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Jimmy Graham checks all the boxes

Brian Gutekunst is in the process of blazing his own path


Brett from Brisbane, Australia

Not so much a question, but a comment. The cost of the Jets trading up three spots just confirmed what you have been telling us – the price would be very high for the Packers to trade up inside the Top 10 picks.

Yep. It's a different world inside the Top 10. Also, full disclosure. I spent Sunday evening in the hospital with either the flu or food poisoning, so that's why Inbox is a little late this morning. Simply put, I still feel like hot garbage.  I'm not trying to make this my 'Jordan flu game' or anything, but figured you deserve an explanation. Spoff is on vacation and the show must go on. So good morning!

Ralph from Oklahoma City, OK

Ross Uglem has an interesting mock 4.0 draft. While I don't agree with all the picks, these are familiar names. Any thoughts on the picks, or plans for Prospect Primer?


I have zero thoughts on the picks considering the draft is still more than a month away. I'm more concerned about when I can take my next Ondansetron tablet. Primer starts today.**

Chad from Tarpon Springs, FL

Jimmy, like Jordy, is a touchdown machine. But wide receivers catching touchdowns are far more entertaining than tight ends catching touchdowns, so shouldn't that have been a part of Brian Gutekunst's calculation? Because why do we play? As a sportswriter who covered many sports, please answer, what is the psychological value of watching, following, and arming yourself with sports? No one thinks of that. It's done automatically.

I honestly think it's more demoralizing to have a tight end go off on a defense than receiver. That's usually a good barometer for how much you're infiltrating the middle of the field. Receivers are going to get their yards in today's NFL, generally speaking. Tight ends are the cherry on top. Graham checks all the boxes for the Packers. Plus, there have been quite a few tight ends throughout the years who have been effective well into their 30s (Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates and Jason Witten to name a few). It's a sound investment into one of the league's elite who I believe fits this offense better than Martellus Bennett did.

Bryce from Riverside, CA

Considering the aggressiveness that Gute has showed so far, (Graham, offer sheet for Kyle Fuller, etc.), would it be that insane to see him wheeling up in the draft to a spot between No. 8-11 in the draft?


Jimmy Graham has registered 556 receptions for 6,800 yards (12.2 avg.) and 69 touchdowns (No. 4 in NFL history among tight ends). Photos by AP.

This is Gutekunst's first offseason as a GM. There is no track record to this point. He's in the process of blazing his own path, so nothing would surprise me.**

Aaron from Monroe, MI

Fuller was the "splash" but I knew Chicago would match the offer. No way Bears let us take Fuller away and Packers won't over pay for him so my question is, when will we make a good move for our replacement CB?

I thought it was a brilliant move on the Packers' part. There wasn't much to lose since Fuller had the transition tag. Either you get a top cornerback at only 25 years old or you force the Bears to pay top dollar for Fuller's services. Win-win. I didn't see that move coming at all. It's not over. Let's see what else Gutekunst has up his sleeve.

Wayne from Green Bay, WI

Since it is likely that Jimmy Graham will be lining up wide, do you think it is better to give more opportunities to Aaron Jones and Ty, to have more speed on the field? Jamaal Williams' power running style might not be a good fit for our Jimmy Graham offense.


Absolutely. Four-receiver sets force the defense to make a decision. Are you going zone or man? If man, are you providing two shell help over the top or dropping a safety into the box? This offense is at its best when it makes coordinators pick their poison. Having four legitimate downfield threats will only help open things up for the Packers' running backs, who have proven what they're capable of in the open field.**

Chris from Marshfield, WI

Insiders, I didn't like Bennett wearing No. 80 and I don't care for Graham wearing it either. Feels too soon since Driver, who was rightfully a fan favorite. I don't know, maybe part of it is just the large character difference. Thoughts?

There are only 100 numbers to choose from, Chris.

Gary from Fitchburg, WI

The trade for DeShone Kizer doesn't make sense to me unless the Packer's see a hope for Kizer to be the heir apparent to Aaron Rodgers. Randall played a key position and whether it is Hundley or Kizer, the Pack is in trouble if Rodgers goes down. Counter point?


It's been less than a year since Kizer was drafted and he just turned 22 years old. By the metric you're using, Brett Favre should have been out of the league after he threw his first two picks in Atlanta. Kizer has a live arm, pro build and now will get a chance to learn at a more reasonable pace. Can we get a little patience, please?**

Dan from Golden, CO

If you were a GM looking for a developmental wide receiver, would you rather draft someone who has drop issues but incredible route-running skills, or someone with incredible hands but can't run routes?

