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Inbox: We'll see what comes next

This hallowed ground is better for having Aaron Rodgers as its quarterback the past 15 years

Lambeau Field
Lambeau Field

Ed from Windsor, CO

My best wishes to you. So little time, so many questions. Serenity now.

I received many of these submissions Wednesday; some serious, some in jest. But this is a business, folks. Difficult decisions are made on a daily basis across the league. Time presses on.

Mike from Toronto, Canada

If you could distill Aaron Rodgers' appearance on Pat McAfee's show to two or three key points related to the upcoming season, what would they be?

The future is fast-approaching. Rodgers' appearance mostly confirmed a lot of what we've been hearing the past week. He does indeed plan to play a 19th NFL season and would like it to be in New York. The Packers and Jets need to figure out the compensation piece, but everyone seems to be on the same page. I also agree with Rodgers that Jordan Love looked great last season and is ready to take the next step in the NFL. I can understand and appreciate what the headlines will be in the coming days, but my biggest takeaway was the gratitude Rodgers expressed for his 18 years in Green Bay, and I know this fanbase feels likewise. It's been a beautiful partnership. There's obviously still details to work out. We'll see what comes next.

Colin from Griffith, IN

I was standing in my kitchen watching the Detroit game while texting a friend and just saying, "Believe," over and over again as hopeless as it seemed. What an exhilarating feeling. Aaron brought us hope no matter how much time was left. The list of Hail Marys and the emotions tied to them are just a short list of the many memories I will never forget. I knew this day would come but still struggle with how heavy the emotions are. Thank you, Aaron, for everything you've done from the bottom of my heart

Thank you for sharing those wonderful thoughts and reflections. I know I spent a portion of my Wednesday afternoon thinking about how fortunate I've been to watch one of the greatest QBs to ever do it. We'll have more time to meditate on Rodgers' incredible run at some point. For now, I keep going back to Rodgers' comments on how his life is better for the time he spent here. Well, that feeling is mutual. Rodgers became a starting QB under near-impossible circumstances in 2008 and etched so many incredible chapters in this franchise's rich history. If this is it, this hallowed ground is better for having Aaron Rodgers as its quarterback the past 15 years.

Johan from Evansville, IN

Howdy II, I understand the idea that people should temper expectations for what GB would get in a trade as this player is nearly 40 years old and coming off his poorest season in a while. At worst, they're probably at least in the playoff hunt, but at best they'd be a contender with an MVP-caliber player leading the way. Wouldn't that be adequately expressed in trade talks to get optimal value?

Sure, but I'm not going to venture down that rabbit hole. Listen, this party began well before our arrival on Wednesday afternoon. The Packers, Jets and Rodgers are the only ones who know the details and will play the board accordingly. Everyone here on the outside will get those answers soon enough.

Benjamin from Minneapolis, MN

What are realistic expectations for Jordan Love over the next few years. Obviously, it's very early to make any sort of predictions but just wondering what reasonable expectations are. I'm personally pretty high on what we've seen of Love and think he could be a franchise quarterback, but I was wondering if you all had any other insight?

We're all going to have to remember what 1992 and 2008 were like. There will be moments of brilliance and times of adversity, but this is how the game is played. Love has checked every box in his development to earn the opportunity to be a starting NFL QB. He's been in the system for three years and ran the No. 1 offense during the offseason program the past two years. His time is close, and patience will be required.

Peter from New London, WI

Good morning, Wes. I hope you can help. It seems everyone is caught up in the present: Free agency, QB decisions and who the next draft pick will be. I am wondering how, and if, the Packers can improve upon last year's record? Isn't what all this maneuvering is all about? With the moves made by the Bears and Lions, the division looks tougher. So, tell me, can the Packers win more games than last year and what gives you that optimism?

The division will be tougher, but I'm confident they can still improve upon last season. The Packers are losing some key contributors to free agency, but I still like the blend of playmakers and young talent on this roster. Rodgers, himself, touched on that Wednesday. The offense has playmakers, the defense had big moments and special teams have been reborn under Rich Bisaccia. The pieces are still there regardless of who's under center next year.

