"Ask Vic" is published on Monday and Thursday through the offseason.
Jeremy from Chilliwack, Canada
Vic, does a team ever save money (either cash or cap) by trading vs. releasing a player?
Either way, the bonus amortization stays with the original team and the player's salary is assumed by his new team.
Steve from Lake Stevens, WA
Unitas finished in San Diego, Namath with the Rams, Stabler in New Orleans, Montana with the Chiefs, Favre in Minnesota and Brady is in Tampa. Why is the possibility of Rodgers finishing elsewhere portrayed as some kind of disloyal lack of respect by former players who know better?
I'm not seeing a lot of that. I wouldn't have a problem with Rodgers playing for another team. It's professional football. Players shouldn't leave money on the table and teams shouldn't waste money on a player who could return more value by moving him. When I suggested as much late last season should the Packers lay an egg in the postseason, I was vilified by Packers fans in my inbox. Packers fans are proprietary, and I think that's the mark of a passionate fan but, at the end of the day (as Mike McCarthy loved to say), it's about the player and the team doing what's best for each. Pro football isn't a feel-good game. It's a cold, hard business and that's its charm. I think I learned that lesson first when the Steelers cut Franco Harris as he was approaching Jim Brown's all-time rushing record. The Packers are prepared to move on from Rodgers. He knows it.
Jason from Austin, TX
In this year's draft, would you lower a grade on a player if they sat out last season because of COVID? How many first-rounders are now second or third-rounders?
I might do the opposite. I might give an opt-out player a higher grade if I liked what I saw of him on tape from 2019, because I didn't think college football was very good last season. I think a player's performance in '19 allows for a more accurate evaluation of his talent. I think most of the mistakes are going to be made on players based on evaluation from last season.
Adam from Wausau, WI
Why wouldn’t you want to sign the best WR in the game to support your unproven QB?
Dime a dozen.
Eric from Lansing, MI
What do you see Mike McCarthy doing with pick No. 10?
I don't think it's his decision to make. I know this: The Cowboys need big guys and premium position players, and they need lots of them. They especially need help in their secondary and corners fit where they're picking.
Taylor from Hull, IA
What kinds of change did you notice in locker room behaviors over the course of your career? It would seem that as societal views on issues have changed, so would the interactions of players within the football locker room.
The biggest locker room change in my time covering football is the ash trays have been removed. The Steelers' clubhouse at Three Rivers Stadium had a big ash tray affixed to each player's locker stall. The '70's Steelers chain smoked at halftime and ate bacon cheeseburgers in training camp, and then ripped your head off on the field.
Brian from Sugar Land, TX
Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell pulled his ace pitcher after six shutout innings and 81 pitches. "Once we got the lead, it was a chance to conserve some pitches for him over a long season." Football leaves the star QB in the entire game regardless. The QB unarguably has a greater chance of injury. Why do you think the difference in conservation strategies?
Sixteen games vs. 162? The thinking might change as we go to 17 and then 18 games, and play count and pass attempts per game increase. I was suggesting as much recently when I wrote of the day when teams might need two starting-caliber quarterbacks.
Dave from Jacksonville, FL
If (players) opt out of offseason workouts, what happens to the player’s workout bonus? Is it as simple as a player loses their workout bonus and the team gets a credit on their salary cap for 2021?
Yeah. You don't pay it, you don't claim it.
Laura from Springfield, MO
What does Sam Darnold bring to Carolina Teddy Bridgewater did not?
A better arm, a younger body and more upside. If you want to see what Darnold can do, look at his performance against Penn State in the Rose Bowl. In that game, he had the look of a premier pocket passer. What went wrong with the Jets? I think Matt Rhule knows. Can he fix it?
Michael from Plano, TX
Vic, I keep reading the Steelers don't believe Zach Banner is a left tackle. I also see draft gurus saying certain tackles in the draft aren't left tackles. Can you explain the difference to a layman like me.
The inference is they're not good enough pass blockers to play left tackle, which traditionally opposes the defense's premier pass rusher.
Chris from Bozeman, MT
Before you scold Packers fans -- most of us couldn’t care less what Jim McMahon has to say -- the story regarding this was embarrassing, to say the least. Not a Bears fan at all, but respect them as a team. Anyway, aim your ire at the writers, not the fans.
Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.
Matt from Cudahy, WI
For the "profit from my likeness" crowd, how much does a star collegiate athlete's likeness benefit from marketing exposure provided by the NCAA?
I think this issue is greatly overrated. We're talking about a select few players in places where college football is king and doesn't have to compete with the NFL. Would this really make a difference for or satisfy the general population of college athletes? I think the big concern would be the general population might sell their names for minimal gain and in undistinguished ways.
Paul from Fairfax, VA
You have said a couple of times re-signing Adams will be a sign about Rodgers’ future. What did re-signing Jones tell you?
It suggested to me the Packers weren't fully confident in A.J. Dillon's readiness to assume the role of featured back.
Samuel from Jacksonville, FL
Years ago you nailed the criticism of Andrew Luck being too smart for football. Are you worried the same could happen with Trevor Lawrence after his recent comments?
What I wrote was because of Luck's academic pedigree (architectural design/engineering) he would always have options other than football. I think it's important to note as much in a scouting report. No offense intended, but Clemson isn't Stanford. I think you're OK.
Mike from North Hudson, WI
A lot of back and forth has been reported by media heads as to whether the Packers have actually drafted or acquired players to help Aaron Rodgers over the years. Since you have always been a straight shooter, what are your thoughts on this?
The Packers spent a lot of high picks on the defensive side of the ball. Jerel Worthy and Datone Jones are two examples. They were busts and the Packers bear the guilt, but that doesn't mean they didn't try. From 2012-16, the Packers picked 10 defensive players in the top three rounds of the draft, and Kenny Clark is all they have to show for their efforts. You just can't draft like that and expect to improve.
Dave from Chippewa Falls, WI
Any thoughts on taking a stud CB with an S1 microdiscectomy?
I assume you're referring to Caleb Farley. The L5-S1 joint is a common trouble spot. Disc surgery is no big deal if it's limited to the disc and is minimally invasive. My last low back disc surgery began at 2:30 in the afternoon and I left the hospital at 6:30. It was like going to the dentist. The concern is for potential nerve damage in the leg. Disc surgery usually occurs after the patient endures a period of leg pain. How long was it endured? How severe was the pain? Has numbness and/or weakness in the leg resulted? Farley would have to submit to an examination by my team's physician before I would draft him. The physician would ask Farley to walk on his toes and then on his heels. He'd likely ask Farley to submit to a nerve conduction test. If my team's physician believed Farley has or would make a full recovery, I'd have no qualms drafting him. At this late date, this surgery could cause Farley to fall into the lap of a lucky team, and Tony Pauline's mock draft has the Packers picking a cornerback. We need to keep an eye on this.