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Inbox: The Packers will have their choice amongst some really good players

The degree of conviction determines where a player lands

NFL Draft

Scott from Sauk City, WI

Mike, you unequivocally and wholeheartedly doubt it? Strenuously object was right there for the taking!

So that's how it works, huh?

Steve from Colorado Springs, CO

Shout out to Jeff from Gladstone, MI, also my hometown. I like the mantras theme. Here is one I try to live by and think a lot of people these days might think about: "A bird soars because (s)he takes themselves lightly." I am sure you get a lot of submissions from folks who, well, don't. And thanks for keeping 'er going during the slow time!

I like that.

Kent from Kingsland, GA

When do the dates for the shareholder meeting, training camp schedule and 2023 game schedule get released?

The game schedule will be released in mid-May, and the training camp schedule comes out generally around mid-June. The shareholder meeting date is often announced in between those.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Mike. You recently made an innocuous comment about Quay Walker possibly doing more rushing off the edge on passing downs. Inbox readers seemed to let your observation quietly go unnoticed. I thought it was insightful because he seems to have a natural talent for it...from a limited sample size, of course. Would it be too much to put on the plate of a second-year player who's still learning his other linebacker responsibilities? Thanks.

I think it would've been a lot to ask of him as a rookie, but with the extensive playing time he got last year, I don't think an expansion of duties like that is too much now. But to be clear, I didn't mention it on my own. LaFleur made a subtle suggestion about putting more on Walker's plate at the owners' meetings last month.

Bob from Freeport, IL

Is it true the only hold-up on the Aaron Rodgers trade is that he wants to be a Packer for two games to play the Bears?

Thanks for the chuckle.

Julian from Gastonia, NC

I'm trying to wrap my head around something. If the Packers-Jets work out a trade for Mr. Rodgers during the draft, wouldn't that require that they had previously worked out the financial aspects of Rodgers' contract/pay beforehand? Those financials would also most likely depend on the specific trade that is made. There isn't enough time to crunch numbers during the player selection process. So wouldn't all those different scenarios have to be agreed to before the trade if made on draft day?

Probably, but we don't even know if there are any financial aspects to the pending deal.

Scott from Norwalk, CT

I'd love to see us swap 13 and 15 with the Jets, trade down to 20 or so, still get a solid Edge/DL, and then combine the proceeds of that trade with a second-rounder from Jets to move up far enough to get Darnell Washington. Would be a very Gutey move.

Yes, yes it would.

Randy from Westminster, CO

If the Packers do pickup Jordan Love's fifth-year option, do we know the dollar amount that fifth year would cost the Packers? Is there any advantage salary-cap wise to make a deal that would lower that fifth-year cap hit?

It'll be around $20M, and if the Packers pick up the option but then know after this season they want Love long-term, a new deal could be structured to lower that hit for '24.

Anthony from Sturgeon Bay, WI

II guys, when exactly will we benefit financially from AR12's departure? Sooner or later, doesn't 50 million have to disappear from our financial books?

When the trade is made, and if the Packers absorb this year the full cap charge of money already paid to Rodgers that hasn't yet counted on the salary cap, then they are free and clear of any financial implications in '24.

Keith from Bakersfield, CA

Wes mentioned the potential for GB to use a sixth offensive lineman to make up for potentially losing Big Dog. The team certainly has some depth on the line. What attributes would a lineman need to fill Marcedes Lewis' blocking duties, and which of the current linemen are the best candidates for that job?

The blocking duties aren't that much different from that of an offensive tackle, taking on a defensive end or edge rusher, or slipping out to find a second-level defender. I could see Caleb Jones, Luke Tenuta or Rasheed Walker as potential candidates if LaFleur is inclined to add that wrinkle to the offense.

Jim from Eau Claire, WI

I had a dream last night that the Packers selected Darnell Wright in the first round. I just wanted to let you guys know.

That's a guy I can't get out of my head either. Another is Lukas Van Ness.

Bob from Myrtle Beach, SC

Every year, I have a favorite player I want Green Bay to pick in the first round. Not this year. This year I have a list of players I would be fine with them picking. So, is that getting older and wiser, or the reality of this draft?

It's the reality of picking in the middle of the first round when there are probably four quarterbacks going off the board before the Packers pick. I think the Packers will have their choice amongst some really good players.

Brent from Lafayette, CO

Hello, II. Speaking of obscure jerseys, I personally own a Brett Goode jersey. I know of at least one other person who owns one because we randomly ended up tailgating next to each other before the Packers beat the Seahawks in 2016. We both wanted jerseys no one else would have. I guess that didn't work out.

That's pretty funny.

Paula from Apple Valley, MN

Not a question, but a memory about draft day as a kid growing up in Green Bay in the '70s. No internet, cell phones, or primetime coverage. The local stations would cut into its regular programming throughout the day to announce the Packers selections. My mom dutifully kept pen and paper next to the TV and wrote them down as my brother HAD to know the MINUTE he got home from school.

That's absolutely outstanding.

Terry from Green Bay, WI

Good morning II. Leroy Butler started a tradition that was mentioned yesterday as an iconic moment in Packers history. Would it still be a tradition if the NFL had replay at that time and the touchdown had been called back? Thanks.

