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Inbox: Let's get one thing straight here

There’s a lot to like about Joe Barry’s defensive vision

WR Davante Adams
WR Davante Adams

Kurt from Springfield, MO

"Sorry, I don't have that list in front of me." From Vic to Spoff. This Jim Harbaugh quote lives on and makes me laugh every time I see it. No question. Just thanks for the Monday morning chuckle.

I chuckled. That reply made for a good start to my Monday.

Mike from Altamonte Springs, FL

I have wondered, when it comes to drafting a WR if the reasons why Green Bay hasn't gone for one in the early rounds could be: A) similar talent is there later at a much lower cost, B) earlier round WRs tend to be divas. Your thoughts?

My thought is the Packers have drafted six receivers (Greg Jennings, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams and Ty Montgomery) in the top 100 in the last 15 years. Comparatively, New Orleans has drafted four (Tre'Quan Smith, Michael Thomas, Brandin Cooks, and Robert Meachem) and New England has taken five (N'Keal Harry, Aaron Dobson, Taylor Price, Brandon Tate and Chad Jackson). So, let's get one thing straight here. The Packers have "gone for one in the early rounds" and usually have hit on the one they drafted. And because they hit on the one they drafted, the Packers haven't needed to draft another one to replace him.

Ben from Pensacola, FL

Al from Green Bay does have a point, and I respect both opinions and am equally interested to see how that plays out. I would also point out that yes, it is great to have Rashan Gary on the field with the Smith Bros. at the same time, but I would also point out that no one can do 100% of the snaps, and so the creativity would also be knowing best time when to rest one of them (but I wouldn't want only one of them on the field, ya know).

I agree with everything Spoff said but will add the Packers were in a somewhat precarious position in 2020. Because as much as I'm sure the coaches wanted to get Gary on the field, he also was the only established reserve behind the Smith Bros. at outside linebacker. If the Packers were to draft another edge rusher this year, that could free up the options for how Gary and Za'Darius Smith are utilized in Joe Barry's defense.

Rayhaan from Apex, NC

You mentioned Joe Barry employing a five-man front, what would that look like with our current personnel? I'm guessing Kenny Clark at the nose with the Smith Bros. lined up on the edge with Gary and Kingsley Keke on the inside? This seems like the best combination to get our best players on the field, but what are the drawbacks to this?

The Packers already have a few of those packages, whether it's their package where Za'Darius Smith plays the "rover" position or when they have a five-man line with a single inside linebacker and five defensive backs on the field. The latter is what the Rams did quite a bit last year, which made it more difficult to double-team Aaron Donald. On paper, there's a lot to like about Barry's defensive vision and I'm eager to see it come to life.

Matt from Calgary, Alberta

Hi II, I just want to say that I enjoy reading your column every day. I've been thinking a lot about Kevin King. I think this year is going to be a great year for him. He was playing with injuries last year and it hurt his performance in the latter stages of the season. That being said, I'd like the Pack to pick a corner in the first or second round to play in the nickel spot to give him a push. What are your thoughts?

I'm curious which direction the nickel "star" takes in Barry's defense. In Mike Pettine's system, there was a clear distinction between perimeter cornerbacks and nickel. While it would be easy to label cornerback as a "need" for the Packers in the draft, everything is fluid this time of year. For example, my former colleague, Peter Dougherty, wrote last week about how Darnell Savage could be a candidate to play nickel and I was instantly reminded how Brian Gutekunst remarked after last year's draft that "(Savage) certainly has the skill set to do that." I'm not saying Savage is moving there, but my point is one unforeseen domino would change the complexion of those "perceived needs" everyone likes to talk about. Either way, bringing King back gives the Packers flexibility in their decision-making later this month.

