Josh from Kansas City, MO
Which do you enjoy writing about more, on-field football or off-field football?
I like both; it’s the inbetween stuff that’s frustrating. Here’s what I mean: I love covering games. There’s a thrill that goes with covering a big game that’ll never get old for me. I love writing on deadline. It’s the game within the game for me. I also love writing this column and sharing opinions with the readers. I like challenging myself and the readers to create new ideas and thoughts. The daily stories during the week are the inbetween stuff that is often a frustrating exercise in avoidance. The media is trying to acquire information for its readers; the team is trying to deny information to its opponent. I remember passing Coach Noll in the hallway following one of his conference calls. I said, “How’d your conference call go?” He said, “Fine; little information was passed,” and then he smiled. I remember thinking to myself, “Why do we even bother doing this?” By the way, Coach Noll referred to his media policy as the Mushroom Theory: “Keep them in the dark and feed them a lot of …”
Weston from Lake Geneva, WI
Marcedes Lewis is a player who you are familiar with and a player I’m going to keep an eye on this offseason. I know free agency has a while to go, but do you believe he falls in the possibility of a bargain free agent?
When Lewis came out of UCLA, he was regarded as an athletic tight end that possessed big pass-catching upside. Surprisingly, he quickly developed into a top-notch blocker, but he never equaled expectations as a pass-catcher. If you want a top blocker, yeah, I think Lewis could be a free-agent bargain. That’s what you want, right, a blocker? By the way, Marcedes is a really good guy. He’s a dog lover and gave a lot of himself to animal rescue. He’s a big guy with a big heart.
Farley from Waukesha, WI
Have you seen enough of this year’s QB crop to know how Brett Hundley would stack up? Seems like the year to trade him.
Trade him? This is the year to be thankful you have him. Scott Tolzien is scheduled to become a free agent and based on what Hundley did in last summer’s preseason, I think the Packers got a steal in the fifth round. You need two quality quarterbacks on your roster.
Don from Grayslake, IL
Vic, if another team wanted to convince Calvin Johnson or Marshawn Lynch to come out of retirement and then acquire them, would they have to trade with the original team or could they sign them as a free agent?
When a player retires, he goes on the “reserve/retired” list and the team from which he retired holds his rights.
Joe from Bloomington, IN
What does Tony Pauline have to say about Jason Spriggs?
Tony said Spriggs is one of the stars of the Senior Bowl and he moved his stock up into the bottom of the first round. It’s thought to be a very good tackle crop. If you want one – who doesn’t want a big-guy blocker? – this is a good year to pick one.
Jimmy from Naugatuck, CT
Vic, is Edisto Beach a Panthers or Falcons town?
Football here is measured in degrees of Clemson and South Carolina. Be that as it may, I saw a Packers license plate on Palmetto Blvd. the other day.
Anthony from Baraboo, WI
Vic, do teams that are rebuilding ever push cap space into the future while their young players develop?
Create cap space for the future? Sure. You do that by paying roster bonus instead of signing bonus. The Eagles did that some years ago; it was their signature move. It’s why they were able to sign all of those star players to make that run in 2011. How’d that work for them?
Kier from Gagetown, NB
Vic, what happens to the salary cap when a player retires?
In most cases, his remaining amortization accelerates.
Kasey from Oakland, CA
I see that sometimes the Packers sign their own free agents right when free agency begins, like Randall Cobb. Because they are actually free agents when it happens, does it change what compensatory picks they receive the next year?
Comp-pick awards are the result of a free agency net loss/net gain formula. Julius Peppers was released by the Bears prior to the start of free agency, so he didn’t count against the Packers. Cobb, technically, didn’t make it into free agency, though he was inside the offers window, so he won’t count against the Packers.
Maggie from Kenosha, WI
I want to ask you this now and see if your answer changes after the draft. Which home game at Lambeau during the 2016 season (non-divisional opponent) do you think offers the most exciting matchup?
I would favor the Seahawks and Colts games.
Nate from Daufuskie Island, SC
Everyone who is looking for the Packers to get more aggressive in free agency is missing one critical point. After the 2016 season, there is a large class of Packers hitting free agency. Don’t we need to keep our powder dry to have the longer-term flexibility to keep the players we have developed and want to keep?
I guarantee the Packers have strategized their cap according to their plans for retaining key personnel. If you don’t want to keep your own, you didn’t draft well, and the Packers have drafted very well. It annoys me when people refer to cap room; it’s as though they want to spend it all now. That’s a formula for disaster. One year’s cap massages another. It’s all according to a long-term plan.
Curtis from Brookfield, WI
Vic, thank you for taking cap questions, I’m learning, but it’s got to be a headache. Do the coaches, staff, front office, equipment managers, etc., go against the cap?
No, only the players.
Skyer from Cedar Rapids, IA
Vic, how would the game change if you could only send 10 men onto the field?
There would be more space. I think it would favor offense.
Sam from Richfield, MN
The Jaguars GM said he reached a milestone last season when they were able to draft the BAP instead of needing to find an instant starter. Do you think there are some teams that are better off filling holes than drafting BAP because of their situation?
Some teams are BAP and some are needs pickers. Whatever you do, you must believe in it and commit to it. It’ll be interesting to see if the Jaguars’ BAP drafts produce a better or worse yield than their needs drafts.
Chad from Tarpon Springs, FL
Do teams have identities forged out of history and out of environment? Does this prolong success or prevent it? I’m thinking of Pittsburgh, where they always had that steel blade style; it is hard to predict and analyze.
I believe in something known as “spirit of place.” I think the Steelers’ style is an extension of the city’s image: rough, tough, survivalist. I also believe the Packers’ style is an extension of Wisconsin’s personality: honest, fair and stable. There are teams in cities that lack a strong personality, and those teams seem to be in constant pursuit of an identity.
Hendrik from Euskirchen, Germany
If Peyton Manning retires, wouldn’t that free up a lot of cap space? That way, the cap should get healthier instantly. Or am I missing something? To me it seems the Broncos have a problem that looks like it will solve itself.
The good news is Manning’s contract was structured with the future in mind. Yes, he would provide major cap relief retired or released. The bad news is the Broncos would need a quarterback. Brock Osweiler would seem to be the key to the Broncos’ future, but he’s scheduled to become a free agent, and the Broncos’ need for a quarterback should give Osweiler a lot of leverage.
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