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Inbox: Plenty of uncertainty but it's still early

Some folks are short on those memories

WR Allen Lazard

Mark from Carmel, IN

We should have a pretty good idea of what to expect next year in less than two weeks, right?

Seems that way.

Ryan from Baldwin, WI

Spoff, how about them Badgers? Picked to finish near dead last in the conference and end up winning at least a share. They must be the most gritty team I've witnessed in a while.

They are the definition of grit on the basketball court. It's been so much fun following this Badgers team, and hopefully it's not done achieving great things.

Don from Waverly, IA

Is Dr. Sam Vainisi related to Jack Vainisi?

Yes, Sam is Jack's younger brother. I had the pleasure of interviewing him more than a decade ago and wrote this story for packers.com.

Kent from Milwaukee, WI

Based on the press coverage of the scouting combine you would think that all of the GMs make out their draft boards based primarily on the performance of the players at the combine. In reality how much is based on the combine, how much is based on interviews of the players, and how much is based on tape of actual games?

There are more than three pieces to the puzzle, but of those three you mention, game tape accounts for way more than the other two combined (no pun intended).

Robert from Verona, WI

The Packers are clearly trying to keep the championship window open, but I'm wondering if the restructured contracts tell us anything about how long they think they can keep it open. Is it looking like they're focusing primarily on 2022-2023 and will worry about future years next offseason, or does it look like the moves they're making will keep the window open for 2-3 more years?

The window is open for as long as the four-time MVP quarterback is taking the snaps and playing like he has. That's how the Packers view it, as they should.

Andrew from Chicago, IL

Joe from Liberty Township, OH (and the response from Wes) beautifully summarized how I have been feeling about the Rodgers situation. Folks seem too eager (whether willingly or absentmindedly) to discount just how hard it will be to sustain the level of success the Packers have had over the past three decades once we no longer have a HOF QB under center. Just wanted to thank you both because calm, patience, and logical reasoning are in short supply these days.

It's been a long time since the Packers (and their fans) truly understood how the other half of the NFL lives, so to speak. Favre never missed a game, and Rodgers' extended absences in '13 and '17 should have given enough of a taste (5-12-1, counting the games he exited early with the broken collarbones), but some folks are short on those memories as well.

Bruce from Norwalk, CT

It seems to me that the Packers' position with respect to the salary cap in future years should be considered on both an absolute and relative basis. While the expected dramatic increase in the cap will likely allow the team to get under the cap in those years, it may be right up against the cap while other teams find themselves with a fair amount of room under it, thereby putting the Packers at a potential disadvantage relative to others.

Correct, and the Packers are willing to saddle themselves with that future disadvantage in order to try to maximize on the advantage they currently possess in the chase for a championship.

Dave from Boise, ID

What is the plan at WR? Even if Davante Adams comes back, the only other WR under contract is Randall Cobb, correct? But between his injuries and contract, he seems like a logical cut candidate. Not going to be a whole lot of cap money floating around for free agents, and rookie WRs typically don't have an impact. This seems like an area of grave concern, does it not?

I fully expect the Packers to keep Allen Lazard with an appropriate RFA tender. If Rodgers returns, maybe Cobb sticks around at a lower salary. I think the Packers would like to bring back Marquez Valdes-Scantling, but that's one of many questions heading into free agency right now. Amari Rodgers will be in Year 2, and even if he didn't shine in his rookie season, no one's giving up on him. So overall, plenty of uncertainty but it's still early. I wouldn't categorize the situation as grave by any means.

Jeff from Montclair, VA

Like you guys, I try to filter out all the media ruckus regarding all things 12. But what hurts, and I don't understand, is respected players like Greg Jennings throwing shade, to the point that we have a fight between him and Kurt Benkert and Tom Crabtree. One thing we don't need is fratricide in Packerland. Your thoughts?

If it happens on social media, I honestly don't care.

Craig from Bonduel, WI

What team has the most playoff losses in the NFL Super Bowl era? The Packers have to be near the top. Along with that, what team has the worst win/lose percentage in the playoffs?

I couldn't find postseason data limited strictly to the Super Bowl era, but the Packers' 25 postseason losses are tied for fifth most in league history. The Vikings have 30, followed by the Cowboys with 29, Rams and Steelers with 27, and then Colts, Giants and Packers all with 25. Green Bay's .590 postseason winning percentage (36-25) is fourth best all-time, behind only the Patriots (.627, 37-22), 49ers (.607, 34-22) and Ravens (.593, 16-11). The worst postseason winning percentage belongs to the Bengals (.348, 8-15).

John from Dallas, TX

Following up on your comment on Tottenham's new field, in what way is the stadium based on Lambeau? It is amazing that our stadium influences how organizations build their own on the international scale.

