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Separate the business from the game

No one likes to see great leaders go


Tony from River Falls, WI

I'm going to miss Perry's "pet the cast" sack celebration. What are your top five sack celebrations and/or touchdown dances?

I don't have a top five. My favorite sack one was by the originator, Mark Gastineau. It should have been called the Macbeth – full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Andrew from Eau Claire, WI

Hey Insiders, thanks for the fair and balanced free-agency coverage. This undoubtedly is an important upcoming draft. If you could pick one position for the Packers to knock it out of the park and get a dynamic rookie contributor as Clay Mathews was, what position do you think would equate to increased team success in the postseason? RB, CB, OLB, WR?


Patrick from Ashland, WI

Do you think Gene Steratore will write a book someday? That would be a great read.

I always crack a smile when I see Steratore doing a college basketball game. To have two sports' worth of stories would be a great read indeed.

Malte from Odense, Denmark

Hey Insiders, do you guys know if there has ever been three 1,000-yard receivers on a team in one season? And do you think Nelson, Adams and Cobb can accomplish that next season if everybody stays healthy?

It's happened five times in league history. The 1980 San Diego Chargers were the first (Winslow, Jefferson, Joiner), but it hasn't happened since the 2008 Cardinals, I believe (Fitzgerald, Boldin, Breaston). I think Green Bay's trio would be capable, but the Packers probably use the tight end too much to allow it to happen. The closest the Packers came was in 2011. Nelson had 1,200-plus, Jennings was 51 yards shy of 1,000, and Finley came up 233 yards short.

Craig from Waterloo, Canada

Every time I hear someone quote Lombardi for "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing," I wish they would remember this quote from him: "I wish to hell I'd never said the damned thing. I meant the effort, and I meant having a goal, and I sure as hell didn't mean for people to crush human values and morality."

Thou shall not crush.

Tim from Madison, WI

The most striking thing about T.J. Lang's contract is how favorable a deal the Packers are getting with David Bakhtiari's extension. Bakhtiari would make a gazillion dollars as an unrestricted free agent.

When players perform as projected, and stay healthy, deals like Bakhtiari's work out great, much like the deals for Daniels at the end of 2015 and for Nelson way back in 2011. When both sides are interested in doing something before a contract year gets too far along, it's an effective way for a team to protect its cap and for a player to protect himself against injury and get more money earlier.

Jeff from Fort Lauderdale, FL

What happened to John Crockett? Was he released? Injury settlement?

He was not tendered a contract by the exclusive-rights deadline last week, so he is a street free agent.

Dennis from Piedmont, SC

As a fan, I hate to admit it, but Lang signing with the Lions, a division rival, further shows football is first a business, then a sport filled with loyalty, emotion, passion, heartbreaks, revenge, throwing remotes and all the other good stuff.

You have to be able to separate the business from the game. For me, in the offseason, it's a business. During the season, it's all the other good stuff.

Rod from Chugiak, AK

Wes and Mike, the signings of Bennett and Kendricks turned a lot of "Fire TT" cries to cheers. But with those two nearing the end of their most athletic years and with such a rich TE draft class, we shouldn't be surprised if Ted drafts a BAP for their replacement. Then just listen to the short-term thinkers howl for his ouster for such "a waste of a pick when we have so many glaring needs."

If a tight end is the best player on the board when the Packers are on the clock, they're going to take him.

Fabian from Munich, Germany

By start of the OTAs, three of our six playoff captains will be with other teams. Is this a problem in terms of a loss of leadership, or are the young guys ready to step up and us fans as always too worried about leadership?

No one wants to see great leaders go, but the best ones by definition minimize the void upon departure, because in the short term they've left a bit of a legacy behind, and in the long term they've shown others how to lead.

JB from Chicago, IL

It's revealing the Packers targeted TE in free agency as a position group with little negotiating leverage due to the strength of the draft class at TE. It's no wonder Lang is gone for opposite reasons. You have to respect they set a value for a player and stick to it. We'll never get into a bidding war.

Discipline is important, and it's also why you have to set priorities. I mentioned in an Inbox column I wrote from the combine that Perry's market might push the Packers out of their comfort zone a bit, but he was the top priority. You can't stray from the comfort zone too far on everybody, or the lack of discipline will sink you.

Matt from Northbridge, MA

Hi guys, can someone give me a legitimate reason, aside from the fact that it goes against Thompson's MO, that the Packers would not take a serious look at Malcolm Butler? Yes, they would lose their first pick to sign him, but they would be getting a No. 1 corner that they are less likely to find at their pick.

I don't know if the Packers have any interest in Butler, but to give up a first-round pick for him, you'd have to be very confident you could sign him to a long-term contract extension at a palatable price. Otherwise, you're only getting him for one year, whereas a first-round pick is around for four years with a fifth-year option.

