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Inbox: It's up to the players

It was an enjoyable mindset then and should be again

WR Romeo Doubs
WR Romeo Doubs

Nate from Naples, FL

So you're telling me Matt LaFleur has never concluded a pregame speech to his team with "Alright men, we're in the playoffs! Let's just go see how this shakes out!"?

Good one.

Bill from Eau Claire, WI

Jets trade Elijah Moore jersey No. 8 and Aaron Rodgers was No. 8 at Cal … interesting.

As the kids would say, meh.

Mike from Baraboo, WI

Would the Jets' two second-round picks and a conditional pick next year be enough for the Packers to trade Rodgers?

We shall see. The Jets now own the No. 42 and 43 overall picks in the second round after trading Moore to the Browns. Depending on which chart you consult, the value of those two picks falls into the No. 17-19 range in the first round, assuming a trade partner can be found on draft night. Stay tuned I suppose.

Eric from St. Paul, MN

Can you make a trade now and designate it a "post-June 1" transaction? Asking for a friend.

Nope, but I think it's in the Packers' best interest anyway to take the full cap hit this year and be done with it.

Tony from Davenport, IA

I read that Jordan Love is working out with Romeo Doubs and that Christian Watson and Aaron Jones are going to join them. I think that's fantastic the commitment these players are making. My question is, are coaches allowed to join players at offseason workouts?

Also, nope.

Mike from Las Vegas, NV

I think what Bob from Myrtle Beach was trying to say about lower-paid quarterbacks is a number of Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks hadn't really hit their "payday" yet. Roethlisberger, Russell Wilson, Mahomes (first one), Flacco, and even Rodgers hadn't really gotten paid yet. Once the QBs start making big money teams can't afford other high salaries. Does that sound about right?

Sure, but as attractive as that was for a while, Matt from Madison, WI, mentioned the last three Super Bowl champs have had QBs beyond their rookie deals. In fact, since Wilson's lone title, only two of the last nine Super Bowl-winning QBs have been on lower-paying contracts (Mahomes for the '19 Chiefs, Wentz/Foles for the '17 Eagles).

Barbara from Snellville, GA

Regarding Bob from Myrtle Beach comment about the "Love era," my impression is that a number of teams are paying big money for average QB talent. So, I never felt bad about having to pay a bit more for great QBs in GB for the last 30 years. If Love steps up and helps the team get back to the playoffs, then he deserves the payday. Have you also noticed huge contracts for okay QBs?

Happens all the time. Teams take their chances on a guy being good enough and possibly getting better, and then come to regret it.

Douglas from Bemidji, MN

Once the Jets trade gets processed, any chance the Packers just give Love the extension now and forgo the fifth-year option route? Or will they wait and see like they did with Rodgers' first year as a full-time starter?

The latter. With so much unknown, I don't see it being in the interest of the Packers, or Love for that matter, to work on an extension in advance.

Shawn from Kissimmee, FL

I know it's certain we'll pick up Love's fifth-year option, so my question is: How much do we need to see from Love in order to give him a longer-term contract? Or how much do we have to see to determine he wouldn't be worthy of a longer-term contract? With Rodgers almost out the door, I know we have two years if that fifth year is picked up, but I would think we'd know much sooner than that.

I would think it would be less than two years, but it might not be as little as the half season it took with Rodgers in '08 to give him a new deal. They'll know when they know.

Jim from St. Paul, MN

Mike, calling my remark insulting is sure to get an applause from some readers, but I stand by what I said, especially when directed at AR12. We call ourselves Titletown, not MVP town, and he's a playoff underachiever. I'm honored by your lengthy answers however. Wish I could have as many characters to voice my points. Lombardi would have won championships even in a three-playoff-game era, and I challenge you to say differently on this forum. He coached champions, without regard to individual MVPs.

