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More commandments; Packers two-way team

Ryan Pickett perfect type of free agent


Pablo from Oak Creek, WI

I'm not sure what the rules are, but what happens if a player refuses to play for the team that drafted him? I'm sure he'll be a professional and play for whoever picks him, but for argument sake, let us pretend he openly claims "I won't play for anyone but the Packers." What then?

The team that drafted him retains rights to the player until the following year's draft, at which time the player is eligible to be picked again. The team that drafted him and holds his rights may trade the rights to the player to another team.

Nick from Seattle, WA

Vic, has there ever been a successful team that drafted on need?

Most teams don't admit to being needs pickers, so it's difficult to answer the question, but the Falcons are confessed needs pickers and they came a play away from the Super Bowl.

Spencer from Monument, CO

If owner Vic started a new team, what would that team's color scheme be?

You have to consider where the team lives; there are certain colors that are indigenous to a region. For example, the Dolphins' colors are a good fit for Miami. Otherwise, I'm partial to blue and gold.

James from Richmond, VA

Vic, just curious about the number of questions you get daily during the offseason, compared to regular season. Also, when do you ever take time off, because it seems "Ask Vic" is a 365 gig. Love your work.

There are times during the offseason when the number of questions decline, but I'm never left wanting for questions to answer. I can remember the first days of "Ask Vic" in Green Bay, which coincided with the 2011 lockout. There were times when I hoped the next question was a winner, because I was running out of options. Those days passed quickly. Yeah, "Ask Vic" is a 365er for me, but that's mostly because I want it to be that way. If I'm sitting on the porch, I'll look in my phone to read some new questions that have come to the column. I'll answer them in my head as I rock. I like doing the column.

Mark from Missoula, MT

The talk of the Jets franchising Muhammad Wilkerson got me thinking. Franchise player price is based on position and average pay for said position, correct? What about for Wilkerson's position? Is there a difference in price for 4-3 tackles than for a 3-4?

The franchise tag for a defensive tackle (that includes nose tackles) is $10.875 million. For defensive ends it's $12.734 million. That's where it gets a little sticky for 3-4 teams, because the franchise fee for defensive ends is basically the price for 4-3, blindside pass rushers, and 3-4 ends are used more as two-gappers than as pass rushers. Most cap people would advise against franchising a 3-4 defensive end because that's above a two-gapper's pay grade. In most cases, it's above a 4-3 left defensive end's pay grade. The same is true of centers, guards and right tackles. The franchise fee for all offensive linemen is $11.902 million, which is a cost determined by money paid to left tackles. Do you want to pay a guard or center left tackle money?

Isaac from Nashville, TN

Vic, is there a significant difference between the function of a blocking TE and a FB?

A blocking tight end is usually an in-line guy. He must be strong at the point of attack, to avoid getting knocked back or split and allowing penetration. The safety in Detroit a couple of years ago was the result of penetration. A fullback on a classic lead-draw play gets a running start at the linebacker. That's the difference. One blocks in close quarters; the other blocks in space.

Andrew from Des Moines, IA

Vic, interesting reading about Starr's hazing incident and how in 1953 college rules supposedly mandated two-way play. When did this end and, for fun, who would be your 11 current Packers to play both ways?

I remember two-platoon football beginning in college football in the late 1950s and early '60s. Mike Ditka played both ways during that period and was every bit as impactful as a defensive end as he was as a receiving end. Ditka was one of the last two-way guys I can remember. The current Packers: Aaron Rodgers, QB-S; Clay Matthews, C-LB; Julius Peppers, TE-LB; Mike Daniels, G-DE; Josh Sitton, G-NT; Damarious Randall, WR-CB; Randall Cobb, FB-CB; Eddie Lacy, RB-LB; Jordy Nelson WR-S, David Bakhtiari, LT-DE; JC Tretter, RT-LB.

Kyle from Saint Paul, MN

Am I the only person hoping the Packers look into Jared Cook as a TE option?

He interests me.

Caleb from Eau Claire, WI

GM Vic, if your team doesn't have "The Man," do you spend a high pick on a late first-round talent, or take a big-time big guy and stop-gap for a year with a veteran quarterback?

Quarterbacks are overdrafted. That's the way it is and you have to be willing to pick a guy higher than he fits; Aaron Rodgers is the exception to the rule, certainly not the rule. When you find a quarterback you believe can be "The Man," get him. Until then, pick good players and hope fans and management will be patient as you continue your search for "The Man."

Randy Shorewood, IL

Would you expect the 32 draft boards to look fairly similar for the first two or three rounds before a team's scouting department and draft philosophy really begin to show themselves in the ranking of individual players?

I think that's an accurate statement, but there will be a divergence of opinion on players here and there at the top of teams' boards. There has to be, or there's no explaining how Jamarcus Russell could be drafted ahead of Adrian Peterson.

Gene from Midland, GA

Vic, has the combine exhausted its usefulness? It just looks like guys in tights doing drills not even remotely close to blocking and tackling.

It's becoming repetitive. Guys run fast, guys jump high. Big deal! Maybe the NFL needs to crown a player "Mr. Underwear" on the final day of the combine.

Jerry from Holmen, WI

It seems like a team's cap continues to increase each year, such as the announcement of $12 million more per team? At some point, you have to look at it like the stock market and anticipate lower revenues. Are teams prepared to lower their cap if the announcement would have been each team is losing $12 million?

The NFL would give teams a heads up if it saw a downturn in the cap coming, but the answer to your question is no. If the cap suddenly dropped $12 million, the NFL would probably have to create some kind of leaguewide dispensation, as it did in the beginning when it allowed a free signing bonus window to accommodate its two headline teams, the Cowboys and 49ers.

James from Brooklyn, NY

What are the 10 commandments for fans? How about "Thou shall not forget this is a game and is supposed to be fun" 10 times?

1. Don't boo if you don't like being booed.

2. Stay to the end or you'll get trapped in the parking lot.

3. Ignore troublemakers.

4. Don't ever go to Philadelphia.

5. Don't stand.

6. Don't sit.

7. Say hi to me when I'm walking to the press box.

8. Cheer, don't howl; howling is what they do in Seattle.

9. Never say "I could've done that;" you couldn't.

10. Be winsome.

Alex from Minneapolis, MN

How much time do teams near the bottom of the draft order spend looking into players projected near the top of the draft?

You have to do your homework on every player, lest you might get caught with your pants down. The Jaguars hadn't done their homework on Brady Quinn when he began his surprising fall in the 2007 draft. They began scrambling for tape on Quinn, attempting to evaluate him on the fly as Quinn fell toward their pick. That's not good.

Mike from Juneau, AK

How would a hybrid LB/safety like Darron Lee add to Capers' already impressive bag of tricks?

Coach Capers was at his best with Chad Brown, a versatile linebacker who was used in a multitude of ways. I saw Clay Matthews used in many of the ways Brown was used. Lee would allow the same kind of creativity.

Damone from San Jose, CA

Vic, can you tell me about Ryan Pickett? I know he was a free agent signing, but how big was his impact for the Packers winning in 2010?

Pickett, in my opinion, is the perfect free agent acquisition. He's a player who fit a scheme that allowed him to play his best football, and at a time when he could be acquired affordably. The Packers wouldn't have won the Super Bowl without him. Find the next Ryan Pickett. That's how I believe free agency should be used.

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