Braden from Brookfield, WI
Vic, how many compensatory picks do you think the Packers will get? Which players will bring those picks?
I expect Tramon Williams and Davon House will deliver two fourth-round picks, or a four and a five at the worst. I think those awards would greatly help the Packers upgrade their roster, and I think that would be especially true in 2017 when teams will be permitted to trade compensatory picks. It’s all about replacing players. When you have a personnel department as talented at replacing players as the Packers’ personnel department is, this is a winning formula: Let players leave, which helps achieve salary cap health and returns draft picks that can be used to replace the players that left with younger players of equal or greater talent. It’s a no-brainer.
Brett from Green Bay, WI
Vic, what does free agency bring?
It can bring repair, but it can also bring overspending and frustration. A free agent here and there, with a contract structured in a way that won’t hold the team hostage and won’t reduce its compensatory picks award, is a good thing. I’m all for it.
Vern from Sherwood, OR
It seems like everyone is viewing Jordy Nelson as the missing piece to the puzzle. Do you think it will be too much pressure on him to perform well, or do the Packers need to do a few things to take the pressure off him so he’s not overwhelmed?
I wouldn’t worry about Nelson. He’s a pro. He can handle whatever pressure is put on him. I would advise, however, against viewing the Packers as being one player away. I think that’s a dangerous attitude. No team is one player away because no team can predict injuries. I saw the Jaguars twice take that one-player-away attitude, and each time it was a disaster. They used a lot of picks on the “same guy,” and none of them panned out. The Packers missed Nelson last season, but getting him back won’t turn the team’s attention away from the wide receivers crop in the draft. To ignore the talent at a position is to possibly pass on the next great player at that position, and there’s no guarantee the Packers won’t run into the same rash of injuries next season.
Thad from Chesterfield, VA
By retiring at this point in their careers, have Marshawn Lynch and Calvin Johnson put together a body of work to get them in the Hall of Fame?
Ten thousand yards rushing has long been the standard for Hall of Fame running backs; Lynch is at 9,112. That’s not enough for me. Johnson has the stats, including seven thousand-yard seasons, but he doesn’t have a defining postseason moment, and that’s big in my book because at the end of the day you’re electing someone to the Hall of Famous. Also, I fear the Hall of Fame is turning into the Hall of Fame of Wide Receivers. We elected another one this year, and there’s a line of them forming in Canton, with more on the way.
Darin from Green Bay, WI
Is there a book you recommend to help fans understand the cap?
Ask your questions here. Let’s start with this: Signing bonus is divided evenly over the life of the contract (up to a maximum of five years), salary and roster bonus are declared in full in the year they are paid.
Nick from Evergreen, CO
Vic, having Rodgers is like having pocket aces. You can hold onto them and continue to raise the pot, but at some point you have to push all your chips in and take your chances. When does Vic go all in? It seems like you’re happy just having two aces.
Vic doesn’t go all in at the risk of the potential cost of having to leave the game. Vic likes to play.
Tyler from Green Bay, WI
Why didn’t you get any free agents like Jimmy Graham last year?
Graham wasn’t signed by Seattle as a free agent. He was acquired in a trade. A first-round pick was part of that trade.
David from Highland, NY
Outside of Hunter Henry, what draft prospects should we keep an eye on?
Keep an eye on all of them. Don’t focus on one guy. That’s a formula for disappointment when the pick is made. I didn’t see Damarious Randall’s name mentioned one time in relation to the Packers’ first-round pick last spring. As a result, when the pick was made, there was disappointment. Who is he? Why did the Packers pick another safety? Given the position in the order he was taken and the impact he provided at a distinct position of need, Randall was a home run draft pick.
Tom from West Bend, WI
How hard is it to win the Super Bowl?
It’s amazingly difficult. Everything has to fall in a team’s favor. Change one play and everything changes. The game is much more unpredictable and competitive than it was in the old days.
James from San Diego, CA
Vic, it seems you are constantly under attack. Why even give fans like that a voice? Vernon Davis is a free agent. Do you believe he is worth signing? He was basically unproductive last year. What do you think of bringing him in on a one-year deal for the veteran minimum?
That might be a good idea, but he’s 32 and didn’t catch a touchdown pass in the 2015 season or postseason. Maybe the Packers should try to find a young tight end in the draft.
Tyler from Madison, WI
If you were the GM, which outside linebacker would you rather re-sign, Mike Neal or Nick Perry?
That’s not enough information. I’d like to re-sign both, but at what price? Neal has become a dependable role player for the Packers. He might value that role as much as the Packers value him in it. Maybe that’ll make him affordable to the team. Perry is a young pass rusher who has shown flashes of becoming the Lamar Woodley type of pass rusher a lot of draftniks envisioned. Because pass rushers are so valuable, Perry’s price might be high. The point is this: You can’t make decisions without knowing what the cost of those decisions is.
Paul from Chicago, IL
Vic, do you think the Saints are wasting Drew Brees’ prime?
No, they won a Super Bowl with him. That’s a franchise that went without a winning season for much of its existence. How can anything that’s happened since Brees became the Saints’ quarterback be judged to be a waste?
Pedro from Petropolis, Brazil
Vic, sorry to return to this topic, but do you really think it’s a bad idea going after Antonio Gates in free agency?
I would consider it a head-sewn-to-the-carpet moment, but I’ve been wrong before.
Jordan from La Crosse, WI
Can you tell us how Matt Rotheram’s development is going?
This is what I can tell you about Rotheram: I walked behind him while entering University of Phoenix Stadium. I saw nothing. I could’ve been walking toward a wood chipper and I wouldn’t have known. Rotheram might be the largest player I have ever covered. You don’t quit on his kind of size. He is living proof of George Young’s planet theory.
Bruce from Yelm, WA
Did you see the video of the Carolina fan smashing his TV to bits during the Super Bowl? Darn funny, but is that guy taking football a bit too seriously?
Imagine what he does during basketball season.
Bob from Hammond, WI
“I was vilified for wanting to move Matthews from inside linebacker, where he was a game-changer in 2014. I think it’s of critical importance the Packers address inside linebacker so they can move Matthews back into a full-time sack role.” So spend some of the cap money on a Danny Trevathan. One free agent, a position of great need, would not break the bank. Plus, it looks like the cap may grow by $10 million this year. No more vilified Vic and your readers would be elated.
Maybe they will, or maybe they’ll find the next Danny Trevathan in the draft. He was a sixth-round pick, you know.
Lee from Cedar Rapids, IA
I read somewhere the Packers will be under the salary cap by about $23-$25 million. Shouldn’t this allow us to sign our free agents and maybe pick up one if we find a good bargain?
Colin from Oregon, WI
Vic, if Starks doesn’t return next year, would you try and develop Crockett to jump into the backup role, or go after a guy in the draft? Not sure how deep the RB class is this year, but I really liked the effort Crockett gave last season.
Weston from Lake Geneva, WI
Could you see a time when they have position-specific drills at the combine? I’m sorry, I just don’t care how fast an offensive lineman can run a 40-yard dash.
The quarterbacks’ arms are fully tested, but even at that, I don’t know what value you can attach to any drill without the element of contact. The best thing about the combine is it begins revealing where players fit in the order. I like that. The rest of it is gym class and job interviews.
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