Chris from Fredericksburg, VA

Hypothetical cap question, Vic: If it’s in Clay Matthews’ contract that he receives a $500k bonus for a 15-sack season, that money is counted against the cap for that season regardless of whether he receives it or not? If he doesn’t achieve the bonus, does the $500k carry over to the next season’s cap?

If he achieved 15 sacks the previous season, the 15-sack incentive for this season would be LTBE (likely to be earned) and it would count on the cap heading into the season. If he doesn’t achieve the incentive, the money would be credited back to the Packers next season. If he hadn’t achieved 15 sacks the previous season, the incentive for this season would be NLTBE (not likely to be earned) and wouldn’t count on this year’s cap heading into the season. If he achieves the incentive, it would be charged to next year’s cap. NLTBEs can be a way to push money out. All aboard!

Bill from Bloomfield Hills, MI

If a QB is the BAP when our round one turn comes up, do we take him or try to trade the pick?

Quarterback is the one position at which need must be considered. You can’t afford to pay a guy first-round money without having plans to one day make him “The Man.” The good news is it’s the position at which a team is most likely to be able to trade its pick when a top quarterback is available, and recoup the value of the pick and more. I don’t see quarterback as a need for the Packers.

Andrew from Union, NJ

Vic, I know you prefer to overcome adversity rather than pave your way to the playoffs via Easy Street, however, this season we will be facing arguably the two worst divisions in the NFL (AFC South and NFC East). Furthermore, since we didn’t win the North, we will face the Falcons and Seahawks instead of the Panthers and Cardinals. I see a good record in our future, but could this easy schedule set us up for another disappointing finish, having had little challenge prior to the playoffs?

It won’t set the Packers up for disappointment, but you’re allowing it to already set you up for disappointment.

Maggie from Kenosha, WI

Happy Valentines, Vic! Any special plans for Sunday, now that football season is officially over?

Tomorrow begins my other life. I suspect it’s the same for everyone in this column. I live in the woods behind the most unique driving range I’ve ever seen. There’s no attendant. The owner, a really cool guy who caddies on the PGA Tour and just drove his enormous and creaking old car across the country and back, displays several baskets full of balls and trusts those who hit balls to drop five bucks into a collection box. I’ll probably go over there and hit some balls, hoping the owner will stop by and tell some stories.

Matt from Mukwonago, WI

To set the record straight, was Guion’s signing a signing of a free agent? This is where I’m confused with the technicality of free agent.

Letroy Guion was scheduled to become a free agent on the first day of the league calendar year, so he technically didn’t get to free agency. That’s why I say we need to wait until free agency begins before we begin “signing” guys. With the signing of Guion, one “free agent” is gone from the crop. The tags will claim a lot of the top prospects. Bryan Bulaga was technically a free agent when the Packers signed him. Randall Cobb technically wasn’t, but I absolutely consider Cobb to have been a free-agent signing because he was inside the window for prospective free agents to begin accepting contract offers.

Dave from Minneapolis, MN

It would be helpful to see how the Packers have grown through their compensatory picks over the past several years. Could you list the players acquired? It would give a feel for their value to the team (especially considering their low cap hit).

Jared Abbrederis, Richard Rodgers, Mike Daniels and Josh Sitton were selected with compensatory picks. Here’s one I really like: Davon House. The Packers selected him with a compensatory pick in 2011, and will receive a compensatory pick this year for having lost him in free agency last year. That’s how you keep your roster young and affordable.

Dean from Bozeman, MT

In an article, Miami, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, New Orleans and the Jets were noted to be the top five franchises with major salary cap problems. I thought Denver would be on this list with the obscene amount of money they paid Manning. Why aren’t they?

That list is likely based on cap room this year, which isn’t a completely accurate barometer of a team’s cap health because it fails to take into account how much money has been pushed into future years. Denver is 24th in cap room. You have to study a team’s cap to really get a feel for it. For example, a team that pays high in salary and roster bonus, but low in signing bonus, might not have cap room in the current year, but empty caps in its future. In my mind, that’s a healthy cap.

Donn from Lomira, WI

Vic, when do the Packers start really looking at possible draftees? From game one of the college season or near the end of the season?

Teams create a data base for the next year’s draft immediately following the current year’s draft. When the college season begins, the area scouts hit the road. Quinten Rollins wasn’t on a lot of teams’ radar going into last season because he was a one-year player, but I remember Brian Gutekunst saying the Packers found him early in the season and stayed with him throughout the year. If a guy can play, they’ll find him.

David from Cathlamet, WA

So what factors determine if the bonus is called signing, salary or roster bonus?

It’s stipulated as such. Salary is technically referred to as “Paragraph Five” because it’s defined in the fifth paragraph of the salary cap book, or something like that. A blend of the three can result in a creative way to structure a contract. For example, you can sign a guy to a five-year contract, which gives you the ability to amortize the player’s signing bonus over five years, but include a big roster bonus in year four you have no intention of paying, which in effect makes it a three-year contract. All aboard!

Mark from Bettendorf, IA

Vic, have you ever gone to a Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony?

I covered Dave Robinson’s and Ron Wolf’s enshrinements, and several others previous to my years in Green Bay, including Joe Greene’s. Back then, the ceremony was conducted on the front steps of the Hall of Fame, which is pushed up against an interstate highway. Trucks would honk their horns; it wasn’t a great scene. The event has grown dramatically since then. Last year, Jerome Bettis took it over. This year, Brett Favre will.

Drew from Gilbert, AZ

With star players such as Lynch and Johnson retiring in their early 30s, are we seeing a shift in philosophy by the players because of concussions/injury? I think people are used to seeing players only retire when they can physically no longer play. I think more and more players are going to be retiring earlier than previous generations.

I agree, but I hope it’s for another reason, too: They’ve taken care of their money. The NFL has helped raise awareness for fiscal responsibility. It warms my heart when I see players I’ve covered enjoying retirement.

Eric from Nøtterøy, Norway

If it’s the Hall of Famous, isn’t Lynch deserving of the nod? Everyone has been gaga for Beast Mode for quite a while now, and what opposing team doesn’t fear what he can/could produce? Ten thousand yards is only a stat, after all.

Is he famous or infamous? When I think of famous, I think of Super Bowl MVPs, league MVPs and the such. When I think of Marshawn Lynch, I think of a famous run against the Saints, and an infamous refusal to talk to the media. By the way, that’s not going to help his cause. Now comes the real “fine.”

Jeff from Buzzards Bay, MA

Vic, with the new rules about compensatory picks starting next year, what impact do you see that having on free agency this year, given this year’s free agency affects which compensatory picks will be given out?

I’d rather have the pick than the player, especially now that I can trade it. I think a lot of teams will concur.

Alison from Aurora, IL

I bet my grandpa $20 Matt Forte’s name would be in “Ask Vic” today. I’d love to have this comment published, but I’d love even more to be wrong.

Somebody must’ve written something. Pay up, grandpa.

Michael from Beach Park, IL

Are you going to try and sign Matt Forte? Would be a decent add-on.

Sign everybody!


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