Patsi from Riverside, CA

Wouldn't Aaron Rodgers still have to play a handful more seasons to have a potential of achieving a win against all 32 NFL teams?

While the Packers aren't scheduled to play the Jets again until 2026, the addition of the 17 regular-season game means Green Bay will play a 2024 cross-conference game against whichever AFC East opponent finishes in same divisional spot as the Packers in 2023.

Paul from Lindenwold, NJ

Though I embraced and was excited by the Aaron Rodgers transition, the hardest part of accepting the change was how close the team was to making it to the Super Bowl. Regardless of how ready Aaron was, it was easy to assume the team would take a short-term step back without Brett Favre. How much of the willingness from both fans and the Packers to move on and see what Love is capable of is due to the disappointing result to last season?

This whole situation is an exercise in cost-benefit analysis and determining the best step forward for everyone. It's the sum of Rodgers pondering his future, Love's consistent development and the Packers coming off an 8-9 season nobody expected. Rodgers also has a collection of guys he enjoys playing with who are mostly all free agents this offseason – one of whom already has signed with the New York Jets. Green Bay is at a crossroads and figuring out which path to take.

Walter from Rome, NY

Vic was right; memories make us rich. Thank you, Aaron Rodgers, for making us all billionaires.

Well put.

Nolan from Scandinavia, WI

I'm happy to see Green Bay re-sign Keisean Nixon. Next to a potential AR trade, I think this may be the biggest move they make in free agency in which we will see a huge impact from one player. Watching Nixon this season kept reminding me of Allen Rossum returning punts and kicks for Green Bay back in the early 2000s. Granted, Nixon does not have a full season returning punts/kicks but what are his stats compared to Rossum's when he was in Green Bay?

NFL Next Gen Stats put out a graphic Tuesday that said Nixon's plus-214 yards over expected led all kick returners by nearly an entire football field. He set a franchise record with 28.8 yards per return on 35 kickoffs, including his 105-yard TD, and averaged 12.7 yards on 11 punt returns. Rossum had a great NFL career but only played in 22 games over two seasons with the Packers. He averaged 23.5 yards on 73 kickoff returns and 8.9 yards on 40 punt returns, with a TD return in both phases. I'm eager to see what Nixon does for an encore.

Brian from Menomonee Falls, WI

Hi Wes, nice response to Andrew. It made me think of Steve Buscemi driving a Ferrari... and I suddenly could go for a frosty. Anyway. What position(s) do you feel the Packers could benefit the most this offseason by bringing on a veteran free agent rather than a rookie in the draft? I believe we've seen safety discussed a few times, and I agree. Are there any other positions?

Receiver, tight end, defensive line and perhaps safety. Receiver is obvious. The oldest wideout on the roster is currently Jeff Cotton (25). Jarran Reed's return to Seattle also creates a veteran void on the D-line, so Green Bay might be in need of reinforcements there. Tight end really comes down to whether Robert Tonyan and/or Marcedes Lewis return. It makes sense for the Packers to dip their toes into a deep pool of tight ends in this year's draft, but I still believe you need a veteran who starts Week 1 and leads that room.

Nathan from New Lisbon, WI

So, Wes, back in August, you said you would withhold your opinion on who Romeo Doubs reminds you of until the end of the league year. Time's up.

It was James Jones, who then said Doubs reminds him of Greg Jennings. Jennings or Jones, that's still elite company. I'm sure the Packers would be pleased as peach if Doubs has a career comparable to either player.

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Wes. When Brett Favre was traded, Green Bay got a third-round pick from New York. When former MVP quarterbacks Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Joe Montana went to new teams, did their old teams receive any compensation? Thanks.

Indianapolis received no compensation because the Colts released Manning outright. New England received a compensatory third-round pick in 2020 for losing Tom Brady in unrestricted free agency. The Patriots later traded that pick to Baltimore. Kansas City acquired Montana, safety Dave Whitmore and a third-round pick from San Francisco for a first-round pick in the 1993 NFL Draft. With the Chiefs' pick, the 49ers drafted Dana Stubblefield 26th overall.

