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Protecting draft information is serious business

The formula for comp picks is heavily weighted toward contract size


Kevin from De Pere, WI

More of a comment than a question. One of my favorite Ted Thompson answers to why he's so committed to BAP over need was "because you never know what you're going to need, so we feel we should just take the best football player available." The last two years, WR then DB were considered strengths coming into the year because of recent high draft picks and depth at the position. As it turned out, we still didn't have enough, but it could've been much worse without those picks. Draft BAP, address other needs when you need to.

Any position can go from deep to thin in two snaps. Depth is fleeting in the NFL.

Steven from Montclair, NJ

Do teams perform any kind of analysis on the other 31 teams' needs and potential draft targets to help them develop their own draft strategy (maybe to trade down and still get the guy they want)?

Sure they do, and they even do their own mock drafts to prep for various scenarios when they're on the clock. Which is why anything you hear in the media in the weeks leading up to the draft about players and/or positions certain teams are targeting must be taken with a grain of salt.

Bill from Falcon Heights, MN

Do the Packers (or other teams) often draft players with whom they haven't done a formal interview? Wouldn't that be considered part of their due diligence?

It occurs more often than you think. If a team feels it has enough information on a player from all the background work scouts have done on campus and elsewhere, it might intentionally not interview the player formally at the combine to disguise the interest in him. Teams protect draft information like nuclear codes. It's serious business. Stealth, stealth, and more stealth.

Tom from Collegeville, MN

Panthers get a third-round pick for Josh Norman, while we get a fifth-rounder for Casey Hayward, who outplayed Norman last year. I think the compensatory pick algorithm needs some adjusting.

I've long suspected, as many readers pointed out this week, that the compensatory pick formula is more heavily weighted toward the size of the contract than the player's performance. That suspicion is now confirmed.

In a breakout third season, S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix earned his first Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors after leading the Packers with five interceptions. Photos by Evan Siegle and Matt Becker,

Mike from Stillwater, MN

Hey guys, Jon from Rapid City, SD, thought Ty Montgomery's new number will be 44. Here's another way to look at it. There are currently no numbers in the 20s available. There are only three numbers in the 30s and five numbers in the 40s. Yes, there will most likely be a few more numbers available as the roster changes through the offseason, but I bet only Ty knows the answer to that question right now. My question is this: When does Ty have to make that decision? Is it March 9, when unsigned players are free agents, or is it the start of camp?

Technically, he doesn't have to make a final decision until right before the first game of the regular season. Two years ago, the Packers signed James Jones late in the preseason, and Richard Rodgers switched to 82 so Jones could have 89 back, even though Rodgers had worn 89 all offseason. If I'm Montgomery, I'd pick something when I return for offseason workouts in mid-April, before all the upcoming draft picks and college free agents get assigned numbers. I'd guess that whatever number we see him wearing at the first OTA practice in late May will be what he's going with.

Kevin from Rice Lake, WI

I've been doing some reading on Ted Hendricks. Played 15 seasons and made it to four Super Bowls. He was signed to a "future contract" with the Packers in 1974 but traded to the Raiders the next year for two first-round picks. Do you have any knowledge of the contract with GB? Also, who did we get in these picks? He did really well with the Raiders, so I question if it was worth it.

I don't know the ins and outs of the Hendricks deal, other than he was a consensus first-team All-Pro in his one year with the Packers in 1974. Considering he became a Pro Football Hall of Famer, the trade compensation had no chance to measure up, but the Packers did use one of the first-round picks on defensive end Ezra Johnson (1977), who became one of the top two or three pass-rushers in team history. The other first-rounder was offensive lineman Mark Koncar (1976), who started at left tackle for a handful of years.

Rand from Hudson, WI

Mike, I know this is mainly a football-related column, but your mention of Yount and Molitor being childhood favorites prompted this question: How can the Brewers help make Milwaukee a destination for elite players like the Packers have done? I long for the days again like 1982. By the way, I'll be at the Brewers/Cubs game on July 29 and would love to buy you a beer.

Win consistently, be in the hunt every year, and have a spending budget more comparable to the larger markets, which is pretty much impossible for Milwaukee. Baseball is a totally different game when it comes to payrolls, free agency, etc. Kansas City is not suddenly going to become a destination for elite players despite its success in recent years. It takes way more than that. Do you have a ticket for me, too?

Gary from Sheboygan, WI

Hi guys. Sixth- and seventh-round draft picks rarely last beyond their first contract. The Packers have only one on the roster now. Why don't the Packers package their sixth- and seventh-round picks for a higher-round pick and hopefully select a better player with more talent and a better chance to have some longevity with the team?

Well, you'd have to package a fifth-, sixth-, and seventh-rounder just to get a fourth-rounder, according to most draft trade charts, and no one in the fourth round is even close to a sure bet, otherwise you're not waiting that long to take him. So the thinking is to take more swings at the plate than try for one mid-round home run. Plus, you never know when you're going to find the next Donald Driver or Mark Tauscher in the seventh round. It's rare but it happens.

Pete from Holly Springs, NC

When will the NFL make the compensatory draft pick selections a televised event? The lead-up would be amazing. A Mel Kiper-like big board (only available to insiders). The selection committee mysteriously working away behind closed doors. Post-announcement articles on the big winners and biggest oversights. The possibilities are endless.

