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Inbox: Just about anything is a possibility

They can’t lose that or the other will never matter

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during the 2021 NFL Draft
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during the 2021 NFL Draft

Stan from Merrill, WI

Their were to errors in the first submission and answer in yesterdays Insider Inbox. Its driving me crazy.

And once again we're off, so we might as well get going.

Mitch from Madison, VA

Hi Mike, I would like to take you up on the offer of knowing this year's draft picks in exchange for being banned.

Ha. I'm efforting to find out the kind of beer Gutey wants stocked in his man cave. That's gotta be my only chance.

George from Stockton, CA

A lot of fans have WR fever for this upcoming draft (with good reason). However, I must say I would not be disappointed if Green Bay decided to use their first two picks to add depth to the defensive side of the ball. If they can land another DL/edge or linebacker to put next to De'Vondre Campbell. Then address the WR needs later in the draft. Do you believe this could be a possibility? Also, do you think it's possible GB could trade their two second-round picks to get another first-round one?

With four picks in the top 60, just about anything is a possibility. Gutekunst can do pretty much whatever he wants to.

Jordan from Brookfield, WI

The Eagles-Saints trade makes eight teams with multiple first-round draft picks, and subsequently, eight teams without a first-round draft pick. With a deep draft and unbalanced draft capital league wide, how do you think it will affect trading in the first two days?

It could make it more difficult to find trading partners with all these trades that have gone down in advance. But it also could mean more trades involving 2023 picks, which we've seen already, too.

Andrew from Big Flats, NY

I hope the Packers do not trade for an elite WR. I would not want to spend the draft capital and write that kind of check at the same time. They need to make all four of those early-round picks (and hit on them) to keep the roster elite and affordable.

My current thoughts hover around there as well, though I'm not opposed to a veteran receiver at a palatable price.

Glen from Green Bay, WI

Several former NFL scouts now in broadcasting have said this draft has starting-caliber receivers, but there are no elite WRs. Since Gutey was "raised" in the Wolf/Thompson system which values big men ("the good Lord only blesses a few men on earth with size and quickness") is it more likely the Pack drafts an OL or DL if they're rated higher on their board with the 22nd pick and draft WRs with 28th or second-round pick?

As I always say, it depends on how the board looks in the moment. At 22, if the team's grades indicate one standout receiver left and four or five closely rated big guys – making one of them highly likely to be there at 28 – then the board tells you what to do. Unless the priority is two big guys, and the board says there's a greater drop-off in the trenches than with receivers from the late first to late second round.

Dave from Town of Breed, WI

Making sure I understand. Yesterday you stated that Howard's extended contract is different than it looks. Are you saying when a contract is announced, they state the years it was extended, not the total years? In this case would it be the contract is for $50 million for five years, so $10 million a year? Thanks for clarifying!

Using round numbers, my understanding was Howard had three years and $40M remaining on his deal and signed a two-year, $50M extension. It in effect created a new APY of $18M for the life of the deal (five years, $90M), which now ranks him fourth on the list at his position, behind Jalen Ramsey, Marshon Lattimore and Marlon Humphrey.

Dill from Richfield, WI

Let's get real. What are the realistic chances Jordan Davis has of slipping to us?

I've seen him mocked all over the first round. He shot up after the combine and that ridiculous 40 time, but the further removed we get from Indy, the more players start to settle back to where they were before everyone went workout crazy.

Jim from Baileys Harbor, WI

You're right, Mike. Disrespect should be a disqualification, and in more than football. I'll stop there.

In my opinion, no matter how deft or straight the response, acknowledging disrespectful people and giving them a platform for their views only confirms a validity to, if not acceptance of, their approach. I see no reason to give those folks the time of day, and I won't.

Mark from Geneva, IL

What's your favorite interview time, after a big win or narrow loss, and why?

During the season, it's after any truly compelling game, win or lose. Those games are the most interesting to write about, and therefore the most interesting to get the perspective of those who were in the middle of all the drama.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Which NFC North team is primed to make the biggest leap forward?

It's a battle between Year 2 of Dan Campbell and Year 2 of Justin Fields. We shall see.

Jayson from Fayetteville, NC

Mike, when you answered Chris from Goddard, KS, you didn't think through the whole strategic process. What if your defense was already rested because Aaron Rodgers just led a 3:52 drive to tie the game and force OT (we squibbed the kick to burn the clock)? There is going to be a lot of momentum, who's rested, offense vs. defense snap counts when the playoff OT comes in.

