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Inbox: Justin Hollins fit right in

The Packers’ scouts saw the hidden potential in Rasul Douglas

LB Justin Hollins
LB Justin Hollins

Linda from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Good morning, Wes. With Mike gone again, does that mean the big news will break next week? I know that all we can do is wait, but I'm not a patient person!

When the Spoff is away, the Packers will play. Good morning!

Karl from Carmichael, CA

Count me as one who is elated at the signing of Justin Hollins! He is a substantial piece of last year's D to be retaining! From how quickly he was able to transition from learning the D to contributing, I feel he may have one of the greatest second-year jumps. Do you feel the same?

Adding to what Mike wrote on Friday, I appreciated Hollins' enthusiasm about joining Green Bay last season. Remember he didn't sign here. Hollins was claimed off waivers and was accepting of whatever role the Packers had for him. That's not always an easy hat for veterans to wear but Hollins accepted the opportunity for what it was last season. Certainly, the familiarity was there with Joe Barry, and Hollins fit right in.

Rudy from Cedarburg, WI

In baseball, if a batter hits .300, that is really good. Brian Gutekunst is hitting way above .300 in his picks and free-agent signings. No one, I repeat – NO ONE – hits on every pick or signing. Look at the team from the Flat Land just south of the Cheddar Curtin? Armchair GMs can look back and complain but Gutey has to look forward. Give the guy credit. It is due! Nuff said!

There are no cheat sheets. There aren't any "Madden" ratings to acquire the best talent. NFL GMs can only trust their training and do what's in the best interest of their football team. Gutekunst turned things around quickly in 2018-19 and assembled a roster that made back-to-back NFC title appearances. The Packers have continued in the right direction under his watch.

Markus from Sea Ranch, CA

Given a choice between two equal free agents, one in the division and one not, is a team not better off taking the one in the division? It seems this should be a significant variable in the equation of decision as the player being acquired is a plus while at the same time a minus to a division foe.

That seems to be standard operating procedure for the NFC North whenever a Packers player hits free agency. There probably is something to be said for in-division familiarity, but the Packers' personnel department scouts the entire league in such detail. They know all these players. For example, Rasul Douglas was not a household name among the fanbase in October 2021, but the Packers' scouts saw enough hidden potential in Douglas to bring him in. These guys know what they're doing.

Patrick from Folly Beach, SC

The competition committee has recommended adopting the college fair-catch rule on kickoffs. What do you think?

I think, somewhere in California, Keisean Nixon is laughing. Good one.

Megan from Noblesville, IN

The Packers have no reason to move up in the first round of the draft. Michael Mayer will still be there at pick 15. Enough said.

Megan calling her shot. Remind me to do another Inbox straw poll for April 26. I'll be curious to see which player fans have going to the Packers in the first round.

Dennis from Beavercreek, OH

To all those fans that believe Jordan Love cannot be a good QB because the chances of having three in a row are very low, how about this thought: If bad things happen in threes, why can't good things? Also, realize it is all perspective. For the other three teams in the division, Love becoming a good QB is a bad thing. There is the three bads in a row. Good or bad, I am looking forward to watching Love play.

…and witnessing a young QB grow.

Team photographer Evan Siegle shares his favorite photos from the 2022 Green Bay Packers season.

Jeff from Dorr, MI

Does a team have a better chance of winning a Super Bowl if the QB doesn't play at an MVP level?

It's probably the wrong year to ask that question. Patrick Mahomes just pulled off the double-double.

David from Goldsboro, NC

A few years ago, I heard a report that no team had ever won the Super Bowl when the QB made more than 13.5% of the cap. Not sure if that's still true but that may help with all the recent questions. Any chance we can get a Jordan Love highlight reel? I know it won't be much during regular-season play but I'd like to see a recap so far. Is there a favorite moment you've witnessed from Love that gives you that "WOW" moment?

