Geoffrey from Rosemount, MN
Hope you had a good time away from work, Spoff.
I did, thanks. Found some heat, returned to the cold. That's about it.
Peter from Ashland, WI
Welcome back Mike! Thought I'd catch you up on everything first. Wes masterfully avoided telling us all he knows regarding the teams plans for free agents, the draft and so on. He eventually started answering questions about his pets. We all know that you know, we know, you know all the details. Spilling it now will save you some trouble. In all seriousness, Wes did an awesome job as usual. My question is: Other than your vacation time, what part of the offseason do you enjoy the most?
Appreciate the update. I did see that Kevin made an Inbox appearance. There's no question the best part of the offseason, work-wise, is the draft. The hype and speculation are too much, but there are no three days more exciting, newsworthy and unpredictable than those seven rounds of picks.
Amy from Wilton, WI
Can you keep Aaron Rodgers please?
Folks are still hung up on this?
Eric from York, PA
Good morning Mike and welcome back. Couple quick questions. Watt's been happening since you've been gone? Watt do you think the Packers will do in free agency this year? Watt's the one player that you think could have an immediate impact on the defense next year? Watt do the Packers have to do to get over the hump next year? I'll let you ponder the answers to these questions as I see myself out.
Nicely done, but I didn't count the questions like Wes did. I was so detached last week I didn't even know about Watt until roughly 12 hours after the news broke, which is an eternity in this day and age. When I saw it, I actually smiled because being in the dark for half a day was refreshing.
Steve from Honolulu, HI
Finding a way to add a dominant defensive end to an already talented team and future HOF QB would be a dream come true for all Packer fans. History repeats.
A common Inbox theme, but I think you're overestimating the talent of the '93 squad, which broke a decade-long playoff drought. Just so we have our history straight. But I get the enthusiasm.
Lane from Calgary, Alberta
Would it be great to sign J.J. Watt? Sure. Would I rather spend that money on re-signing homegrown elite talent Aaron Jones, Corey Linsley? Yes. How about we start there and then see what happens? Then we can draft a corner in the first, OT depth in the second and then talk about everywhere else after Gutey makes his picks. That's a sensible approach to viewing the current offseason. J.J. would just be icing on top. Still makes for a great discussion though.
Of course. Who wouldn't want to have their cake and eat it, too? Hey, I have no idea how the Watt situation is going to shake out. I don't think it's the biggest player-related decision the Packers will have to make this offseason, but it appears it will have to be the first because I wouldn't expect him to be available for long.
Mark from Canton, GA
What's going to be more "fun" for you? Dealing with all the people calling for the Packers to sign J.J. Watt right now? Or dealing with the "fire everybody" and "we'll never win another Super Bowl" people after he signs somewhere else?
I'll deal with however the dominoes fall.
Julian from Gastonia, NC
I've never lived in Wisconsin so I'm probably in the minority on signing Watt to an expensive contract. I'd prefer they look for other DL veterans who will be available this offseason, or perhaps even use their first pick on a young prospect. The defensive line does need more help.
The defensive line is always a position you're looking to fortify. The Packers, surprisingly to me, made only token moves with that group last offseason, which included not drafting a defensive lineman for the first time since, I believe, 1996. Whatever happens with Watt, I don't expect this offseason to mirror the last one at that position.
Ron from Waukesha, WI
Spoff: From what I've read, it sounds like the David Bakhtiari contract restructure created $8.3 million of "free" money for the 2021 salary cap. This of course is not true. Can you describe what was done and how it will negatively impact future cap years?
What occurred is the rather common practice of converting a roster bonus, which counts all at once on the cap when it's paid, into a signing bonus, which can be prorated cap-wise over multiple years. So the Packers created a large chunk of cap space for 2021 by effectively spending some smaller chunks of cap space over the next few years.
Marin from West Lawn, PA
With the lowered salary cap projected for next season, is there a possibility there might be more of a tendency for teams to use the franchise tag than in the past?
I think it might actually be the opposite, because the tag creates a large one-year cap hit, whereas a longer-term deal can be structured with a smaller immediate hit and larger hits for later on, when the cap grows after the new TV deals are negotiated. But a team that is confident it can get a long-term deal done would use the tag to buy more time in the offseason to work things out.
Tim from Braceville, IL
Who makes the final decision if the salary cap changes?
It's an ongoing negotiation between the owners and the players' union how they want to spread out the 2020 revenue loss over future caps.
Russ from Uvanile, Ontario
I am reading several negative comments on the hiring of Coach Barry. Some are pointing to his numbers from his days running the Lions defense. Similar to what was being said of LaFleur as the Titans OC. Do you see a Barry making the same impact as ML has the past two seasons?
I don't see the need to get into comparisons. Barry is going to put his stamp, whatever that is, on Green Bay's defense. My read on it is LaFleur hired him to instill a certain mentality, and LaFleur's belief is the desired results will flow from that mentality. What exactly will that look like? No one will know for quite a while.
Douglas from Bloomington, IL
It seems like the best thing for this offense was ML, NH, and Rodgers sitting down and discussing what they liked and didn't like over the offseason. Will Joe Barry sit down with Za'Darius Smith or other players and figure out what the defense likes and doesn't like?
That's more a scheme discussion for Year 2 than Year 1. Initially, a coordinator needs to get to know his personnel and what they do best individually, irrespective of scheme, and build from there.
