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It's practically a given

Several intriguing possibilities for whom the Packers might play in the 2018 opener


Steve from Middleton, KY

Does that mean "Wes" agrees to the moratorium, as well?

Up to him. He runs his Inbox, I run mine. Did you put his name in quotation marks because you think it's his pen name, like he's not who he says he is?

Matthew from Shorewood, WI

Spoff, regarding your response to Brett from Queensland, how do the top two players from one position group follow such drastically different NFL paths and trajectories? Calvin Pryor and Ha Ha seemed comparable, but the former has been shipped around the league and the latter is a rising piece of our core. Is this simply an ill fit for different defensive systems, lack of that "it" factor, or another variable?

It can be any combination of those things. No one knows the answer or the foolproof draft formula would have been bottled and sold long ago.

Arne from Gemen, Germany

Dear Insiders, in the offseason everybody talks about cap space and contract size and it got me to wonder what happens if a team fails to be under the cap on March 14? Thank you for making the offseason feeling half as long as it really is.


The league has a number of penalties at its disposal, including monetary fines, loss of draft picks and cancellation of contracts.**

Joe from Clio, MI

College all-star games, combine workouts, one-on-one interviews, personal workout, Wonderlic test…do all of these combined mean as much as college game tape when it comes to evaluating a prospect?

I don't think so. If you look at it like a pie chart, I think the college game tape is always the largest slice, but not every team's evaluation process creates the same size slices.

Cliff from Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia

When are we going to hear about the result of the Packers' "failure to disclose a medical condition" action against Martellus Bennett?

No idea.

Rob from Buckinghamshire, UK

Picks 14 and 45 for Bills' 21 and 22. Deal or no deal?

As I've said before, it all depends on what the draft board looks like at the time the 14th pick is on the clock. It's the type of deal that gets done at the moment, not in advance.

Dan from Saskatoon, Canada

Hello Insiders, I read an article recently about why the Steelers shouldn't give Le'Veon Bell a long-term deal. The argument was that the amount of money he wants is just too much to pay a running back. The article made the point that Kareem Hunt and Alvin Kamara put out massive production last season on a salary of less than $1 million dollars. My question is, why do NFL teams seem to undervalue the running back position so much compared to other skill positions? For a player who performs as well as Bell does, you would think it would be worth paying him what he deserves.

It's always tricky at running back, because Bell has already surpassed the average shelf life of a feature guy. So the temptation is always to try to find the next Hunt or Kamara in the draft whom you can pay peanuts, relatively speaking, for the next four years. The game is still built on passer (QB), pass protector (LT), pass rusher (DE or OLB) and pass defender (CB) as the four primary positions. To spend that kind of money on a position outside that quartet most likely means one or more of those primary positions will have to get short-changed due to the cap, unless a team really hits it right in one draft or consecutive drafts.

Jason from Spooner, WI

With Jordy and Randall's future up in the air, it wouldn't hurt my feelings to take a top wide receiver at 14. It's a long-term fix at a position that can change in one to two years, which could turn into a short-term fix.

I hear you, but unless this is 2011 redux and it's A.J. Green or Julio Jones falling to 11, I'm betting there won't be a ton of difference waiting to take a receiver in the second or third round.

Sean from Boulder, CO

As a Packer fan born in 1969, I wonder how anyone who endured the teams of the '70s and '80s can question the current team's game plan. Year after year in the playoffs is so much better than the alternative. And if 2014 had worked out, are we even having this conversation?


If any single one of a half-dozen plays goes differently, the entire narrative on the McCarthy-Rodgers era is changed. That said, I also believe this type of offseason shift was going to happen before the end of the era, regardless. It was just a question of when.**

JW from New Braunfels, TX

I agree that needs for defense are pass rusher and DB, while TE and WR are top priority for offense. However, I'm concerned with the health of the OL. Do you see this draft class as deep enough with OL talent that we may address it in the mid-rounds?

I always expect the Packers to address the offensive line in the draft. It's practically a given. I believe the Packers have failed to draft at least one offensive lineman only once this century.

George from North Mankato, MN

I'm curious if there are any players you feel may benefit from the recent coaching changes. If football mirrors the real world, I presume some players' talents may be exploited in new ways and some players may develop differently with new mentors.

I have no doubt that'll happen. But, no offense, if I knew which players' talents weren't being utilized to their fullest, I wouldn't be spending my days talking to you folks.

Luke from Kenosha, WI

I just re-watched the Packers vs. Cowboys game before Rodgers went down. I recommend all the fans wanting to get rid of Clay Matthews to watch that game. He was fast, all over the place, made some big plays and his motor never quit. It's not all about sacks. If he does his job without making the play, it usually means he took a double team and allowed someone else to make a play. Thanks for changing my perspective guys.

I've never denied the contract figure doesn't match up to the sacks and additional stats relative to other top-flight defenders around the league, but there's no denying his all-around value to Green Bay's defense. I'm very eager to see how Pettine decides to utilize him.

Dave from Sheboygan, WI

If I recall correctly, the only team in the mid-'70s to use the "shotgun" was Dallas. When did that change for the rest of the league? The Packers at the time said it was too risky as opposed to "under center."

