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Inbox: The track record suggests otherwise

Clarity is coming

S Darnell Savage

Patrick from Gulf Breeze, FL

I love being the dumbest butt.

So glad to be back. That was a departure-day setup if I've ever seen one.

Craig from Johnson City, TN

Welcome back, Mike. Hope your time off with the family was special. I think the Pack should sit down with Aaron Rodgers and see how long he wants to play and then extend his contract accordingly. They will need to restructure his contract anyway to get under the cap. Also, Za'Darius Smithcould be extended and deservedly so. Would hate to lose Aaron Jones but think the OL is more important so sign Corey Linsley if possible. Anyway, in Gute we trust.

No one said any of this was going to be easy. With March now here and very little out there in the way of contract talks, I'm starting to think – unless a franchise tag is used, which remains a possibility – any of their own front-line free agents the Packers retain might not be secured until the two-day negotiating window opens and the bell to leave is about to ring. It's not the most comfortable way, mind you, but it worked out successfully several years ago with both Bryan Bulaga and Randall Cobb.

Bryan from Madison, WI

I know the amount we have spoken about this on II is nauseating, but I for one hope we DO NOT sign J.J. In a year where the cap has been lowered and we need to make difficult decisions regarding our home grown talent in their prime (Linsley, Jones) just to get under the cap, why on earth would you spend big bucks on an older free agent at a position of relative strength on our roster! Nothing about the idea makes sense to me. Sorry to bring this up. Not every Packer fan is gaga for J.J.

Wait a minute, so this J.J. Watt thing still isn't resolved, after I dealt with it every day for a week and then took a week off? I'm blaming Wes.

John from Livermore, CA

What is your prediction for the Packers' first draft pick? Trade up, trade down or make the pick (and who do you think that is?)

Gutekunst has possessed four first-round picks in his three drafts as GM, and he has picked at the original spot only once in those four instances. So, while he very well may sit and pick at 29, the track record suggests otherwise.

Jason from Vernon Hills, IL

Should the Packers focus more on defensive or offensive needs in free agency?

They should focus on players at positions of need who fit the scheme, the locker room, and the cap.

Jim from Edgerton, WI

Are teams limited in the number of virtual visits similar to the actual visit limitations that were previously in place?

Not that I know of. The limitations spelled out in the league memo regarding the pre-draft process are that no club can send more than three representatives to any school's pro day (where in-person contact is allowed with PPE and social distancing followed), virtual meetings/interviews cannot last longer than one hour, and no team can meet virtually with a single player more than five times.

Douglas from Bloomington, IL

What is your realistic offensive line for next year? I think from left to right: Billy Turner, Jon Runyan, Lucas Patrick, Lane Taylor, Elgton Jenkins. Then when David Bakhtiari comes back put Jenkins back at LG and Turner to RT.

There are all kinds of potential scenarios floating around right now, but I want to see what the Packers do in the draft first. If they draft an offensive lineman in the first or second round, I would expect that rookie to compete for a starting job.

Check out photos of every Packers defensive turnover during the 2020 season.

Ron from Waukesha, WI

Looking at the Packers 2021 salary cap numbers I see that Aaron Rodgers is paid one-fifth of the team's total cap number. One-fifth! There's 52 other players on the roster that need to get paid too. MVP or no MVP, how can the team field a competitive team when one player commands so much of the cap?

Try winning in this league with a quarterback on a second contract who doesn't command top dollar and get back to me.

Paul from St. Paul, MN

Hello Mike, I was wondering if you could clear something up for me. I understand that a pass defensed is when a defensive player knocks the ball incomplete without an offensive player coming in contact with said pass. How about when a receiver catches the ball, but a defensive player knocks the ball out of the receiver's hand and falls incomplete? Is this a pass defensed or is it just an incomplete pass? Thanks.

The defender gets credit for a PD if he has an impact on an on-target throw being ruled incomplete. That's probably the simplest way I can state it.

Mark from West Bend, WI

Welcome back, Mike. Well, it's beginning to sound like the negotiations for the NFL TV contracts may be finalized in the next week. While it's hard to fathom an increase from $5 billion a year to $8 billion or more, that number should go a long way to an actual hard cap number finally being established and put an end to all the bologna. It might be time for you to start stocking up on some of your favorite ales, and Weston to set aside a little more root beer. Next week is going to be fun.

Clarity is coming. We knew it would be.

Cheri from Joliet, IL

Hi II, I just read that Washington likely will not chose a nickname until 2022! That seems crazy to me, but I don't know all the steps or restrictions. Can you explain what this process may entail?

