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Inbox: It's an unpredictable animal

There’s no telling how things will go

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2021 Draft stage

Ed from Portland, ME

As a Packer fan since gas was 31 cents a gallon and proud owner, I'm glad the front office is doing their best to try to create a championship-caliber team for next year. Tough decisions will have to be made but other teams face the same problem. What do you feel is the biggest need in the draft position-wise?

31 cents a gallon? Wow. These days we'd all be thrilled to revert to 31 dimes a gallon. I want/need to see how the next several weeks play out before being pinned down to a definitive answer, but for now it remains the one I've previously given – defensive line. The Packers have used only one first- or second-round pick at the position in the last eight drafts.

Gary from Sheboygan, WI

Insiders, looked at your Packers site, nothing. When is the official notice and all the info going to be reported?

When Aaron Rodgers' contract is finalized, signed and filed with the league office, the team will issue a press release as official news and that will be posted on our site. The Adams franchise tag is official, but the organization chose not to announce it formally.

Janet from Cedarburg, WI

Who benefits more? The Packers having AR back or Seattle's trade package for Russell? What if there was a choice between AR returning and the same trade package for GB that Seattle got, which would grade out better? I know it can be subjective so just your opinion is what we're looking for.

I think the respective decisions speak to where both teams believe they are. Seattle does not feel it's on the verge of a potential championship or it wouldn't have traded an upper-tier QB. The Seahawks missed the playoffs last year, have won just one playoff game since 2016, and haven't reached an NFC title game since the one that shan't be discussed. They're going into full rebuild mode, and releasing Bobby Wagner to save $16M on the cap was another move in that direction.

Eric from Kenosha, WI

Good day. It was a big day around here, for sure, but can you imagine what kind of an emotional whipsaw Tuesday must have been for a Denver Broncos fan?

Now the question becomes how memorable it'll be. Time will tell.

Nicholas from Baltimore, MD

Wow, Russell Wilson's trade marks the end of an era for Seattle. NFC West has become the NFL's most competitive division. Can't imagine the Seahawks will be relevant for the next 2-3 years, regardless of Pete Carroll's magic. Farewell to what's been one of the best Packers' rivals in the past decade. PS: How much of Rodgers' decision to return came down to the vortex of monster QBs residing in the AFC? Best shot at Super Bowl is definitely in the NFC now.

Rodgers hasn't spoken regarding his decision, so I'm not going to speculate how much that factored into his thinking. But on the surface, yeah, based on the QB distribution (even before Wilson to Denver), the path to a Super Bowl in the NFC has fewer roadblocks than in the AFC.

Justin from Ivins, UT

I remember reading somewhere Rodgers saying how impressive it was that Brett Favre won three MVPs in a row and that it likely would never be done again. Rodgers is one of the most calculating individuals I have ever seen. I truly believe we are going to be in for a jaw-dropping year as Rodgers makes a run to be only the second player to ever win three in a row, and only the second player ever to bring home five MVP awards. Do you think it's inconsequential fluff or motivation to soar higher than ever?

I don't believe Rodgers is motivated by MVPs, and he'd trade some of his for another ring. I think he's motivated by winning, and he knows as well as anyone the more he's playing at an MVP level, the better the chances the Packers will win. It's as simple as that to me.

Bob from Racine, WI

What with the QB now at $50 mil and assuming Davante Adams at $20 mil, that's nearly 34% of the allowed cap of $208 mil. Can a team secure great players when only two consume so much of the annual cap? How do other players feel about taking pay cuts to pay two players more money?

My apologies, but for those asking this question (and other similar ones), I don't have enough time or space to explain all the permutations of the salary cap. What I will tell you is for 2022, Rodgers won't count $50M against the cap, and Adams won't count $20M if a long-term deal is reached. That's not how the Packers are structuring contracts right now.

Robert from Verona, WI

The general consensus (for whatever it's worth) seems to be that the tagging of Davante Adams will lead to a record-setting new contract in Green Bay. However, it's not out of the realm of possibility that another team makes him an offer that the Packers just can't match based on their salary cap situation. If that happens, the Packers would receive two first-round picks, correct? How does that compensation work – would it be the 2023 and 2024 picks from the signing team?

Correct. One minor clarification, though. If such an offer were to come Adams' way, he would have to sign the offer sheet to force the Packers to match it.

Craig from Cortland, NY

Is the next domino that needs to fall Davante's long-term deal? If not that, then what comes next in your opinion? Would it be ideal if that was done before the "legal tampering" window begins? What is the likelihood of that happening and what are the implications if it does? Ditto if it doesn't?

I do believe a long-term deal for Adams is next, with Alexander close behind if not parallel. Because I imagine the Packers would strongly prefer to count something less than Adams' $20M tag number and Alexander's $13M fifth-year option against the cap come next Wednesday. If either or both get done by next Monday's tampering start, the Packers will be in better position to retain their highest priority free agents (such as Campbell) before the free agency bell officially rings on Wednesday. Once that door is open, there's no telling how things will go.

Ty from Garland, TX

Now with Rodgers back in the fold do you think the Packers' brain trust includes him in discussions on the possibility of taking a WR in the first or second rounds of the upcoming draft?

