I'll assume those tickets will go fast. When do you expect the dates to be announced?

That's going to be a popular ticket. Last year's schedule was released in mid-May, but my guess is that game will be the one networks want in primetime during November sweeps.

Jon from Andover, MN

The Marquez-Valdes Scantling signing by Kansas City is mind-boggling. Not because of KC acquiring him or his potential, but because of how much they paid to get him. Do you think any part of his signing is KC's seeing a weakness with GB, and deigning them an experienced player in Matt LaFleur's offense? After all, you can have the best quarterback on the planet, but if you limit his weapons, you severely hinder him to make plays.

This had nothing to do with Green Bay and everything to do with Kansas City. The Chiefs had a need for speed after trading Tyreek Hill and MVS checks that box in a big way – and good for him. Valdes-Scantling got exactly what the market is paying unrestricted free-agent receivers. I wish him all the best.

Jordan from Virginia Beach, VA

Mike failed to include MVS signing elsewhere as a reason to get potential comp picks. With the size of his contract, wouldn't he be a candidate to contribute toward us being rewarded after this season?

Yes. Free agency isn't over, but OverTheCap currently estimates the Packers would get back a fifth-round compensatory pick for losing MVS in the net-loss formula.

Dave from Germantown, TN

What is the possibility of the Packers bringing in an oft-injured veteran wide receiver (think Julio Jones or Will Fuller) at a veteran's minimum with good attendance bonuses (roster, workout, gameday active)?

I stand by what I said last week. With MVS now in KC, the Packers may need to a veteran depending on what that player is looking for. My thinking is an experienced wideout could help take some of the burden off a young receiving corps that could get even younger during next month's draft.

John from Heber City, UT

There's obviously been quite a bit of speculation on how the Packers address their needs at WR, which are many, combined with all the options they have. To me, though, the answer couldn't be more obvious – they need to draft one (or even two) in the second round. Past is prologue, given all their success in their many WR picks there. It goes against all the data analytics of today, but I believe in karma.

It's a smart bet. I can't think of many NFL organizations over the past 20 years who have hit on more receivers with second-round picks than the Packers (Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Davante Adams). Four picks. Four Pro Bowlers. That is an elite club.

Rudy from Cedarburg, WI

What are the Philadelphia or Tennessee proposals for overtime? What are the chances either will pass the owners and/or players?

My apologies. I went a little too inside baseball on that one, didn't it? In its simplest terms, the Philadelphia (and Indianapolis) proposal is for each team to possess the ball during overtime. The Tennessee proposal is for each team to possess the football during overtime unless the first team scores a TD and converts a successful two-point conversion. I don't know if either passes but there seems to be momentum for making a change with overtime.

Josh from Seattle, WA

Wes, imagine you are an owner at these meetings. What's your one idea that you offer up for the league to consider changing?

Any free agent is eligible for the practice squad. The NFL has allowed that on a provisional basis due to the COVID pandemic but I'd like that change to be made permanent. Personally, I still don't know what the right answer is on overtime. Maybe it is guaranteeing both teams a possession. I don't hate the idea of treating overtime like an extension of the fourth quarter and forgoing another coin toss, but that idea would need to be properly vetted. It would completely alter strategy of the game.

Venny from Montgomery, AL

Has the free-agency frenzy calmed down to the point where most vets will have to wait until after the draft to see where they fit?

We're not there yet. We're in the middle of the second wave. The wave you're talking about typically happens once NFL offseason programs start up in mid-April. I believe unrestricted free agency ends the first week of May. That's a game-changer, too.

Craig from Brookfield, WI

It would be interesting to learn about the phenomenon of fan jersey sales being impacted by favorites being traded or leaving in free agency. There are a lot of '17' jerseys out there that will be replaced! Other than the obvious '12,' which Packers jerseys will we see on all those beer and brat bods next season?

AJ Dillon will be popular - as a player, as a person, and as an adopted Northeastern Wisconsinite.

Rick from Beloit, WI

Welcome to warm weather, Wes. Hope you're enjoying Florida. I've been thinking about our wide receiver position just about every day now and even though I'd be on board with a free agent or trade for a veteran I keep thinking that the Packers brass are maybe being cautious for a couple of obvious reasons. The potential costs and how it would relate to our salary cap, along with the possibility of losing some of our valuable draft capital in the process. What are your thoughts on this subject?

As someone who didn't see the Adams trade coming, it is eye-opening how much that one move altered the cap situation for the Packers. They still gotta be smart, but there's cash in the coffers now if Gutekunst feels there's a free agent or two on the market who can help this team – and we all know what those late-signings did for the 2021 squad.

Karen from Kaukauna, WI

I had asked earlier which Packers FAs were not signed yet and you directed me to your FA site. I didn't see Jaire Alexander there. Was he there and I missed him? I thought I saw a lot of remarks at the end of last season where there was mention of him being up for renewal, and how expensive that would be. Thank you for keeping us so well-informed and up to date!

Alexander isn't a free agent of any kind. The Packers picked up Alexander's fifth-year option, so he's under team control for one more season. However, that is another case where Green Bay could use some of that recently found cap space to lock up Alexander long-term this summer.

Bruce from Fort Myers, FL

Wes, longtime reader of the II, and deeply grateful for the work both of you do. I know people are frustrated by the departures from our receiving corps, but I don't see A-Rod being the reason. As I see it, he does a better job than any QB in the league of protecting his receivers from getting lit up because of his judgment and ball placement, all while helping them maximize their talents. We just need to be patient. It's been built. They will come. Or am I just the crazy guy in the cornfield?

You may be sending questions from a Florida cornfield but you're not crazy. Rodgers is the back-to-back league MVP and deserves to be paid like it. What's more, the Packers have set the market with each of Rodgers' last three extensions. Trust me, every franchise QB is going to be aiming for his APY moving forward, just like 2013 and 2018. The price of an All-Pro quarterback is not going down anytime soon.

Richard from Farmington Hills, MI

OK, Wes. I'm sure all your fans want to know why you had to re-apply for your job. P.S. "Mission Impossible" was a great show!

Because Gannett told us we had to. That's when I knew I needed to find the exit door from newspapers.

Mike from Sarasota, FL

Hello II, in speaking for myself, Wes is at the pinnacle of his game with that response to Lori from Brookfield.

Lori brings the not-as-meh-as-usual out of me.

Cheryl from Strawberry Point, IA

Please tell me they had Wes' favorite beverage on the cart.

They did not. Tears were shed. But the flight attendant brought me a coffee instead and all was made right.

Andrew from Concord, NC

Wouldn't it be "hit the nail on the toe?" I've never heard of a knee nail. Anyway, love your growing tendency to scare words out of their normal expressions. My question: would you rather have a Brett Favre rookie card or a Bart Starr card from around 1970?

It might actually be the Starr card – even though it's from late in his career. Favre's rookie cards – like most set from that time period – were significantly overproduced.

Ron from Mitchell, SD

"Mission Impossible" is a good primer for D-Day on the draft room but might I also suggest "Ocean's 11," which in this case would be "Oceans 2."

I'm game. Your move, Spofford.

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