Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

Packers chat with Pete Dougherty

Wednesday, Aug. 15 transcript

    Hi Pete,
    Safe to say much of PackerLand would be jazzed to see Mack on board. If planets aligned and that happened, how do you think the Matthews/Perry scenario would play out? Or maybe trade one of them with a 1st to the Raiders?
    OK everybody, let's dive right in. I didn't have space to get into that in the column, but I'm not sure anything would happen with those two. The Packers already have paid Perry a $4.3 million roster bonus this year. They owe him only $1.9 million in salary. If they cut or traded him, his prorated signing bonuses in '19-'21 would accelerate, so they'd take a big cap hit -- they'd wipe the $1.9M off the books but pick up about $10.5 from the acceleration. Matthews is in the last year of his contract, so if they cut or traded him they'd save his $10.5M in cash and on the cap. But I'm thinking they need him. Among other things, they're thin at ILB, and if either Martinez or Burks gets hurt, Matthews might have to move to ILB. They could play Josh Jones there, too, but I'd be pretty leery of parting with Matthews even though he's expensive. And with Mack, Perry, Matthews, Wilkerson, Daniels and Clark, they'd have a lot of pass rush talent, with Mack of course being the key. Maybe they'd want to part with Matthews and use that money on Mack, but I'm not convinced that would be best way to go. I doubt the Raiders would take Matthews and a first-rounder for Mack, because of Matthews' age. And, of course, this could all be hot air if GM Brian Gutekunst thinks trading for Mack would be too expensive in terms of cash and draft capital.
    I don't agree with your article about mack. Giving up 2 top 30 picks for 5 years of cheap contracts to then sign a player who is going to cost 20 mil per year Seems like a really bad trade. Especially when 20% of our cap is going to our qb soon. I agree Mack is a difference maker but once you pay him his market value, he's not nearly as valuable to you. It's about contracts not players.
    I get your point, it's certainly valid and worth considering. But I don't agree. Look at the players in the last decade they've drafted in the 20s. Datone Jones, Derek Sherrod and Damarious Randall were busts. Bulaga was a solid pick but has had injury issues. Clinton-Dix has been OK but jury is still out on him. Nick Perry has been good at times but is hurt a lot. Matthews was a great pick, and Kenny Clark is looking like a good one. But let me put it this way, I'd trade any two of those players for Mack. Great players win games. If they had Mack, they'd have an elite player at the two most important positions in the NFL. You're right that with the large majority of the pool of players, it's about contracts, not players. But with the elite players, especially QBs and pass rushers, it's about the players.
    Hi Pete,
    Not sure I was the first to ask, but I asked you last week about Kahlil Mack trade possiblities, so thanks for the column. I agree with your take. At this point, is this just odds, guessing and fantasy speculation? Or is there any reporting to suggest the Packers and Raiders have talked, or are talking? Personally, money issues aside I think the Raiders would be fools to trade him. Impact guys like him are too hard to locate and acquire, there's only 15-20 true impact guys in the whole league.
    Was that you who broached the question of the two first-rounders and either Matthews/Perry? You really got me thinking and asking around, so thanks to you and all the rest of you for your great questions. In the first question of this chat I addressed Matthews and Perry, btw. I haven't seen any reports the sides have talked. I wouldn't be surprised if they have, if for no other reason than McKenzie and Gutekunst know each other well. Both organizations are good at keeping a lid on things, so it's more than conceivable they've talked. When they've talked seriously, who knows? It's not even clear whether the Raiders are seriously considering trading him, or just fishing in case someone offers the moon. I agree, I really don't think I'd trade him for the Packers' two first-rounders next year if I were the Raiders. But there is a chance that cash flow is an issue for the Raiders, they signed Carr to a big deal last year and several other substantial contracts too, including a few after talks with Mack broke down in February. So there's at least a possibility that they thought/planned that Mack would play on the fifth-year option this year, and if need be the franchise tag for the next two years (they could tag him a third season but if I remember the rules correctly they'd have to pay him the QB tender, so that's not happening). And maybe they didn't think Mack actually would sit out. But if he's willing to sit out 10 weeks (he could come the final seven weeks and get credit for the season and become a free agent in '19) or the whole year, then they might be in enough of a bind to trade him, or at least seriously consider it. To not have him this season would be a big blow. I agree that this would be a rare opportunity for other teams if in fact the Raiders are willing to trade him. But nobody seems to know if the Raiders are actually serious about dealing him. I guess the one thing I'd say is, you don't hear anything about the Rams possibly trading Aaron Donald.
