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Inbox: The intrigue will be there

These are unprecedented times in the NFL

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

Jim from Madison, WI

I had to look up "Tiger King." The other night my wife asked why I was eating ice cream and watching a deer eat? I told her "the deer shouldn't eat alone." I feel bad for my wife marrying a weirdo. You keep writing so this weirdo can keep sane.

Look at what this pandemic is doing to us all. Fortunately, we have "Tiger King" and this safe, comfortable cyberspace to unite. Good morning!

Herb from Albuquerque, NM

Hello Wes, I'm looking forward to the draft just to see what type of presentation the first-rounders might do online. Might be fun since Wrestlemania will be performed in an empty WWE Performance Center.

The intrigue will be there on draft night. That's for sure. The NFL Network and ESPN have had more than a month to brace for the change of plans, so both entities should have ample time to be creative and make the event as entertaining as possible for the viewer. It'll be clunky but so is everything right now.

Scott from Mondovi, WI

With the draft quickly approaching, how are the team rookie visits working this year? Are they allowed video chats with potential draftees and are there limits like normal years? In the past the Packers used some on guys they were hoping to land as undrafted free agents. Without actual visits, will it be more difficult to convince some of these guys to come to Green Bay?

FaceTime interviews, baby. Catch the fever. Per Tom Pelissero, sessions are capped at 1 hour and teams cannot talk with players more than three times in a week. All interactions must be reported to the league. These are unprecedented times in the NFL.

Tom from West Palm Beach, FL

It seems crazy to me how many of our cast-offs end up on other NFC North teams. Does this happen with other teams/divisions as frequently or just confirmation bias at play? When was the last time one of these signings paid out in a substantial way for the Bears, Lions, or Vikings?

It happens. Heck, the Patriots have made a cottage industry out of pilfering the rosters of their division rivals (see: Gilmore, Stephon). As far as Packers are concerned, Brett Favre probably had the biggest impact of any player who left Green Bay. More recently, Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang went to Pro Bowls with Chicago and Detroit, respectively, but neither was on a team that was particularly good.

Nic from London, UK

Boy, success in sports is a fickle thing. The last 1½ seasons showed G-Mo couldn't be WR2. But before his injury he was on a tear as our WR3. We'll never know what might have been! We've had a couple later-round players over the years start to establish themselves only to be derailed by injury. It must be so frustrating since they get less rope/opportunity than first-rounders. Can you think of anyone else we've let go who probably was on track to locking down a position before injury?

JC Tretter is the first name that comes to mind. Trevor Davis, Sam Barrington, DuJuan Harris and Kyle Murphy are all worthy of honorable mentions, as well.

Darren from Kingston, Ontario, Canada

As a follow-up to Jeff from Belton, TX's question, who on the team would make it to the finals of an elimination style MMA tournament?

Marcedes Lewis. He's a big UFC fan and trains MMA in the offseason. That's a story I'm hoping to write at some point. Now-former Packers fullback Danny Vitale also trains. I know he has sparred with the UFC's Ricardo Lamas and Bellator's Jake Hager (a.k.a. Jack Swagger). Danny told me last year he hopes to take one amateur fight whenever his NFL career is over.

Rick from Pacifica, CA

Hello II. Why did the Packers only sign Tyler Ervin and Devin Funchess to one-year deals? The money is right for the Packers and you hope they both add a lot. However, if they have great seasons, the Pack will have to pony up much more money to keep them. Or, is it the players are only willing to sign one "prove-it" year rather than taking a couple or more years at lower money?

Short-term deals are typical during the second wave of free agency. Teams don't want to make long commitments and players want another bite at a potentially larger apple the following year. Ervin and Funchess are both young, so it's understandable why they'd want to keep their options open after this year.

Kevin from Whitehall, WI

Wes, if Funchess can play anywhere, does that mean he'll wear No. 88?

*Stares blankly at the screen, questioning everything he's done to get to this point in his life. Take a deep breath*

It actually might.

Jeff from Cedarburg, WI

Hello Insiders, say a team receives a third-round comp pick. What determines where in the third round that pick will be placed?

