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Inbox: That should tell everyone something

It still comes down to teams trusting their board

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WR Davante Adams

Brian from Bemidji, MN

Mike, what do you know?

Not what everyone would like me to, apparently.

Gregory from Kent, WA

How much did the Pack clear in cap space by releasing Kirksey and Wagner?

In the $9-10 million range.

Ethan from La Crosse, WI

Hi Mike, happy Saturday. Care to comment a bit further on the stat you mentioned yesterday? "None of the 22 QBs drafted in the first round from 2009-16 will be with their original team in 2021." What does this say about such teams? They failed to provide the QB with weapons? They didn't do their homework? The QB was just not that good to begin with? Some of it all? Enjoy your weekend.

With that large a sample size, it's always all of the above, including the standard percentage of washouts plus some anomalies, such as Andrew Luck's early retirement, career-altering injuries (Cam Newton, Teddy Bridgewater, RGIII), etc. It just goes to show how hard it is to secure a true, career-long franchise QB in this league, even with pockets of success sprinkled in, and selecting one in the first round guarantees nothing. The next year in the sequence, 2017, saw three first-round QBs, and two of them (Trubisky and Watson) could be with new teams soon as well. Mahomes is the guy who'll break the streak.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

It seems unusual that DC Barry has not had a press conference yet. Other new DCs have engaged already with media and I would presume this is the plan for Barry as well. Is there a timeline on when he will address the media?

Nothing specific yet. My understanding is LaFleur is in the process of filling some lower-level staff positions. When he's finished, he's planning to address the media regarding the coaching staff, and Barry presumably will be made available as well.

Matt from Waunakee, WI

Hi Mike, I believe the cream always rises too. Without the GM the cream would rise for somebody else's team.

Point taken.

Robert from Saginaw, MI

To expand on the GM vs. QB debate, Bill Polian once said: It is the GM's job to get the team to the playoffs, after that it is up to the players.

Also valid, and in line with my thoughts this week.

Bob from Kennesaw, GA

I don't understand how the retirement of player numbers can possibly make sense. Numbers are a finite commodity, and with so many players on a team each year and the sport hopefully lasting far into the future, it's bound to be a problem at some point. Same thing with the finite room on the ring of honor, right? It's not like we could ever forget special players, or that they weren't handsomely compensated while here. Not trying to be a grinch...thinking about the game our grandkids will inherit.

The names on the Lambeau façade are different. That's for the Pro Football Hall of Famers, so Woodson's will be added later in 2021, and Mark Murphy has announced they'll also put Ted Thompson's name in a special place (just as Bob Harlan did with Ron Wolf's, and then Wolf's was moved to join the rest when he went into the HOF). With the numbers, they're indeed a finite commodity in football more so than any other sport, with a 53-man roster plus practice squad, IR, etc. The Bears are the NFL team with the most retired numbers (14), but they announced back in 2013 when they retired Mike Ditka's No. 89 that his would be the last one.

Keith from Greendale, WI

Insiders, the talk about GMs vs. QBs reminded of a debate I've had with my friends. Who do you think is the more impressive GM, Ron Wolf or Ted Thompson? They were both highly successful and deserve the greatest of praise and respect. But if I'm going to pick the more impressive, I choose Ted. Navigating the Favre drama and selecting Aaron Rodgers with his first draft pick is the deal breaker for me. Ron rejuvenated GB but he could only go up. Ted had everything to lose when he took over.

I'm not sure there's a wrong answer when choosing between two GMs who shepherded noteworthy runs of success. I guess it depends whether you think pulling a team out of a quarter-century doldrums or keeping it highly competitive in the parity era is the greater feat. Having lived through most of the dark ages, my choice is Wolf. In ranking bold, franchise-defining moves, I would slot his trade for Favre higher than Thompson's selection of Rodgers.

Take a look at the best celebration shots from the Packers' 2020 season.