Tim from Champaign, IL
The notion that the Bucs are an example of a team going "all-in" seems to be misguided to me. GM Jason Licht built that team through the draft. From 2018-20, he had 14 picks in rounds 1-4, and found 10 starters. Over the same period, the Packers had 11 picks, and found three starters (credit-SI). Outside of Jaire Alexander, the 2018 draft doesn't look very good three years later. Isn't that where the Pack needs to improve?
To be fair, that number of three goes up if/when Rashan Gary, AJ Dillon, Josiah Deguara and/or Jace Sternberger becomes a starter, which are possibilities to varying degrees. Regarding '18, the extra first-rounder in '19 (which became Darnell Savage) was a product of that draft, but the Packers were certainly hoping for more from making 11 selections. On the whole, that crop hasn't worked out as planned.
Dan from Edgerton, WI
Which player makes the biggest jump this year?
I prefer to answer this question in the context of which player's jump would mean the most to the 2021 team, and at this early stage, there are two obvious answers in my book: AJ Dillon and, if Linsley doesn't return, Jon Runyan.
Joe from Appleton, WI
What happens if a team is over the cap when the new league year starts? Do they get fined? Lose draft picks? Forfeit all games until they're under the cap?
The league has multiple penalties at its disposal – fines, cancellation of contracts, and lost draft picks. How the choice of penalty is made I don't know.
John from Middleton, WI
Will Jordan Love see playing time in 2021 preseason?
Assuming there is a preseason, I would expect Love to take far more snaps than any other Green Bay QB in those games.
Craig from Johnson City, TN
Welcome back, Mike. Hope you had a great break. Just wanted to remember Marty Schottenheimer. I always thought he was a great coach and unlucky not to win it all. People need to understand that greatness doesn't always mean winning. You can show greatness by competing and giving your team a chance.
I never knew Schottenheimer, but I enjoyed the occasional conversation/interview with his brother Kurt during my first three years here. McCarthy always spoke fondly of Marty and considered him a mentor. I remember being stunned when the Chargers fired him after a 14-2 season and divisional playoff loss, which turned out to be his last game as an NFL head coach. In 20 full seasons, he qualified for the playoffs 13 times and posted just two losing records (one of those 7-9). Playoff heartbreak galore, but one heck of a career.
Joel from Mosinee, WI
Hey guys, if you could change one rule the NFL has what would it be?
Make all safety rules (defenseless receiver, helmet hits, roughing the passer, etc.) reviewable.
Curt from Algonquin, IL
There are occasional jokes about fans being banned from the Inbox, but is that a real thing? Do you have a filter set to weed out trouble, or names you see and ignore? Conversely, do you have a few names you see and think, "OK, this person usual brings us good stuff to work with. Let's give this one extra attention"? Most importantly, am I on either list?
Let this be the annual reminder that the inner workings of the Inbox are not to be divulged nor discussed. It's part of the charm.
David from Appleton, WI
Spoff, you read comments from Packer fans every day about what Green Bay should do in order to beat XXX. What do you hear from opposing team fans on what they are afraid to see from Green Bay? What are they afraid Green Bay will do in this offseason to get better against their team?
That's an interesting question, but you would know more about opposing team fans' perspectives than I would, seriously. I'd be guessing. Staying in tune with this team and its fan base on a daily basis is all the head space I have. Just ask my wife.
Kirk from Melbourne Beach, FL
I seem to recall, somewhere around midseason, a comment about the defense approaching MP and requesting some simplification. I never saw additional info on this, even though the defense was markedly improved in the second half of the season. Is this true? If so, can you elaborate a little or add some detail?
The particulars were sketchy and the story was a tad overblown, if I recall. In the end, I don't think it was that big a deal.
Bruce from Jackson, WI
Welcome back Mike, I'm sure a week wasn't near long enough to fully recover from this past year. Sadly that's all you got so here we go. Last week Wes was asked what he thought of the boozed-up Brady tossing the Lombardi Trophy from boat to boat. Wes responded he cringed, but "whatever." I hate the apathy in saying "whatever." Even Brady's kid can be heard yelling, "Dad, no." I'll bet it wasn't a GOAT move in Disney's eyes. Hero, zero or senior moment?
I'm with Wes on "whatever," as in, they can do whatever they want. To the victor go the spoils. Any other commentary, unless it comes from them and/or their fans, just sounds like whining.
Daniel from Waukesha, WI
Will David Bakhtiari be ready for training camp?
If he is, that would be some kind of record for an ACL recovery. I'm sure Bakhtiari has high goals, and I put nothing past him, but making predictions in mid-February regarding a major knee injury that took place less than two months ago would be foolish.
Lynn from Somers, WI
Mike, Wes said, "You can disperse credit to whoever you wish." Should that have been whomever? If so, I would like to submit my resume for a proofreading position. If not, I will see myself out.
That is always the hardest thing about reading the Inbox while I'm gone. Always. Yes, I have issues.
Bryce from Sullivan, IN
Your Wisconsin weather has made it a little too far south. We are expected to have seven plus inches of snow and everyone around here is losing their minds.
I'd take as much snow as Mother Nature wants to dump on us if it were 20 degrees warmer. Bitter cold is way worse than piles of snow.
Mike from Rhinelander, WI
It's the NFL offseason and real news is slow. You have been given an opportunity to write a script for a sequel to the movie "Draft Day." Digital reporters from several other NFL teams have also been given this opportunity. Give us your synopsis and final scene.
I am not nearly the fan of the movie Wes is, but I'm posting this question so he has all week to think about his answer for when he returns.
Megan from Quincy, IL
Happy Valentine's Day.
Happy Presidents Day.