"Ask Vic" is published M-W-F through the football season.
Lane from Winter Garden, FL
Vic, the Rams got fleeced again. Have you ever seen a team put such little value in first-round picks like this?
It's a blockbuster deal for the Lions. Their arrow has suddenly turned straight up. This is an example of how trading a top quarterback before he gets too old and his trade value diminishes can propel a team into its future.
Spencer from Fullerton, CA
Vic, the Rams just traded two future first-round picks for Matthew Stafford, and they haven’t picked in the first round since 2016 when they selected Jared Goff. Yet, they have a decent amount of playoff success to show for it. It seems like they have been mortgaging the future for years, but the bill hasn’t come due for them. Thoughts?
It might win them a Super Bowl, but darkness will follow.
Brendon from Santa Maria, CA
So what do you say about a team that has now traded away seven straight first-round picks, as well as the player they last used a first on?
I say the Rams are in danger of losing the LA market to the other tenant in the Rams' stadium. The Chargers have a young, budding star quarterback and the picks to make them the dominant team in LA after the Rams go dark.
Lance from Flagstaff, AZ
Why do teams bail out awful QB contracts? Goff, Foles, etc. Also, I forget how trades work on the cap anymore. Does Goff's salary now only count on the Lions' cap? I forgot how that works and you're the cap guy.
Getting rid of a bad contract was part of the deal. The Lions inherit Goff's salaries and roster bonuses, but the guarantees in Goff's contract end in 2022, which means the Lions have two years to draft Goff's replacement. At that point, the Lions can trade or cut him without denting their salary cap. He's going to help the Lions be competitive in a weak NFC North as the Lions rebuild.
Sean from Chaska, MN
Detroit got a haul for Stafford. If Rodgers can get proportionally more, well, I haven't been on team all-out but I might be now.
I've upped my asking price for Rodgers. Let's start the bidding at three ones and two twos. We might have to be proactive on this, though, before we lose any more prospects. What would the Rams have given the Packers for Rodgers? Did they call?
Jake from Chippewa Falls, WI
What would have happened if Terry Bradshaw had demanded a trade like Watson is doing?
There was no salary cap to penalize teams for trading a player back then; no amortization that would've immediately accelerated into the current year. The problem for the Texans in trading Watson is $21.6 million in dead money would hit the Texans' '21 cap.
Matt from Minneapolis, MN
Vic, what does an Aaron Rodgers for Deshaun Watson trade look like? Is this impossible because of the Love pick? Is Houston unwilling because the draft pick haul is significantly less?
Why would Houston trade for Rodgers? They're facing a huge rebuilding project. By the time they're competitive again, they'd have to replace Rodgers. As for the Packers trading for Watson, they'd inherit a contract that makes Rodgers' look like a bargain basement deal.
James from Sterling, IL
Vic, how can we make an informed decision about the future with Aaron Rodgers if we don't know if Jordan Love can be "The Man?" Or are you proposing the offers you're now listening to for Rodgers include a very high draft pick this year so the team can draft "The Man?"
I wouldn't consider any offer that doesn't include a treasure trove of high picks in multiple years. The decision on Love was made when the Packers traded up to pick him. At that moment, it was decided he would one day be the Packers' quarterback. You have to make that kind of commitment when you draft a quarterback in the first round.
Jason from Austin, TX
If Bakhtiari were to miss the entire 2021 season due to his ACL, would his salary still affect the cap or is there an injury clause for these situations?
You pay it, you claim it. Bakhtiari is due an $11 million roster bonus in March and his cap hit in '21 is $19 million. There's nearly $63 million in guaranteed money in Bakhtiari's contract, so he's not going anywhere but into an intense rehabilitation program. He's another example of the commitment the Packers have made to give Rodgers what he needs to win. I can't imagine Rodgers needing assurance about his future with the team. What else can the Packers do, change the G on their helmet to an R?
Tom from Cambridge, MA
In Friday's column you wrote: "(The Packers) are easily persuaded to abandon (the run) if it's not gaining big chunks of yardage." I wonder if it's deeper than that. The third drive of the Tampa Bay game featured not one but two 12-yard runs, and by two different backs! What do you think happened to turn the Packers away from running, even though they did have a couple of early big-chunk runs?
