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Inbox: There are several intriguing options

Every generation leaves an indelible impact on the game

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T Yosh Nijman

Mike from Lake Villa, IL

It's "Closing Time," Wes. Any final thoughts?

Gather up your jackets, move it to the exits…I hope you have found a (free agent).

Bil from Stateline, NV

I bet the inbox blew up today. Good luck.

Thanks!

James from Ottawa, Canada

Spoff takes time off and Tom Brady ensures the big news streak continues in Mike's absence! I knew all the celebrating about the NFC's comparably weak QB competition was going to come back to bite us! Chortling tends to have that annoying habit of inconveniently backfiring.

And the Brady news was only the beginning. I picture Spoff being lowered in the PTO lifeboat while I despondently stare at him from the deck.

Dan from Kenosha, WI

Wes, shall we pencil in Yosh Nijman for right tackle? I like the look of David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins, Josh Myers, Jon Runyan, and Nijman. Possibly flip Runyan and insert Lucas Patrick/Royce Newman to start the year?

There are several intriguing options at right tackle. Nijman played well enough to compete for a starting job and maybe Dennis Kelly also returns. Runyan and Newman have played there, too. But I liked what I saw from Nijman last year. With Bakhtiari back, I imagine Nijman will be in the running to flip to the right side.

Gretchen from Dousman, WI

Good morning II. I didn't see the Billy Turner cut coming with his experience and versatility. Is this just a case of younger/stronger/less cap cost or something I'm missing?

I think it's just having to make tough calls, as the Packers begin building their 2022 roster. Turner came as advertised and did everything right in his three years with the Packers. He was dependable and versatile on the field and a solid locker-room guy. He still has plenty of football ahead of him.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

The Packers need to be under the salary cap by 3 p.m. on Wednesday. Does that imply that the Aaron Rodgers contract needs to be signed by then?

Not necessarily. Getting Rodgers' contract done would help, but I don't think it would be required to get under the cap. Green Bay has more flexibility in that regard than the team is given credit for.

Shannon from Ovilla , TX

Wes, looks like OL and edge just moved higher on the needs depth checklist. Gutey's first big splash into free agency and two of the four didn't make it to the end of their contracts. Is this more common with players re-signed by their own team or by players brought in from other teams?

It's more common with in-house guys to play out contracts but it's still a minor upset those four free agents from 2019 all played three seasons in Green Bay. It's not often a team bats 4-for-4 like the Packers did on the Smiths, Turner and Adrian Amos. Za'Darius Smith and Turner played a pivotal role in the Packers' resurgence, but unfortunately this is a business and difficult decisions have to be made.

Aaron from Brooklyn, NY

One of my favorite games over the past three years was Week 16 of 2019. In a game where our offense took quite a while to get going, Z played like he was possessed by the spirit of Reggie White and it seemed like he spent the entire game in the Vikings' backfield. I was curious if you have any favorite memories from covering either Smith or Turner.

Being in the post-game scrum after the regular-season opener in Chicago in 2019. That afternoon, the Smith Bros. dual press conference was born. I was there with Lily Zhao and a few other reporters when Preston and Za'Darius chose to answer questions together. And the rest was history.

Dar from Mansfield , TX

It's free-agency frenzy week! Fans and experts alike generally consider Reggie White and Charles Woodson as the best-ever Packers' free-agency signings. Who would you rank in the next grouping?

The Smith Bros. and Julius Peppers are in that conversation. Ryan Pickett also was a good signing that sometimes gets overshadowed because he was part of that same free-agent class as Woodson in 2006. But pound-for-pound, De'Vondre Campbell has made a compelling case. He hasn't just filled a void in the defense. Campbell has become one of the best players on the entire unit.

Scott from Grovetown, GA

Greetings II. I'm trying to understand why it's reported that Z. Smith won't count toward a compensatory pick. Why is that? It's interesting that two years later it's P. Smith being retained and not Z. What a difference a season makes.

Only free agents who sign elsewhere after their contracts expire count towards the compensatory equation. If a team terminates the contract of a player, it's no longer eligible for compensation. As far as Preston Smith is concerned, I have a lot of respect for he handled last offseason and the way he bounced back. What's more, Preston is as tough and durable as they come. His future is bright in Green Bay.

Take a look at photos of Green Bay Packers LB Preston Smith through the years

Matty from Durango, CO

Wes, can a player get to be and stay elite without training for it?

I don't think so. There's too much parity amongst the elite. Even the most supremely gifted athletes can't rest on their laurels in this game. The average NFL player is too smart, too talented, and too disciplined.

Andy from Lancaster, PA

Welcome back Wes! Spoff mentioned last week there are only two rooms at Packers HQ he's never stepped foot into. Which one do you think would be more interesting? Would you rather spend an hour in the draft room (outside of the time of the actual draft), or an hour in Russ' cap room?

*As interesting as Russ' job is, especially this week, I'd do anything to be a fly on the wall in the draft room. The decisions that are made in an instant have lasting ramifications – both for the franchise and the people involved. Heavy is the hand that makes the call. *

Matt from Eau Claire, WI

I hope you didn't think that "Closing Time" reference was going to go unnoticed, Wes. But with the word floating around that Davante Adams won't play on the tag and him and the team being "not even close" on terms. How nervous should I be feeling?

