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Inbox: It's the next chapter in a legendary story

The Packers remain in a strong position to win this season and beyond

QB Aaron Rodgers
QB Aaron Rodgers

Jan from Flat Rock, NC

Wes, thank you and Mike for all the fine work that you guys do! Just heard that the Senate passed a "Save the Sunshine" bill unanimously to keep us on Daylight Savings Time permanently starting in November 2023. It goes to the House next. Too bad they can't get together on more pressing needs, but it's a start. Hoping to ditch the clock change next year! Happy New NFL Year!

Man, I sure timed that complaint perfectly, didn't I?

Greg from Perkasie, PA

Now that Aaron Rodgers is back with the Packers for the foreseeable future, what are some records that he could potentially break between this year and next year (team or league-wide)?

Rodgers will be the first individual to play 18 seasons with the Packers. He can climb a few spots in NFL annals in career passing yards this season, while continuing to solidify his fifth-place spot in touchdown passes (he needs 60 more TDs to pass Brett Favre for fourth). He also will be vying to join Favre as the only players in NFL history to win three consecutive AP MVP awards. One more would also tie him with Peyton Manning for five overall. The records are great, but Rodgers is back to capture the title that's eluded this team. It's an exciting time. It's the next chapter in a legendary story.

Michael from Granite City, IL

Favre also holds the record for fumbles in a career – not just interceptions. That may not be broken for a while, either. The closest active contender is Tom Brady (who needs about 30-plus). I guess that is what happens when you play every game for 17-plus years.

Nobody did it quite like Brett.

Greg from Bismarck, ND

Russ must be a mathematical genius with the way he structured AR 12's contract. A brilliant philosopher once said, "There are three kinds of people: Those who are good at math, and those who aren't."

The man is a true wizard with the calculator.

Ben from Pensacola, FL

I'm gonna miss Z and Billy. I'm glad that Preston Smith was able to be re-signed, even with most writing him off. Maybe we can even retain Whitney Mercilus, but De'Vondre Campbell's re-signing is the biggest thing. Looking forward to seeing what a healthy Jaire Alexander brings to this defense with Darnell Savage, Adrian Amos, Eric Stokes, and Rasul Douglas (assuming we keep him) in the backfield with Campbell and Krys Barnes in the middle. T.J. Slaton and Jack Heflin's potential growth in Year 2. Gosh, excitement.

Campbell was irreplaceable in my eyes. Keeping him in the fold for the long-term was huge for the defense. The Packers will lose some key guys in the days and weeks to come, but it's always exciting to see which young player grabs the baton and runs with it. AJ Dillon, Rashan Gary, Jon Runyan all did last year. Who's next?

Shannon from Ovilla, TX

Do you see us picking up any free agents next week when the high-dollar, top-of-the-market guys are all signed? If that were to happen, does that mean someone else needs to be cut or restructured to stay under the cap?

Maybe if something makes sense, but I think the Packers will prioritize re-signing their own and then look for potential bargains on the open market like they did last year with Campbell and Dennis Kelly. I don't see them releasing players just to sign players, though.

Bryce from Lorain, OH

I recently read Rasul Douglas was tied for fourth in interceptions for 2021. I can only imagine what his numbers would have looked like had he played the entire season with the Pack. I hope we can get a deal done with him (and MVS) for 2022.

I'll be interested to see what kind of contract Douglas commands. There's just so few comparables with him. With Campbell back, the Packers can't really go wrong with any unrestricted free agent they can re-sign. Douglas, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Robert Tonyan, Chandon Sullivan and Lucas Patrick all brought so much to Green Bay last season.

Steve from Wichita, KS

How does depth in a position in the draft affect how a team views positional needs in FA/draft? Also, with Z being released, is there a chance Whitney Mercilus comes back for depth?

The Packers need to take care of March before the worrying begins about April. Mercilus was a popular addition last season. Assuming his biceps are OK and Mercilus still wants to play, I think it would make sense to bring him back. In addition to being a solid rotational rusher, there's a lot of knowledge Mercilus can still pass down to the young guys.

Bruce from Jackson, WI

Morning Wes & II. If I may be so bold as to add to your statement yesterday about seeing two QBs (AR and TB) of the likes we've enjoyed these past years, it would be over their careers. We'll see QBs shine for a year or two but it's rare when they shine brightly over their entire careers. As you and many others have said, we've seen records being set that will never be broken!

