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Inbox: You never stop searching for playmakers

It’s been an interesting start to the new league year in the NFC North

CB Jaire Alexander
CB Jaire Alexander

Michael from Dover, PA

As a public service for the duration of social distancing you should begin every edition of II with "Wash your hands, wash your butt."

I'll let you handle that one. Good morning!

Jake from Athens, GA

Wes, Day 1 of free agency is in the books. From how things have played out so far this week, what have we learned about the Packers' draft strategy?

It goes back to what I wrote Wednesday. What I gleaned is inside linebacker and tackle only have to be in the first-round conversation if there is a player the Packers really like there. Christian Kirksey and Rick Wagner are proven starters so Green Bay doesn't have to draft for need there. You never stop searching for playmakers. The position is secondary.

Jason from Lake View, NY

With Kirksey having previous experience with Mike Pettine, will his learning curve be a lot lower than someone they would have drafted or signed from another team?

I think so. It's been five years since Kirksey played for Pettine but both Tramon Williams and Ibraheim Campbell transitioned back into his defense fairly quickly after previously playing for Pettine in Cleveland. Linebacker is the control center of Pettine's scheme, so having Kirksey in that role is a plus for the defense.

Rick from Pacifica, CA

Hi II. Thank you for the ongoing information and entertainment. We're 10 miles south of San Francisco in lockdown mode. You can go to a food store, hardware store, the hospital or get takeout food. Otherwise, it's work, Netflix or SheepsHead. The Packers spent last year dealing with injuries at linebacker. The year(s) before, it was offensive line. What do you think of signing Wagner and Kirksey, two former stud players who were cheap mainly due to injury histories?

Kirksey and Wagner are interesting case studies because both were healthy, durable starters…until they weren't. But it's not like the two have long injury histories. The past two years have been simple cases of misfortune. Now they have a chance at a fresh start in Green Bay.

Matt from Fort Worth, TX

I'm really going to miss the starting lineup introductions with Bryan Bulaga.

Keeping my fingers crossed for a "Rick Wagner, Stallis."

Lori from Brookfield, WI

What is your favorite Blake Martinez story?

Oh, there were several. Accidentally calling him "Boar Martinez" at practice a few years ago probably tops the list. We had a good laugh about that afterward. I enjoyed the penning the Packers vs. Cancer profile on Martinez and his childhood friend two years ago. I also had a chance to introduce him to my wife at last year's Christmas party. Blake was always gracious. He reminded me a lot of Micah Hyde with how he handled the media.

Ryan from Sun Prairie, WI

When scheduling joint practices, is consideration given to a home and home like they do in college football? Might be a chance for Packers fans outside Wisconsin to see their team.

The Packers won't travel during training camp. Period. Those practices are too important to the community and they've already been cut down to roughly 15 public sessions. It's Nitschke or nothing.

Randy from Grapevine, TX

Guys - another day doing social distancing work-from-home, reading the Inbox. Give me your thoughts on Quintez Cephus and his fit with the Packers. Slot guy? Does not seem to have "stretch the field" speed, but great hands. I will head the fridge for a snack and read your thoughts. Thank you.

I like Cephus as a midfield target. His upper-body strength makes him a formidable receiver for any DB to try to stop. The 4.73 time in the 40 won't do him many favors in the draft process but I think Cephus still has a future in the league because of his size and physicality.

Thomas from Altoona, WI

If the CBA runs for 11 years, does that mean we won't have an 18-game schedule until the next negotiations?

Based on what I read in the document, the regular season cannot be extended to 18 games during the current CBA. Check back in 2030.

Bill from Bloomfield Hills, MI

Watching some of our key guys strike it big makes me appreciate the Tramon Williams story even more. He left, got paid like he deserved, didn't make us regret it too much, and then came back for another few years (not over yet) full of grace. Sometimes, you can go home.

The media is impartial but I can tell you there were a lot of smiling faces when Williams re-signed two years ago. Tramon is a legend.

Jeff from Kenosha, WI

Hi guys, Wes wrote that the early prognosis is that the Packers will get a fourth rounder for both Bulaga and Martinez. That will change if Gutey aquires a FA player right? So, suppose he spends $10 million on a receiver. How would that affect the Packers' compensation picks and how is that calculated?

Correct. It's determined by net losses in free agency. For example, signing a player with a $10 million APY contract would basically nullify one of those fourth-rounders.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

Regarding the compensatory pick formula for Bulaga and Blake, does the compensation formula include their production/performance in the 2020 season or is it just that they left for a FA deal?

It's supposedly a part of the equation but average salary is the biggest determining factor.

Margeaux from Tallahassee, FL

I watched the Thaddeus Moss PP with interest as I do all of them. His bloodlines and 2019 performance certainly create interest but the two foot surgeries since 2018 say risky. Any thoughts?

How can you not love the bloodlines but we have to see how Moss pulls through from the surgery for the Jones fracture. Moss has a high ceiling and is a skilled blocker. This is not a deep draft for TEs, so he could be a mid-round prospect worth taking a shot on.

Dave from Cudahy, WI

I know the offseason program has been officially suspended by the NFL and NFLPA. But I'm wondering, would a "working remote" situation be allowed? I'm thinking team and position group meetings using video conferencing. It might be a way to get the "mental reps" in even if they can't be in the team facility.

