OK everybody, let's get started. I'd say especially with Pettine being a combo 3-4 and 4-3 guy that it probably doesn't matter whether the guy is a DE or OLB. What matters is how well he gets to the passer. They can work him into the scheme either way. I'd say the chances of finding a good pass rusher in free agency aren't so good, especially with Ansah getting tagged this week. There are more decent/good CBs available from what I can tell (Trumaine Johnson, Butler, Colvin, Gaines, maybe Fuller if the Bears don't sign or tag him, the guy from ) plus it sounds like a stopgap like Talib has a pretty good chance of getting cut for cap reasons. So there's a better chance of finding a CB in free agency in my opinion.
I don't know how much they'll be relying on him, and I don't know that we can go by what Gutekunst says publicly. He no doubt has great respect for Thompson and feels indebted to him for all the promotions Thompson gave him over the years, so publicly Gutekunst isn't going to disparage Thompson publicly in any way and is going to say he'll rely on Thompson a lot. And maybe he will, but maybe he won't. Or maybe he'll look for advice on big-picture stuff, or maybe he'll ask for detailed opinions on certain players. Hard to tell right now. But I'd think if he were relying on him that much that Thompson would have attended the Senior Bowl and combine.
I'm going to wait on that and judge them by what they do, not what they say. I'd frankly be surprised if they don't do something with Nelson's contract -- an extension that lowers his pay and cap this year, for instance. But if that's their plan there's no reason to say so publicly at this point. So I guess I'd say, let's wait and see.
I get your point, and I don't think he should do like Brady and take a grossly undervalued deal -- remember, Brady's wife makes more money than he does, so that's a big advantage there. But I wouldn't go overboard over Rodgers even though you're right in that he could justify going for $35M. If I'm him I'd want some assurances they're going to do more to augment the roster, but all signs suggest they will -- again, going back to the last question, we do have to wait and see, but Gutekunst has given strong signals he's going to do more in free agency. But I wouldn't go like Manning and squeeze every penny out of them if I'm Rodgers. Because at a certain point, is it worth it for a few million more dollars a year or a better chance to win Super Bowls? Rodgers is very competitive so he wants to win too. But he can still get a great market value contract (around $30M) and can maybe get a higher guarantee rather than $35M a year, there's great value in guaranteed money.
I did not. Tom Silverstein and Ryan Wood are doing the combine, and Michael Cohen and I are doing the owners meetings at the end of the month.
They're competitive already. With a healthy Rodgers they very well might have been in the thick of the Super Bowl chase, although I do suspect the Kevin King injury would have done them in because they were so thin at cornerback. Really, adding a solid corner and pass rusher could make a difference, maybe a big difference. Adding a really good pass rusher alone would make a big difference -- a draft pick who is as good as Matthews was as a rookie, for instance, would help a lot. That's not easy to find but it can be done -- he was, what, pick No. 25 or 26 in his draft? Look at the difference Lattimore made for the Saints as a rookie last year. That defense went from bad to decent in one offseason, and he was maybe the biggest reason for it.
As I said earlier, I still think they're going to do something to lower Nelson's pay this year, though I don't know that. Bulaga is an interesting one, and maybe in part depends on what they do in free agency and the draft at RT. I think he's going to make about $6M this year, somewhere in that vicinity, and there's a decent chance he won't be ready until halfway through the season. So he could be an insurance policy at RT, but an expensive one. With Clinton-Dix, it probably depends in part on what Pettine thinks of him and how he can use him. But he's a lot younger than Burnett, so if it comes down to one or the other I'd think they'd go with Clinton-Dix. As Tom Silverstein suggested in a column that's on our website today, maybe they'd do something more drastic with Nelson or Cobb if they signed an expensive free agent. I'd still say there are a lot of possibilities open.
I don't want to take the time to look it up, but signing bonuses can be prorated either five or six years, I can't remember which is the limit. So if Rodgers signs a four-year extension, that would mean adding four years to the current two remaining on his contract, so the new deal would be for six years. So the bonus would be prorated over the six years (I think six is the limit, but it might be five).