It sounds like the Washington club is going to seek input over the next year from all kinds of sources – players, alums, fans, sponsors – and then start to narrow down the options. Reports also have indicated keeping Washington Football Team as the new permanent name is a possibility.

Dan from Cincinnati, OH

Are kick returner or punt returner "draft-able" positions or roles that GB could actually spend a pick on? So many kickoffs are out of the end zone and with rule changes I wonder if teams think it's not worth it and just hope to get lucky with someone who is otherwise on the roster. I miss the excitement of Des Howard and way back to Travis Williams.

With kickoff returns greatly diminished and a certain percentage of punts going out of bounds or into the end zone (or being fair caught), it's not likely a team will spend a roster spot on a player who's strictly a returner these days. He'll need to have value, on the depth chart at least, at a position from scrimmage.

Vince from Auburn, WA

I can't believe it's only been three weeks since the Super Bowl. With all of the early movement and speculation it feels like it's been months. Obviously, Stafford going to the Rams was the first big domino to fall, but what do you predict will be the next big splash before free agency kicks off?

For the record, Carson Wentz going to the Colts was no small happening in my book. All the talk swirling around Deshaun Watson and Russell Wilson certainly is interesting, and a handful of teams are not set at quarterback by any means. Another major move or two is bound to happen at QB before or around March 17, but I have no interest in trying to predict what it will be.

David from Cable, WI

Another QB question. In this game of musical chairs does someone's trash become someone else's unexpected treasure?

That's certainly what the second someone is hoping for.

Dan from Tampa, FL

I know left tackle is more important than right tackle because of the blind side but I'm starting to wonder. Edge rushers are pretty much interchangeable and the better ones can go against either side. Also, it seems since most QBs are right-handed they are more vulnerable to having passes tipped from the edge rusher on that side. Finally, I would say 55-60% of the Packers' rollouts and sweeps go to the right side meaning that tackle is most important on those plays. Your comments/thoughts.

The difference in value or importance may not be as great as once thought, but it's unquestionably still there. Ask any play-caller what it means to be confident in leaving a left tackle one-on-one, or any quarterback what it means to know he can trust any protection call that doesn't provide blind-side help to his left tackle. It keeps a lot more avenues open for an offense.

Dale from Lima, NY

Aaron from Scottsdale, AZ, provided some interesting stats concerning average salaries and the average length of NFL careers. I think the point would be valid, except it assumes that players can't find any employment for the rest of their lives and must therefore live off of what they earned in their few years in the NFL. That's ridiculous. Retiring from football in your mid-to-late 20s is one thing. Thinking that that entitles you to retire from working for the next 40 years is...offensive.

I don't disagree, but I still don't begrudge a player trying to maximize his earning power in the short NFL window. Unless he's the next Tony Romo heading to the broadcast booth, he's probably never going to have that type of financial opportunity again, whatever gainful employment may await.

Luke from Kenosha, WI

Good morning II. My friend and I have an argument going and neither wants to admit the other is right. Can you help, please? A team plays eight home games and eight road games. I believe the players pay income taxes in the state they are playing in, meaning the Packers pay eight in Wisconsin and eight elsewhere. Am I right or am I wrong? Thank you.

Depending on the tax laws in a given state, NFL players pay taxes on earnings in the states in which they play their games. So yes, the Packers pay income taxes in Wisconsin on (roughly) half their salary, and a portion of taxes in other states as well.

Steve from Marinette, WI

Spoff, not a question, but a short Packer story. My son turns 33 today and I took him to his first Packer game when he was 8. It was a great September win vs. the SD Chargers. As we were walking to the car after the game he looks up at me and says, "Thanks Dad, this is the best day of my life," and his best day instantly became mine! That is what the Packers mean to their fans!

1996 against the Chargers at Lambeau Field, huh? My future wife and I were in the stands together for the first time, and I would cover my first Packers game 3½ months later in the playoffs. Memories make us rich.

Randy from Ooltewah, TN

Good morning, Mike. Welcome back. Currently the Bears have 777 regular season NFL wins and Green Bay is eight behind at 769. Which team do you think will be the first to win 800? Would it be cool to have both teams sitting at 799 wins and playing each other the next week during the 2023 season? FYI, the Packers' 36 playoff wins versus Chicago's 17 gives Green Bay more total NFL victories than any other franchise. GPG.

The thought of a showdown for 800 is intriguing for sure, as are the odds of it actually coming to pass.

John from Grand Rapids, MI

Would you pick up the blind, if you only had the black queens?

Better to be bumped once than forever labeled a mauer.

Sam from Melbourne, IA

Is it September yet?

Happy March, and happy Monday.