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Inbox: You must account for all variables in this business

NFL general managers do more than just build a team

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings | Week 11
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings | Week 11

John from Jupiter, FL

Morning Wes. What is the benefit to waiting until the last minute to use the franchise tag? Thanks.

Most players don't like to be tagged. By waiting until the deadline, it gives the two sides an opportunity to negotiate until it's the last resort. I think back to Bryan Bulaga and Randall Cobb signing their extensions hours before the start of free agency in 2015. It's the nature of the NFL beast.

Connor from Minnetonka, MN

When does the tag deadline end?

March 8. Once a player is tagged, the two sides have until July to negotiate a long-term contract.

Neil from Tunbridge Wells, United Kingdom

Why all the fuss about who signs and who doesn't? It will all work out!

This is where I pretty much fall on what will happen over the next three weeks because it's out of our control. All we know is what we know. The Packers have to create cap space and Aaron Rodgers says he'll make a decision soon. Whatever happens, you must account for all variables in this business. The Packers have, and planned their offseason accordingly. Now, it's just waiting to see which road we're traveling down toward the 2022 season.

Gretchen from Dousman, WI

Good morning, Wes. We've reached the time of year I dislike – watching our players disperse to sign with other teams around the league or retire. You and Mike have helped me understand the ins and outs of this, and I know, I know it's a business…but it still makes me sad.

This time of the year is never fun, but it's a byproduct of having sustained success. You'd much rather have fruitful, productive draft classes that make it difficult to retain talent than overspending on the open market. That's been a huge strength for the Packers since the advent of free agency.

Eric from Green Bay, WI

OK people, time to channel some inner Vic. Those of you upset by Rodgers and his lack of announcement need perspective. This man owes you nothing. Read that last statement again. If you are upset by what he posts, that's on you. You control how you respond to anyone and anything in your life. If you are letting someone who you've probably never met, aren't friends with, and don't interact with outside the veil of social media, you could use some reflection. Own your own serenity. You're welcome.

Eric from Green Bay comes in strong with an early entry for 2022 Inbox take of the year. I may get "Own your serenity" (temporarily) tattooed on my forearm.

Cliff from Alexandria, VA

Wes, what does a GM do other than manage trades and draft picks? Do they have non-personnel responsibilities?

NFL GMs do more than just build a team in today's NFL. They are forward-facing members of the entire organization. They're not only responsible for assembling the roster but also play a vital role in messaging and leadership. Since Day 1, Brian Gutekunst has had a good grasp on how important that aspect of his job is. In just four years, he's already left his mark on the franchise.

Dennis from Beavercreek, OH

Wes, with all this talk of the Rams going all-in, my view on it is that they needed to. They needed to win the Super Bowl to build a fanbase. We see how their home games went this year. What do you think of that? I cringe when I hear Packers fans saying we need to go all-in to get another SB win, while we have Rodgers. Yes, I want the Packers to win many more SBs, but most of all, I want them to stay competitive.

The last thing I'll say on the Rams front is to remember Les Snead has been trading draft picks for veterans for years. The difference this past offseason was it marked the first time they acquired a veteran quarterback. There's something for every team to learn from what LA did, but the only point I continue to raise is it wouldn't have been possible without the Rams also drafting well to build their team (Donald, Kupp, Higbee, etc.). The Packers have that solid foundation built. They just need to find those final pieces to make that next step.

Thomas from Cedar Rapids, IA

With all the recent talk about going all-in, there have been two glaring omissions, albeit probably before your time: George Allen famously traded the future for veteran players in Washington. He had success, made it to a Super Bowl but lost to Miami 14-7. I also remember Mike Ditka trading his entire draft for Ricky Williams in New Orleans. Talk about being married to your lone pick! (Pun intended)

When talking about the Rams, I forgot the Saints invested all their picks into trading up for Williams in 1999. I'm guessing we'll never see anything quite like that again.

AJ from Rio Rico, AZ

All in – Minnesota Vikings (Herschel Walker trade)

Oh sure. That one, too.

Paul from Schenectady, NY

Hi. In the event the Packers lose De'Vondre Campbell and Rasul Douglas in free agency, would the Packers be eligible for compensatory draft picks based on their departure(s)? If so, is there some adjustment in the compensatory "formula" for how they became Packers (e.g. signed off practice squad) or the relatively short time they spent as Packers?

They're both unrestricted free agents, so the Packers will get compensatory picks next year if they sign elsewhere during the UFA window. How Green Bay acquired them wouldn't influence the formula. That's predicated mostly on their new average-per-year salary. Some of you also have asked about "void" years. If my understanding of the collective bargaining agreement is correct, a team is still eligible for compensatory picks even if an UFA's contract voids.

Scott from Sheboygan, WI

Insiders, which career-ending injury had the most negative effect on the Packers and why?

For me, this answer is never not going to be Nick Collins, at least in my lifetime.

Brian from Trego, WI

Wes, during the Brett Favre era, the Packers developed quite a few QBs who went on to star on other teams, namely Matt Hasselbeck, Mark Brunell, Aaron Brooks, and Matt Flynn. Was that a credit to the QB school Mike McCarthy employed or does credit for their development go to someone else?