I traveled to your fine town for the first time on Friday. I gotta say Randy's Family Diner lived up to its billing. As far as the narrative surrounding Adams, I'm not too concerned. Since the beginning, I've said that I trust both sides to work something out. I still feel that way. No new report will change that.

Simon from Holland, MI

Wes, how will the Packers get another receiver as Adams, seeing as they are already past the salary cap, and our only other standout receiver WR currently under contract is Randall Cobb. Are there any good draft prospects?

It's a deep class. CBS Sports has 13 receivers in its top 100 right now. There will be plenty of prospects to chose from if the Packers want to add more depth to the wideout room.

William from Charleston, WV

Wes, two once-in-a-generation talents in the same generation? Inbox math at its best.

I feel confident saying we will not see another QB who plays the game like either Brady or Rodgers in my lifetime. To me, that's the definition of a once-in-a-generation talent.

Matt from Bloomington, IN

Every once in a while, people ask about NFL records that'll never be broken. It doesn't seem like many are safe, but I'm guessing Don Hutson's 29 points scored in one quarter will stand the test of time. What do you think?

Hutson's record will stand the test of time. Brett Favre's streak for consecutive starts by a quarterback will never be broken (and neither will his interceptions record). Conversely, I don't know if there's a QB disciplined enough to do what Rodgers has done in minimizing turnovers over the course of his career. What's great about football is every generation leaves an indelible impact on the game – and I think the record book reflects that.

Matt from Fort Worth , TX

Would you prefer to have two fantastic linebackers or three corners? In terms of players, if the Packers were somehow able to afford either Bobby Wagner or Rasul Douglas in addition to Campbell, which of those two would be better for the defense?

It's definitely Douglas. You need three solid corners in today's NFL. Not only because of how valuable the "star" nickel cornerback position has become but also the need for depth to survive a grueling 17-game regular season. There's no better example of that than what the Packers went through in 2021. I still think Wagner can play, but Krys Barnes is a fine running mate to Campbell inside.

Elliot from Hopkins, MN

What makes Leo Chenal a later round pick? I would've thought playing in the Big Ten and performing well at the combine would be enough to be a Day 2 pick.

Don't shoot the Inbox messenger, Elliot. I'm just going off what the scouting bureaus are saying and where recent Badgers ILBs have been drafted. Chris Borland and Joe Schobert were two of the best inside LBs Wisconsin has produced and even they were third- and fourth-round picks, respectively. Jack Cichy wasn't drafted until the sixth.

Steve from Wabasha, MN

I liked the "Closing Time" reference but surprised you didn't close with it. If in the next two years, Jordan Love, God forbid, has a period of great success, we could still exercise the fifth-year option, correct?

Perhaps, especially if Love looks good in the spring and preseason. Solid quarterbacks are in such short supply. There's a reason Pittsburgh was quick to sign Mitchell Trubisky. The well is not deep.

Venny from Montgomery, AL

I wouldn't be able to contain my laughter if one of the FOX gameday cast replacements turns out to be Greg Jennings. While an awesome Packer, Jennings is not much a fan favorite these days. If I'm not mistaken, he's done a few Fox games before.

Is Jennings even calling games for FOX anymore? I'd love to see Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen get the assignment. I've enjoyed their commentary and chemistry.

Michael from Burnsville, MN

Which Packers' player made the biggest impression on you off the field? Past or present.

Andy Mulumba…with his backstory, his humility, and his work ethic. Andy is going to do big things in this life.

Mike from Cascade, ID

Hi Wes, during my 68 years of life, I've had my share of disappointments, as we all have. But as of today, I will never again feel sorry for myself. I'm NOT the individual who paid $518K for Tom Brady's "alleged" last touchdown pass football. Timing is everything!

Is it just me or does anyone else not feel bad about this? I mean, broski had $518,000 available to burn on a football. Good for whoever sold it. I'll save my tears for something worth crying over.

Neil from Tunbridge Wells, United Kingdom

It would be easier if every country changed their clocks the same day.

Or if we just stopped changing the clocks all together…but that's a different gripe for a different Inbox.

Stacy from Stamford, CT

Please confirm who Mark Murphy will be rooting for on Friday's NCAA basketball game – Wisconsin or his alma mater, Colgate?

The red team.

Gary from Engadine, MI

Hey Wes, during this lull in the action it seems the appropriate time to rank the top draft root beers of all-time. Germantown's own Sprechers leads my list, with 1919 a close second. What say you.

Sno-Cap is the best, hands down. I'll need a few more days to fill in the rest of my root-beer bracket, though.

Bill from Mediapolis, IA

I didn't see anywhere in Monday column…no love for the Iowa Hawkeyes men and women both winning the Big Ten tournaments. Not sure when the last time another school has achieved this?

Jen Fisher doesn't work here anymore, so I see no reason to make this Iowan Inbox.

Margeaux from Tallahassee , FL

Actually Wes, I think Dar might have sewed up Fan of the Year with yesterday's post. Welcome back, it seamed you were gone forever, though I am a bit biased.

It's going to be a long, long week.

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