    Pete, if they keep six WRs, who gets cut?
    I'm thinking there's a pretty decent chance they'll keep seven, barring injury. I wouldn't be surprised at all if all three draft picks make it -- if they show much of anything in the preseason games, there'd be a real risk another team would pick one of them up if the Packers tried to get him through to the practice squad. So you have Adams, Cobb and Allison as the top three, the three draft picks and a spot for either Davis, Kumerow or Yancey. They do have Montgomery as a potential kickoff returner and Alexander as a potential punt returner, but Davis' return abilities keep him strongly in the running. He's been out with a hamstring injury but nobody stepped up in the return game last week. Kumerow has had a good camp, the quarterbacks really trust him, you can tell by how often they throw his way in practice. But I'm not sure that will be enough to get him a roster spot. It's a tough call. But FWIW, I'm thinking/guessing as of now they'll keep seven.
    Hey Pete, which of the young players has been (so far) the most unexpectedly impressive to you so far?
    I guess a guy who recently has kind of jumped out a bit is TE Robert Tonyan, a UDFA out of Indiana State. He's made some plays in the passing game the last few practices and is giving himself a shot at making the 53.
    Hey Pete, Is it just me, or are NFL players (league wide) a little testy this year? Cheap-shotting their own teammates (Miami), throwing a football at a teammate's head (Cleveland), verbally attacking a beat reporter (Jacksonville), etc. Has this sort of thing always happened but it's just getting more attention in the Internet / Social Media age, or are behaviors changing?
    I'm thinking it's more the latter. I remember there being a lot more fights in Packers camps 10 or 20 years ago than this year, for instance. I'm thinking there's been maybe one real fight this year. Sure looks to me like all these things just get more attention because of social media, etc.
    Hey Pete, I'm starting to think that Kevin King has an NFL mind and NFL talent, but not an NFL body. It's a small sample size in his first 15 months in the league, but those shoulders have to be a concern and seem like they could impact his ability to be a long-term player in this league. What do you think?
    It has to be a real concern. He has a really slight build, though Tramon Williams is a small, wiry guy too and is never hurt, so I guess you can't go just by that. The fact that he's hurt both shoulders has to be a concern. I will say, King this week did individual drills, so he is on the field some, they haven't shut him down. That bodes well for him playing in the next week or two. But yeah, it does make you wonder if he's going to have durability issues.
    Rodgers is expected to play tomorrow. Would a firmly positioned starter like Rodgers ever play as a 2nd or 3rd string QB in the preseason? Meaning he would have time to build chemistry in a game with some new WRs?
    No, they'd never put him out there with the No. 2 offensive line, and if he's only going to play a series or two, they want him working on timing with the starting WRs/TEs. Specifically, they'll want him to play with Graham.
    Pete great piece on why the Packers should go hard for Mack. But will they? Is Gute too much under TT’s influence to pull something like that off?
    My gut feeling is Gutekunst won't do it. Here's what he said a little more than a week ago when asked about Mack: "I think you guys since I’ve been up here much, we’re going to kind of have conversations about everything. There’s some things that maybe don’t make sense for us as a team-building thing, but we’re going to have conversations, especially with a player of that ability." That's not at all a definitive answer, but it makes me think he thinks the cost is too high. It's interesting because I'm thinking that the guy who brought Gutekunst into the league, Ron Wolf, would go hard after Mack, and the guy Gutekunst worked for longest, Thompson, probably wouldn't give it much if any consideration.