The first time a Lombardi team had to win multiple postseason games for a title ('65), it needed an extremely beneficial "good" call on a controversial field goal to force overtime, when even the Packers' own kicker believed he missed it. The only time Lombardi needed three postseason wins for a title ('67), it took three cracks from the 1-yard line to secure the Ice Bowl victory. Those postseason fates hung by a thread at times, too. Saying Lombardi "would have" done whatever under the current playoff structure doesn't make it so. That's no different than others saying the Packers "would have" won more titles under Rodgers with different personnel moves. The truth is we'll never know, on either front. Oh, and Lombardi had the league MVP on three of his title teams: Hornung in '61, Taylor in '62, Starr in '66.

Dave from Waterford, OH

In response to Venny's comments about successful SB winners in the last 30 years and the idea that the NFL playoffs are unpredictable. Yes, we've seen many times where a team's fortune, or misfortune, changes on one or two plays in the tournament. But, I think what many Packers fans lament is the fact that we've had, unlike any other team during this period, two HOF quarterbacks with seven MVP awards. A frustrated Ron Wolf once made his "fart in the wind" comment about winning only one championship.

Like I've said, I get it. As for Wolf's comment, he said that right after losing to Denver as a two-touchdown favorite in Super Bowl XXXII in response to a question about the so-called pending dynasty. The following season showed us that Broncos team was no two-touchdown underdog to anybody, and that same year the Packers got knocked out on the Young-to-Owens final play. Then Holmgren left, and Wolf retired two-plus years later. Just like that, it all dissolved, no dynasty.

Josh from Newhall, CA

I feel that lately I have been watching the Packers with unreasonable expectations due to their sustained level of success. Too many times I find myself feeling "meh" after some wins because the team didn't "play that well." I am looking forward to a reset of expectations in a sense, so I can watch the games the way I did as a kid in the '90s. Every victory was a fist-pumping celebration because I had no expectations. Do you think the way you watch and analyze will be affected at all?

The start of the Love era will harken back, at least for me, to the start of LaFleur's tenure, which I entered under the mantra "optimism without expectations." It was an enjoyable mindset then and should be again.

Michael from Pound, WI

Gents, after a handful of games I'm sure JL will make more of the short throws AR couldn't last year, but also will put the ball in harm's way more often. Can't wait for the mixed bag of highs, lows, perseverance, personal struggle … God I love football. For some reason I'm most intrigued by what we do for and with TE and RB this coming year, even more than WR.

Mike McCarthy always said it's not as much about when a young QB is ready, but more so when your team is ready for a young QB. Tight end is certainly a big question mark right now, but with plenty of experience on the offensive line and at running back (plus on defense, for that matter), and young receivers with a year under their belt coming into their own, this team is nearly as ready as it can be.

Justin from Los Angeles, CA

Wes mentioned something about void years in a contract negating comp picks when that player leaves. Can you clarify how that works, and the reasoning behind it?

Wes is going to share a few root beers in Phoenix next week with some behind-the-scenes folks in the know and try to get to the bottom of this. We've both seen it written that void years remove a departing free agent from the comp pick formula, but Wes will do his best to confirm or refute it. The logic behind it, if true, is action must be taken by the club to void a player's contract when dummy years have been added for cap purposes. If a club is voiding a deal, the contract technically is not "expiring," and the CBA language regarding comp picks refers to free agents lost/signed whose contracts "expired" with their former clubs.

Derek from Neshkoro, WI

Good morning. As QB salaries continue to rise, and take up an ever-larger portion of the salary cap, would it be possible for the league and the union to come up with a way to limit this? Could an agreement be reached where a single player could not be paid more than X dollars or a certain percentage of the total cap in any given season? It seems like this would take a ton of pressure off a number of those involved and the only ones who would be unhappy would be the QBs.

The union is loath to place any additional limitation on an individual player's earning power. I don't see that happening.

Steve from Alexandria, VA

It feels like there's a book, or at least a short story, to be written at some point on all the maneuvering, salary cap calculations and psychological factors that have gone on with the Packers' front office and Aaron Rodgers in the years since Jordan Love was drafted. Do you think we'll ever see such a product that gives us candid insights into what the different parties were thinking at various points in time? What do you feel may be the biggest nugget we don't now recognize?

