Paul from Madison, WI

Which college-to-NFL rule difference is the hardest for rookies to adjust to?

I would guess the illegal contact rule for DBs. In college, contact with a receiver downfield is still legal as long as the ball hasn’t been thrown. Not in the NFL.

Danny from Anchorage, AK

Between Nick Collins, Jermichael Finley, Johnathan Franklin, and Sam Shields, it seems like the Packers have suffered a disproportionate amount of career-ending or -threatening injuries to key players. Am I just noticing it in my team, or have other modern era teams had the same bad luck?

I don’t have all the lists in front of me, but as has been pointed out in this space before, losing three Pro Bowl-level players plus a promising rookie in a span of six years leaves holes to fill for which no one could be prepared, especially on a draft-and-develop team.

Corbin from Plymouth, WI

Mike, I couldn't resist commenting on your answer to Sam's question from yesterday. Being someone who didn't remember, I searched the 2014 NFC Championship Game on YouTube, found the full game on the NFL's channel, and found the third-and-7 in overtime you referred to. I watched the play and I surprisingly had the biggest smile on my face. Not only did I enjoy realizing what you meant, but I also came to immensely appreciate the new perspective I gained. It is always so easy for unhappy fans to direct blame or be doubtful at times of uncertainty, but it isn't so easy to be objective or be comfortable with uncertainty. Also, we see that people are not defined by a single moment in their lives. The player who got burned on that third-and-7 was the 2016 interception leader and now a Pro Bowler, while the player that gave up the TD on the next play had prevented so many others before. So, thank you and here's to Tramon being back in Green Bay to continue the Packers and his own legacy.

Thanks for indulging me. Just trying to provide a more complete picture for everyone.

Ross from Hudson, WI

Anyone who questions our running game needs to go back and re-watch the game against the Cowboys last year. Aaron Jones is the real deal. Is there any reason you can think of to say he won’t have a better year this season?

If he stays healthy and continues to earn the trust of the quarterback in pass protection, he can be a premier player in this offense.

Shawn from Kissimmee, FL

First question is do the Packers have enough available cap room to offer OBJ an extension? Second question is do you think our new GM would take a chance with an elite player with character questions? I think this is a potential opportunity if the Packers can make it work financially.

OBJ questions are dominating the Inbox. How did that high-profile player with character questions last year work out again? Oh yeah, that’s right.

Adam from Rochester, NY

I read Rodgers’ agent might try to structure a contract based on percentage of the cap each year and how the teams would never agree to that. My question is why? Isn't it reasonable for a team to pay or budget a salary based on percentage? I know everyone has rose-colored glasses on in regards to the cap going up, but there has to be a ceiling and oversaturation sooner rather than later.

I think some team at some point will try it, as a way to structure a very long-term deal with a franchise quarterback. I’m just not sure the Packers want to be the first to give it a whirl. We’ll see.

Eric from Green Bay, WI

Regarding Aaron Rodgers’ next contract, Mark M. says the Packers will do "what is in the best long-term interest of the team." Wouldn't that mean no new contract, since Rodgers has two years left at 20 million and tagging him for Year 3 and again in Year 4 would still amount to less than what he would otherwise cost and with no upfront guaranteed money, and lower risk to boot? After that, Rodgers would be turning 39 for Year 5. As a pure business decision, it seems no new contract is a no-brainer. What am I missing?

How many times must it be said here that ticking off the face of the franchise over his contract is not in the best interests of the team?

Brett from Atlanta, GA

When a team sets its draft board, is there any consideration given to the future year's graduating class? I know you want to win now, but assuming there is a need for an edge rusher, and this year's talent is so-so for edge rushers and not very deep, but next year's projected talent coming to the draft is talented and deep, would a GM take that into consideration and hold off from drafting an edge rusher early this year (understanding there is no crystal ball on their success) knowing that there may be better chance of landing a better one next year? A lot of variables come into play, such as draft order, and injuries and next year's needs. Just wondering how far down the road teams are looking, or is it a year-by-year analysis?

It’s mostly year-by-year because of all the variables. I think some decisions in the draft are affected by the depth at certain positions, but it pertains to the draft at hand. If a team has needs at edge rusher and corner, and two equally rated players are available in a given slot, the draft’s depth at each position could break the tie. But I don’t think a team is going to pass up a player it likes because next year’s draft might be deeper at that spot. Too much can change, and no GM has a lifetime contract.

Mick from Litchfield Park, AZ

I can see about nine positions that could be addressed in the draft (OLB, ILB, CB, WR, OL, TE, DL, S, QB or LS), so how do teams prioritize their draft boards when there may be so many positions to fill?

You prioritize based on who the best players are and see how things fall. A lot of needs to address shouldn’t change the approach.