It started with Ron Wolf. He invested a lot of draft capital into the position. From 1992-99, Wolf selected a QB in seven of his eight drafts. Brooks was taken in the fourth round in 1999, Brunell in the fifth in '93 and Hasselbeck in the sixth in '98. So, it was a major emphasis even before Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy arrived.

Julian from Gastonia, NC

My vote for second greatest verbal message is Kevin Greene saying to Clay Matthews, "Now is the time." I also have great respect for Coach McCarthy saying after the "Fail Mary" game, "Life doesn't owe us anything." McCarthy called that official later in the week to see how he was doing, concerned after someone broke the official's front window. Any other ideas for great verbal messages in Packers' history?

"It is time" is up there. It also takes on greater meaning since Greene's passing 1½ years ago. On a lighthearted note, Brett Favre asking Ty Detmer "What's a nickel defense?" is a comedic favorite of mine.

Matt from Waunakee, WI

Hi Wes, your points about the hard cap are all relevant. I would argue revenue-sharing is the reason we still have a competitive team in Green Bay.

Agreed. The NFL has grown in such a way that the Packers probably survive in any climate now, but you do wonder what might have happened had Bob Harlan, Wolf and Mike Holmgren not turned things around in the early '90s. Vince Lombardi, Jack Vainisi and Co. resurrected the Packers in the '60s but what Harlan, Wolf, Holmgren and the many others did in the '90s rebuild can't be overstated, either. It's another reason we should be pushing the HOF candidacy of Harlan and Holmgren.

Jim from Bluffton, SC

The Packers need another offensive weapon for '12,' '10' or whomever. Amari Rodgers seemed like a nice pick to provide that weapon. His physical, mental and human profile seemed ideal. Can Amari have a big jump next year? In your opinion, what needs to happen to make that jump?

On paper, Rodgers is the exact playmaker this offense needs but I think there are some hurdles to overcome there. He didn't seem to get fully comfortable yet. The Packers are committed to him, though. Having lifelong friend Randall Cobb around this year was a big plus. A full offseason in Green Bay's playbook should benefit him. The talent is there. He needs the mental side of the game to slow down.

Check out photos of Green Bay Packers WR Randall Cobb from the 2021 season.

Scott from Albertville, MN

How many Packers coaches won coach of the year?

Lombardi (1959) and Lindy Infante (1989) each won the AP NFL Coach of the Year. McCarthy won the Maxwell Football Club's NFL Coach of the Year in 2011.

Mary from Pewaukee, WI

Do you think the overtime rules are going to be changed for next year?

Probably not. I think the NFL has settled on overtimes. While I agree there still is a distinct advantage for the team that wins the coin toss, I don't know how you alleviate that for the remainder of the game. If one team scores a touchdown, then the other team scores a touchdown and the original team scores again…is the game over? You can't play forever. The game is too grueling for that.

Robert from Verona, WI

Good morning, Wes! When taking the Lambeau Field tour, are there any specific things you'd recommend watching for? I know the tour guides do a great job but I'm wondering about any hidden gems that you find particularly interesting.

If you go through the media area in the south end zone, the office once belonged to the Green Bay Press-Gazette, prior to the merger with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. In that room, a young Wes Hodkiewicz cut his teeth as a Packers beat writer for four years (once Kareem Copeland finally gave me the key).

Giorgio from Monza, Italy

Hi Wes, for Stu from Shawano: Soccer is actually a nickname, as its real name is indeed football (which makes sense, because it's played ONLY with the feet, apart from the goalie); Bowling comes from bowl (because that's what it is, not a ball), tennis and golf are played with a ball AND mandatorily with something else (see also hockey). One could say that if your body touches the ball, or the bowl, then it's called accordingly. Otherwise, it's not. But then there's cricket. Oh well.

Only in Insider Inbox can you have Giorgio from Italy explaining the nuances of sport to Stu from Shawano. It's a beautiful thing to watch.

Robert from Harris, MN

Wes, not a question but a comment on your response to Brandon from Green Bay. First, I am always leery of coaching advice from those with limited experience (your response has modified that). I have recently retired from 40 years of coaching high-school athletics. From that perspective you were spot on from the "God bless" to the "All the best."

I spent 10 years talking with coaches from every high school sport and it left me with this truth: teaching and coaching are two of the most underrated occupations. Those who can handle both have my undying respect. I don't know how you do it.

Harry from Chandler, AZ

Talking about sandwiches? Ever tried Deli ham with mayo on an onion bagel?

Don't like mayo. Don't like onions. Love ham, though.

Jonathan from Hulsberg, Netherlands

Hey Wes, I saw your comment about reading to your kid. Check out Wonderbly. You can put your kid in an "I Spy" book and he'll absolutely love it. My girls do.

I will. Thank you!

Doug from Neenah, WI

Good morning, Wes. Have you ever been cleansed?

My hair stylist, Lindsey, gives me a nice scalp massage when she's washing my hair. Does that count?