    Rollins looked like he had no business being on the field last week vs the Titans. Does he make it past the first cuts? The 1st team CBs didn't play very well against some non-star WRs on the Titans. Is that a cause for concern? The pass rush didn't get home either, the only positive was the run defense.
    I'm not sure whether Rollins' versatility to play CB and S will work to his advantage, or if it's a sign that he's a guy without a position. He's still getting plenty of snaps in practice, so they're giving him every chance. No Alexander, King or Tramon Williams last week against Tennessee, and they probably will end up being their top 3 CBs, so hard to draw too many conclusions.
    Last week I tried to focus on the OL play and the tackles in particular. Overall not good and Bell was terrible, at least at Tackle. Feels like 2017 again at depth on the OL. Do you think the Packers are in better shape to handle injury's along the OL this year? Where are they most vulnerable there?
    No, I don't think they're any better to handle  injuries on the OL, or at least only marginally so. LT is a big concern, Bakhtiari doesn't need any help, which makes game planning and protection so much easier. If he gets hurt, it could be a big problem. But RT too, though maybe Murphy would end up being the top backup there even though he's played mostly LT in camp. Still, I'm thinking his best position would be guard.
    Pete, can you please provide your brief bullet point assessment of the 2018 rookie class? How do they look? Thanks
    I'll run through a few guys, you can't watch everything at practice so I can't say I have a handle on everybody.
    Alexander: On the short side but shows a lot of quickness and explosiveness and competitiveness.
    Jackson: Good size but very grabby. Probably will need more time to develop than Alexader.
    Burks: Interesting player, can run in coverage, which is crucial for the way the game is played now, looks smart and instinctive. Light (230 pounds) and has issues shedding blocks.
    The three rookie WRs are a lot like the three RBs last year, on any given day any one of them can look better than the other two. Valdes-Scantling has flashed the most potential but needs to work on his hands. St. Brown didn't do much, at least from what I saw, early in camp but has come on and made more catches in practice recently. Moore looked most impressive in the offseason because he seemed to get in and out of his cuts fast, but has had drop issues, as we saw in the game.
    JK Scott: Has been pretty impressive in camp, consistently gets a lot of hang time, more often than not with pretty good distance too. 
    Don't have much of a feel for Looney and Donnerson. Neither has jumped out in team or in the couple times when they've done one-on-ones. 
    Hello Pete, I really enjoyed your Khalil Mack piece, however, there's no report of substance that even indicates he's on the market. What has the backlash been like? Are fans reading too much into it or are you also drinking the koolaid?
    As I said earlier, I really don't know if the Raiders are seriously fielding offers or not, the reports are thin in that area, but there have been reports of the possibility, unlike Donald. But as a reporter said to me at practice the other day, there haven't been any reports about what the Raiders would want. The oddsmakers seem to be taking it seriously. One oddsmaker had the odds at 3-to-1 that Mack will play for the Packers and 4-to-1 for the Raiders (and other teams at greater odds), which struck me as a little odd. Another had it 3-to-2 that he'll play for the Raiders and 11-to-4 for the Packers (and some other teams at 7-to-1 or more). I'm doubtful Gutekunst will do it, but I wanted to weigh in with the argument that he should.
    Hey Pete, what are the chances that Gutey trades Hundley for a pick? For example, sounds like Denver is desperate for a backup QB.
    I'm just not sure he can get anything for him. Maybe if Hundley plays really well in the final three preseason games they could get a late-round pick for him, but more likely teams would just think the Packers will probably cut him, so if they want him they get him them.
    Thanks for the time, Pete. Kyler Fackrell, could he play Big Okie, like Chillar did?
    I'm thinking not. Fackrell might be faster than Chillar but I don't think he's as good a change-of-direction athlete as Chillar was.
    How is HaHa looking? Last year was a huge disappointment, but his comments make it seem as though he thought the defensive scheme was bad last year and that it didn't allow him to make plays because he had to constantly cover for other people's mistakes.
