"Ask Vic" is published on Monday and Thursday through the offseason.
Alex from Orlando, FL
Vic, Jacksonville is tired of picks. We want our QB. We have the pick of the litter in a year many consider a generational talent is available. Can you imagine the risk involved with passing on Trevor Lawrence and what he might become in the NFL? Would you legitimately take that risk? I wouldn't. There must be something about him that makes you feel he won't be successful. Sam Howell and Spencer Rattler? What guarantee is there the Jags can find a trade partner in the top two picks next year? I've been reading this column for 21 years and I've never disagreed with you more than on this topic. At what point do you stop accepting picks and just pick "The Man?"
Bob from Plymouth, WI
Is there anything we should take from the Packers not restructuring Rodgers contract?
It simply means they don't want to push money out and increase his potential dead money. They might change their opinion but that's the way it stands right now. It's about maneuverability and options. The Packers don't want to get trapped.
Keith from Springfield, MO
Vic, I'm curious to know if I'm seeing what you're seeing with Trevor Lawrence: freshman national champion, sophomore runner-up, junior plus-one loss. Has he plateaued? Joe Burrow's season the year before was one for the ages, and it appears as though his trajectory is still pointing up. Doesn't that matter more?
I don't think that's a fair evaluation of Lawrence. He is clearly a premier talent and deserving of the No. 1 overall selection. He's big, strong, athletic, mobile and tough. He's got a strong, accurate arm, a stylish release and a bulldog temperament for big games. I love his leadership qualities. If he's successful, he'll make for a great face of the franchise. The negatives? I've seen it written he doesn't throw a great deep ball. The only thing I don't like is he has a long stride, which means he's not only going to need time to throw, he's going to need room to throw. I have no problem with the Jaguars picking him first overall, but I don't think it should be the slam-dunk pick Jaguars fans want it to be. I'd like the Jaguars to invite some intrigue. What's that pick worth on the open market?
Nate from Neenah, WI
Talk to us more about a two-quarterback system.
I didn't say it would be a two-quarterback system. I was merely suggesting the increase in the number of games, and I expect it will go to 18 games, will likely demand greater depth and quality at the quarterback position. It goes hand in hand with the exploding importance of that position and the need to score a lot of points. A few years ago it was common for teams to carry only two quarterbacks on the active roster. I can see it going to four.
Joe from Bloomington, IN
How does the NFL partner with legalized gambling? Why does legalized gambling need to share anything with the NFL?
A partnership with the NFL is gambling's pathway to televised games. It's "the box" on the top of TV.
Dalton from Medford, WI
Did you and Cliff Christl ever get into a friendly game of "Who's dynasty was better?" when talking Packers and Steelers?
Oh, yeah, it happened a lot. We'd get into heated arguments. One day Cliff began to cry and yelled at me, "Go Pack Go."
Justin from West Chester, PA
How far is it reasonable for a front office to attempt to plan its roster?
Realistic, hard planning? Two years; the one you're in and the next one. Salary caps are planned out farther.
Max from Minnesota
Vic, Rodgers currently takes up 20 percent of the 2021 cap. No Super Bowl-winning QB has taken up that much in the 10 years of data I looked at. The highest is about 12 percent and many well under this. Do you think Tom Brady is aware of this and purposely keeps his cap number lower to have a better team around himself? If yes, do you think Rodgers would ever do such a thing?
It's not up to Rodgers. Nearly all contracts include an automatic conversion clause that allows the team to convert salary to signing bonus without the player's permission. Converting Rodgers' 2021 salary to signing bonus and pushing it out through 2023 would create a savings of about $8 million this year. The Packers have elected not to create more potential dead money. I respect what they've done. I blame the media for fan confusion on this subject. For years, reports of Brady's restructurings suggested he was taking a pay cut. Vic to readers: Brady was not taking a pay cut.
Lee from Washington, DC
Is there a difference between functional strength and strength?
If weight room strength is limited in its range of motion, it's not playing strength. Bar goes up, bar goes down isn't good enough.
J.P. from Jacksonville, FL
Commissioner Vic gets to choose two new expansion franchises, but you cannot select a city that has recently lost a team. Who do you select?
It would have to be an international city because I don't think the NFL can expand in the United States without hurting one of its existing franchises. For example, a team in Hartford would hurt the Patriots.
Craig from Chicago, IL
Is the extent the Packers go to maintain good locker room culture unique among other franchises around the league? And is it working?
Warren from Mount Holly, NC
Vic, you may not need to hear it, but from time to time I feel like I need to say it: thank you for this.
Thanks for reading.
Tim from Denver, CO
Let's say (Lawrence) puts Carolina in the playoffs. The wolves will be howling and the Jaguars haven't seen much success in a long time. What insurance would GM Vic need from his boss to make this trade?
You don't get assurance, you get a lot of money to get it right. You would make the trade because you believe it's best for the franchise. The same job insecurity is attached to Lawrence failing and one of the other quarterbacks or all of them succeeding. The Jaguars have their pick of all of them. I don't understand this notion Lawrence is without risk. The Rams just dumped a first overall pick on the Lions. The Jaguars have to get this right. "Everybody agreed with us" won't be an excuse if he fails.
Brad from Oshkosh, WI
After a couple of seasons, someone smarter than I in statistical analysis could probably determine whether legalized gambling is skewing the outcome of games. Will anyone in sports journalism look at this, and will anyone care?
It was called to my attention recently that in places where legalized gambling exists, advertising for it on radio and TV dominates. Sports talk shows are even sponsored by casinos. I don't know how to answer your question but I'll say this: If the NFL lets gambling in the door, in time we won't know where one begins and the other ends.
John from Brookfield, WI
If professional sports are all about money, what are college athletics about?
Yes, college sports are big business, but it's a poorly run business because most athletic departments struggle to break even and several are enduring catastrophic losses. The Washington Post did a deep investigation on the financial state of college athletics from 2004 to 2014. Among its findings: "In 10 years, 48 athletic departments in college sports’ wealthiest conferences saw earnings surge by nearly $2 billion and spent it almost as quickly as it came in. Many programs still need student fees and school money to pay their bills." High-paid coaches and administrators and the costs of status-symbol facilities are out of line with the revenue they generate. In most programs, the revenue doesn't justify the costs. College athletics can't be solely about the money because, by and large, they're a loser. College athletics are about recruiting students and entertaining alumni. In that sense, they are indirectly about the money, but the popular notion colleges are swimming in profits is ridiculous. Mostly, they're drowning in debt. Research is where the money is. Johns Hopkins receives $2 billion a year for research and development. Does it even have a football team?