Paul from Wauwatosa, WI
Vic, how would the team’s cap be hit in this scenario: Randall Cobb gets tagged to be a franchise player (at around $12 million this upcoming year), but then signs a contract with the team for $8 million per year with a signing bonus. Would the 2015 cap number be the $12 million franchise number or would it be the $8 million and the bonus?
The franchise tag and its cap hit go away and the team’s cap is charged with the terms of the new contract. The 2015 cap wouldn’t house all of the signing bonus; it would be spread out evenly over the life of the contract. The franchise tag is a good device to facilitate contract negotiations.
Jon from Muenster, Germany
Vic, if a player enters the Hall of Fame, who determines which team he represents? Is it the player’s choice?
A player inducted into the Hall of Fame represents every team for whom he played. When Brett Favre goes into the Hall of Fame, he will represent the Falcons, Packers, Jets and Vikings. The fans decide with what team they will identify the player.
Jared from Boardman, OR
Vic, through your experiences, how has the players' union affected the way football is organized and played?
The players' union’s impact on the game has been dramatic during the time I’ve covered the NFL. Protection for the players is the No. 1 thing. When I began covering the NFL, there were no injury settlements and teams could cut players that were injured. I think it also must be understood the players' union has offered significant protection for the league. For example, without a Collective Bargaining Agreement, there likely wouldn’t be a draft; the CBA protects it. The league needs a strong players' union every bit as much as the players need a strong union. The league and the players are partners. That’s what the players' union has accomplished.
John from Melton Mowbray, UK
The Packers have several young defensive linemen – Thornton, Gaston, Robinson and Pennel – under contract. Do you foresee any of them becoming significant contributors in 2015?
That’s the Packers way and I would be surprised if one or more of those players didn’t become a major contributor. For starters, I really liked what I saw in Mike Pennel last summer. I like to call them jars on the shelf. If you don’t have them, your cupboard’s bare and you’ve got big problems. Lots and lots of big guys; that’s what a team needs to have in its cupboard.
Joseph from Raleigh, NC
Vic, what was your impression of Richard Rodgers in his first year?
I think he has major upside as a receiver. I think he has star potential as a receiver. I’d like to see him get stronger as a blocker.
Shaun from Phoenix, AZ
What is the benefit of promoting Tom Clements? I personally love McCarthy’s play calling.
I’m going to have to wait on this one, until Coach McCarthy conducts what has become his annual postseason press conference to announce staff changes. The only thing I can tell you right now is that this has no doubt been planned and strategized if it’s true. There’s a purpose for all of Coach McCarthy’s staff changes, just as there was when he moved Edgar Bennett from running backs coach to wide receivers coach.
Jens from Duluth, MN
I hear people say the Patriots have the best dynasty ever. Can you shed some light on how dominant the Packers were in the ’60s?
I don’t see the Patriots as a dynasty, unless one player defines a dynasty, and I don’t think one player does. The Patriots’ roster has changed dramatically during their four-Super Bowl run. That’s just the way it is in the salary cap era, and it’s one of the unfortunate negatives of the cap concept; we’ve lost the ability to judge great teams. To whom do we compare Taylor and Hornung? The Patriots have played with several different running backs during their run. Dale and Dowler? Tom Brady has thrown to David Givens, Troy Brown, Deion Branch, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, Ben Watson, etc. I don’t think we can compare teams anymore, but we can compare franchises, and the Patriots franchise has been the best in the league since 2001. In my opinion, four Super Bowl titles and six Super Bowl appearances have earned the Patriots that distinction.
Jay from Darien, CT
Vic, can you explain to me how some teams have negative cap space for this upcoming year?
Teams aren’t required to be in cap compliance for 2015 until the first day of the 2015 league calendar year. By then, they will be.
Nathan from Denver, CO
If the Packers are among the favorites to win the NFC next year, who are the early favorites to win the AFC?
The Patriots will be favored again, and I suspect the Colts will be right behind them. Peyton Manning will always make his team a favorite, but I wouldn’t share that same opinion of the Broncos for 2015.
Terry from Fond du Lac, WI
What would your definition of a dynasty be? It seems to me 19 winning seasons, 17 playoff berths, 11 division championships, three Super Bowls with two wins, trailing only New England and Pittsburgh, all since 1992, has to be pretty close to a dynasty. The front office must be doing something right.
The cap era began in 1993. That’s the year dynasties died. What you’re describing is, at best, what I would call franchise dynasty. If that’s the case, then the Packers franchise Bob Harlan and Ron Wolf resurrected qualifies as a dynasty, for all of the reasons you’ve provided.
Tim from Milwaukee, WI
If you could make one suggestion to people who leave comments here, what would it be?
Don’t change. This is the best and cleanest comments section in the history of the world. It’s what makes “Ask Vic” successful.
Shawn from Troy, NY
What are your thoughts on the rumor McCarthy is handing over play-calling duties to Tom Clements?
When I woke up this morning, I heard this banging coming from the kitchen. When I got there, my laptop was flopping around on the kitchen table. When I opened it, started it and looked in my inbox, I quickly understood what was going on. My inbox was having a play-calling meltdown, due to reports Coach McCarthy is surrendering play-calling duties. This was truly a case of plays, not players.
Adam from Charlotte, NC
You’ve said you hoped McCarthy wouldn’t give up his play-calling duties. Now he’s handed the responsibility to Tom Clements. How do you feel about this decision?
What I said is Coach McCarthy is the best play-caller I’ve ever covered. If, in fact, he’s handed the job over to Coach Clements, then it’s my hope Coach Clements becomes the best play-caller I’ve ever covered. Look, here’s the deal: Call any play you want; just make it work. I’m not a big play-call guy. I don’t believe you win games with plays. I believe you win games with players. That final 3:52 wasn’t about plays. It was about playing.
Kim from Austin, TX
Vic, I, too, have long wished receivers did not wear gloves. However, with the speed at which some quarterbacks throw, there would be a lot more dropped or intercepted balls, I would think. How do you think the game these days would change, if at all?
For starters, Odell Beckham would not have made that catch.
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