Chris from Victor, ID

I think I'm in favor of the update to the catch rule, even if we're left with the cheesy "football move" label again. However, the examples of moves that fit this category seem to be centered on things receivers would do outside the end zone. Do you see this rule somewhat harder to apply on catches in the end zone? Will receivers start reaching for imaginary pylons in the end zone to achieve the third requirement for the catch rule?

Securing or tucking the ball away should count as a football move and would be a sensible way to fulfill the requirement. I’m in favor of this change, too, but it still comes down to how it’s going to be applied during the actual games before we know whether we have more clarity.

Evan from Durango, CO

The Rams certainly seem to be going all-in this offseason, and if all their key players stay healthy I wouldn’t be surprised to see them hoisting the Lombardi Trophy next year. While this would make their fan base happy, it feels like they will have to completely gut the roster after next season in order to pay for Goff, Gurley, Donald and Peters, thus leaving the team in a sea of uncertainty. Do Packers fans see this side of it? I’m all for bolstering your roster year to year, but I also want a stable long-term plan. It just seems like the Rams are going the way of the Broncos a few years ago, and will find themselves rebuilding after a season of expensive success.

I guess we’ll find out, and regardless, there’s absolutely no guarantee of success. In the Broncos’ championship year, they trailed the Steelers in the divisional round of the playoffs well into the fourth quarter, and they had to stop a late Patriots two-point conversion to win the AFC title game. Pushing in all the salary-cap chips for one shot just as easily could have failed for Denver.

Vic from Ensign, MI

Here is a question you will never publish. Do you think Hundley and Adams had a pact to get Adams the ball in his contract year?

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.

Mike from Wilsonville, OR

Ted Thompson later indicated he regretted letting the Packers’ two starting guards, Mike Wahle and Marco Rivera, leave in free agency during his first year as general manager. Which Packer free agents will Brian Gutekunst later regret not signing?

Thompson regretted those decisions because he signed two free-agent guards (Adrian Klemm and Matt O’Dwyer) and drafted another (Will Whitticker), none of whom proved to be adequate replacements. The Packers’ receiver and safety cupboards are not bare. Gutekunst isn’t starting from scratch at those positions, and he has signed Graham and Wilkerson at other positions with the cap space. I’m failing to see a valid comparison.

Brandon from New York, NY

Spoff, has the transition from Ted Thompson to Gutekunst in any way mirrored the transition from Vic to you?

I couldn’t be failing to see a valid comparison to any greater degree.

Matt from Hartford, WI

We seem to forget that the reason the Legion of Boom was so tough, and the reason the 46 defense worked, was the strength of the front seven, not the back four or five or six. Can I get an amen?

Not so fast my friend. Agreed on the 46. Singletary, Hampton and Dent are all Hall of Famers. Fencik and Duerson were no slouches, but Sherman, Chancellor and Thomas don’t take as big a back seat to Bennett, Wagner and the like, in my opinion.

Dave from Lake Zurich, IL

What is the compensatory picks situation looking like for next year?

At this point, the Packers would not receive any. The signings of Graham and Williams outweigh the loss of Burnett, so Green Bay has a net gain, which means no comp picks. Nelson and Wilkerson don’t factor in because they were released, not players with expired contracts.

Shin from Japan

With the signing of Tramon, our CB situation is about half-resolved. What I like about the situation is that we're not completely set. If we don't draft a sure-fire starter, the undrafted guys have to give a serious consideration to GB. Our history with Tramon, Shields and Gunter, etc., helps to tip the scale, too. Would you agree?

We’ll see what the depth chart looks like after the draft. Agents are aware of the history you mention. They’re even more aware of the current makeup of the position, which includes undrafted players like Hawkins and Pipkins having made the roster, but by no means possessing secure roster spots.

Dan from St. Louis, MO

Insiders, lots of hand-wringing over the secondary lately, but I'm excited to see what it can do in 2018. Kevin King went toe-to-toe with Julio Jones in his second game, while Josh Jones looks like a playmaker who just needs experience. Regardless of how the draft turns out, could a second-year jump from King and Jones be the spark that turns the secondary around?

It’s a requirement for the defensive backfield to achieve the improvement necessary.

Dave from Coloma, MI

Ever read "First Down and a Billion" by Gene Klein? It's a fun read from an owner's point of view.

I have not. I’ll have to find a copy.

Joseph from East Moline, IL

When you get winded from sports or exercise, and you put your hands on your hips, are you a closed-fists on the hips guy, and open-palms guy, or a back-of-the-hands guy? I have a theory that there could be something of significance to that when scouting players. I wish someone would put together some data on Hall of Famers and their hand-on-hip resting tendencies.

And with that, we must get on with our day.


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