Inbox: It’s all part of the picture

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Curtis from Waukesha, WI

Now that the Pack has signed a few free agents in areas of need on defense and look to have shored up some weak spots, am I crazy to want them to add more defensive talent with their first-round picks?

Not at all.

Zach from Clarkfield, MN

Watching my Twitter feed the past few days has been exciting, though I do appreciate how you both do your due diligence in waiting until things are official before putting everything on the Packers website. If I may ask, are stories prepped when news comes out through something like Twitter but then just published after it's official? Or do y’all wait until it is official to start writing the articles?

I spent a good portion of Tuesday prepping a series of “Five things to know” pieces about each free agent, so they’re ready to go. We’ve just been waiting for the contracts to be signed and for the players to pass their physicals. Could be any hour now.

Ryan from Sun Prairie, WI

Now that we are “done” with free agency can you please provide a pick-by-pick list of who Gute will select in the upcoming draft?

As soon as I get my dart board set up and have my click-bait headline ready, sure.

Bryce from Anchorage, AK

How important do you think sacks are compared to pressures? It seems we as fans get hung up on how many sacks a guy has without considering pressures generated. I would say pressures are almost as important because they force an offense to go off-script and significantly increase likelihood of a positive outcome for the defense. I’d be interested how the “Smiths” combined sacks and pressures last year compared to our top players.

I thought I addressed this yesterday.

John from Los Angeles, CA

A lot of people are worried about Za'Darius Smith's price tag, but it was reported that the Packers tried to trade for him previously. Have faith in the signing! The Packers obviously did their homework and really like this guy, so they made sure to get him.

I sense all the players Gutekunst pursued this year were targeted because the projection was their best football remains ahead of them. Yes, that costs considerably more, but if you project correctly, it’s worth it.

Kevin from Rockton, IL

I wouldn't call this a splash in free agency – it’s more like a tsunami. Other than the Reggie White signing, I don't recall anything even remotely close to this. Is it likely that one free agent knew what the other free agent was doing?

Doubt it. Nothing appeared to leak regarding the Packers’ plans until the various terms were agreed to, and then the news flooded the wires all at once.

Tom from Shalimar, FL

Now that big needs have been filled with free agents I think if one of the top quarterbacks in the draft is available near the 12 spot watch the Packers draft Rodgers' heir apparent.

I’m seeing this suggested a lot, and it makes no sense to me. Why would you spend your most valuable pick on a future QB when you have Rodgers under contract for five more years, and practically speaking you’d have to make a decision on a second contract for said future QB before he really even gets to play? Use what you’ve got to win with a Hall of Famer now. Full stop. As for all the comparisons to the Favre/Rodgers situation, there is none. Favre’s annual retirement talk started at age 34, which gave the Packers no choice but to be prepared. Rodgers has spoken often about a desire to play to age 40, and he’s given no reason to question that desire.

Steve from Middletown, KY

I'm happy to get the proven talent in the Smiths and Amos. I think all three are proven and coming into their prime years. Do signings like this really energize the players as much as the fans? Or, do they have to get in the locker room and on the field so they can see for themselves? Don't know much about him, but do you think the OL from Denver will be a starter this year?

Generally speaking, I think veteran players whose place on the team is secure get fired up when they see their front office making bold moves to improve, but no one really knows how they’ll fit until they’re in the locker room every day. Other players know it just got harder to make the team and/or earn playing time. If the reports on Turner’s contract are accurate, it would seem to indicate the Packers are paying him to start.

Jeff from Redondo Beach, CA

Insiders, obviously, the team spent a lot of the available cap space at need positions. With those investments on the books now, I am hoping they still have the available capital to bring back Breeland, as I believe he is not only a contributor but also a great mentor to the young corners in that room. Have you heard anything on his status, and/or the Packers’ interest?