Dan from Morehead City, NC

Let's turn this question around, what positions do you think we can skip in the upcoming draft? I could see skipping QB unless Tim Boyle isn't re-signed, but otherwise I don't see a position that couldn't use some upgrade across the board. Again, free agency could change this both ways.

I tend to agree on all counts.

Daryl from Helena, MT

No question, just a comment. For some reason facing Jared Goff twice a year does not scare me as much as Matthew Stafford did.

I concur here as well.

Linda from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Good morning Mike! Hope you can help me. I have not been able to find any info on David Bakhtiari's injury or treatment since it was first announced as a suspected torn ACL. NOTHING! For an athlete, especially one of his caliber, this is extremely unusual. Can you tell me anything? Is it due to confidentiality of medical records? Since he is such an important player, there normally would be much more info released. What gives?

It's not that unusual with a major injury that happened only two months ago. The Packers aren't keen on discussing injuries, preferring to leave it up to the player himself, and Bakhtiari hasn't divulged anything via social media, which is his prerogative. I would imagine we'll get some kind of update in the spring.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Thinking about the receiver group, Davante Adams is clearly the best off the line of scrimmage and the "go-to" guy. Marquez Valdes-Scantling is the field stretcher/game breaker. Allen Lazard is the best blocker and a reliable possession receiver. Assuming Devin Funchess is a factor in 2021, his role would be _

Get open and catch the ball.

Jake from Oswego, IL

I have a question about the "Rodgers Effect." Recently I have been discussing how good Davante Adams is with some of my friends. I argue that he is the best receiver in the NFL. My friends argue that he is only in the conversation as the best because of how good Rodgers is. I obviously cannot deny that Rodgers makes his receivers better, but it also seems wrong to diminish the accomplishments of a player because of who he plays with. I am not sure how to respond to this. Thoughts? Is it fair?

Everything goes hand-in-hand, but it's not fair to make blanket statements about all receivers relative to their QBs. In Adams' case, we saw him over eight games with Brett Hundley in 2017 post 46 catches for 543 yards and five TDs. Double that for a full season and it's 92-1,086-10 with a QB who has been a backup his whole career. That should tell everyone something.

Avida from Vienna, VA

Hi Mike, as you've noted and fans have already observed, given Kevin King's impending free agency and improvement needed in the defensive backfield, do you believe Jerry Gray is a draw for free-agent defensive backs? Would a DB who elects to sign a one-year "prove it" deal due to the reduced cap this year potentially choose GB due to having Gray as a coach? All things being equal (primarily contract amount), does Gray have a reputation that you believe would factor into a free-agent DB's decision?

Not really. Certainly not as much as the chance for playing time that player would have with a given team to "prove" what he's worth. If the dollars are equal, a player will choose opportunity first.

Dalton from DeForest, WI

What knowledge, if any, can Mike Pettine take to Chicago about the Packers' offense that might be an advantage to the Bears?

Not much more than the Bears can glean themselves from having four games of film now against Green Bay's offense.

Joe from Appleton, WI

After seeing how many potential high draft picks opted out in 2020, do you think this is a trend that might continue? An underclassman puts together a monster season, and then sits out a year to focus on watching film and weight training. Or do you think the experience of playing at the collegiate level is too valuable for players to consistently try the sitting-out strategy?

The latter.

Matt from Irvine, CA

I just realized I don't like the idea of a 17th regular-season game because it will make it easier for every player to break single-season records and also make it more difficult to compare performance between 16- and 17-game seasons. What are your thoughts on an extra regular-season game?

I'm not crazy about it, for the reasons you mention, as well as the disruption of a very even, fair and equitable scheduling formula. But if it was the only way to get the owners to reduce the length of the preseason, then I guess it's worth it.

Criag from Cortland, NY

Hey Mike, to your comment about the potential for greater disparity in the evaluation of college talent due to opt-outs, shortened seasons, and no combine, do you think that will generate more or fewer trades to align pick and value? Will teams be more apt to stay put (or maybe even move back) believing that other teams are less likely to see "their guy" in the same way and hold onto the draft capital needed to move up, or will there be greater urgency to go get him given less consensus?