I remember Dallas being the only team that used it growing up, though I've read it's incorrect to state that Tom Landry invented it. I recall it becoming more common around the league in the 1990s as offenses tilted more and more toward the pass. Certainly Buffalo's K-Gun offense of the early '90s used it routinely.

Ken from Simpsonville, SC

Mike, why are all the sports blogs lighting up with speculation that Jordy's getting cut? He caught one TD per game while Aaron was active. If Aaron hadn't gotten hurt, Jordy could've had 17 TDs in the regular season. It seems to me the reason for his decline is the fault of No. 7, not 87!

Why all the speculation? Because they're getting you to click on it.

Patrick from Tampa, FL

When do you anticipate the decisions will be made regarding our expensive veteran WRs, before FA, before the draft or sometime even later?


Gary from Wrightwood, CA

"Permanent moratorium." Nice oxymoron.

Actually I think it's from the department of redundancy department, but I like it nonetheless.

Braden from Shakopee, MN

What do you think the Packers are going to take for their 14th pick?


A good football player.**

Bob from Colby, KS

Mike, the friends who got you and your future bride together were player agents.

That works.

Joe from Pittsburgh, PA

With Jerry Kramer finally getting his just due this year, my thoughts went to his successor on the line, Gale Gillingham, who I thought was going to be in the Canton discussion before injuries and a declining Packer team snuffed out his chances. Fans forget that it was Kramer and Gillingham at guard in the second Super Bowl, not Thurston, and Kramer had probably been surpassed by Gale at that point in his career. At his best, old No. 68 was one of the elites.

I've heard more than one account that Gillingham might have been the best guard to play for the Packers post-Lambeau. Perhaps the senior committee will take up his case someday, though I wouldn't count on it. No offense to Gillingham, but I suspect Kramer's selection is unofficially shutting the Hall's door on the Lombardi Packers. Kramer is probably closing it on his way in, which, the way this played out, is probably how it should be.

Scott from Greensburg, IN

Hey Wes, how about you and Spoff make a sarcastic (yet not-so-sarcastic) list of "Top 10 question topics Insider Inbox readers really need to get over." No. 10 Ty Montgomery's number and position, No. 9 not drafting T.J. Watt, No. 8 wanting the free-agent signing of any player not yet a free agent, No. 7 Biegel being neither a savior nor a superstar, etc. Might be worth a few laughs and ALSO save your Inbox some anxiety.

You're off to a good start. Go ahead and finish it for us.

George from Manassas, VA

Mike, regarding the question from Josh from Pomona, CA, about late-round pass rushers, wasn't KGB, the former GB sack record holder, a fifth-round pick?

Indeed he was, and he even began his rookie season by getting cut and signing to the practice squad. Also, James Harrison went undrafted and was cut three times. But I'm not banking on finding Green Bay's next KGB or Matthews that way. If you can, more power to you.

Deb from Camarillo, CA

What is being done with the old turf at Lambeau? Any chance it will be sold again as a charity fundraiser? If so, when?

Getting this question a lot. The old turf is not being sold this time.

Derek from Eau Claire, WI

Who do you think will lead the Packers in A) rushing, B) receiving, and C) tackles next season?

Not too adventurous with my selections, but I'll go with Jones, Adams and Martinez.

Alex from Bartlett, IL

Right now the top QBs are Brady, Rodgers, Brees, Rivers, and Roethlisberger in my opinion. What are the top QBs going to be in 5-7 years?


Team Photographer Evan Siegle shares some of his favorite images of the 2017 season.

Well, Ryan would have to be in place of Rivers right now, and in five years I think Rodgers and Ryan might both still be on the list.**

Tom from Connecticut

So I'm thinking I value the Ted Thompson strategy of obtaining compensatory picks, but it got out of balance by not really acknowledging a draft pick is a prospect and an elite free agent is a proven elite football player. To restore balance, maybe a strategy is group the free agents in a single year so they only affect compensatory picks in one year not each year. The next couple years we can max out with street free agents and compensatory picks. Are there any teams that do this and do you think it is a sound idea?

Theoretically, it's an intriguing strategy, but it would be difficult to execute effectively due to the cap. You'd have to give multiple large signing bonuses to pro-rate the cap charges to make it work in the short term, and that sets you up for other problems in the long term if any signees get hurt or underperform.

Gary from Davenport, IA

I assume you'd agree that taking a placekicker in the first round is typically a bad idea. But Oakland got 18 years out of that pick. Is a first-round pick on a kicker worth it if you knew you were getting 18 seasons from him?

Of course, but how is anyone going to know? There's a greater chance you'll get less than one-third of that.

Phil from Boise, ID

One thing I have thought about when you guys talk about how Detroit and Stafford gashed the Packers' D coming out of the bye week is that Stafford has probably seen the Packers more than any person playing in the NFL right now. There's a limit to how many new looks you can give someone who's played you 12-15 times. It remains to be seen if Pettine is going to be "better" than Capers, but it will be beneficial to have him just to give our in-conference rivals a new look to scout and game plan against.

I tend to think Capers had plenty of new looks he could have shown, but he didn't have enough experienced players to dig that deep into the playbook on a regular basis, to avoid exactly the scenario you're talking about.

Dan from Ludlow, MA

If you had to predict the schedule right now, who do the Packers open the season against?

I could see it being Minnesota, Atlanta, New England or San Francisco. Which means it'll probably turn out to be none of the above.

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