As I said before, I’d like to see Breeland back as well, but with all due respect I couldn’t care less about the mentor aspect. I’d want him to ball out and help win games on the field, period. I realize every locker room needs a few mentor types, but I think fans and media latch onto that narrative too quickly and too often. This is a cut-throat business and a highly competitive locker room is not a bad thing, either. There’s a balance, which is why I loved it last year when the first thing Tramon Williams said about being brought back was, “I’m here first and foremost because I can still play.” But getting back to Breeland, especially after what happened to him last year, I suspect he’s looking to get as much as he can, so it’s hard to say whether that fits in the Packers’ plans.

Dave from Eau Claire, WI

I thought Spoff's comment yesterday about being able to make FA additions this year due to not having any major second contracts from the 2015 draft class was an interesting way to view Tuesday’s activities. From that perspective, and given that all of the new additions are going into their second contracts, what Gute has done, in essence, is manufactured a new 2015 draft class for the Packers moving forward. I like the way he operates.

Proven veterans have to come from somewhere.

On April 6, 1993, Reggie White sent shockwaves through the NFL when he decided to sign with the Green Bay Packers.

Craig from Milwaukee, WI

Do you think the Packers will still go with a defensive player with the early pick in the first round? I think they should.

If a defensive player is the best guy on the board, yes, absolutely.

Scott from Lincoln City, OR

Mike, you made a comment yesterday that implied the reason we've been able to make such a big splash in free agency this year is because we basically had a bad draft in 2015. You may have to remind the Inbox about that in years to come. I personally hope that's the case because I think scoring big in the draft is better in the long run than scoring big in free agency (Reggie White being the exception). Would you agree?

Not to sound like a broken record, but yes, absolutely. Re-signing your own can be (a little) less expensive and comes with less risk as far as fit, culture, motivation, etc.

Carl from Lincoln, NE

With all the free-agent signings the Packers have made since Brian took over as GM and all the activity the Browns have had under new leadership with an influence of former Packers staff, do you sense there was any frustration by Ted Thompson's staff during the final years he was there with his draft-and-develop approach?

I won’t attempt to decipher any individual’s emotions, but it’s the job of personnel executives to find players and suggest moves they feel can help the team, and the job of the GM to make the final call. That’s how it works. It would only be natural to want to see more of your groundwork bear fruit. But in the end, it’s about the final results in January, not in March.

Bill from Bloomfield Hills, MI

Does anyone else feel the need to become a Browns fan for an AFC choice?

I said without hesitation a year ago Dorsey would have that team in the playoffs in two years. I’m confidently standing by that.

Patrick from Valrico, FL

So it looks like Bell will have to settle for 13M a year with 35 guaranteed. Steelers were offering 14 a year with 33 guaranteed and five years not four. It seems he simply took a $14M vacation for one year is what I see. Don’t get me wrong I would love to make anything near this amount, but do you think Bell is just a bit disappointed?

He had to know when he declined Pittsburgh’s offer and decided to sit out the year he wasn’t going to get a better deal. It was as much about not letting the Steelers benefit from his services at that point.

Matthew from Greenwood, IN

No comments on Nick Perry? I sincerely wish him and his family the best. Any favorite memories of him? Mine's the hit he laid on Andrew Luck, even though it was flagged it still made me smile from ear to ear.

That hit on Luck was an all-timer, and an absolute shame it got flagged. He’d probably get ejected for it now.

Mychael from Jaguaruna, Brazil

Looking at Perry’s stats when healthy (even not fully sometimes) you can only wonder what this guy would be able to accomplish given better luck injury-wise. Wish him and his family the best.

Couldn’t agree more. Looking back, I don’t think any of Perry’s injuries were of the soft-tissue variety (hamstring, etc.). They were all joint or bone types that resulted from either rough luck or his rather violent style of play.