No way you picked 3:52 at random, did you? In any event, if my offense just drove down the field and scored at the end of regulation, I'm taking the ball again to keep that momentum and get the opposing defense back on the field right away.

Gordon from Newport Beach, CA

Mike, how would explain historically that there is a higher chance of an NFL UDFA becoming a Pro Bowler versus Round 4-7 draft picks?

Mostly the numbers and the odds. Once you get past the first three rounds of the draft, you're beyond the (supposed) top 100 eligible players in college football. The difference between No. 1 and 101 is astronomically great compared to the difference between No. 101 and 201. On top of that, with regular and compensatory picks, teams probably average roughly five picks in the fourth through seventh rounds per year. Teams sign anywhere from a dozen to 20 UDFAs each year.

Mikayla from Green Bay, WI

Who do you think will be the team to beat this season?

I expect the Buffalo Bills to be a very trendy Super Bowl pick, and for good reason.

Gary from Manchester, UK

Further to your reply to Mark from Missoula, MT, about World Cup matches at Lambeau I saw over the weekend SoFi Stadium could actually miss out on the final (without expensive changes) as the pitch is too small. A staggering oversight wouldn't you agree as this was one of the targeted events?

It certainly creates headaches and difficulties, as does having an artificial playing surface.

Take a look back at photos of Green Bay Packers S Adrian Amos during the 2021 season.

Joe from Wausau, WI

Jameson Williams would likely be the consensus top WR in this year's draft if not for a torn ACL. Maybe he still is. Do you have a sense of how far, if at all, the Packers would drop someone on their board who is still in recovery mode from a serious injury like that?

That's a great question, and I honestly don't know. I do know teams differ widely on where a player in that situation falls on their board.

Mike from San Antonio, TX

Looking at Davante's departure from the other side of the ball … it has been said previously that practicing against Davante made our defensive backs better. Do you think our defensive backfield will be negatively impacted by not practicing against the best receiver in the league?

It's a loss for young cornerbacks who won't face that super-elite level until they come across it in a game. Going against Adams in training camp last year was huge for Eric Stokes' rapid development as a rookie. For veteran players who have already seen it all in games, it won't matter as much.

Brian from Trego, WI

Given the fact that Davante Adams chose to jump from a perennial playoff team and a top-notch organization with, in his own words, "the best QB in the league" for the same money to a team who will struggle to make the playoffs in a strong division, will his decision reverse the trend started by the signing of Reggie White making Green Bay a desired landing spot for top free agents?

I wouldn't think so. I'd be surprised if it did. Money still talks loudest in free agency and the current Packers have shown they're plenty competitive in that realm.

Michael from Hammond, IN

Which position will see the most competition this spring?

Ask me again after the draft.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

The narrative on our OL last year was a great performance and players stepping up. But the metrics most people focused on were sacks allowed. The run game was not as effective and longer-developing pass plays still had a lot of pressure on the QB. In fact one could argue that the most telling statistic on our offense was the QB's league-leading time to release of under 2.4 seconds. Was our line really that good or did we constrain the offense? Can we make a playoff run playing that way?

Getting the ball out quickly is, for the most part, what LaFleur's offense is predicated upon, so I don't see that as a detriment no matter the circumstances, especially as Rodgers gets older. I also think it's difficult to make any blanket statements of evaluation about last year's offensive line when seven different starting combinations were used in the regular season – none more than five times – and then an eighth was used in the playoffs. And even if a new one hadn't been assembled for the postseason, the starting combo would have been playing, at most, its fourth game together based on who was available.

Michelle from Ringgold, GA

What do you think has to be the Packers' biggest focus this year to succeed?

The same as it always is – embrace the grind, and then play your best football when it matters most. As much as this team has come up short in the latter category, and rightly so there's plenty of attention on that, the Packers have been exemplary under LaFleur regarding the former. They can't lose that or the other will never matter.

Mark from San Antonio, TX

Are the Cardinals the only real threat to the Crew in the NL Central this year?

Health permitting, and only if the Cubs' Suzuki isn't the next Ichiro. Opening Day is just two days away. So excited.

Dan from San Francisco, CA

It sounds like a lot of fans are scared we won't take a WR with our top couple draft picks or are upset we haven't signed one already in FA. I don't believe it'll happen but I'd be much more afraid of Gutey and Co. pandering to us fans and reaching in either the draft or FA for said WR. Trust the professionals – who have a stellar track record these past few years – and trust the process. I'm excited for the beautiful mystery of how the next several months play out.

Works for me. Happy Tuesday.