"Ask Vic" is published on Monday and Thursday through the offseason.
Greg from Columbia City, OR
Let's assume the cap goes up in 2022. Let's assume it jumps up significantly. Could managers use that windfall to reduce the money that has been pushed out?
There is a rarely used cap maneuver that allows a team to bring signing bonus proration forward, but the player's contract would have to be restructured and reduced by one year.
Bill from Sheboygan, WI
I don't understand what you mean when you say Wellington Mara saved the Packers. The Packers were the best team in the NFL in the 1960's and Lambeau Field was sold out.
That comment has nothing to do with winning and selling tickets. It's about market size only. TV was about to become the driving force in pro football and in 1962 Pete Rozelle sold the league's TV rights to CBS and the revenue was split evenly among the NFL's 14 teams. Prior to '62, each team in the league was free to market its own TV rights, which they did. Most of the teams had a deal with CBS, but at one point the LA Rams had a cutting-edge deal with Admiral TV, the Browns were featured in a regional TV arrangement, and the Steelers and Colts had a unique contract with NBC. At one point prior to '62, the Packers were without a TV contract, which was symptomatic of the market's smallness and underscored its vulnerability. Again, Cliff Christl could speak better on this. To get the league's owners to agree to a leaguethink plan to sell the league's TV rights collectively and share the revenue equally, Rozelle appealed to Wellington Mara, one of the league's founders and the owner of the franchise in the country's largest and most valuable TV market. When Mara agreed to share his revenue -- he could've sold the Giants' media rights independently and left the smaller markets to compete for the crumbs he left behind -- the NFL as we know it today was born. Green Bay could've never survived in a free-market NFL, and it has nothing to do with winning. There just weren't enough TV households to attract a TV deal that could compete financially with the rest of the league. Every team benefitted because they were getting a share of the Giants' worth in the contract. That's why every franchise needs to thank Mara for his vision and generosity. The teams in the smaller markets, such as Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Jacksonville, Nashville, Buffalo, New Orleans and Carolina, would struggle to compete financially with the big-market teams because that kind of media money just wouldn't be available to them, and the salary cap would worsen the problem because the revenue the big-market teams would generate would, in effect, transfer player costs onto the small-market teams that couldn't afford them.
Rob from Superior, CO
Maybe the Love pick isn't so confounding if Rodgers doesn't win the MVP and the Packers miss the playoffs?
If that was the expectation, then the Packers sure missed the mark on that evaluation.
Steve from Lake Stevens, WA
If it had been Ham or Lambert, Swann or Stallworth, Greene or Greenwood, Bradshaw or Harris, which would you have kept and could a current team afford any four of them?
Bradshaw is the interesting name in what you're suggesting. By today's salary cap/contract standards, the Steelers would've had to make a decision on Bradshaw's future either going into the 1974 season or following it. When the season began, he had lost his starting job to Joe Gilliam. At season's end, he had regained his job and the Steelers were Super Bowl IX champions. If they had elected not to re-sign him but had picked up the fifth-year option, Bradshaw would be headed for unrestricted free agency. What would the Steelers have done? Interesting.
Dan from Milwaukee, WI
What changes have you made to reduce how much you contribute to climate change?
I only vote for candidates who respect the science of climate change and plans for addressing it.
Brady from Milwaukee, WI
I have to say, I don’t feel hopeless at all being a Brewers fan. The team is well managed and well run, and consistently puts a team on the field that is capable of winning. The Tampa Bay Rays were in the World Series last year. Small-market teams can win.
Tampa is not a small market. It's No. 11 in the nation and No. 1 in Florida.
Caleb from Rosemount, MN
Did you watch any golf this past weekend? What are your thoughts on Bryson DeChambeau and what he brings to the sport?
He's changing it. He's an amazing combination of brains and brawn.
Jake from Green Bay, WI
Do you have any advice on gardens?
As long as the roots are not severed, all is well. And all will be well in the garden.
John from Cape May Courthouse, NJ
Is Fred Taylor the most underrated running back in the history of the NFL?
Frank from Lillington, NC
I believe the Packers have been in all-in mode for the past two seasons. The draft choices after Love indicated a desire to upgrade the offense and hope the defense would improve.
You're not getting it, Frank. All in has nothing to do with draft picks or the desire to win. All in is about how a team manages its salary cap. Right now, the Packers have $5.6 million in re-structuring bonus on their 2021 cap. The Saints are at $21.4 million. Dead money? The Packers are at $4.1 million. The Rams are at $27 million. The Packers have a long way to go before it can be said they're all in.
Don from Iowa City, IA
Cap question about the players who chose to sit out last year due to COVID: Do teams get some sort of roster credit?
You pay it, you claim it. In the case of players who opted out, they weren't paid so their teams receive a credit, and it doesn't matter when that credit is applied or used because remaining cap space is transferred to the next year's cap.
Wes from Mt. Horeb, WI
If "Ask Vic" existed during the 1980's, what kinds of questions would dominate your inbox you don't see today?
There was no glamor free agency as we know it today, but there was something called "Plan B free agency." It was a poor man's version of what we have today. Plan B free agency provided the kind of patch players Bill Belichick has always seemed to find. It didn't excite fans, but I'd be getting questions about it.
Justin from Delavan, WI
You asked us, your readers, what was the rush in signing Aaron Rodgers. The answer is Mahomes’s $45 million a year and now Prescott’s $40 million a year. Rodgers’ $33 million a year looks like a bargain now. Doesn’t Gutekunst look smart now?
The sooner you sign a player to a new contract, the sooner he'll want his next contract. Hang on, baby.
Mikey from Tallahassee, FL
What are your thoughts on who did and didn't get tagged?
I sense teams used the franchise tag to acquire more time to negotiate a contract with the player, and that's an honorable reason, but it comes at a risk. If the team doesn't get a deal done, it will have created enmity with the player for having effectively taken him out of the free-agent market, and it could become a Le'Veon Bell kind of distraction.
Laurence from Swampscott, MA
Vic, could the Packers have tagged Aaron Jones and given themselves more time to negotiate with him, or are they locked in to using the tag once they do it? Meaning, if they tag him, but then things don't work out with negotiations, would they be free to un-tag him so he could pursue free agency?
Yes, but they would've had to cap him, and the market for a running back might dry up while the tag is on him. Now Jones and his agent are angry and the Packers have a distraction on their hands, plus, they've sent a bad message about how they do business. The Packers did the right thing. They drew a line in what they would pay Jones, and they moved on.
Chris from Fort Worth, TX
Having a sense of belonging to one’s team is essential to success in any profession. What does it take to build a sense of belonging among members of a temporary team? Does it have anything to do with chemistry?
Coach Noll said one of the reasons he retired is he didn't want to coach in a game that has a graduating class every year. He was speaking, of course, of free agency. He saw his teaching being wasted and then being used by the competition. In that sense, the game did pass him by because free agency was never going to be his thing. He was all about teaching and developing talent, and creating the sense of team to which you are referring. Free agency has been a windfall for the players and for the league. It's created offseason excitement and promotes the parity the league has pursued forever. There is, however, a price: sense of team. Today's players are hired guns. The real sense of team belongs to the fans. Roethlisberger's recent display of affection for the Steelers is a feel-good story, but it's the exception, not the rule.