It's always at the end of the round and the team with the largest net loss gets the highest pick. This year, it was the Texans who received the 97th selection after losing Tyrann Mathieu in unrestricted free agency last March. And before you start looking, that pick now belongs to Cleveland in completion of the Duke Johnson trade.

Tory from Milwaukee, WI

Morning guys, looking at the cap we are in the bottom 10. I know we want to sign everyone to fill our holes but that isn't feasible. What do you think is the likelihood we trade back in the draft for some extra picks? Do you foresee anyone being a cap casualty coming up in the next year so we can re-sign our current players on their final year of their contract?

The Packers are fiscally responsible and this year is no exception. They aren't one of those teams that have to cut good players because they can't afford them. So the only way they'll move back is if there's proper value.

Michael from Berrien Springs, MI

With all the social isolation, what do you picture for this year's "war room" during the draft?

I'm picturing me and my buddies in the chatroom before our fantasy draft begins every August. In reality, however, I'm sure the Packers will have a much more sophisticated plan of attack depending on what the NFL allows on draft night.

Take a look at photos of Packers RB Tyler Ervin from the 2019 season.

Dennis from Beavercreek, OH

So in this time of no sports on TV, I am surprised that the sports channels have not held and shown sports video game tournaments. I probably would not watch them but I am sure some people would. What do you think of the idea?

I think exactly what you said. I, as a gamer, enjoy watching streams on "Twitch" and "Mixer" but my parents, my boss and many of my friends do not. You gotta appeal to a wide audience on major networks. ESPN probably has taken the right approach by showing highlights over full broadcasts.

Tom from Sturgeon Bay, WI

II, if/when the draft takes place, with no audience, do you think the NFL will dub in crowd noise, including the booing for the commissioner, to make it more realistic? Keep safe.

Did you ever see "Draft Day?" No.

Jeff from Eveleth, MN

The experts have been saying in today's NFL to be successful you need premier players at passer, pass protector, pass catcher, pass rusher, and pass defender. We should like our chances then with Aaron Rodgers, David Bakhtiari, Davante Adams, the Smiths, and Jaire Alexander, right?

Precisely. Echoing what Rodgers said this past week, the Packers aren't that far from where they want to be. A few savvy moves this offseason has Green Bay back in the championship hunt in 2020.

Dick from Ahwahnee, AZ

Has Jared Veldheer signed a contract?

No. The Packers have five unrestricted free agents still on the market – Veldheer, Ryan Grant, Ibraheim Campbell, Jason Spriggs and Tramon Williams.

Steve from Yorktown, VA

If you guys aren't taking advantage of the complimentary NFL GamePass, you're missing out. I'm watching the 2011 season in its entirety and man, that team was loaded from top to bottom, on offense and defense. With Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, and Randall Cobb, I don't think we'll ever see a receiver group that good again. TE group was underrated, RB group was great, and all three levels of the defense had playmakers. I had forgotten how good Desmond Bishop was. Sad ending, but that was a great year!

Bishop is another one who looked like a perennial starter prior to his hamstring injury. That defense gave up a few too many big plays but it also could take the ball away at any moment. Offensively, that stands among the most talented, and entertaining, units in franchise history.

John from La Crosse, WI

I see that the Rams recently changed their logo. The Packers have had their "G" logo since 1961. Do you think that the Packers will ever change to something other than their "G" logo?

Never. The "G" stands alone. It's too iconic.

Robert from Verona, WI

You address a lot of questions about the value of draft picks, and specifically what the value of the lower-round picks are. My view on late-round picks is that they not only give you another swing at finding a diamond in the rough, but they're also an opportunity to fill out the bottom half of the roster, as well. While many of the lower-round picks may not end up in the Pro Bowl, there is tremendous value in improving the roster beyond those who start each game.

Based on this comment and several others we've received in recent weeks, I'm working with our department assistant, Lexi Kinnard, on a project that compares and contrasts production of NFL draft classes over the past 10 years. We'll keep you posted on our findings.

Thomas from La Crosse, WI

Which receiver should the Packers go after in the draft? We only signed Funchess. Stay safe Mike and Wes.

