On the first Saturday of every month, Mark will write about a topic of interest to Packers fans and the organization, and then answer five fan questions. Fans are encouraged to email Mark with their name and hometown at: MurphyTakes5@packers.com.
In the past, the trade deadline has not really been a factor for the Packers. We've only made one trade near the deadline in recent years, and that was in 2010. So, when we traded both Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Ty Montgomery on Tuesday, I'm sure it caught many of our fans by surprise. I give GM Brian Gutekunst credit for making a bold and decisive move. I believe the move will help us in both the short term and the future. I would be remiss to not thank them for all they did for us, both on and off the field. Both were active in the community, Ha Ha with his Ha Ha's Heroes Foundation, and Ty was actively involved in improving foster care in the area.
While both Ha Ha and Ty have been very good, productive players for us, the NFL is a performance-based league. We believe we have the players on the roster to replace them. Also, Ha Ha was in the last year of his contract, and likely would have left after the season. By making the trade, we are guaranteed Washington's fourth-round pick in the 2019 draft. If Ha Ha had left after the season in free agency, any compensation we would have received wouldn't have been until 2020, and would have been based on how active we will be in free agency as well as the terms of a new contract Ha Ha may have signed – certainly no guarantee of compensation.
Finally, although the trades were made with an eye on the future (we now have 10 picks in the 2019 Draft – six in the top 128), Brian is very much in touch with the team and we are all optimistic that we will finish the season strong.
Now, on to your questions.
Russ from Florida
Mr. Murphy, I don't know you and you may view this as out of line and, if so, I apologize. But, I hope, given your enormous income, that you fix those teeth. Would be embarrassed as a CEO or, anyone for that matter, to be walking around with a mouth so neglected. None of your friends or colleagues are going to say anything to you, so, I took it upon myself as a total stranger.
Russ, a little known fact about my wife, Laurie, is that she used to be a private investigator. She has found her way to some of your other critiques, including one which complains about nominal sausage on a pizza, an ensuing and pricey sausage upgrade, and the disheartening result of a mere 15-20 pieces of sausage on the pie. Laurie kindly suggests that you find a way to harness your sausage-estimating, teeth-critiquing energy for good. Please feel free to donate, like we do, to the Brown County Oral Health Partnership. Do it in my name. Best to you and Go Pack Go!
John from La Crosse, WI
I was excited to see the announcement regarding the second phase of Titletown. How has the announcement been received?
*I think the response has been very positive, John. We've had over 1,000 people express an interest in living in Titletown. Now, the list is just an expression of interest (no down payment involved), but we are pleased with the response. People have also indicated that they like the variety of options available in the townhouses, as well as in the size of the apartments. Our hope is that we will have a mix of people living in Titletown. I think some people were surprised by the size of the office tower. I know that many people are interested to see what will be in the commercial space between the TitletownTech building and the office tower on Lombardi Avenue. The space will be a mix of retail, dining and entertainment. We will make announcements regarding the commercial space after we've completed the residential and office areas. *
Bill from Wauwatosa
I read this week that the NFL will hold four games in London next year. What are the chances the Packers will play in one of those games?
Not much has changed, Bill, from the last time I addressed this issue here. Although, it is encouraging that there will be four games next year. Our best chances to play in London over the next two years are our scheduled away games against the Chargers in 2019 and the Buccaneers in 2020. The Chargers are playing in a temporary situation and the Bucs will host a Super Bowl, so the league can require both of them to give up a home game to play in London. Teams are allowed to protect one home game, though, and we are often the protected game because of the way our fans travel to away games. The game last Sunday in L.A. was a great example of how well our fans travel – probably half of the over 75,000 in attendance were Packers fans. The Chargers are playing in an MLS stadium that only seats 27,000, so the financial hit for them from moving a game to London would not be as great as for a team playing in a larger stadium.
Steve from Omaha, NE
During the broadcast of the Packers-Rams game, they mentioned the new stadium being built in L.A. It sounds like the stadium will be spectacular. What can you tell us about the stadium?
The new stadium will be spectacular, Steve. The Rams were kind enough to give us a tour of the stadium site on Saturday, and I have to admit that I was blown away. The stadium is a little over 50 percent complete, so we had a good idea of what it will look like. The stadium will seat 70,000, but it is the largest stadium I've ever seen. The field is 100 feet below ground level, and the seating is steep with great sightlines. There will be a circular, two-sided videoboard that will be suspended above the field (a mix of the Dallas and Atlanta scoreboards). The stadium is open air, but will have a translucent roof covering the stadium and an adjacent 5,000-seat concert venue. The projected cost of the stadium is over $3 billion (the most ever for an NFL stadium), and the stadium will be a tremendous asset for the Rams, Chargers, the NFL and the city of Los Angeles for many years to come. The stadium is part of a very large development on the site of the old Hollywood Park racetrack that will include the headquarters for NFL Media.
Jason from Fond du Lac, WI
I read in the USA Today that you were in New York this week for a meeting between NFL and NCAA officials regarding rules impacting player safety. Is there any information you can share regarding that meeting?
Yes, Jason, I was in New York on Tuesday for that meeting. I was very encouraged by the meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to get NFL and NCAA executives together to discuss player safety issues, and, ultimately, to begin working on aligning NFL and NCAA rules regarding safety. Although nothing was decided in the meeting, we had a good presentation on the current state of rules in both college and pro football – with a focus on similarities and differences in player protection rules (there were more similarities than I thought). I think we laid the groundwork for changes that will be agreed upon at future meetings. It will be extremely helpful for players, coaches, officials and fans if we had universal rules (and common language) in the future. It will be a process that will take time (and it would be very helpful to also have high school football as part of the process), but will be crucial for the future of the game.