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Inbox: That partly explains the Packers' willingness

The team has work to do there

LB Preston Smith

George from Edinburg, VA

Dang Mike, I'm 68 but I would have gotten the boys together and cleared your driveway so you could do your Packer work, if I were still in WI! You know I'm not alone, sir. Then again, it's always nice to recover from vacation gradually...

I appreciate the thought, but Mother Nature still made sure I woke up Monday morning to another snow/ice storm in Green Bay, to make up for missing last week's blizzard. There truly is no escape.

Dale from Prescott, WI

What did the Packers do with the other two top-15 picks they've had since 2009?

In 2018, they traded back from 14 to 27 and then back up to 18 to select Jaire Alexander, and got an extra first-round pick the following year in the process (which was used for Darnell Savage, after trading up nine spots). Then in '19, they took Rashan Gary at 12.

Rich from Grand Rapids, MI

It should not be lost in the big picture that if 12 is traded or retires this year, GB is $68M UNDER the cap in 2024. That is the definition of getting healthy quickly in salary cap terms.

To be fair, if Jordan Love is with the Packers on his fifth-year option in '24, he'll consume about one-third of that space. But your point is valid, and I think that partly explains the Packers' willingness to continue pushing cap charges into the future with these restructures. Aaron Rodgers is a year-to-year proposition, and at whatever point he's no longer on the books, that cap room can absorb the delayed charges, void years, etc., they've been using to keep their top players for now rather than release them as cap casualties.

Kim from Hudson, WI

I know we are all waiting to hear what Aaron's decision is after his four-day isolation (which I'm jealous of by the way). Do you think he will do a press conference either way or will it just "leak out" via the "experts" online? Living where I do, I want to avoid hearing the decision through the Minnesota media so I'm boycotting any reporting from across the river. Thanks for the common sense I get to read every day in the Inbox!

First off, I don't see Brian Gutekunst breaking any Rodgers news from Indy today, but we will have live-stream coverage of his podium session at 9 a.m. CT today on packers.com, so be sure to tune in. We're also hoping to post video of any other media session Gutekunst does in front of cameras, and Wes will cover everything from a written standpoint. That aside, I can see this going one of two ways. Rodgers might go on McAfee and say he's planning to play in 2023 (or retire), but if the former, he'll say he still has to work out with the Packers whether that'll be in Green Bay or elsewhere. Or he will sort out with the Packers where he's playing, and one of the national reporters with the proper sources will break the news as to what has happened behind the scenes.

Isaac from Columbia, TN

What educational and job backgrounds are beneficial for NFL commissioner? How do the owners go about hiring that position?

The owners want someone who's going to maximize their revenue and grow the game so the value of their franchises continues to climb. They want a future visionary regarding the economics, which can come from any number of backgrounds.

Joseph from Vermillion, SD

Odd association my brain made, but when you responded about your working conditions, or lack thereof, I thought one of the rewards for Packers Perks should be a sweepstakes for "Follow Mike and Wes for a day." Or maybe that just needs to be a Lambeau Field tour option?

The idea of a J. Peterman-style reality tour as it relates to packers.com writers was broached in this space, and mercifully dismissed, years ago. The picture in my cube of Jeff Janis spraying me down with scent-masking fluid at the edge of the woods would be the only mildly interesting thing you'd see, trust me.

Christopher from St. Louis, MO

Do you guys think it's worth drafting TE in the first round? Historically the position takes 2-3 years to develop and the best ones haven't been first-rounders. I'm personally opposed to drafting one in the first round when there are talented pass rushers, WRs, and D/O-linemen around. Those positions are at a higher premium and are more difficult to get the uber talented.

I'm with Wes in that I generally don't think a first-round pick on a tight end is worth it, provided there are similarly rated linemen and/or edge rushers available. Early in the draft, I'm always more inclined toward the big guys and premium positions, which includes corner as well. But if the trenches and defensive difference-makers are off the board and an offensive perimeter weapon is the top-rated player, then go for it.

Jason from Madison, WI

Hindsight being 20/20, in your opinion, what was the Packers' biggest offseason miss in 2022? My thought is not getting involved in a trade for A.J. Brown from the Titans. He seemed affordable for the talent. It would have made Rodgers happy. I didn't see any negatives to try and replace Adams with a quality veteran. Were the Packers even aware of his availability? Seems like a miss to me.

Well, the Titans got the No. 18 overall pick, plus a late third-round selection, from the Eagles for Brown, who then signed a monster deal with Philly. The Packers didn't have a pick that high nor the cap space to make Brown happy, for starters. But to play along, had they given up one of their first-rounders, then either Walker or Wyatt isn't here, and if they'd had to package a second-rounder to make it happen, then Watson isn't here either. I know third-round pick Rhyan's rookie year was a washout for those thinking that pick could've helped in the trade equation, but still, a high-priced veteran likely would've had to be cut to make room for Brown's new deal. Big picture, I don't see how the Packers are better off trying to make that trade work. The miss last offseason, to me, was not fortifying the edge rusher spot. A fifth-round pick (Enagbare) quickly emerged as the best No. 3 option, and then Gary's injury necessitated a veteran stopgap pickup in Hollins, whom the Packers were lucky became available late in the year. The team has work to do there.

