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Inbox: They're only scratching the surface

Jon Runyan came in last year with the right approach

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TE Josiah Deguara

Joe from Wausau, WI

I'm high on Jon Runyan. I know his sample size is pretty small at this point, but I think his bloodlines reduce the likelihood that what he did last year is a fluke. What's your thought on bloodlines? Do they matter in football?

Hey, it never hurts to have a dad who's 6-7 and a former Pro Bowler at your position. What makes the Runyans' story special is neither Jon Sr. nor Jon Jr. were first-round picks. They're grinders. Jon Jr. came in last year with the right approach. He kept his head down and went to work. That earned him a lot of respect in that locker room.

James from Steinfeldt, TN

A few years ago, the Packers made the Bears pay up to keep Kyle Fuller. Do you think GB would make another offer now that they released him? May be able to get him a little cheaper than some teams because he has a chance to play them twice?

You know that meme of the fella walking down the street with what appears to be his significant other, and then he gets caught looking at another girl? That's most of y'all and Casey Hayward right now.

Justin from Sammamish, WA

Hey II, I saw the Bears cut Kyle Fuller and remembered the Packers tried to sign him when the Bears matched their offer sheet. Even though they didn't get the player, it seems trying to sign him worked out in the long run forcing the Bears to cut a quality player to save cap space.

Moves and countermoves, Justin. I'm a huge Kyle Fuller fan. I was excited about that signing three years ago and would welcome it again. A two-time Pro Bowler who just turned 29 in February? Sign me up. But I'm not the guy cutting checks around here. We'll have to see what market forms for Fuller's services. I still think he can play, though.

Keith from Bakersfield, CA

With the first wave of FA done, I have a thought exercise: What do you think are the three biggest position needs (where the 2020 starters have left or need improvement)? Now, imagine that you had only three choices to address those openings - one new player from the draft, one veteran free agent, and one current Packers player to elevate his play - which option would you choose for each position?

I'll go with offensive line, cornerback and tight end. I draft the O-lineman, sign a corner and rub healing salts on Josiah Deguara's knee. Deguara and the tight ends are going to be such a big part of what Matt LaFleur builds in Green Bay. Even now, I still think they're only scratching surface of the possibilities at the position.

Jeff from Brooklyn, WI

I know we're over the cap, well almost but do you see players like, Marcedes Lewis, Jared Veldheer, Lane Taylor or even Kevin King coming back on low end deals?

Possible, though a part of me wonders if Veldheer will glide back into retirement. Lewis wasn't breaking the bank to begin with, so that's realistic. Depending on how the offseason goes, the Packers could sign someone to a contract using the veteran salary benefit, which makes it so a vested player counts the same as a second-year player against the cap if his bonuses do not exceed (I believe) $137,500.

Take a look at photos of Green Bay Packers WR Equanimeous St. Brown from the 2020 season.

Douglas from Bloomington, IL

Does Gute know that free agency started? Are we the only team that hasn't signed a FA (not counting our own)?

The Packers have extended three Pro Bowl players in David Bakhtiari, Kenny Clark and Aaron Jones, all within the last seven months. But yes, I'm sorry they haven't signed a mid-level free agent who'll be cut by September to keep you entertained.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Wes. The Packers placed a second-round tender on Robert Tonyan. What is the time period where other teams can offer him a contract? In other words, when will we know for sure whether he's staying in Green Bay?

He has until April 23 to field potential offers. It's the NFL and obviously anything can happen, but I still think Packers fans are working themselves into a tizzy about this. I fully expect Tonyan to be in Green Bay in 2021.

Donald from Fayetteville, NC

At about what point would you say we're in the second wave of free agency, typically? A week in or longer? Since I suspect it's more of a feel then a timeline, are there signs that fans might look for to identify when that's the case?

I think you're already seeing it with some of these modest one-year deals getting done.

Dave from Coloma, MI

With the lower cap this year do you think when it's all said and done there might be some good players left without a home? Too many players and not enough money to go around.

That's my fear. There will be players who will take below-market deals to play in 2021 but also others that say, "To heck with it" like Clay Matthews did last season.

John from Rhinelander, WI

Tim Boyle signing with Detroit is probably good for them. What gives Detroit the confidence in this signing when so little regular season tape is available, unless you count taking a knee, with playing behind Aaron Rodgers?

Say what you want, but the Lions did what the Bears should have…something different. As somebody who like Tim Boyle as a human, I'm excited for him to get this opportunity. Like I said earlier this offseason, Boyle has earned the right to show what he can do…beyond kneel downs and coin tosses.

Mark from Pitt Meadows, British Columbia, Canada

Do you think the Bears upgraded or downgraded with Andy Dalton over Mitchell Trubisky? I have my opinion but it's very hard to say yes or no. Our pass rushers will eat with Cousins, Goff and Dalton for six games in my opinion!? Cheers!