Take a look at photos of Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers from his MVP season.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

"Defense wins championships." That idiom has been around longer than I have (1951). Every year, the talking heads and Packers fans clamor for the Packers to add weapons with FAs and high draft picks for AR and the offense and this year is no different. I'm sort of fond of old sayings that history supports, and that one certainly stands the test of time. In the three years that Gute has been in charge, do you think he agrees with that thinking? Do you?

I'd say so. Gutekunst signed the Smith Bros. and used his first three first-round picks on Jaire Alexander, Gary and Savage. That speaks volumes about how seriously the Packers took improving the defense – and I believe that's the right way to go about it. Because as much as all the headlines were about Tom Brady signing with Tampa Bay last offseason, the reality is the Buccaneers already had a championship-caliber defense. The Bucs just needed the QB.

David from Janesville, WI

Insiders – I just wanted to chime in on the debate about investing in a returner. Anyone who feels it would be a waste of money or a roster spot should watch the 1996 playoff highlights. Most remember Desmond Howard's kickoff TD in the Super Bowl, but he had a punt return for a TD against San Fran and nearly took the next one back as well. Jim and Max were calling the game, but Larry was with them and I distinctly remember him uttering a single syllable sound of disbelief on the second return.

The Packers caught lightning in a bottle with Howard in 1996. That's not to say an unrestricted free-agent signing couldn't provide a huge boost on returns, but there's no way to predict a Howard-like return on investment. That's why I still lean toward drafting a young receiver, running back or defensive back who has potential at his set position, but can handle returns in the interim (ala Randall Cobb).

Jeff from Black River Falls, WI

Good morning II. Has there been any kind of update regarding David Bakhtiari's rehab? Thanks.

Based on Bakhtiari's Instagram posts, everything seems to be going well – both in rehab and on the wedding-planning front.

Matt from Waterloo, IA

Mike/Wes, love the daily Insider Inbox, as well as the non-sports/Packers questions as well. Who in your writing career has been your favorite player to interview?

Man, there are too many to count. Micah Hyde, Tim Boyle, Allen Lazard, Kenny Clark, Blake Martinez, Casey Hayward, Andy Mulumba, Marcedes Lewis, Jayrone Elliott, Clay Matthews, Davante Adams, and Aaron Rodgers all come to mind. However, my favorite interview subject could very well be Tyler Lancaster. I remember sitting down with him outside the team cafeteria for the profile I wrote on his father. Tyler's memories are so vivid that you can easily put yourself in his shoes and feel the struggle he and his family endured both during his father's cancer diagnosis and after his passing. In my opinion, that story is the closest I've ever come to fully explaining the player behind the facemask and what drives him.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Derek looks at a bunch of mock drafts, Derek feels he has an idea of how the first round will unfold, Derek watches first round and is found to be completely wrong. I'm looking to sell the movie rights if anyone out there in II land is interested.

A tale as old as time.

Craig from Chicago, IL

Any possibility of moving draft picks this year?

Sure. Where you wanna move 'em?

Mark from West Bend, WI

Wes, with a little over two weeks to go until draft day, given the current top 10 teams, of those, which draft room would you like to be in on Thursday night? My choice would be Atlanta. If I could also ask a follow-up on second-round trades, what is the cost to move from 62 to 52? Kudos to Spoff for I "second" the motion.

I agree that the Falcons' phone is gonna be ringing more than a 24-hour telethon. And if you go by the ol' draft-value chart, it'd take the Packers dealing their third-round pick (92nd overall) to move up from No. 62 to 52. But good luck getting the Bears to make a trade with the Packers.

Cam from Fort Atkinson, WI

Vic used to say when teams start pushing too much money into the future you could hear the whistle of cap problems coming down the tracks. I heard a faint whistle while reading the answer about extending Jaire Alexander. Did the cap decrease put every team on the tracks running from the train? How will teams rescue themselves without gutting their roster and losing years of relevance?

By being smart with how they spend. I know this wasn't the most exciting offseason to be a Packers fan but that eye on the future is ultimately what will allow Green Bay to extend Davante Adams and Jaire Alexander in due time – just like the Packers did with David Bakhtiari, Kenny Clark and Aaron Jones this past year.