There are a lot of good options to choose from but it's all dependent on whether the Packers stay put and who's available at those spots. Justin Jefferson could be a realistic option at No. 30. Could Jalen Reagor or K.J. Halmer slip to the end of the second round like Randall Cobb did in 2011? And would GB bite on a smaller, shiftier receiver? Maybe Chase Claypool will be there in the third or Devin Duvernay.

Jay from Land O' Lakes, FL

Guys, is it time for the Packers to make a big move in the draft, to trade up to the top 10 in order to capture the biggest difference-maker? That guy, is Henry Ruggs III. With the best receiver in years, I bet we go far.

Ruggs is my darling in this year's draft, but you might need a top 15 pick to get him.

Mark from Monrovia, CA

I was checking out Reggie Begelton film he looks like a really good fit for the Packers about the same size as Allison.

While watching the film I noticed the quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell had quite the arm and accuracy. It would be nice to get it back up like that.

How is a fella named "Bo Levi Mitchell" not on an NFL roster? Three first names? Seriously, how is he not starting in the NFL?

Nicole from Trempealeau, WI

What is the NFL doing to slow down the virus?

Keeping its employees home and donating a ton of money to the cause. The NFL, NFLPA, owners and players have raised more than $35 million...and counting.

Mike from Cascade, ID

Happy Monday Wes! One more week closer to the end of the virus. This morning's rumor mill has Brandin Cooks wanting out of the Rams, and of course Green Bay is in the rumor mill discussion. Interesting, but not sure how the Packers would fit him in? My thought is this: "What is Rodgers' opinion of this possibility?" Also, how much input does a QB, especially one with Aaron's stature, have in discussions of potential WRs? Thanks for taking up my valuable time each day!

I'd love to humor you but I see no way the Packers trade for Cooks. That contract is enormous and the Rams can't cut him. It would be like a $30 million cap hit.

Travis from Superior, WI

How pragmatic is your fan base when everyone wants to talk about trading out of the first round instead of trading up in the first round?

Fans always want to trade back – until their team misses on a player. Then, it's outrageous, egregious, preposterous.

Rick from Milwaukee, WI

With Roger Goodell being so adamant about the draft, do you expect the schedule release as usual?

File this under things I do not know. The next installment of Murphy Takes Five runs this Saturday. That's a better place to ask these types of questions.

Fred from Woodbury, MN

I feel for new head coaches, like Mike McCarthy, if they have to deal with truncated OTAs, training camp and/or preseason games while they're trying to install and teach their playbooks. Any GM you think might end up regretting making wholesale changes this year?

I don't think there are any GMs out there who regret making a change. All of them were fairly obvious.

Jeff from Belton, TX

How are you going to be covering the draft? Are you allowed in the building or doing everything remotely?

I left for Vegas on March 5. That's the last time I saw my desk at Lambeau. I have a bag of old-fashioned licorice whips growing stale in my desk drawer.

Dennis from Parrish, FL

Another great "30 for 30" was "The Best That Never Was: The story of Marcus Dupree." They are all great stories, this is my favorite. I made my wife watch it, she cried at the end.

Totally understandable. It's a heartbreaking story but well-told. Hey, how about those reports ESPN is going to release the Chicago Bulls series early? That's the best news of 2020.

Mike from New Orleans, LA

Any word on Matt LaFleur's leg injury?

The last time we spoke with him, LaFleur said his Achilles has healed and he's doing fine.

Bob from Rome, NY

Gentleman, please no ban for asking! Have you looked at the Strat-O-Matic baseball results that are being put out at 2 p.m. EST every day? Even though it is computer generated it looks real. I give them props for trying!

I can't ban you for that. I'm currently participating in an online MMA simulation game myself.

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, what temporary changes have been made at packers.com that you foresee becoming permanent due to the pandemic?

Spoff and I doing a better job using our PTO before April 1?

Markus from Aurora, CO

Mike and Wes, Hod and Spoff: With all the social distancing and communicating increasingly digitally and remotely, which of these behavioral changes will stick, and which we will forfeit and return to old ways when the issue subsides months from now?

Hopefully it makes people think twice about stealing each other's lunches. Talk to y'all tomorrow.

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