Intriguing question. I say yes because the Leap was spontaneous and still would've grabbed people's attention. There's at least a decent chance it would've caught on anyway.

Rick from Trempealeau, WI

Your pick for the most iconic moment of the '90s is a good/great one, but it sent me back to watch Favre's first game, the comeback and the pass to Kitrick Taylor that started his legendary career. Re-watching a few minutes of that game reminded me and had me awestruck (again) by how hard Favre threw the football. No wonder Driver had several fingers broken over his career.

Favre-to-Taylor to beat the Bengals in '92 was the other moment I strongly considered as my original choice the other day. Definitely a contender.

Isaac from Columbia, TN

Would you use a first-round pick on a HOF return specialist even knowing he will never contribute much elsewhere on the team? He's not in the Hall of Fame (yet), but would Devin Hester be worth a first-round pick?

Not with kickoffs at the 35-yard line like they are these days. If they were still at the 30, which they were when Hester's career began, that plus the punt-return threat might make me consider it. Though of course you never know on draft night if someone will be a Hall of Famer.

Caleb from Knoxville, TN

What's the most surprising pick you've ever seen a team make at the draft?

That I've been watching live when it happened? The Bears trading up from No. 3 to 2 for two third-round picks and a fourth and selecting Mitch Trubisky. The Patrick Mahomes hindsight aside, I didn't understand how any team would invest that much in a quarterback who started 13 college games.

Kenton from Rochester, MN

It's now been brought up several times in II that you don't believe the NFLPA would ever vote to limit the size of an individual's contract. My understanding of a union is that it works for the common good of its members. So why would limiting the maximum percentage of the cap that could be allotted to one player not be seen as better for the vast majority of players that aren't first-string QBs? That would simply mean more money for all of them, right?

Several folks brought this up, and what you say makes logical sense. The teams certainly wouldn't mind, so why haven't the players negotiated it? I don't know much about unions in general, but I know that those representing professional athletes operate in their own way. Any sort of artificial constraint on salaries is resisted, and since the cap is the collective restraint, an individual restraint is viewed as the taboo to be avoided. From the union's perspective, it's up to management to figure out how to pay market value for the top QBs and still field a competitive team. Otherwise, I'm guessing the union's view is some teams would use the QB "savings" to not max out their collective cap spending and just crawl above the required floor, leaving money on the table the players wouldn't get.

Dana from Monument, CO

Does anyone really think NFL games need to be shortened? MLB teams have 162 regular-season games while it's 17 games in the NFL; thus, the perceived need of the MLB isn't comparable to the NFL.

Valid point.

Bill from Raleigh, NC

Hi aye-aye, since the draft is a week away, I have an II host question. Three other major sports (baseball, basketball, and hockey) have a large amount of travel. You have about 10 long weekend trips per year with the Packers. Could you imagine holding a similar job in those other three sports? I'm thinking I would enjoy it for a month or two, but then it would grind me up. Would you like being a sportswriter job covering those sports?

There's no way I could've done it with kids at home, and now that my kids are no longer at home, I don't think I'd have the energy for it.

Shilo from Murrieta, CA

I'm still lukewarm on special teams. We obviously improved last year, but we went from a distant 32nd to 22nd in Rick Gosselin's annual rankings. I need to see more before I'll stop feeling nervous in specials. Just my opinion.

Fair enough. The Packers' overall ranking last season was affected by the shakiness in the first half of the season, when Amari Rodgers was muffing punts (he got a lucky recovery in London and then lost fumbles at Washington in Week 7 and vs. Dallas in Week 10), and when the Jets blocked both a field goal and punt in Week 6. Down the stretch, when Keisean Nixon was making his sizable impact in the return game, the blocked punt vs. Minnesota was the only glaring miscue, the Packers blocked a field goal themselves at Chicago, and the coverage units were really flying around.

Paul from Ledgeview, WI

Mike, Wes mentioned in II yesterday there have been a slew of TEs drafted in the third round (Travis Kelce, George Kittle, Jimmy Graham and Mark Andrews) who have dominated in the NFL. If their respective drafts were held again, would each be first-round picks? Or does their success reinforce the notion that you don't need to (read "shouldn't") select a TE in the first round? Or does this really suggest that talent evaluation is a crapshoot, so prioritize your draft accordingly?

It's not the talent evaluation that's a crapshoot so much as the projection of what players can become down the road, the crystal ball part of the business that can depend on scheme, circumstance, coaches, teammates, and all sorts of other factors. If anybody had projected Kelce and Kittle were going to be what they are today, of course they'd have been first-rounders. I guess what I'm saying is, regarding projections, the degree of conviction determines where a player lands on a given board.

David from Cable, WI

OK. Once again the rookie QB class has gone from talented prospects to franchise-changers to first-ballot Hall of Famers all in a few months without playing. Happens every year. Do teams set their boards according to this nonsense? Or is it just an aberration they allow for?

Never assume what's bantered about in the media means anything to teams' actual draft plans.

Eric from Appleton, WI

What player did you want the Packers to draft in 2023 but passed over?

Sorry, my flux capacitator is incapacitated.

Dylan from Deronda, WI

In regards to the draft coming to Green Bay, does your Aunt Ginny have a barn? We can hold the draft there. I can sew the costumes. Maybe your Uncle Goober can be the commissioner.

Happy Friday.

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