Donald from Durham, NC

If you had to bet a dollar on 5-7 non-QB prospects who will not be available at 14, who would you say? Seems Chubb, Nelson and Barkley have no chance in my mind, but who else?

The others most frequently mentioned as gone by 14 are James, Edmunds, Smith, Ward, Fitzpatrick and Vea, all defensive players. I’ve probably seen the least fluctuation in the predictions on Edmunds and Smith, as far as slipping out of the top dozen, and more variation than I expected with James and Kirkpatrick. Laying money? Cross an elephant with a rhinoceros. In any event, if you take those six, plus your three and the four QBs, that’s 13 picks, which means it wouldn’t take much for one or two to be available at 14.

Stephen from Roswell, GA

Can you please explain the “or the ability to perform such an act” part of the new catch rule?

I think this language covers the time element or body position necessary for a “football move,” if for some reason one isn’t made. Meaning that not making a football move can count as a football move if the player had the “ability to perform” one. Or something like that. I’m sure that clears it up.

Andrew from Tilleda, WI

Everybody is talking about the new catch rule resulting in more catches...but it will also result in more fumbles, too. Plays where the receiver is hit quickly that in the past were ruled incomplete. Will the defense be able to challenge the receiver made a football move? Should the defender run the ball into the end zone in case it's ruled a fumble?

The challenge provision on plays with a quick and clear recovery of a fumble by the defense should remain in place. With turnovers automatically reviewed and officials, I believe, inclined to let potential turnovers play out and get fixed by replay if necessary, defenders should be absolutely sure a whistle is blown before assuming a ball is dead.

Mark from Sturgeon Bay, WI

In response to Richard from Madison, WI, shouldn't replay be quicker since they don't have to watch the minute ball movement anymore?

If they’re no longer going to equate the slightest ball movement with “loss of control,” which was a positive change I saw in the Super Bowl, the replays theoretically should be more efficient. Theoretically.

Wes from South St. Paul, MN

Mike, broken tackles and missed tackles have been rampant in the NFL. Maybe with the new "leading with the helmet" rule we will see more basic tackling the legs instead of the upper body.

Perhaps, but I tend to ascribe poor tackling more to lack of practice at full contact and full speed than anything else, and that limitation/restriction isn’t changing. But let’s see how this plays out.

Nate from Minneapolis, MN

I've got a “chicken or egg” question for you, Mike. Does the WR position attract players with a stronger diva mentality, or does the player eventually blossom into a diva over time due to the position?

I think the personality comes first.

Ben from Mt. Pleasant, WI

In your response yesterday to Robert from Germany it seemed like you were saying since Rodgers outperformed his contract, you think he should be able to restructure for more money to match his performance. If he had under-performed though, is the front office allowed to ask him to restructure for less money? If they were allowed and tried it, I bet Rodgers and the fans would be ticked off. Funny how when an individual makes a play for more money, people call it savvy. When an organization does it, people call it greedy.

The team could cut him anytime and not owe him another dime. That’s how NFL contracts work, and that’s why the guaranteed money is the most important part to the player. I did not say Rodgers should be able to demand a restructure because he outperformed his contract. I said the market for a player of his caliber had shifted considerably, and his contract was no longer in line with his status in the game. Semantics maybe, but I’m certainly not advocating for any player who exceeds expectations in a given year to feel entitled to knock on the GM’s door.

Eric from Keene, NH

Here's how I look at the AR contract situation. Given price inflation at the quarterback position, the Packers have already gotten their hometown discount. Pay the man.

I believe the Packers signed him to a seven-year contract in 2013 for the timing to fall just this way – the five-year proration of his signing bonus is done cap-wise, yet there are two years left on the deal, so his market can be reassessed without the imminent threat of free agency. It puts both sides in the right place to find the sweet spot. Why is everyone so worked up about this? It’ll get done in a way that makes sense for both sides.

Matt from Rewey, WI

When a player signs an extension with years left on his previous contact, does the extension void the previous contract or does the previous contract stay in place and the years added on? Me and a friend were discussing it and I said they get added on, he said it takes the place of the old contract.

Technically, the new contract must replace the previous one, because a player can’t have two active contracts. Whether the terms of the remaining years on the original contract change or not is part of the negotiating process.

Lucas from Stevens Point, WI

"Brady vs. Rodgers in Foxboro for the first time. It’s almost hard to believe." Please, Mike...don't jinx us!

The question did reference superstition, didn’t it. My bad.

Justin from Los Angeles, CA

Do you have any (non-Packer) games where at the time you rooted one way and in retrospect you kind of wish it had gone the other? Mine is the Seattle-New England Super Bowl. I was still smarting from losing to Seattle, but in retrospect I'd rather have had Russell Wilson win two than giving a fourth to Tom Brady.