No. That won't happen. Players will get the playbook once they get back in the building…whether that's April, May, June, July, August...

Al from Green Bay, WI

The Bears parted with their fourth-round draft pick to get Nick Foles. Was their selection A) To obtain a quality backup or B) An acknowledgement that they may need a better starting QB?

Mitchell Trubisky has been put on notice. The fourth-round pick is what it is. The real story is the Bears' willingness to take on Foles' contract. That says he could legitimately be "the guy" next year. Foles also has a history with Chicago coach Matt Nagy. It's been an interesting start to the new league year in the NFC North.

Pete from Fort Wayne, IN

I didn't think you could trade compensatory picks in case of Nick Foles to Bears for a fourth-round pick.

The NFL changed that rule two years ago. You can trade compensatory picks now.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

One of my favorite draft moments was when Joe Thomas was fishing with his dad during the draft. I would enjoy watching all the top prospects doing what they enjoy instead of wearing a crazy suit and hugging Roger Goodell. Maybe this is the year I get my wish!

I'm sure it remains a memorable day for Thomas and his father.

George from North Mankato, MN

Is there enough cap room remaining to think we could extend Kenny Clark, Aaron Jones or David Bakhtiari before the season begins?

Yes. But the price for Clark and Bakhtiari keeps rising with what these offensive and defensive tackles are getting.

Walter from El Centro, CA

Weston, please help me. I have bought myself two Packer jerseys in the last seven years. Eddie Lacy and Blake Martinez. In my opinion, both were excellent Packers. But when I buy their jerseys, they do not get re-signed. Whose jersey should I not buy so they stay a long term Packer?

Clark or Jaire Alexander are good bets.

Dave from Machesney Park, IL

It sure seems like DeAndre Hopkins was a cheap pickup for a WR of his talent. Do you think Gute missed out on the chance, or do you think he thought the price was too steep?

The price wasn't too steep but Hopkins does have a sizable cap hit for the next three seasons. The Cardinals were opportunistic and had the room to absorb it.

Florian from Kronach, Germany

Packers scored at least one TD in every game of the 2019 season. Which teams did not? I remember the Niners winning a poor game 9-0 with three FGs, but can't remember the opponent.

It was Washington. What a weird game.

John from Cedar Rapids, IA

Do players from rival schools trash talk in the locker room? Bryan Bulaga, now Kirksey, (Iowa) and Allen Lazard (Iowa State)? Also, Tristan Wirfs is a specimen, won a state high school wrestling title, and was first in shot put (twice) and discus (three times). Too bad he won't be around for the Packers to draft him. He's worth first-round money.

There always are friendly rivalries inside the locker room. I haven't heard much Iowa/Iowa State chirping but Big Ten players usually have a good time with Ohio State alumni.

Robert from Salem, WI

What is the TP status at Lambeau? Feel free to send excess down here...

It's been two weeks since I've been at Lambeau. My wife has been there more recently than I have.

Mohamad from Tiburon, CA

Hi Wes: If we draft Patrick Queen in the first round, Prince Tega Wanogo in the second and Kevin King continues to improve his stellar play, could the Packers once again claim their rightful place as NFL royalty?

A true royal secondary.

Corey from Henderson, NV

Well, looks like we will finally get a Rodgers/Brady showdown. Too bad it'll be in Tampa and not Lambeau.

I'll still take it.

Gary from Davenport, IA

Do you think the Packers will play at Tampa Bay on NBC during November? It will be sweeps month and involve a quarterback matchup that might not occur again.

That sound you hear right now is network executives salivating at the thought of another Rodgers vs. Brady game. Ratings don't make themselves, ya know!

Tony from East of West Bloomfield, WI

Packers non-division opponents QBs: Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Deshaun Watson and Jimmy G. All on the road. This team will earn every bit of success it has in 2020.

Brady to Tampa Bay seems like one of those farfetched, off-the-wall signings that only happen in 'Madden' franchise mode. To your point, that's a full house of All-Pro and Pro Bowl quarterbacks for the Packers to face in 2020.

James from Chicago, IL

What's the over/under on the number of No. 12 Tampa Bay jerseys sold in Boston this week? And how many of those jerseys will Belichick have to see in the stands on the Pats home opener?

I don't get it. And I don't know if I ever will. There's no heir apparent and Belichick isn't getting any younger. Why not appease Brady and ride this thing out like the Lakers did with Kobe near the end of his career? Is now the time to really start over?

Dennis from Parrish, FL

Did Wes just predict a Packers vs. Buffalo Bills Super Bowl?

I do like Josh Allen.

Dennis from Wisconsin Rapids, WI

No question, just a quick thank you. I recently won a 2019 commemorative football in a Packers Perks auction. It's on my desk as I type and looks great! I probably earned over half the points I bid from content generated by Mike and Wes. Thanks gents, for making "earning" such a pleasure.

I'm just happy I could help the ball club.

Scott from Hayward, WI

"Have the Vikings ever turned down an opportunity to toot their own horn?" Where did that come from? Someone steal your lunch again? At any rate, it brought a smile to face. Thanks!

I won't lie. I did a small fist pump after writing that line. Talk to you guys, tomorrow.