    Yeah, that's essentially what he said this offseason. Looks to me like he plays a key role because in communication in Pettine's defense. My general impression is he's been solid, dependable, but can't say he's stood out for making plays.
    Zook wants Alexander to get some reps as the punt returner. Is that wise coming off an injury?
    I"m wondering the same thing too. I wouldn't be real excited about exposing him to injury on punt returns if I were the Packers and probably would be more inclined to keep Davis to handle punts and KORs. But let's see how the next three weeks go.
    Pete,
    If Cole Madison does not report by week 1, does he go onto the 6 week Pup?
    If he comes back mid season, are the Packers forced to cut him if he is not ready to be on the 53 man roster or is there a way for them to retain his rights if he returns mid season?
    He doesn't go on PUP, but I think there's a reserved list, something like reserved/did not report, that he's on. The details of the rules on some of those lists gets a little arcane, and I can't say I know how the list he's on works, but I'm pretty sure they'd have several weeks to work him into shape before they'd have to make a roster decision. I tried to look it up really quickly but couldn't find an answer, the links I found addressed what teams can do if a player is holding out (like Mack with the Raiders), not in a situation like Madison.
    Hello Pete, I keep seeing Mack to the Pack articles (yours included). If the Packers traded for Mack and then extended him I would guess they'd have more than $40 M in Mack, Mathews, and Perry for this year. Too much! My husband said if they traded or cut Perry the dead money would be almost the same as his salary so that's not likely. So it would come down to Mathews. Does he have any trade value? Would the Raiders be interested? Thanks for the chat.
    There's cap and then there's cash, so in cash they probably would have $40M in those three, but not in cap. As noted earlier, they already paid Perry a $4.3M roster bonus, so cutting him would be a big cap hit, because the money they'd save is only his $1.9M base salary that's remaining, whereas they'd have $10.5M-plus acceleration of signing bonus. Parting with Matthews would save them a lot of cash and cap ($10.5), but what if they get another injury at ILB? He's good insurance for that position besides having the versatility to line up all over in Pettine's D. He's 32 and has that high salary and is in the last year of his contract, so I'm not sure he has all that much trade value.
    Do think they'll finally let go of Hundley? Granted he looked good last week, but after 4 years in the system, do they honestly think he's going to improve? Kind of seems like they're just being a bit stubborn and can't let go of a guy they put so much time and effort into.
    I've been thinking about this and asking others' opinions, who will be the No. 2? Most of the reporters I've asked think it's a given they keep Kizer after trading a former No. 1 pick for him. I'm not quite as convinced -- strikes me as a bad way to do business -- but am probably wrong. I'd only keep one of the two, whichever one is best, though I have no idea whether the Packers feel that way. I'm just not convinced both are so good as to warrant a roster spot, and if Boyle keeps playing well, they might just have to keep him as the No. 3 or risk somebody claiming him, like Hill last year. Kizer's contract could be a factor, though, he has two years left on his deal after this year, whereas Hundley is in his final season. If it's a close call between the two, that could swing it for Kizer. But I think they want to give both a full, fair chance in camp and the preseason games to see which one is best.
    Yes, the Packers had a season ticket waiting list in the 70s and 80s. Please correct your error.
    I'll check on that but thought I read they didn't. If I'm wrong, my apologies. I do know from long-time friends up here that there were a plenty of games in those years where they literally couldn't give their tickets away.
    Just a quick word here from the Bay Area. I don't get the impression that the Raiders are actually thinking of unloading Mack; they seem to think he'll be in camp eventually. But if someone made a "you gotta be kidding me" offer, they might take it, so all this speculation does the Raiders no harm.
    Thanks for the input.
    Good afternoon Pete-
    Does a draft next year supposedly heavy in DL's and DE's play a role in a possible Mack move? I'm sure Gute and his staff are looking 3-4 years down the road when looking at roster cuts, trades, etc.

    Thanks Pete!
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