Avida from Vienna, VA

Have the compensatory picks been released? If not, when do they usually get officially released by the league?

Last year they were announced in mid-March.

Dave from Minocqua, WI

Do you guys ever get so many good questions that you don't have room in one day to answer them or print them? If so, do you ever save any for the next day or two in that scenario?

There are questions I might sit on for a day or two while pondering an answer, but that's already going too far in breaking the first rule of Inbox, which is talking about Inbox.

Sarah from Neenah, WI

What is the staff doing during the offseason?

The coaches got some time off a few weeks after the season ended, and now they're mostly working on scheme evaluation and other film/playbook-related projects to prepare for 2023. They'll start making some contributions to the draft process following the combine, I suspect.

Vinny from Arlington, VA

Is this idea of Matt LaFleur and his coaching staff not attending the combine a non-issue and overblown? It certainly stands out given LaFleur has attended every other combine since he's been coach. And any approximate idea of the number or percentage of teams that send their coaches to the combine?

I don't have a list in front of me, but it's become more common in recent years. The Packers aren't setting any new trend here.

Bill from Fort Worth, TX

Am I overthinking things when I feel unease at the idea the Bucks could be owned by someone who went all in on Deshaun Watson as a player rather than considering the person? That was a pretty awful message sent.

Yeah, I wasn't thrilled to hear that Bucks news Monday morning either.

Take a look at photos at Green Bay Packers LB Eric Wilson during the 2022 NFL season.

Chris from Toronto, Canada

I believe the '23 Packers will struggle to finish above .500. Why? They have critical needs everywhere (e.g. OL, DL, TE, WR, S and Edge). They don't have enough high draft capital to address them all, and they don't have the cap room to sign FAs, including their own (Allen Lazard, Adrian Amos, Robert Tonyan). What's worse, there are injuries to overcome (Gary, Eric Stokes). What's the answer? Wouldn't moving AR12 add high draft picks AND free up cap $pace? Maybe the answer will emerge from the darkness.

Once the QB situation is resolved, the rest will follow. I guarantee you the Green Bay front office hasn't just been sitting around waiting for an answer. They've been putting multiple plans in place depending on the direction this goes, and they will act on the appropriate plan.

Steven from Colorado Springs, CO

I believe it was you who said, before your vacation, that Payton and Wilson were not a good match in Denver. Why do you think not?

I questioned the pairing only because Payton had all his success with a pure pocket quarterback in Brees, not a run-around, improv guy like Wilson. But it very well could work, and I'm curious to see for sure.

Hans from Nashport, OH

The trend in the league AKA "The McVay effect" is becoming more and more apparent, especially with the Cardinals hiring a 29-year-old DC. Where is the ideal balance between youth and experience?

If everyone knew that, there'd be a formula to follow. A mix is generally helpful, but having a coaching staff that fits together and can work together is paramount, however it's assembled. In the Cardinals' case, the very young DC hire suggests Gannon will be calling the defensive plays as a head coach.

Nathan from Philadelphia, PA

How much more would Mason Crosby cost than an undrafted/street free agent kicker? I suppose more money than even you make, Mike, but it's not much compared to the salary cap. If he wants to keep playing, and the coaches are satisfied that he still has the leg, why not bring him back?

Crosby has counted anywhere from about $3.5M to $5M against the cap each of the last half dozen years or so. By contrast, the Packers' other kicker under contract, UDFA Parker White, has a three-year deal for $2.7M total (if he's on the 53). So the cap savings would be significant. The Packers have a lot to weigh, obviously, given Crosby's experience and leadership. Those will be practically impossible to replace, whenever that time comes.

Greg from Myrtle Beach, SC

What would we do without II? Better still … what would you and Wes do without II?

I can't speak for Wes, but I'm certain I'd drink less.

Joe from Swansea, IL

Gotta ask: If No. 88 emerges from a darkness retreat to kick a chip-filled football through laser goalposts, will II officially fracture? We're on the edge, people! Back away. Slowly.

See what I mean?

Joe from Hampshire, IL

Mike, how did you get chosen to throw the first pitch in Pittsburgh? And did you throw a strike, or at least not hit a cameraperson?

Oh, I just meant I made it to my seat on time. Ha, I'm flattered at your assumption.

Julian from Gastonia, NC

Do you know if the green visors have arrived for Packer management yet? Poker season is about to start.

Good one. Happy Tuesday.

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