Longevity is what separates both Brady and Rodgers from their peers. Their commitment to dieting is extraordinary. I cannot imagine the amount of discipline it takes to defy Father Time the way those two have. Other than their brief flirtation with retirement this offseason, I still don't think either man has shown any signs of slowing down.

Markus from Aurora, CO

Insiders, will we see AR12 vs. TB12 during the 2022 season?

The Packers will travel to Tampa next season. I'm sure the networks are happy.

Blake from Chugwater, WY

With the Bucs playing in Munich for the NFL's first regular-season game, do you think it is possible Gisele Bündchen, with her German heritage, had anything to do with Brady coming back? I mean if Ma Hod says we're going to Europe, well, then the Hod family is going to Europe then, right?

That's quite the conspiracy you're spinning. All I know is those NFL fans in Deutschland were the week's true winners. It's the polar opposite of that dude and the overpriced Brady football.

Sal from Hailey, ID

Hi Wes, thanks for holding down the fort. So, the difference between the predicted AR contract deal and the actual one, but is that all? I'm assuming one less year means less dead money if '12' and the Pack were to part ways sooner, but I'm no cap expert. Does this put the organization in a better position for the next couple of years?

I don't want to get into the dollars and cents because it's complicated, but just know this is the direction all QB contracts are heading. Kyler Murray, Derek Carr and any franchise QB coming up on an extension is paying attention. Like always, the proration of the signing bonus and void years will lower Rodgers' cap number for this upcoming year. That should give Green Bay enough breathing room to begin building the rest of the roster out. The Packers remain in a strong position to win this season and beyond.

Grant from Janesville, WI

Following up on Dar from Mansfield, all the big free-agent signings were defensive players: White, Woodson, Smith Bros, Peppers, Pickett, and Campbell. It's interesting how many great defensive contributors we've brought in. Who are some memorable offensive free agents over the years?

The Packers haven't had as many big-name offensive free-agent signings, even in the Ron Wolf Era. They built from within around Favre and Rodgers. Billy Turner, Frank Winters, Jahri Evans, Keith Jackson, Marcedes Lewis, Jared Cook, Jimmy Graham and Don Beebe would be the first names that come to mind for me. And of course, Desmond Howard on special teams.

Jeffrey from Eveleth, MN

I understand the logic on cutting Z, but it would have been fun to see him, Preston, and Gary on the field together healthy.

It is a shame. It would've been neat to see what the Packers could've done with all three on the field together in Joe Barry's defense, especially with everything the Smith Bros. did to mentor Gary his first two years.

Brian from Maple Grove, MN

It seems like Gute is definitely going all-in with the re-signings and salary cap gymnastics. With that, do you think he is more likely to trade up in the first round or keep the picks to build depth for the 17-plus game season?

I could see it going either way. Last year was the first time Gutekunst stayed put and drafted where the Packers were picking in the first round. If Green Bay is sold on a prospect, it has the draft capital to go get him. But if the Packers want to sit back and let the board come to them, that option is on the table, too. Just how Gutekunst likes it.

Craig from Iron Mountain, MI

The Packers' history of keeping their own first is huge for the team. And the fact that you don't see a lot of ex-Packers getting gobbled up in the first week of free agency does say a lot about their evaluation process. With that being said, what player do you see out there who has NOT been a Packer, would you like to see in green and gold?

Allen Robinson. I know it won't happen. The Packers have too many other needs right now. But since Robinson left Jacksonville, I felt he would be a good fit in Green Bay. I love his game…and resiliency. He's one of the most underrated players of his era.

Bob from Bella Vista, AR

When I told my son that in MLB a player (in this case Freddie Freeman seeking a six-year contract) is often seen as starting on the downslide of a career (at 31) and he asked, considering how quite a few (it seems) of NFL players player well into the 30s, why this is. What's the difference, if there is any? Offhand. I'd say it's playing almost every day as compared to just 18 times or more in a season.

Football's physicality takes a toll, but there's also so much speed and explosiveness required to play the game at a high level – and that tends to be one of the first things to go for athletes. Baseball is a kinetic sport, where power often reigns supreme. Like boxing, power is often the last thing to go.