Members of the media took a tour of the ongoing construction at Titletown Office on Monday, April 12, 2021. See behind-the-scenes photos of the current progress.

Patrick from Murfreesboro, TN

Special teams can bring special moments. Marcol and Crabtree with crazy TDs, Hendricks' astounding seven blocked kicks in one season, Travis Williams' dazzling kickoff return average of 41 yards with four TDs in one season, Janis as gunner extraordinaire, and of course Desmond Howard's dream season and Super Bowl MVP. Not really a question, just a reminder of how surprising and exciting special teams can be.

Tom "Freakin" Crabtree!

KB from Wichita, KS

II, recently there's been discussion about factors such as players' locations and potential cap hits affecting which team drafts them, so as long as we're considering every possible factor for the draft I'll add name/potential jersey sales, as well. How perfect would it be if the Packers drafted Michigan long-snapper Camaron Cheeseman?

The sales would be right up there with "de Beer."

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Insiders. When was the last time the Packers traded a veteran player for a veteran player straight up with no draft choices involved? I think the Damarious Randall-DeShone Kizer trade involved draft picks. Thanks.

According to the trusty Packers media guide, it was Tony Moll for Derrick Martin on Sept. 5, 2009.

Richard from Madison, WI

I was pleased to see a question from Jared from Tampa, FL. Do you suppose poor Jared is a legit cheesehead in the land of pirate flags, having to endure the taunts of the local Bucs fans, or is he perhaps an undercover agent assigned to keep track of what their biggest threat is up to this year?

If Jared is coming here for intel to bring back to the Bucs, then he's officially the Frank Drebin of NFL detectivery.

Jordan from Virginia Beach, VA

Good morning. I just read that the Falcons will be playing a home game in London this year. I was under the impression that with the AFC hosting the 17th game, they would also be the home teams for the international series this year.

The rules for the international series haven't changed because of the addition of the 17th game. Teams can still request to play a game overseas. The only difference is the NFL can now compel a team to host once every eight years. In the Packers' case, that likely would happen the year they're scheduled to host nine regular-season contests.

Joe from Bloomington, IN

My understanding is that the signing bonus can be spread out over a maximum of five years. Assuming that is correct, when somebody's contract is extended can the five years be added to the end of the current contract? I hope that question makes sense.

It does and you are correct, with one small clarification. As you said, the signing bonus is spread out across a maximum of five years. But the five years starts when the signing bonus is paid. So if the Packers were to extend Davante Adams this year for five more seasons, the signing bonus would only be prorated through the first four years of the new deal because the final year of his existing contract absorbs the first year of bonus proration.

Keith from Luncoln, IL

Why does the NFL wait/take so long to announce their schedules each year? We knew who the Packers were going to play (and where) in 2021 the day after the 2020 season ended. How hard is it to plug in days and times? Is it all because of a need to build "drama"?

It's harder than you'd think, but you can shake your fist at COVID-19 for the extra delays. Historically, the NFL preseason schedule would be probably announced this week and the full schedule the week before the NFL Draft.

David from San Antonio, TX

I didn't read II back then but read many references to Vic. Visiting my son in Greensboro, there is an older gentleman named Vic who walks the neighborhood clad in Packer gear. Any chance it is THE Vic?

Wrong Carolina.

Jonathan from Jackson, TN

Wes seems like a Sour Skittles guy to me...

And you would be right.

Andy from Lancaster, PA

Good morning II! Sam from Germantown posted a question with a "BASEketball" reference and you didn't catch it. My disappointment is immeasurable, and my day is ruined.

As a huge "BASEketball" fan, I'm incredibly disappointed in myself for missing that reference. I think I've got a lot to learn. Look at me, I've become everything I used to hate. Maybe I just grew up too fast. My worst enemy turned out to be…me.