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Inbox: It was a sound business decision

These paths are unpredictable

RB Aaron Jones
RB Aaron Jones

Markus from Aurora, CO

Insiders, what's up next – besides waiting for the AR12 decision?

That's like asking, "Other than that, Sully, how was the flight?"

Phil from Madison, WI

Presuming a trade with the Jets comes to fruition, is it worth the Packers' while to do it post-June 1 and take draft picks from next year? That would spread out the cap hit, but the Jets' picks next year may well be lower than 13. Or do you take the hit and get it over with, and get the extra young guys on board right away?

There's no way the Jets are waiting until after June 1 to execute the trade.

Rich from Manitou Springs, CO

Good morning II. Thinking about this potential trade with the Jets makes me feel like we're getting the short end. I look at the Seattle/Denver trade last year as proof. Seattle got two first-round, two second-round, and three players. For a QB that never received one MVP vote. Looking at what we might get from the Jets for Aaron Rodgers pales in comparison. Do you feel the same way or is it just me?

I mentioned the other day fans need to temper their expectations for what the Packers might receive in a trade here. They won't be getting a Russell Wilson haul. Not even close. Rodgers is turning 40, has indicated continuing his career is a year-to-year proposition at this point, and has an onerous and complicated contract. I'm anticipating very modest compensation, though presumably more than just the third-round pick the Packers got for Favre 15 years ago.

Gary from Sheboygan, WI

Insiders, if in a trade, the Packers would have to pay the team to take the player (part of the outgoing player's salary), would that count towards the Packers' cap?


Bob from Racine, WI

Gentlemen: If I was a player on the Pack and restructured my contract to help Mr. Rodgers return, but then learned he was leaving, I think I'd have a hollow feeling in my gut. I'd feel he was thinking only of himself and not of the team. Your thoughts?

Whoa, hold on here. With the exception of Jones, who took a pay cut in re-doing his deal, all these other contract restructures aren't costing the players any money. They're only changing when they get paid (which means sooner, benefiting the player), not how much. In Jones' case, I've always believed you can only go to a player asking for a pay cut if you're ready to release him should he refuse. I believe the Packers were ready to release Jones for cap purposes, but he accepted a pay cut rather than test free agency as a running back about to turn 29, approaching the age that makes teams wary of a big investment at his position. It was a sound business decision on his part, and it worked out well for the Packers. But none of that had anything directly to do with Rodgers.

Gary from Cross Plains, WI

For contract restructures, I see the tough spot in that you don't want to defer cash if you don't need to and complicate future years, but you need to have enough cap this year to sign picks/FAs. So question is if team can do multiple restructures in same year – could they convert just a portion of Bak's salary/bonus this year now to free cap, but then midseason, do the rest if they need to free more cap for midseason pickup?

There's no need to complicate it in that fashion. Do the restructure to free up space, and if you don't use it all, just carry it over to the next year.

Bill from Bloomfield Hills, MI

I try to avoid salary cap understanding as it always works out somehow to be whatever it is. However, is it correct to interpret that if the transition from Rodgers to Love occurs for the 2023 season, the Packers will not really benefit having a young, low-cost QB? Our Rodgers salary hangover will be immediately followed by second-contract money (TBD) for Love?

Yes and no. If Love is playing on the fifth-year option in 2024, or has a new deal with a friendly cap number for '24 (and perhaps '25), the cap charges will be substantially less than what Rodgers' have been in recent years, but not as low as those for Love's rookie deal.

Evan from Durango, CO

Mike, what I meant by likely no prospects is that if Rodgers comes back and Love requests a trade he won't be happy when we say no and pick up his fifth-year option. I think it's very unlikely he would sign an extension after that if he felt slighted by the organization.

Maybe, but now we're talking a layered hypothetical multiple years down the road, before which any number of things could occur. Those make for dicey assumptions. Remember, it was less than a year ago all the beat writers (including me) wrote stories quoting Rodgers saying he was "definitely" finishing his career in Green Bay after working out the new contract. Lots can change in little time.

Jake from Decatur, GA

I reckon the Jets have just about everything else going for them, but how good is their O-line?

It was an underperforming unit, particularly relative to how much it was collectively being paid.

Mike from Baraboo, WI

I have much respect for Jordan Love. He seems to be handling all of the uncertainties like a pro these past couple of years. How long do you think his learning curve will be when he becomes a starter?

With all due respect, if I knew that, I wouldn't be making a living answering fan mail. Most kidding aside, that's the quintillion-dollar question (the other day was quadrillion, right? So, inflation …) and nobody really knows. These paths are unpredictable, and Rodgers' certainly was. The Packers were 10-14 in his first season and a half. Another season and a half later, they were in the Super Bowl. After his first year as a starter, Rodgers got labeled, unfairly in my opinion, as being unable to pull out close games in the fourth quarter. The defense's late-game failures in '08 were more responsible for the 6-10 mark than the QB, though to some that didn't matter. Then he threw a last-minute TD to beat the Bears in the '09 opener, quashing that narrative, but soon after had to deal with the two high-pressure matchups/losses against Favre before he really settled in. Even then, he threw an interception on his first-ever playoff pass but still put up 45 points that heartbreaking day in Arizona. In '10, expectations were sky high, injuries decimated the team, he got concussed in December, then they got hot … you know the rest. Sorry for the longwinded history lesson, but the point is those were a wild first three years that unfolded in a way no one could have foretold. There will be no telling how it goes with Love, either, whenever his time comes.