I wasn’t rooting per se, but I remember thinking Carson Palmer’s midseason injury with the Cardinals in 2014 would help the Packers’ playoff chances. Except what it really did was give the Seahawks two easy wins over the final six weeks of the regular season to help secure the NFC’s No. 1 seed over the Packers.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

Spoff, regarding your comment of playoffs as crapshoot, I believe that has been disproven over the last few years. The Packers’ “success” of making the playoffs behind back-to-back HOF QBs in what must be acknowledged as a terrible division consisting of what has been widely reported over the years as bad owners and bad QB play means that making the playoffs has been as much a false flag as a .300 batting average vs. OBP in baseball. Each year the Pack enters the playoffs on fumes with gaping talent deficits in key areas that get exploited as soon as they are not playing Josh McCown or a Matt Millen-led organization.

I couldn’t disagree more. While quarterback play is the primary catalyst to playoff entry, it is for nearly every team, and if the talent deficits are so “gaping” against the best teams in the playoffs, five walk-off losses doesn’t fit your theory. Yes, there have been three take-it-on-the-chin exits (Giants, Niners, Falcons) in the McCarthy era, but his teams have been competitive to the wire more often than they’ve been overmatched. And the “terrible” division you describe has produced seven playoff appearances this decade aside from the Packers’ seven. You’re entitled to your perception, but you stated no facts to disprove anything to me.

Kenneth from Cuyahoga Falls, OH

Would a GM keep someone on a team merely because they are a special teams ace? Before you start thinking returner, I am actually referring to a defensive special teams player. Let's say someone who plays special teams has a knack for making tackles, forced fumbles, etc. They are also a decent player as a LB, CB or possibly WR. Would that warrant them being kept for longer period of time than 2-3 years, or is that all dependent on the situation?

Jarrett Bush is a great example of the player you describe, and he lasted nine seasons in Green Bay primarily as a special teams stalwart. He had his ups and downs when thrown into duty in the secondary, but he also came up with an interception in the Super Bowl after Woodson and Shields went down. The situation you describe is certainly not unheard of.

Ross from Hudson, WI

If the NFL eliminates kickoffs is there any way that Devin Hester gets into the Hall of Fame?

Any potential rule change shouldn’t diminish the impact he had on games when he played. That would be willfully ignorant.

Ken from Wolcott, CT

How many more years till you think the Packers go into a draft thinking about a replacement for Rodgers. Not wanting to throw a rookie QB in, but wanting the next QB to sit behind a HOF QB like Rodgers would be best, just like he had the chance to. When does a team like ours start looking for the next man?

Ideally, I think it’s when you know Rodgers is playing only two more years. If the next guy gets two full seasons behind him and then is starting in Year 3, you get a good body of work to decide on a fifth-year option (presuming you’ve made a first-round investment) and/or longer-term deal.

Hugh from Sioux Falls, SD

The new catch rule is fine, even if subjective judgment is involved. I don't see how it can be any other way. However, my question is, when is it a touchdown? My understanding has always been when the nose (or any other portion of the ball) breaks the plane of the goal line, it is a TD if the player is in control of the ball at that point in time and has not been ruled as down prior to that time. Whatever follows is irrelevant, such as loss of control for any reason. Is this understanding still accurate?

Even if it’s in the end zone, the catch will have to be completed according to the rule. That doesn’t change. There’s still a difference between catching a ball in the end zone and carrying the ball into the end zone. Possession/control has to be established for the former (the catch), while it’s already there for the latter.

Maggie from Kenosha, WI

I think an underrated aspect of the offseason has been the trade for the first picks of Rounds 4 and 5 from Cleveland. Gutekunst gave his team all night to think about who they want to take with the first pick of Day 3. I like the move. They’ve found plenty of gems in the later rounds before.

Last year the trade out of the first round gave the Packers the first pick on each of the last two days of the draft. It’s an interesting spot to be in, and is a potential trade chip in its own right.

Mike from Niceville, FL

Insiders, given Mark Murphy's comments on kickoffs I feel it's likely the kickoff will be eliminated in the near future. While I would miss the excitement of the returns, I understand the safety issues involved. That leaves the issue of onside kicks. There will need to be some way for a team that's down to get the ball back after a score.

Onside kicks would become the key issue, and many readers (including yourself) have suggested gimmick options I’m not interested in printing. I think you still have to go ahead with a free kick if the kicking team wants an opportunity to maintain possession. Maybe the free-kick rule gets modified slightly, but you can’t change it much without altering late-game situations too dramatically. An onside kick is enough of a gimmick. I’d hate to see the league come up with more gimmicks to promote comebacks.

Mitch from Oak Creek, WI

Mike, for that dodgeball team, replace Fran Tarkenton with Randall Cunningham and give me Barry Sanders as the fifth. Nobody was more elusive.

Cunningham was the most popular choice to fill out the squad, and I like that idea. Sanders received multiple nominations and deserves due consideration, along with Steve Young, John Elway, Roger “The Dodger” Staubach, Doug Flutie, Randall Cobb and Donald Driver. Other suggestions seemed a bit off-the-wall to me, but I appreciate the creativity. Thanks for all the participation. Have a great day.


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