Peter from Morganfield, KY, followed up on this as well. My understanding is the Tottenham folks sent a contingent to Green Bay to study the external architecture of the redeveloped Lambeau and incorporated some of its design. To what extent I'm not sure.

Tom from Sturgeon Bay, WI

What type of compensation do the teams receive for play overseas?

I believe the league gives the team surrendering a home game a stipend roughly equivalent to its projected lost revenue, and everything from the international game goes to the league.

Joe from Wausau, WI

London is nice, I guess. But a lot of Packer fans were hoping to be able to combine a Packer game with Oktoberfest in Munich. Maybe next time.

I'm counting on it.

Ryan from Noblesville, IN

How many laughs do you think will generate at the London pep rally pub when a certain someone orders a pint of root beer?

I will toast to it just the same.

Mary from Pewaukee, WI

Are any of the Packers players fearful of long airplane flights like the one to London?

I would imagine a long flight like that gets a bit uncomfortable after a while, but I don't know if I'd say anyone is fearful.

Venny from Montgomery, AL

Is releasing the NFL schedule in May going to be the standard going forward? It was normally released right before the draft prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, is that correct?

Yes, it was. I don't know if May is officially the new normal, but it might be now.

Brian from Trego, WI

Welcome back Mike! I was wondering with players like David Bakhtiari and Jaire Alexander missing most games in 2021, whether there is a salary cap provision that subtracts the value of their missed games from cap in any way?

Nope. What they were paid was capped. A several-times All-Pro like Bakhtiari and first-round picks like Alexander generally don't have split clauses in their contracts that alter their salaries in case of injury.

Caroline from Olympia, WA

Are we keeping Alexander?

I believe the Packers would like to sign him to a long-term deal, yes.

Kevin from Winnemucca, NV

Gooooooood morning Insiders. Why not franchise tag De'Vondre Campbell AND Davante Adams?

Because each team only gets one tag to use each year.

Dan from Lignite, ND

With regard to OT, have we really reached the point that it's legitimately unfair to expect that a defense could stop an offense from scoring?

That's what I keep coming back to, and why I like the TD-only sudden death on the opening drive, with old-fashioned sudden death thereafter. The potential modification to have the starting yard line factor into how badly a team wants the ball first makes sense to me.

Richard from Greenwich, NY

However the system, the guiding principle needs to be that both teams need to possess the ball in OT.

I disagree. Because if both teams score a TD, all you're left with is two even more exhausted teams and the same arguments, or some gimmicky way to decide the game.

Matt from South Bend, IN

So Mike, we got Wes's opinion, how about yours? Matt Ryan, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Eli Manning. Cam Newton has been released by two teams by the age of 32. That doesn't scream HOF to me. QBs should be at their prime around the age of 30, not getting tossed around. Does Matt Ryan's MVP make the difference compared to Russ's nine Pro Bowls and Super Bowl ring? Who has the best Hall of Fame case and how would you rank them?

I mentioned Eli before and how it'll be fascinating to see how far two Super Bowl wins over Brady (as SB MVP) carry him against an otherwise pedestrian regular-season ledger. He and Wilson have the best potential HOF cases of that group. If the Seahawks hand the ball off to Lynch, Wilson is probably a shoo-in, so in that respect I don't think one play should keep a player out of the Hall. I don't see Ryan or Newton getting serious HOF consideration at this point.

Greg from Long Beach, CA

Good morning Mike, what a sad day for baseball. Where do you fall when it comes to MLB vs. the MLBPA?

I'm furious with both sides. They're doing tremendous damage to the sport, which needs help with the on-field product as well as the financial landscape of it. There's so much additional work to do beyond the CBA, but the factions have no trust in each other to get anything done. Neither side seems to really care about the sport, which is most disheartening. The lack of any sort of equitable economic structure to the game is really at the root of it all, and that's everyone's fault.

Cambo from Indianapolis, IN

Spoff, a city full of talented young athletes champing at the bit, ready to chase their NFL dreams sans pads or Wonderlics. 60-degree weather. A few local brews and dogs (the kind not nestled between two buns, smothered in squeaky cheese). The Badgers with a sweep of Purdue on back-to-back bank shots from Davis and Chucky. Confirmation of Steak 'n Shake's hours of operation. I hope Indianapolis was as good to you as you were to us. I'm sure there's a poem to be found in this somewhere for Wes.

I owe a debt of gratitude to Cambo for showing me a couple of his local haunts, keeping the beverages flowing, and allowing me to be heavily distracted from our conversation by the Badgers. I'm back home now, and Indy was a shorter trip this time, but I can't wait to return again. Happy Thursday.


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