I haven't done much draft research yet, so I don't know a lot about Vea except that he's a huge guy and pretty athletic for a guy that big. I'm not sure he's quite a good enough inside rusher to justify taking that high, but I'd have to ask some scouts to get a sense for that. To justify taking him they'd have to think he'd be dominant as an inside rusher, like Aaron Donald or Suh. Clark and Daniels are pretty good inside rushers, so adding a third guy of that caliber, while always a help, would be great for depth but wouldn't necessarily make the rush that much better. That's my take. I'd be thinking outside rusher unless they think the next Aaron Donald is on the board when they pick.
No reason to cut him at this point. He's on his rookie contract so he's cheap. Why not bring him to camp and see what he learned from last season? I'd definitely sign a veteran to compete with him and also draft a prospect. But no reason to cut him now.
I guess a big part of me wonders about the doom and gloom with the Packers. After that impressive comeback win at Dallas in Week 5, they were 4-1, and it looked to me like their chances were as good as anyone's. I realize Philly won the Super Bowl without Wentz, so that's kind of become a measuring stick, but if Foles had been their QB all season would they have won the SB or even made the playoffs? I have serious doubts. Now, maybe Foles will end up playing really well the rest of his career and prove there was nothing fluky or unusual about his play down the stretch, but I'll need to see him play a full season before conceding that. The point is, the difference between Rodgers and Hundley was huge, and while Rodgers' injury definitely exposed weaknesses on the Packers' roster, his return alone makes a huge difference. Then a really good draft pick on defense, and a decent signing in free agency, and they can be a very good team, better than they were at 4-1 last season. Now, they have to pick the right guy in the draft, and they have to evaluate well in free agency and make a smart move or two there. Not necessarily easy. But it's not like it's pie in the sky to get it done. It's very feasible.
Probably can't go quite that far. CB is a real possibility too, and if there's a WR available who they think is special, it would be tough not to take him. Now, special is a strong word, so they'd have to really, really, really like the guy, but you just can't rule it out at this point.
I haven't had a chance to think too deeply into that, but I guess I'd say that if Wilkerson is expensive, then I'd have to pass. Be great to have him for depth, but you can't have everything because of the cap and free agency, and that strikes me as a luxury unless he's a surprising bargain. Now, I'm kind of shooting from the hip on this, would be curious what some pro evaluators think, but that's kind of my initial feel. I really think they need to sign a veteran CB, and that might cost a fair amount.
Until recently I started with the first question and just answered each in order except for duplicates, rarely even looked at the name. But it was pointed out that a lot of the questions were from the same people, they'd submit several questions ahead of time all in a row. So now I generally answer only one or maybe two questions from any give person. I still go in order of submission but that gets me through the list a lot faster.
Worth looking into, but he turns 30 later this month and had only three sacks last season, so I do wonder if he's too far on the downside.
I'd probably re-sign House on the assumption he'd be cheaper than last year. Evans too if he decides not to retire -- I'm sure he won't be expensive either. With both, I'd assume the guaranteed money would be small, so you could always cut them at the end of camp if need be. Janis, depends on the market. Really good special teams player but they obviously don't like him at WR. So price would have to be relatively low.
I'd go with the one with the higher grade, or to be more specific the higher upside. If the Packers have them graded basically the same, then I'd go with the pass rusher.
I'd pass on that. I mean, the guy's had a great career but he's 34, which is beyond ancient for his position, and the Packers have at least two solid young backs (Jones and Williams) to work with, and maybe a third (Mays).
There's a decent group of CBs available -- I listed a few of them earlier. I'd think they can find somebody in that group to sign. Really, to me it's imperative.
I'd think a guy like that would make a plausible No. 2. Not sure I'd trade for him, or at least wouldn't give up more than seventh-rounder. I'd be more inclined to sign maybe Ryan Fitzpatrick and use the pick. Maybe the Broncos will cut Siemian anyway.
From what I read the arbitrator ruled that by cutting Bennett the Packers forfeited their right to go after his bonus money. I don't know exactly way, has to do with wording in the CBA.
There's still a few ways that could go, depending on how they structure the deal. They could structure it to create some cap room this year if they want to. Now, that puts more money into future caps, but with the way the cap has been going up ($10M a year), maybe they're willing to do that. They have some flexibility there.