The former because route-running is so important in this game. It can be taught, but instincts play a big part in it. You look at someone like James Jones, who had drop issues early in his career. Once he firmed up that part of his game, Jones became one of Rodgers' most reliable targets.

Patrick from Milton, FL

Insiders, question here regarding the Vikings cap over the next few years! With the Cousins signing, do you believe they'll be able to retain all the talent currently on that team? If I'm not mistaken, many of those players are young, probably on small contracts.

Keeping that defense together now becomes Rick Spielman's greatest challenge. We saw how things changed for Seattle after the Seahawks needed to pay Russell Wilson a few years ago. There's a butterfly effect to these contracts. We'll see what the lasting ramifications of this offseason are for the Vikings. There's no question they're going all-in.

Mark from Saint Louis, MO

Isn't the Packers' identity draft, develop and retain talented players? It just seems like a revolving door of letting players leave and no viable plan in replacing Hayward, Hyde, Peppers and Nelson?

Sure, but you can't keep everyone. I seriously want to do an Inbox post sometime this offseason where I just post old messages from fans complaining about Hayward and Hyde when they were on the roster. Hindsight is a beautiful thing.

Brian from Schertz, TX

It seems the free-agent rumors and signings have dulled to near non-existent. In past years, it seemed the flurry of contracts went on for several days. Is this the norm or are teams just more patient this year?

I don't think it's any different than previous years. There's that usual flurry right at the beginning with highly-touted players signing record-breaking deals. After that money is spent, the second and third wave of free agents wait to see how their market develops.

Ben from Las Vegas, NV

Hi Insiders - I get that defenses will have to adjust to our offense with the inside threat of Graham, but with our current receiving corps I see defenses jamming the line again without a deep threat. Two safeties high is the key to opening up our run game. Thoughts?

The offseason isn't over. Let's see how the rest of free agency unfolds before we start game-planning.

Jessi from Kansas

If you posted one comment a day for all the grieving Jordy fans, how long would Jordy be in the Inbox? I feel like I'm grieving all over again as he moves on. I'm not one to enjoy the Raiders, but I guess I'll be keeping tabs while Jordy is there. He'll always be Green and Gold to me.

I'm guessing we'd give Joe Thomas' consecutive snap record a run for its money. Nelson meant that much to fans.

Dante from Fredericksburg, VA

Mike in reference to your answer to Doug about Rodgers forcing the ball like Stafford did Megatron, you said "no offense but Jordy Nelson isn't a Hall of Famer." What rock have you lived under? Nelson is a Hall of Famer. His comeback player of the year award stamped that. If Rodgers wouldn't have gotten hurt, his numbers I'm pretty sure would've been similar in TDs at least.

I remember how many comments poured in about Donald Driver's Hall of Fame candidacy after he retired in 2013. The reality is the standards for receiver are so remarkably high in today's pass-heavy NFL. Terrell Owens is one of the most productive receivers in NFL history and still had to wait a couple years to get in.

Mat from North Bay, Canada

With Morgan Burnett still on the market amongst many other options at safety, I wonder what the Insiders think of Josh Jones' potential at strong safety. I feel like he definitely checks the boxes athletically. Is that enough to make him the "next man up" or is it a more sound strategy to bring in someone else so he can continue to develop?

Jones has the athleticism, speed and credentials to shine in this league, but playing safety goes well beyond that. Jones played more than 700 defensive snaps last year. That experience will help him in the long run. I still wouldn't jump to shut the door on Burnett. You saw how teams are only one injury away from needing to tap into that depth.

Larry from Greensboro, NC

What about a real middle linebacker? When Clay moved to the middle, I believe we looked like run stuffers. What a job he did, right?

They have a real middle linebacker. His name is Blake Martinez.

Wally from Bloomsburg, PA

Hey Insiders, do you think the upcoming extension of Rodgers' contract had anything to do with not pursuing (over-paying) for a big-name corner?

I think the price of big-name corners had something to do with the Packers not signing a big-name corner.

Dean from Leavenworth, IN

I would guess the Inbox is seeing some panic in regards to adding a veteran starting CB. It feels like the music is gonna stop and all the chairs will be filled and the Packers will be left standing. The right player, the right fit, and just as importantly, at the right price, all matter. Having said that, do you think Bashaud Breeland is worth bringing in for a look?