Tim from Reading, PA

What's your favorite Allen Lazard moment?

There were many, beginning with Lazard's breakout game against the New York Giants in 2019. Lazard went from a feel-good story to legitimate playmaker that day. Also, his big performance against the New Orleans Saints two years ago, while playing through a core-muscle injury. Finally, I have to mention his blocking of three defenders in Miami. Off the field, it's how Lazard dealt with the media – win or lose. He was a total pro. It's been a pleasure covering his career for the last four years.

Matt from Cottage Grove, WI

How do compensatory picks work when we lose players in free agency?

They say on-field performance and post-season awards are factored in, but it seems like 99% of the time it's based solely on average salary per year.

Take a look at photos of Green Bay Packers CB Keisean Nixon during the 2022 NFL season.

Jim from Mundelein, IL

An observation and then a question. The Lions signing David Montgomery and letting Jamaal Williams walk is so very sad. Jamaal has given everyone his best; espouses a new Lions culture and gets kicked away. Is there any way you see it makes sense to bring swag daddy back?

I wouldn't think the Packers have the available cap room for such a move, but I must say I was SHOCKED to see the Lions not re-sign Williams, who was one of the league's best bargains the past two years. Yes, he was a touchdown leader but also a change agent in that locker room. Personally, I would've given him a blank check if I were the Lions. I'm very curious to see how this decision works out for Detroit. Montgomery has talent, but like D'Andre Swift, is also prone to injury.

Bob from Ocean View, DE

Certainly, for the past several years I've watched other teams sign free agents to incredible high-dollar contracts and bemoaned the fact that the Packers could never had done it because of salary cap limitations. I watched many Packers go elsewhere for the same reasons. So, moving forward, will those things finally start to change or have the Packers kicked so much money "down the road" in restructured deals that it will be decades before they crawl out from under these limitations?

Not at all. Teams can dig themselves out of that hole in one year if they take all their medicine at once. Any dead money a team accrues when a player is released or traded accelerates to the current cap. Russ Ball knows what he's doing with the cap. The Packers will be just fine.

Daniel from Ellettsville, IN

When a player is traded with an existing contract, what happens to the taxes? Do they pay taxes on the state they are going, or is it locked in with the previous team's state?

You pay taxes wherever you collect your paycheck, just like you and me. If Player A is traded to Chicago, he'll pay Illinois taxes on whatever he earns from his contract.

Caleb from Knoxville, TN

Thus far, what's been the Bears' smartest move of the offseason?

Signing Tremaine Edmunds.

Graydon from Menomonie, WI

I could only find two notable players the Packers signed immediately after their time ended with the Vikings: Koren Robinson in 2006 and Gilbert Brown in 1993. And Gilbert was drafted in 1993 and then released in the final round of cuts that year so he never played in a regular-season game for Minnesota. Are there any others I am missing?

Fred Strickland and Qadry Ismail, though the latter never appeared in a regular-season game for Green Bay.

Jeremy from West Allis, WI

According to my memory, which could be wrong, Russell Wilson has not beaten the Seahawks. That is, unless you count games like Super Bowl 49 when he arguably did beat the Seahawks (with an assist from Malcolm Butler). Also, I think there's another reason the NBA is more superstar-driven than the NFL. Players do not wear helmets, and therefore have easily visible faces while performing. That's great for their personal brand.

That's correct. I botched that one. Wilson and Denver lost to Seattle, 17-16, last season.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

I picture Spoff, fixing up a boat and staring out at the Pacific Ocean. Wes, still on the inside, reading a letter and wondering if it's as blue as it is in his mind?

I hope.

Marty from Plymouth, WI

Wes and Mike, thank you for being the only source of sanity in this entire Aaron Rodgers saga. I believe much of Packer nation is ready to move on to the next chapter of Packer history.

Rodgers often talks about taking the emotion out of it. That's all I try to do here. I don't predict. I don't read people's minds. I just look at the situation for what it is and try to provide context the best I can.

Cindy from Minneapolis, MN

And now we know. This is going to be an interesting season.

That it will be.

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