Equally hard to say. I think it still comes down to teams trusting their board, but there are so many vagaries. Sometimes a player is sitting by himself, ranked substantially higher than the picks currently being made, screaming the value is there to trade up. Other times a team's on-the-clock moment is coming with no one on its board valued at the slot, so it's desperately trying to trade back even without a specific player target in mind. The rationales behind trades and attempted trades are never fully revealed.

Joe from Wausau, WI

With no combine, seems game tape will be even more important than usual in prospect evaluation. Will this hurt the prospect from say, Southwest Missouri St. who only has game tape against lesser competition, and doesn't get the opportunity to prove his athleticism at the combine? Will GMs even more than normal feel safer taking the guy from the Power 5 conference?

Perhaps, but scouts also are going to trust their gut. They have to in their line of work.

Matt from Fort Worth, TX

Y'all should create a blooper highlights reel from "Three Things" or a combined one from all the various videos you create throughout the season to release during the offseason. Could it become the most anticipated date of the offseason?

I'm sure our video crew has stashed a lot of clips away, but we try to keep this a family-friendly website.

Jordan from Virginia Beach, VA

Good morning Mike! How much money do the Packers have carrying over from the 2020 cap? Also, if a team is under year after year, does that money continue to carry over or does the unused portion of carryover money from a certain year retire after a period of time? If fans are back for all of 2021 do you foresee a jump bigger than $10 million for 2022's cap? When are the new TV contracts set to happen and how big of a jump can we expect that year? I just filed my taxes so I have money on my mind.

The Packers didn't have a ton of leftover cap space in 2020, a few million or so. There's no statute of limitations on carryover, only stipulations of minimum spending relative to the cap over a four-year period. The league's TV contract with ESPN expires after the 2021 season, and the one with the other networks after '22. New deals are expected to provide a major revenue bump and therefore boost the salary cap. Those projections are all part of the negotiations for how best to spread out cap-wise the pandemic-related revenue hit from this past season.

Take a look at the best snow photos at Lambeau Field from the 2020 season.

Donald from Fayetteville, NC

Hi Mike, Wes mentioned last week that players might not be willing to restructure their contracts. I suppose I was under the impression that "restructure" with regards to saving salary cap space primarily relates to converting salary and roster bonuses to signing bonus. I don't expect players to agree to pay cuts or hometown discounts, but is there any reason players wouldn't agree to restructure like I've described? Isn't it just money in their pockets sooner and guaranteed?

Usually, yes, but the restructure you're talking about is only effective for players with long-term deals, or for contracts the team wants to extend. That's a very limited number of guys. Others with shorter deals who may not be offered an extension will be approached about a pay cut, and they'll have to decide in the current landscape if they're better off taking it or testing the market.

Kurtis from De Pere, WI

"Q: Do the Packers ever pick up a free agent to create excitement, like in the case of J.J. Watt? A: This team doesn't make personnel acquisitions for PR reasons or to sell tickets." And thank the Gods for that. It's bolstered by 30 years of winning at a good clip, but having no flashy owner and no impetus to "artificially" fill the seats allows GB's football people to make football decisions based purely on football information. Obviously there are no guarantees, but that is a good thing. Eh?

Aye.

Steve from Portsmouth, UK

A couple of observations/suggestions. Can we please stop dimming/flashing the floodlights when we score a touchdown, and can we also stop the camera guy running on the pitch and sticking his camera in the players' faces? Am I the only one that feels this way?

There's a Ted Lasso joke to be made here about pitches belonging in baseball, but at the end of the week it's not coming to me.

Kevin from New York, NY

What will Saturday's winning Powerball numbers be?

Have a great weekend, everybody. I'm taking another brief respite, and Wes is back in the saddle next week.

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