Same deal. Mahomes' $35.8 million cap hit this past season accounted for 17.2% of Kansas City's salary cap, according to Spotrac, and that didn't seem to slow the Chiefs down. As I've said before, my "Wow" moment with Love came during mandatory minicamp in 2021. That week, and the June 8 practice specifically, I felt like we watched a rookie QB blossom into an NFL prospect. Over the past 1½ years, Love has only gotten better.

Jeffrey from Eveleth, MN

I, for one, am very excited to see how the Packers' offense runs with a QB that will run it as Matt LaFleur envisioned. I believe Rodgers had his fingerprints on it more so than Love will. Fair statement?

Sure, but that was to be expected. It's no different than how Peyton Manning played late in his career. Rodgers and Love are at different points in their respective careers. Rodgers has been driving a Porsche for 15 years in the NFL, whereas Love just got his license. But yes, I would expect Love to stick to the script LaFleur and the offensive coaches give him. As Love gains more experience, he'll have more latitude to play the board as he sees fit.

John from Lansdale, PA

People in Philly are talking about the big contract Jalen Hurts will soon receive, and it was suggested that Hurts should take a shorter, three-year deal over the long-term mega deal traditionally given to franchise QBs. Today, Patrick Mahomes makes less than Kyler Murray. With the new TV money coming in and the COVID money falling off, QBs will probably be getting $70 million per in the not-so-distant future. Could you see Jordan Love doing the same if he has a great first year as a starter?

The stakes are high for the 2020 QB draft class – who signs when, for what and how long? Hurts likely will set the market because he doesn't have a fifth-year option in his contract like the others. Teams are always going to be inclined to do longer deals because it locks a QB into a salary and allows them to spread out that signing bonus. But if QBs start asking for shorter, guaranteed deals (e.g. Kirk Cousins in 2018), it'll be interesting to see how teams respond to that.

Jackson from Wausau, WI

Not to throw a wet towel on the AR12 send-off party, but the Jets could easily sign Lamar Jackson, keep their draft assets, and scorn the Packers. I realize the Jets did their thing and went out and talked to AR12 and have been talking to the GB front office, but wouldn't that be a wild turn of events? That Packers would be in quite the pickle.

Keep their draft assets? It would probably cost the Jets more to sign Jackson to an offer sheet than it would to trade for Aaron Rodgers. What's more, Baltimore could still match New York's offer since it placed the franchise tag on Jackson.

Caleb from Knoxville, TN

Do the Ravens have a succession plan for if Lamar Jackson leaves? As exhausting as our offseason has been, at least we have hope with Love. I can't imagine being a Ravens fan right now.

If it truly comes to that, my bet is the Ravens would just roll with Tyler Huntley next season. Baltimore has already been developing him the past three years. You're better off seeing what you have than signing a QB that's lasted this long in free agency.

Ray from Phoenix, AZ

When negotiating things everyone knows will happen sooner or later, is there any rule or law that would stop the Jets from giving Rodgers their offensive playbook prior to the deal being finalized?

Yes. Rodgers is under contract with the Packers. You must receive approval to have any contact with a player under contract. Handing a playbook to another team's player would be way out of bounds.

Joe from Ormond Beach, FL

I came across a Todd McShay QB draft analysis from 2020. In a draft that included Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, and Hurts, he stated that Jordan Love had the highest ceiling of them all with one caveat. He was raw and would need to land in the right spot that gave him time to develop his talent. Hopefully he's right for once! Any thoughts?

Love landed in the perfect situation to do just that. Green Bay gave him an opportunity to learn, make mistakes and grow. Love isn't a finished product yet. There will be "rookie" moments when his number is called, but he's watched one of the very best play his position at the highest level for three years.

Julian from Gastonia, NC

Just to break the trend of questions a bit, who would you like to see the Packers play in their home opener to usher in the Jordan Love area? I do remember the Aaron Rodgers era opened at home against the Vikings and a prestidigitation touchdown pass near the goal line from Rodgers that helped to win that game for the Packers.

The Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field. If a new era is starting, let's start it off right.

Walt from Middle Inlet, WI

Hi Wes. I love the way Mike had to show Jim of St. Paul his way out the door again. As to voided contracts not being allowed a compensatory pick, would the main reason be that it's a deterrent to its use? Otherwise, the team would get its cake and eat it too.

Perhaps. As Spoff said, I'm trying to get to the bottom of this. Last year, the Packers re-signed both players whose contracts voided (De'Vondre Campbell and Robert Tonyan), so we were no wiser as far as how the voided contracts affect the compensatory process. I re-read the collective bargaining agreement on Friday and it's clear as mud. There is one line that spoke to me, though: No UFA shall qualify as a CFA if the player's NFL Player Contract is renegotiated to reduce the Maximum Possible Term of the contract. So, if you renegotiate a player's deal to reduce the previously agreed upon length, that player no longer counts towards the comp formula. However, it seems a player would still count towards the formula if he plays the "maximum possible term" of his deal (e.g. Dean Lowry signs a three-year contract with the Packers in 2019 and plays all three seasons).

Noah from Derby, KS

I know there would be pushback from the players, but is there any possibility to see something like a max contract a la the NBA? This could work out for players as well as owners because of workarounds to the cap. Imagine if the Packers could pay A-Rod a bit extra outside of the cap due to his MVPs the last few seasons. Could be a longshot but it seems like the NBA players have more negotiating power in general and the NFLPA would like to have that kind of leverage.

I don't see that happening tomorrow, but possibly someday. It's the non-guaranteed nature of NFL contracts that complicates matters. If an NBA player signs a "max" deal, he's promised to make every penny of that agreement. In the NFL, guaranteed language needs to be baked into the contract. I also don't know how feasible it is to isolate "max" deals to a single position. It's a QB-driven league, on and off the field. With revenue continuing to grow, I don't see QBs jumping at the idea of limiting their earning potential.

Gabriel from Rosemount, MN

There has been a lot of talk about needing luck to win NFL playoff games. With the NBA playoffs coming up, I want to ask you a question that my buddies and I have debated many times: Which is more difficult to win: A Super Bowl or the NBA Finals? On one hand, the seven-game series in the NBA playoffs seem much more grueling, but the NFL's "one-and-done" playoffs allow for more underdog upsets. Your thoughts?

Super Bowl. Hands down. I believe the Super Bowl and NCAA basketball tournament are the two toughest playoff formats because everything is based on one-game scenarios. You can have an off night, or nights, in the NBA playoffs and still win it all. The Milwaukee Bucks trailed the Phoenix Suns, 2-0, during their series two years ago before rallying. It doesn't work that way in the NFL.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

The recurring nightmares finally stopped last year and now I read Jan. 18, 2015. Oh no! What have you done Spoff! That box needed to forever stay closed.

Just when Packers fans thought they were out, Mike pulls them back in.

Jim from St. Paul, MN

They were MVPs, huh? Who knew? I don't remember Bart reminding us of that. Enough. I know I'll probably get heat from II nation tomorrow, but I welcome it, because I challenged you, and you called me on it. Despite our many disagreements, I sincerely respect you for that. Wish there were others like you hosting this column. No insult intended. I'm rooting for JL10 this year, without expectation. I hope he brings us success, and I hope he stays humble.

You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Well, I'm the only one here. Who the (heck) do you think you're talking to?

Dennis from De Pere, WI

Shouldn't the owners' meeting be held in Green Bay, allowing for more of the Packers' owners to attend and voice their opinion?

That would be quite the scene. Like Andrew Jackson opening the White House to the public after his inauguration in 1829.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

Well, Wes, are you prepared for the onslaught that is sure to come when the trade is announced during Mike's sabbatical?

I hope so. I think everyone wants closure, but we'll continue to take this thing day-by-day and see what the spring brings. Please be sure to stay locked into through the week for videos and stories from the NFL annual meetings. Have a splendid weekend, folks.

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