George from North Mankato, MN

Wes, I see the Browns have released JC Tretter. He was just re-elected to a second term as the Player rep for the NFLPA. If he is not signed by another team, would that cause him to no longer be the player rep?

Tretter was just unanimously voted to a second two-year term as NFLPA President, which he's locked in for. But Tretter will be signed soon enough. He's durable, smart and still one of the best centers in the game.

Greg from Princeton, MN

Do you have any stories or anecdotes about Andy Mulumba? My family and I took a tour of Lambeau Field last fall, and Andy was on the tour with our group. The guide announced who he was after the tour was over. He looks like he could still play and he was gracious enough to take pictures and visit with some of the group members.

There are so many touching levels to Andy's story. His family came to North America under difficult circumstances in the Democratic Republic of Congo. After moving to Montreal, Andy started playing football in 10th grade and earned a scholarship to Eastern Michigan. He accepted despite speaking very little English. It's not often I try to push readers from but here's the story I wrote on Andy for the Press-Gazette in August 2015. Check it out if you want to know more about him and the work he did with RAISE Hope for Congo and the Enough Project. He's an amazing human being.

Adam from Madison, WI

So, the Cowboys team site announced the signing of Randy Gregory and then he didn't sign.

I know some of you get frustrated with us for waiting until the ink is dry on contracts, but…well…that's why.

Roger from Holmen, WI

Hi Wes, sorry it's going to be a long, long week, but I really laughed at your root beer bracket. I love A&W root beer but can say it's not thee best. Thanks for putting up with us. A loyal reader.

I enjoy root beer but can't say I've tasted them all. I may need some suggestions.

Mark from San Antonio, TX

Speaking of root beer, next time you're in San Antonio, you need to stop by Schilo's near the Riverwalk. They created their own house recipe root beer to make it through the prohibition in the 20s. The recipe stayed on after the prohibition lifted and the root beer in fantastic!

I've been to San Antonio before and the Riverwalk. I must have missed it. Until next time…

Baker from Choccolocco, AL

Insiders, the London Jaguars seem to be an inevitable vision of the future NFL. What do you think?

I don't think the logistics will ever work for a full-time international team. Plus, it seems like the Jaguars have a good thing going with the current arrangement with Wembley.

Sebastian from Erlangen, Germany

Insiders, I would like you to know that your articles mean more to me today than any other time. For about 20 minutes, it takes me away from the reality of the current situation we did not fully expect here in Europe with the crisis in the Ukraine. The first of many refugees have arrived here in Germany and I ask for readers to send their thoughts and prayers for the displaced families and their hardship. With that said, I hope for the chance to meet the Insiders in London this fall. GPG.

I, too, look forward to that, Sebastian. Our thoughts, prayers and positive vibes go out to Ukraine and all of you in that corner of our world.

Dave from Germantown, TN

I really do not know much about NFTs (Non-fungible tokens). But, with the Packers' worldwide fan base and 100-year history, could the selling of NFTs become another revenue source for the organization? Was this topic ever addressed by the league and the players' association?

The NFL finally stepped through the NFT door this season, with ticket NFTs (in partnership with Ticketmaster) and now NFL All Day. I'm not sure what the restrictions are on individual clubs exploring NFTs, but certainly that's all part of this new wave of investment into digital assets.

Michael from Weston, Canada

Hey Wes, do you have a favorite Scott Hall memory or quote? RIP to the Bad Guy.

Hall had a sizeable impact on me. As I told WTMJ's Lance Allen on Monday night, Hall was one of the primary reasons I got into professional wrestling. It was his promo during the WCW invasion that drew me in as an 8-year-old fan scrolling through channels and I've been hooked ever since. Every time I flick a toothpick or answer a phone call with "Hey yo," I do it like Razor. Rest in peace, Bad Guy.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Did you get the warm vanilla pudding? Also, why the heck didn't you tell me you were in town!

I had all the Eau Claireans (Or Eau Clairites?) going after me on Tuesday. I had no idea that many people cared.

I wish I would've tried the pudding. I went with 'The hungry man' instead, which was delicious. I'll holler next time I'm in town. Hopefully, it won't take another 34 years.