Dalton, stylistically, is a very different quarterback than Trubisky but I'd still put it in the category of a push. From everything I've heard, Andy Dalton is a great guy, but I don't know how much excitement his signing generates in the locker room or amongst a frustrated fanbase.

Ben from Pensacola, FL

I might have to become a Lions fan (except when they play against the green and gold, of course!) now with Jamaal Williams and Boyle playing for them. I hope Boyle's first TD throw is to Williams (against MIN or CHI). I also hope that he can outplay Goff for the starting position.

In this day and age where teams want to shell out millions for veteran backups and former starters, why wouldn't you take a swing on young QB with untapped potential and clear upside? Sometimes it doesn't work out but other times that player becomes Matt Hasselbeck or Mark Brunell. You gotta scratch at the dirt to find oil every once in a while.

James from Asheville, NC

With Tim Boyle apparently headed to Detroit do the Packers have a "third man up" at quarterback? If not, do you see free agency or the draft as their best means of getting one?

The Packers are only carrying two quarterbacks. With 10 picks, they could look for a No. 3 in the draft or dive back into the pool of college free agents to find another Boyle or Taysom Hill.

Brock from Oxford, IN

Good morning! Who do you feel has been the most surprising acquisition in the NFC North so far of our divisional opponents? Who has been the most surprising exit?

I like what the Vikings have done the past two years with their defensive line – bringing in Michael Pierce last year and now adding Dalvin Tomlinson. You know Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks are smiling. The most surprising exit is going to be Akiem Hicks if he really does leave the Chicago. What a beast that guy is.

Rodney from Covington, VA

I was thinking about quarterbacks over the years with Brett and Aaron but we have also had some other good quarterbacks with the magic man and Lynn Dickey coming to mind, but in those years, we didn't have much of a supporting cast. Just goes to show you that there is no I in team when it comes to the NFL.

Dickey had a heck of a supporting cast on offense but that's just one-third of the puzzle.

Bob from Rome, NY

Good morning: To piggyback on Robert from Burke, VA comment about character. I felt Bart Starr was doing an excellent job evidenced by the team's performance in 1982 and a near playoff miss in 1983. Character matters to me, as well. The mention of the G.O.A.T. at the QB position and no one in the conversation can match Bart. He could have gone somewhere else and coached, but it wouldn't have seemed right. Bart started and ended his career with the Packers even through difficult times.

Touché.

Scott from Albertville, MN

What Green Bay Packers running back had the highest yards per carry average for their career?

Gerry Ellis (4.58) leads all Packers running backs with at least 750 carries, edging out Jim Taylor (4.53) and Ahman Green (4.50).

Chase from Fort Leonard Wood, MO

Do players record commercials during the season, or is that strictly done during the off season?

There's no rule saying players can't do commercials in-season. It's just most guys arrange for those marketing agreements to be fulfilled during the offseason.

Paul from Minneapolis, MN

Last summer, I ordered two loads of dirt for a landscaping project. After the first load was dumped in front of my garage, I realized I overestimated so called to cancel the remainder. Word didn't reach the driver in time, so the second load was dumped regardless. Don't know what this means exactly, but surely there's a salary cap metaphor in this story somewhere. And please don't call me Shirley.

Too bad you didn't have an NFL cap specialist on speed dial.

Walt from Skandia, MI

Reading about the new TV deal, it looks like Thursday night games will not be available unless you have Amazon Prime?

That's correct, beginning in 2023.

Patrick from Valrico, FL

All teams seem to be performing the salary cap sin of pushing significant money into future years. Even more so than normal. Do you feel this is because they expect the cap to catch up to old levels quickly and be over 230 million by 2023 or have we seen more of a reset where the cap will only go up about 10 million as usual from this point and be closer to 205-210 by 2023?

Most teams will have to tread water a little these next two years, but everyone can see the shore. It's just making contracts fit until we get to 2023.

Robert from Harris, MN

I don't usually catch the movie line references in II not (I'd like to think) because I am dense but because I don't watch a lot of movies. I couldn't miss the "Dodgeball" reference today which made me smile and reminded me (one of my favorite movie quotes of all time). "If you can dodge a wrench you can dodge a ball".

I can't believe that movie is almost 17 years old.

Greg from Racine, WI

No question, just a comment. "Dodgeball" and "Hellraiser" referred to in the same II. Brilliance!

"Hellraiser" is the one I was really hoping someone would notice. Congrats on being the only one, Greg.

William from Traverse City, MI

"A RB/WR/KR who could wear multiple hats on offense and special teams..." Multiple hats but one number right? Maybe 88?

Thank goodness we made it through the week. Enjoy the weekend, everybody. I'm looking forward to some news conferences once we get back.

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