The Bucs flipped the script. They got a lead and made the Packers one-dimensional. The Bucs overplayed the pass the whole game. I saw several downs when only two Bucs had their hand on the ground. Their game plan was to stand up a lot of guys at the line of scrimmage and disguise rush and cover. It was all pass-defense based, but they had to get a lead and force the Packers to play into the Bucs' defensive scheme. Why did the Bucs think the Packers would do that? I think the Bucs knew the Packers are not committed to the run; they use it as a diversion when they're winning.
Scott from Hamlin, NY
"As the NFC North stands right now, the Packers could win it with Duck Hodges at quarterback." The breaks keep going the Packers' way. There's a seventh playoff team, Rodgers is coming off an MVP season, the NFC is weak, the NFC North is weak. Doesn't that line up to mean trading Rodgers now is a no-brainer? The Packers could still contend with Love in a weak division or they could limp into the playoffs as the seventh seed while at the same time scoring additional first-round picks. I'll ask again, how does a GM allow the offers to come in without the media getting wind of it, or does the GM not care what the media finds out?
If you want to create a trade frenzy, you want the news teams are expressing interest to leak out. That's exactly what the Lions did. I believe Mark Murphy when he says Aaron Rodgers will remain the Packers' quarterback.
Larry from Syracuse, NY
Vic, I'm not sure I agree with your opinion Rodgers' comments postgame were inappropriate. I think he was a man expressing his emotions and being open and honest about his hurt. Not only did his chances of winning his second Super Bowl just come to a complete end, he also was showing the honest, human side to football. He understands friends he battled with for years are no longer going to be by his side. People he loves and cares for are no longer going to be there day in and day out. And since it's so abrupt, it's more emotional. I've always appreciated Aaron's willingness to be open and honest in his answers, and I think this was just another example of that. I actually think it showed high levels of competitiveness and leadership to show how truly hurt and emotional he was.
Wait a minute, I'll get my violin.
Paul from Cumming, GA
Are you basing your all in or all out stance on the position the Packers are in right now? In the past, you seemed to favor a more moderate, sustained winning approach. Do you feel the methodology for building a team has shifted?
I favor all out because all in is "All aboard!" and something in between is just more of the same. I haven't changed my philosophy for team building. I believe you must be willing to accept the inevitability of decline and react by cleansing your cap and your roster. I admire Bill Belichick for what he's doing. He gets it. He knows he rode the Brady train as long as he could and it was time to create a new era of Patriots football. The Packers? I think this might be a good time for them to commit to rebuilding, but I can certainly appreciate the emotions for the all-in approach. It's the Love pick that's confusing the issue for everyone. Why did the Packers target and move up to pick Love if they're committed to Rodgers? Has there been a shift in philosophy because Rodgers played so well in 2020? Has the Packers' opinion of Love changed? If they drafted Love for 3-4 years down the road, they didn't use the pick (and the fourth-round pick they also traded to move up) to help get Rodgers another Super Bowl, and that's nonsensical. Also, if they go the distance with Rodgers, the Packers would likely have to do a new contract with Love without knowing whether he's their guy for the future. It's all very confusing. My best guess is they goofed, but that's just a guess.
Mark from Madison, WI
I can't understand why some Packers fans devalue your opinions because Green Bay is not your all-time favorite team. I would think the candid views of a veteran sportswriter would be more than enough. My question is this: Does this doubt about your commitment get under your skin, or does it just go with the territory for every sports commentator?
Sometimes I cry all night.
Greg from Princeton, MN
Why is Pettine not getting a new contract?
I guess it's for the same reason the special teams coach was fired. What about the offense? It went dead in the fourth quarter, when the game and the season were on the line. Who gets fired for that? For the record, the Packers' 2020 defense was their best since 2014.
Jeff from Dorr, MI
Eight seconds left in the half, Tampa with no timeouts and on the Green Bay 39. Perfect situation for a "Hail Mary." Why not take the last timeout? This one is on coach.
Imagine the uproar if McCarthy had been the coach.