I laughed when first I read this. Then I stopped laughing.

John from Crivitz, WI

Do you guys ever get snow days?

I wish. The internet is weatherproof.

Dennis from Minneapolis, MN

I disagree with your answer on you don't ask a player to take a pay cut. Belichick does it all the time and he is the best GM/coach ever. Why doesn't TT open his eyes and learn from this?

If you don't think Belichick is ready to wave goodbye to any player he asks to take a pay cut, you're kidding yourself.

Tom from New York, NY

You're set to interview a player at the combine who shows promise. He seems to fit your team's needs. However, you've never met him. What are your first three interview questions?

What do you like most about football? What do you like least about football? Why football?

Jeff from Indianapolis, IN

Not being a professional athlete, I guess I don't have their perspective. However, my personality is such that I would rather play to be a champ than for the money. So, I would take a lower salary to play with a Rodgers or Brady than just make the big bucks. I am in the minority I suppose?

When the dollar figures are close, you'll see that. Not so much when they aren't close. These guys are fully aware that their earning power can end tomorrow.

Tom from Cornelius, NC

Packers digital, production and game presentation combine event 2017 – bench press. Who wins? Vic?

I can't compete with that Pittsburgh toughness.

John from Madison, WI

All fans want our team to win the big one. We peck apart decisions after the fact when things don't work out. If we had ended the season with the healthy roster we started with, I think our chances would have been markedly better, yet we made it to within one win away from the big stage. The problem wasn't Ted Thompson's roster-building approach. It's hard for many of us to accept that.

It's also hard for many to accept that not everyone can be the Patriots, but they've had the Steelers, Colts, Ravens and Broncos to contend with over their 16-year run, and that's about it. Only one other AFC team outside of those five has gone to a Super Bowl in that time frame, and the Raiders just got back to the playoffs in 2016 after a 14-year drought. Meanwhile, the NFC has sent 12 different teams to the Super Bowl over that span. The Falcons just got good again, and the Cowboys are primed now, too. Teams are constantly rising up in the NFC.

Fearn from Rolling Meadows, IL

Spoff, which non-Packers player's career in the NFL are you most interested in, or maybe is your favorite to watch?

I'm very curious to watch Ezekiel Elliott. He might be on his way to changing how the running back position is viewed.

Steve from Racine, WI

Why did Vic say he was scared on the plane back from Arizona? How bad was the turbulence?

It was brutal. Honestly, the worst I've ever experienced. At one spot in the middle of the storm it felt like the plane slammed into a mountain. I'll never forget Vic looking at me and saying, "My last game wasn't supposed to be the end." Classic Vic.

Robert from Valrico, FL

In reference to a franchise player trade, the last one, I think, was Dallas trading for Joey Galloway in 2000. He didn't finish Game 1 of that season before tearing his ACL. Seattle used the two ones on Shaun Alexander and Koren Robinson.

I knew I was forgetting one. Thanks.

Patrick from Solway, MN

I was reading about the Bucks trading of Roy Hibbert being part of the Nuggets' attempt to hit the "salary floor" in the NBA and was wondering if the NFL had something similar. I know it isn't likely, but is a team able to put their fans through a five-year famine by signing a ton of league-minimum contracts in order to put together a five-year feast by using the rollover cap space to accrue a free-agent dream team?

Under the current CBA, teams are required to spend at least 89 percent of the cumulative salary cap over the four-year periods from 2013-16 and 2017-20. That's the floor, and if they fall below it, they have to pay the difference retroactively to the players on their roster during those times. Teams are carrying money over all the time, but if an extra 11 percent of the cap over a four-year period is enough to go on the spending spree you're suggesting, I suppose a dream team is possible. I'd have to crunch the numbers. You'll have to wait until I'm done working with Kramer and Newman on getting our aluminum cans to Michigan, though.

Randy from Bayfield, WI

Insiders, how much leverage would the Packers or any other team have in signing Nick Perry because of his injury history?

Perry is a very interesting case as a pending free agent, because he has produced his entire career – when he's been healthy. The injury history will factor into his new deal, but different teams (if he reaches the open market) won't necessarily look at it the same way. It will carry varying weight.

Kirk from Red Wing, MN

Shouldn't that certificate naming the Packers as an NFL team be the property of the Green Bay Packers even if Carr had it in his possession?

Not a fan of nine-tenths of the law, huh? It should have been, had Carr actually given it to someone with the Packers. I thought Cliff did an outstanding job explaining why he apparently didn't. That**entire piece**was fascinating.

Ben from Indianapolis, IN

Hi Biff and Spoff! I feel like I have an important question. What type of food ranks highest on your draft board? When you're in Indy next week, I want to make sure to pair you with restaurants that would offer the best available foodstuff (BAF).

Appreciate your concern. I'm a pretty simple guy. A good burger joint with a nice beer selection never elicits complaints from me.

Justin from Athens, GA

I don't recall the question I posed yesterday, but feel it's good enough to ask again. Would you mind sorting through yesterday's questions, finding the one from me, re-reading it, and then consider answer it again? Thanks.

My full week is done, for now. Have a great weekend, everybody.

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