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Melvin Gordon among deep class of backs

Eagles trade proves cap is king


Mitch from Milwaukee, WI

Do you think Andre Johnson would be a good fit for the Packers at the right price?

The right price is very difficult to achieve in free agency. It's much easier to achieve in the draft, so find the next Andre Johnson. That's my opinion on free agency. They all came through the draft, so go back to the draft and find the next one.

Jim from Wauwatosa, WI

Brett Favre is the greatest quarterback of all time, and you are the worst writer of all time. How did the Packers end up with two people at the complete opposite ends of the spectrum?

I know. It's amazing.

Jon from Bath, England

I see the Eagles and Bills just did a player swap. Why doesn't this happen more often, and has there ever been a time when teams would buy players from another team for hard cash?

Teams fear that if another team is willing to trade a player, then there must be something wrong with him. That's especially true in the salary cap era because trading a player means having to house his remaining amortization on your cap. That's why it doesn't happen more often. Yes, once upon a time teams bought players in cash transactions, and once upon a time the haves loaned players to the have-nots. The Bears were famous for loaning players. It effectively made their competition a minor league farm system.

Lou from Vancouver, WA

Vic, how much consideration do you think Randall Cobb might be weighing on his future quarterback being able to place the ball to protect him from injury? Seems like Rodgers does a good job of not throwing to a receiver that could get clobbered if he catches it in traffic.

I think catching passes for Aaron Rodgers is a strong consideration. He's going to make you a better receiver. If the difference in money is minor, I would think Rodgers would tilt the table.

Bill from Canton, OH

Vic, I assume new draft picks do not count against the cap this year and not until next season. Is that assumption right?

They don't count until they sign a contract, and then there's an offseason formula for how they might count.

Bethany from Merrill, WI

Vic, I know we are all trying to learn about the workings of the NFL in the salary cap, free agency era, but could you describe how the teams were managed before the current system?

There was no cap to what they could spend, so the big-money teams could spend more than the low-revenue teams, but it wasn't a problem because unrestricted free agency didn't exist. It made no sense for big-money teams to overpay; their players didn't have freedom of movement. Unrestricted free agency was a game-changer. It forced a salary cap.

Matt from Sun Prairie, WI

Why do the signings of Peppers and Guion not count against the Packers in compensatory picks?

For the same reason losing Charles Woodson didn't count for the Packers. They were all released prior to the start of free agency. Cap casualties, in my opinion, are the best free agent acquisitions. Being released is a dose of reality. The stigma of being released often lowers their value.

Joseph from Madison, WI

This question pertains to the most exciting moves of the offseason thus far. By trading McCoy and releasing Cole and Williams, the Eagles have a large cap at their disposal. What moves are they looking to make?

In the case of trading LeSean McCoy, the Eagles are announcing their intention to draft a running back from a very deep running back class. If you want a running back, this is the year to get one. There's also another message in the Eagles' willingness to trade McCoy: The cap is king.

Jesse from Vail, CO

Vic, the prospect primers are fun. Where do you think Melvin Gordon will be drafted?

I think he's a first-round pick, but where he falls in the first round could depend on his pro day. He didn't run well at the combine, and I think that could hurt him in a deep and talented running back crop.

Dan from Grand Rapids, MI

Do you think players that get the huge payday are much more unmotivated and, therefore, play worse than underpaid players? For example, Albert Haynesworth.

One of my favorite scouts was fond of saying it's tough to get out bed in the morning when you're wearing silk pajamas. I have a natural distrust of players that wear pajamas, unless they're a quarterback or wide receiver.

Darran from Green Bay, WI

Vic, who will be the real winners of the McCoy/Alonso trade?

This one blindsided me. I was stunned when I saw the news. LeSean McCoy is a face-of-the-franchise type of player. Most fans would regard him as the Eagles' best player. The Eagles have put tremendous pressure on themselves to draft a running back worthy to be McCoy's replacement. Unless the Eagles know something about McCoy the rest of us don't, I wouldn't regard this as a trade with a high probability of success.

Tim from Milwaukee, WI

Do you tire of fans' manic tendencies around free agency?

I just wish they would see the risk more clearly. In many cases, I don't think the fans that love free agency understand the risk. That's what frustrates me the most.

Jeremy from Garden Prairie, IL

Where is the strength of this draft, in terms of rounds? Which positions hold the most draftable players?

This is a deep class of running backs and I get the sense the second and third rounds are where the values are.

Tyler from Holcombe, WI

Would you trade Eddie Lacy for Kiko Alonso if you had the guarantee Alonso was 100 percent healed from his ACL injury?


Tom from West Bend, WI

The NFL cap is a hard cap. Is there any real room for creative cap management? Salary plus bonus divided by years doesn't seem to offer much wiggle room. I, for one, like it that way.

I don't consider the NFL to have a hard cap. I would only consider it a hard cap if what you spent in the year had to stay in the year. NLTBEs aren't about creativity? You can push out a lot of money by effectively using NLTBEs on a player that was injured in the previous season. Look at Tom Brady's re-structured contract. That's not creative? Being creative is how teams get in trouble.

Kevin from Austin, TX

Considering all of the interesting personalities with whom you've met over the years, have you ever considered writing your memoirs? You've got a built-in nationwide market. Packers fans are everywhere.

I write my memoirs in this column every day.

Paul from De Pere, WI

So can we declare pick No. 24 begins the second round?

Not yet. Give it time. Tony Pauline said the list could deepen. Be that as it may, I know a former GM that had an interesting take on having the last pick of the first round. He liked to say you could look at it one of two ways. You could view it as the last pick of the first round, or as the first pick of the second round. How do those perspectives alter your selection?

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