Megan from Minnetonka, MN

The similarities between Favre's and Rodgers' careers are pretty wild at this point. Like Lincoln and JFK.

Two Abe references in one column. We're breaking new ground. The one similarity being overlooked is how with both, a coaching change and first-round pick in waiting preceded each's return to MVP form. I guess I just find that interesting. I know Favre didn't win another MVP, but he was the only player in '07 to receive an MVP vote aside from Brady.

Bill from Horseshoe Bay, TX

I wonder how many readers look at the last 30 years of QB1 play in Green Bay and realize that the odds of that level of excellence will most likely not be seen for many years to come? I for one wish Jordan Love the best of luck, but he has huge shoes to fill and his chances of living up to his predecessors' career performances is minimal at best. Favre while in Green Bay never played with a fellow offensive Hall of Famer, and unless Davante Adams gets in neither did Rodgers. That says a lot.

I see your point. But Favre's GM is in Canton. Holmgren might get in. McCarthy's coaching career isn't done yet, so you never know. David Bakhtiari and Sharpe could be candidates through different avenues in the coming years, along with Adams. Both QBs' talents are/were singular and extraordinary, but they weren't entirely lone wolves with no HOF-worthy individuals in their midst. I agree the odds are stacked against Love to measure up but nothing's predetermined. It'll be fascinating to watch.

Take a look at photos of Green Bay Packers LB De'Vondre Campbell during the 2022 NFL season.

CJ from Cedar Rapids, IA

Between Robert Tonyan, Allen Lazard and Keisean Nixon, which one would help the team the most if they could afford to sign him? Which one is the most likely to be signed?

I've said since the season ended the Packers' top priority amongst their 14 pending unrestricted free agents should be Nixon. I stand by that.

John from Livermore, CA

Mike, what chance do you see of the team making a free agency move? Anything standing out to you as a possibility to improve the team?

I don't see the cap space to make any major signings. A short-term veteran acquisition or two like last year (Reed, Watkins, Nixon) would be my expectation, but picking the best fit would be a wild guess.

Joe from Liberty Township, OH

How would we view Bart Starr's QB sneak to win the Ice Bowl if teammates had been allowed to push him forward like Jalen Hurts running the Eagles' "QB sneak"? Chuck Mercein looks like he's signaling a TD, but he was showing the refs he didn't help Starr get across the goal line. Different time, different game. And different rules.

A rule that never should've changed.

R from Niles, IL

Agree with Shannon from Ovilla. The D was far more responsible than the O for the Pack's woeful season. Sure, they played well for much of the season. On paper they were one of the best in the league. But they played terribly in long stretches, both in the losses and several close wins. Inexcusable. As Kenny Clark once said, one bad play can undo all the good of 1,000 good plays. The Pack sure proved him right. Good teams don't depend on one rookie WR to be successful.

I agree with your last point, and that proved to be a major downfall offensively. But please understand regarding the defense, I was answering a question specifically ABOUT THE FIVE-GAME LOSING STREAK, not the entire season. My point was the defense played well enough to win three of those five games, and the offense holding up its end in that stretch would have given the season an entirely different outlook.

Jared from Rigby, ID

One of my favorite things to do while watching replays is to see the reaction of those on the sidelines or in the stands during a big moment. What would you say if I told you that my biggest heartache of last year was hearing that during the Detroit game the fans were on their toes just waiting for a reason to go berserk … and it never came?

I'd say that sounds exactly how the previous season ended as well.

Louis from Milwaukee, WI

Uh, Ken Bowman would like a word, Mike.

Point taken, and I almost included him but didn't want to confuse the issue.

Connor from Grand Rapids, MI

With all due respect to Mr. Kuhn, and no matter what Jerry Kramer would have to say, I would like to nominate Allen Lazard, for that time he blocked three guys on a Jones TD. Absolutely amazing.

To be accurate, the three-for-one block by Lazard was not on a Jones TD run, but an 18-yard run into the red zone at Miami after which the Packers (fittingly) settled for a field goal. Tonyan also pulled off a three-for-one, in pass protection at Detroit back in 2020, on a third-down conversion to MVS. Sorry, but neither of those can rank above either the Kuhn or Kramer/Bowman blocks.

Andrew from Burke, VA

In response to Shannon from Ovilla, not only would AR be able to hack it in NYC, I believe he would be saleh-vating at the opportunity to go toe-to-toe with the press. I'm already out the door, don't worry…


Curt from Pine Island, MN

Are all of the unused Inbox inquiries available at the Packer Pro Shop tent sale?

Happy Friday.

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