Scott from Memphis, TN

Jared Cook was looking for the payday. Now he finds himself waiting around and might get less than the Packers offered. Unrestricted free agency isn't always a win for the player. Is the agent at fault? Is the player? Any notable others who went looking and found less market than they thought?

You can't always get what you want. The Rolling Stones recorded the song almost 50 years ago, and the sentiment is eternal.

In honor of Pi Day, an annual celebration of the mathematical constant pi (3.14) observed on March 14, enjoy these photos of two Packers whose uniform numbers have been retired: Tony Canadeo (#3) and Don Hutson (#14).

Troy from Milwaukee, WI

Your Inbox is full of fans wondering what we are going to do in the secondary, ready to discard Rollins and Randall. Two years ago they were excellent rookies, last year they dealt with injury. In a similar story, I was ready to cut Davante Adams during training camp last year. I've learned my lesson.


Dave from St. Peters, MO

I'm bummed to see Lang move on. But, I get it. He wanted Pro Bowl money and he got roughly half of it in guarantees. Who do you see as a viable option currently on the roster to replace Lang at guard?

Fans are asking about moving Bulaga to guard, but I don't see it, not when he's playing as well as any right tackle in the league. When I asked McCarthy about Spriggs and Murphy at the combine, he said he sees Spriggs as a tackle, and Murphy has a chance to play both. We'll find out in OTAs if Lang's departure – a possibility McCarthy wasn't seriously entertaining in Indy – changes any thoughts on Spriggs. He's got a tackle's frame, not a guard's, in my view. If they groom Spriggs to be the swing tackle, then I see Barclay, Murphy, plus maybe Patrick and a draft pick battling it out to be the next Lane Taylor.

Brad from Chino Hills, CA

I may be wrong in my assessment, but I think that if we had upper-echelon corners, we would have made it to the big dance, and possibly won it. Why does it seem that TT or the other powers that be don't see that deficiency on our defense?

Many are equating the Packers' lack of defensive signings with believing everything's OK on defense. They aren't blind to what happened in Atlanta. It's always about the price, folks. You have to be careful not to grossly overpay for a need in free agency, just as you don't damage the value of your draft by reaching for a player. Never believe you're just a player or two away. It's a fool's errand.

Steve from Clintonville, WI

When a team signs a player, and said player is given a signing bonus which is guaranteed, does he receive all of that signing bonus money on the day of signing? Just curious I guess. Now back to poking around in my couch cushions looking for a few extra bucks to enter an NCAA bracket pool.

Couch cushions, good idea. The signing bonus is guaranteed. When it's paid depends on the language in the contract. Sometimes it's all at once. Other times it's paid in installments. Either way, as long as the contract defines it as a signing bonus, it's prorated over the length of the deal (up to five years) for salary-cap purposes.

Matt from New York, NY

Fans need to realize that guys like Clinton-Dix and Adams become FA's next year. I would fully expect extensions to happen before the start of the regular season. Having the ability to drop a portion of the signing bonus into the 2017 cap allows for greater flexibility down the road.

Linsley, too. Don't know if they'll all be extended before the season, but you get the idea. The Packers can delay extending Clinton-Dix for a year by picking up his fifth-year option, if they wish.

Ken from Milwaukee, WI

Why isn't there any strong interest from other teams regarding Brett Hundley?

Because he played as a rookie in preseason so far and that's basically it?

Joe from Milwaukee, WI

How long did it take you to get used to the business side of the game? Meaning, interviewing a player one year, knowing they're about to be a free agent, and seeing them go.

It's just part of the deal. Some guys you hate to see go, but I never concern myself with trying to strike up friendships with players. I enjoy getting to know them, but first and foremost I want them to respect me for the job I have to do and treat me as a professional, just as I do to them. That's the two-way street that matters most.

Steve from Racine, WI

Just like Kerry from Margate, NJ, I remember those games and enjoyed that era of basketball, too. To me, the game was still a game then. Now the game is a show, with deafening music, obnoxious PA announcers adding their schtick for everything they utter, players orchestrating trades and teams and no defense. I hate feeling like an old man, but darn it, the game WAS better then...and get off my lawn!

With every sport I watch, I try to tune out everything that's geared toward the casual fan. That stuff's not why I'm watching.

Dobie from Bismarck, ND

I agree that our secondary's success depends on our pass-rush. I still think we're 2-3 players away from having a consistent, effective pass-rush. Your thoughts?

Depth and rotation are needed. Four quarters is a long day, and 16 games is a long season. We'll see if a free-agent addition is on the way, but regardless, with Peppers gone, only one edge-rusher drafted in the last three years (Fackrell), and this draft supposedly deep in that area, I look for the Packers to stock up.

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