Breeland is talented, but I don't know enough about that foot injury that caused him to fail his physical with Carolina to say one way or another. It makes sense if he's cleared and healthy, but I don't know when that will be.

Tyler from Zumbrota, MN

I personally didn't watch a lot of live games of Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie. Just curious if this is a veteran corner Green Bay brings in maybe a week or two from now once the market settles down. What are his strengths and weaknesses?

DRC has had an accomplished career and epitomized durability throughout his 11 seasons. He still can affect games. Heck, he's only one season removed from having six interceptions. Depending on what the Packers want to do, it might be worth taking another look at Davon House and/or Tramon Williams. Williams is a bit longer in the tooth, but he was one of the biggest surprises in the league last year. The springiness is still there.

Les from Colorado Springs, WI

Why do the Packers refuse to go after a decent running back? Rodgers will be on the run again all season. No team is afraid the Packers will rush so they just tee off on Aaron and the receivers. I'm so confused. Why not get a running back that is at least going to make teams think the Pack will run?


Drew from Rogers City, MI

I know Green Bay has more obvious needs in the draft than running back. Williams and A. Jones make a great 1-2 punch in my opinion. But if you have a chance to take a freak like S. Barkley ...why wouldn't you?

Barring something going dreadfully wrong over the next month, the Packers aren't going to get that chance.

Dave from Coloma, MI

Down to the Sweet 16. How many teams are left in your bracket?


Take a look at photos of Packers S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix from the 2017 season. Photos by Evan Siegle and Corey Wilson,

Seven. I'm just proud I'm not last in our friendly pool.**

Justin from Richland Center, WI

A No. 16 seed knocking off a No.1 finally happened in the NCAA tournament. The NFL equivalent would be?

I don't know if there is one. Maybe the Patriots' undefeated season ending in the Super Bowl?

Will from Eau Claire, WI

Isn't the draft about patience? It seems absurd to trade three 2nd round picks to move up three spots. If history shows anything, let the draft play out instead of chasing it.

It does seem absurd. I mean Sonny Weaver Jr. once traded three second-round picks for a Top 10 selection, right? That's the price of trying to find the man.

Charlie from Allentown, PA

Do player bonuses go against the salary cap? Or does any money exchanged between a player and organization count towards the cap at some point?

Yes and yes.

Courtney from Butte, MT

Are there any visitor locker rooms left in the NFL where teams are treated to cramped and smelly quarters and shower heads five feet off the floor? Any rankings from days of yore and good stories to tell?

Buffalo's locker room is by far the smallest I've been in and it's not close. Detroit also is fairly cramped for Ford Field being a relatively new stadium.

John from Hudson, WI

Michael Clark is approximately Jimmy Graham's size physically. They both have a basketball background, can run, and out leap defenders. We know Jimmy does not block inline. In all seriousness, why wouldn't McCarthy convert Clark to a similar role as Jimmy?

Please stop asking about this. Have you watched a game? Have you seen his frame? He's a receiver.

Paul from Gorham, ME

Regarding contracts and incentives, who decides/how is it decided if an incentive is likely to be achieved or not likely to be achieved?

It depends on the team and the player. For example, the Packers traditionally have been one of the league-leaders when it comes to giving out bonus money for participation in the offseason program. That's a priority for them and they're willing to pay for it. Also, agents will structure certain incentives based on what some of the top players at their client's position have in their contracts.

Andy from Appleton, WI

Does Gutekunst have final say over draft picks, or is it a consensus among him, McCarthy and Murphy?

Thanks for reading.

Henrique from Divinópolis, Brazil

When will the podcasts be back? I need your interesting podcasts, because it's a fun way to practice English. Another question: when will a Brazilian play for Packers?

The podcasts will be back before the NFL Draft at the end of April. We're taking a break to get some vacation time in. I look forward to the day when the NFL is more widespread in Brazil. The athletes are certainly there.

Larry from Antioch, IL

"Yes, I'll take lazy takes for $200, Alex." What does that mean? He had a point, why not give a real answer instead of a smart-assed one?

The smart-assed one is more fun.

Barry from Isla Mujeres, Mexico

I don't get all the concern with Ty's number and Jimmy Graham. Can't they just turn Ty's upside-down and give that one to Graham?

I'm just happy the Packers already announced what number Graham will be wearing and saving us months of speculation. OK, it's been fun. Fingers crossed for a healthier Tuesday. I'm going to take some Tylenol and head back to bed.

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