The Packers aren't known for divulging thought processes, negotiations and the like, even well after the fact. We're 15 years past the Favre saga and nobody has really spilled all the beans on that one, either, so don't hold your breath.

Take a look at photos of Green Bay Packers C/G Josh Myers during the 2022 NFL season.

Donnie from Danbury, CT

Hi Mike, as a longtime Packers fan from Connecticut I do not get to see all the Packers games, as I am in the Giants' and Jets' market. During the Aaron Rodgers era, however, there have been many games that have been shown here. Now that he is no longer the Pack's QB I assume the Packers will not get much primetime and national TV exposure, especially if they are not a good team as many expect. How do you see the Packers' national TV exposure this coming season?

Several folks asking about this. There almost certainly will be a reduction, but it might not be drastic if the Packers are in the hunt. Going back to 2008, when Rodgers took over for Favre, Green Bay was still scheduled for four primetime games (one less than the maximum allowed), but the Packers had just two late-afternoon starts, leaving 10 kickoffs at noon CT. Flex scheduling was in its infancy then (it began in '06) and the Packers went into a tailspin late in the year after a 5-5 start, so nothing got shifted. I could see the schedule-makers putting the Packers in a couple of primetime and late-afternoon windows early in the season, when interest in Love's first year will be high. With more of the slate subject to flex scheduling now than in the past, and the league utilizing it more, the Packers would be an attractive flex pick late in the season if they're contending for a playoff spot.

Jeff from Indian Lake, NY

Love that we're bringing back Justin Hollins on a one-year deal. Gutey has an uncanny ability to never allow himself to be backed into a corner. Yes, I still think we need to address edge rusher early (and perhaps often) in the draft. But by bringing back Hollins it gives him the flexibility to trust his draft board. BAP for GB!

The Hollins re-signing was made official Thursday night, and I was pleased to see the good news. Given the team's cap constraints, it feels fortunate the Packers are able to get him back on a league-minimum deal. He made an impact down the stretch last season in Gary's absence.

Jonathan from St. Joseph, MO

Mike, I think I know what you meant by "LaFleur's offense in its more pure form" but would like to hear your explanation.

Rodgers made no secret of his disdain for a large volume of pre-snap motion, which LaFleur likes to utilize to gauge the defense's reaction and set up variations within certain concepts. Rodgers also seemed to prefer shotgun to under center (last year, that was out of necessity for a while due to the broken thumb), which can limit the frequency and effectiveness of play-action. I guess you can color me curious as to whether we're going to see different levels of usage of those two elements with Love.

Al from Green Bay, WI

According to Pro Football Reference, the Packers tied with Jacksonville for the league lead in dropped passes with 40 last season. Doubs had a team-high nine, followed by AJ Dillon with seven, and six each from Jones and Lazard. Watson had four, and no other player had more than two. We can all close our eyes and see some of the huge drops that altered games. What can the coaches do in preparation for the upcoming season to dramatically reduce this number?

Emphasize and drill the techniques that produce consistency, and pinpoint the moments in practice and games when players are not looking the ball all the way in, even when they're successful. Beyond that, it's up to the players to use the proper techniques and maintain their focus on the ball until the catch is secure.

Dan from Shoreview, MN

There have been a number of recent references to "a game that shall not be mentioned." I appreciate that many of you know what that means, but could you please, at the risk of mentioning it, let the rest of us know the game to which that refers? Won't ask again, promise.

It was played on Jan. 18, 2015, in a city with a Space Needle.

Jodi from Grand Rapids, IA

Why are graceful exits so difficult in so many aspects of life?

Because life is difficult. Fulfilling ones are, anyway.

Chris from Clive, IA

Good morning! Hopefully they use a good disinfectant to wipe the pandemic adjustments from the books. Don't worry, I'll close the door on my way out.

Much appreciated. And on that note, I'm taking some more time off next week while I can, as Wes runs the show from the owners meeting in Phoenix. Take care everyone. Happy Friday.

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