Robin from Kenosha, WI

Spoff mentioned TE, edge rusher, RT, and S as the biggest needs to address in the draft after an active Day 2 of free agency. I think corner is an under-the-radar need for the Packers as well. In today’s NFL there are at least three corners on the field almost all of the time and it is a position that has frequently been decimated by injuries in the past. Would you include CB in that top tier of positions of need for the Packers?

You never have enough corners these days, so you can almost never go wrong taking a corner who’s BAP on the board. What happens with Breeland will determine where/how corner is prioritized as a need.

David from Appleton, WI

Under the "if it's paid, it's capped" idea, how do restricted free agents count at the start of the league year? Do they count toward the Packers’ cap until signed by someone else? Are the Packers then relieved of their cap number if they are signed elsewhere?

If an RFA tender is extended, that figure counts against the cap. (The Packers tendered Allison but not Brice, regarding their two RFAs.) If the player signs an offer sheet elsewhere, that figure counts against the cap of his new team. If the original team matches, the tender charge is tossed and the cap is reconfigured with the new deal. If the original team declines, the new deal goes on the new team’s cap and the original team’s tender charge is dropped.

Paul from Beaver Dam, WI

Biff/Spoff, I see Gute double-dipped on a single position, this time in FA and not the draft. With some of the glaring needs shored up a bit how much does it help Gute going into the draft knowing he can draft the best player on the board without sweating about filling perceived needs?

That’s pretty much the comment I made yesterday. While I believe Gutekunst is a BAP adherent in the draft, screaming needs (as opposed to annual, garden-variety types) can impact strategy. He quieted things down in his own draft room.

Jason from Austin, TX

"[Vic] covered five teams that all went to the playoffs." Since Vic's retirement, the Packers haven't been to the playoffs. The problem is clearly inside the II program. Are you guys wearing khakis and organizing your sock drawers appropriately? II needs to have FULL CONSISTENCY!

I feel like I just stepped through a time warp.

Jim from Fort Laramie, WY

Spoff mentioned three Smiths in the same room yesterday. It appears that two people with the same first and last name may be drafted in the top 10 in consecutive years. Has anything like that ever happened before? (And I sure like Josh Allen from Kentucky, plus wish our Wyoming Josh Allen well in Buffalo.)

I saw one site reference the closest incident – Roy Williams the safety drafted No. 8 overall in 2002, and Roy Williams the receiver drafted No. 7 overall in 2004. The two eventually became teammates with the Cowboys briefly in 2008.

Daniel from Los Angeles, CA

My favorite part of the signings is that they’re signed for several years. However, the numbers do seem scary. Do you think the Packers intend to simply cut one of them after just two years to not let that number be against the cap?

Only if a player underperforms. If they perform, these guys are here and will be making market rate for productive, veteran starters. The cap has been going up about $10-12 million annually, and the Packers know their cap charges for Rodgers for the foreseeable future. It’s all part of the picture. Douglas explains it well, too.

Douglas from Overbrook, KS

Looking at the financials of the deals, they all give the options to get out after Year 2 before the big cap charges come. Feels like they are glorified prove-it deals. They'll get the big money in Years 3 and 4 if they produce. If they don't, they get cut. Smart way of doing business for both sides. The players earned their signing bonus but they have to be productive to get the full money. And the draft will give us the players to take over in two years if they don't. Good job, Gutey.

The Year 2 cap charges aren’t peanuts, so “glorified prove-it deals” might be a bit heavy-handed. But as was discussed yesterday with Perry, to get out of a deal, a team can weigh the cap consequences via the post-June 1 designation option, too.

Gary from Davenport, IA

Mike, is it true that you got into Northwestern based on your ability to row a boat? What did you think about the college admission scandals?

All I can say is my GRE scores were legit.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

So they weren't one player away, now the question becomes are they four FA and two first-rounders away?

We’ll find out.

Bill from Fort Worth, TX

Mike, so now wondering if Wes was willing to throw down to defend his court, is there going to be at least a little hesitation before stealing his lunch?

Y’all are pretty good sometimes. Happy Thursday.

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