Interesting question. Maybe on the periphery, but I'm not sure what input he could provide if he's not grinding tape on prospects, and I don't see Rodgers spending his offseason doing that. Plus, once the draft actually gets underway, it's an unpredictable animal.

Steve from Kansas City, MO

Do you think a banger like Leo Chenal (ILB Wisconsin) will be around in the third round? Would be a great special-teamer and possible answer when our All-Pro linebacker goes off in free agency. No way we can sign all our good ones, is there?

I believe the Packers will do everything they can to keep De'Vondre Campbell. But regarding Chenal, I had seen him projected as a mid-round pick, and then he killed it at the combine and Wisconsin's pro day in all the testing drills, showing more raw athleticism than many thought he had. I'm sure that improved his draft stock. How much? No clue.

Phil from Marietta, GA

OK, now that THAT'S out of the way, we're on to the draft. Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson is slated by many to be the No. 1 overall pick. But he was completely neutralized in the national semifinal by Georgia. Does one bad game against good competition make for a likely fall in the draft?

Probably not. The whole body of work is studied, and scouts are projecting what they believe a player will become. I don't know if Hutchinson will go first, but I don't expect him to be on the board for long.

Gavin from Albuquerque, NM

Here's my take on the purported hypocrisy in dealing with Calvin Ridley: The league is embracing gambling from the fan base/sponsor perspective, but that does not mean a league insider, with influence on the games and their outcomes, can participate. It's an intended double standard more so than hypocrisy.

Very true, but the questionable optics don't make the lines any clearer to walk.

Dave from Huntsville, AL

What do you think of the Buccaneers putting the franchise tag on a receiver who suffered an ACL in Week 15?

There must be a lot of confidence in a full and fast recovery for Godwin for the Bucs to believe he would have generated a prohibitive level of interest on the free-agent market.

Jim from St. Paul, MN

Now we know that BG made a mistake moving up to draft Jordan Love. Question is, will he keep him as a backup or trade him?

I wouldn't call the Love pick a mistake. As I've said in this space many times, the pick surprised me because I expected an immediate-impact selection with the Packers having just gone to the NFC title game. But I understood why Gutekunst made the move. He needed to think about the future as a hedge against the trend of Rodgers' play over the 2018-19 seasons. As it turned out, Rodgers was not on the decline, and it can be argued the pick motivated Rodgers to some degree. How much? I have no idea, but to say none would be ignoring human nature.

James from Appleton, WI

Why do people think the Packers will now trade Jordan Love? He's not expensive this season as backup QBs go and he's likely their best option as backup in terms of experience in the system. Sheesh.

Seems pretty clear-cut to me, too, barring a head-turning offer.

Marty from Janesville, WI

Mike, with word of Washington's acquisition of Carson Wentz and the supposed interest that Indy had in Jordan Love during the 2020 draft, could you see Gutey pulling the trigger on a potential Love to Indy trade if he's blown away?

Anytime a GM is truly blown away, he has to consider it.

Peter from Morganfield, KY

Morning! I don't know if anyone else listens to Straight Outta Vegas, but their opinion on the radio last night was that the news of A-Rod's extension wasn't all that good for the Pack. The gist was, "But how do they get over the Super Bowl hump without getting better as a team, and how does A-Rod coming back make the team substantially better?" Seems like they're ignoring a lot: return of David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins and Jaire Alexander, continued growth of Allen Lazard, Eric Stokes, Amari Rodgers, a new ST coordinator...

There's also a difference between getting better and simply playing better in the big moments. The Packers can certainly do both, but their downfall the last two years has been less about the construction of the team and more about the level of play in January not matching the proven capabilities of the previous four months.

Drake from Huntsville, AL

How much if any consideration is given to future unknown salary cap raises when writing a player's contract? Does Russ Ball ever prognosticate what the future salary cap will look like when writing a multi-year contract with intention that the contract will get re-worked in the future?

Sure.

Matt from Waunakee, WI

Hi Mike, what's your opinion of larger bases, banned shifts and pitcher clocks?

Baseball has to become more entertaining to the casual fan, especially on television, or the game will begin (continue?) fading irreparably from the collective consciousness. If shift bans and pitch clocks – changes that don't alter anything fundamental about the game as it's been played for over a century – will make the game more attractive, I think MLB should implement them.

Florian from Kronach, Germany

Little correction on Matty from Troy, MO's story about Ludwig and Therese. He unfortunately mixed them up. The Ludwig who drowned in Lake Starnberg in 1886 was Ludwig II. The one who married Therese later was known as Ludwig I (and the festivities with the marriage in 1810 then became known as the Oktoberfest). We've had many Ludwigs in Bavaria, so this can become confusing.

I'm back in Vinnie Barbarino mode again.

Dan from Toledo, OH

Can't say I remember an offseason day as noteworthy as Tuesday. My excitement level for 2022-23 promptly quadrupled! And it got even better with yet another top NFC QB leaving the conference. Is it September yet?

T-minus 185 days and counting until the Sunday of Week 1. Happy Thursday.

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