"Ask Vic" is published on Monday and Thursday through the offseason.
Jerry from Savannah, GA
Vic, what, if anything, did Adam Schefter do wrong?
He wasn't forthright with his readers. He attempted to package old information as being new and then launch it at a time that would result in an avalanche of clicks. It did, but it cost him credibility. If he had made his report in a way that acknowledged it was a thinkpiece, not a hard news report, and the impetus of his report was what he believed was the potential for a draft-day trade, all would've been fine. Obviously, there's a rift between Rodgers and the Packers; Schefter didn't make that up. I think he underestimated the impact of his report. When he saw what it did, I think he felt guilty and, thus, the confession on the Dan Patrick show. Website news outlets don't have the filters the print media always has. I think it's because the Internet's immediacy allows for too much updating and changing of the story. There's too much wiggle room and there's much more tolerance for error.
Andy from Fruit Cove, FL
Vicbow! Can you believe it? The news hit me like a guywire to the chest! All it took was a decade of losing football, underwhelming quarterbacks, a failed baseball career and a position switch. The prodigal son returns!
I can see it now. Tebow lines up as a tight end, shifts to under center and then throws a jump pass to Trevor Lawrence for a touchdown. The fans are going crazy. They're giggling with joy. Every game is sold out. The Jaguars are the hottest franchise in the league.
Steven from Doctors Inlet, FL
OK, Vic, now I'm worried about that. Shad Khan is a brilliant guy and I can only think the Jaguars' new free agent is there to sell tickets and will be one of the last casualties before the final roster. Machiavellianism at its finest.
Cut Tim Tebow? I wouldn't worry about that.
Greg from Minneapolis, MN
How do you keep in contact with the connections you made during your career in the NFL, both scouts and co-workers?
On the telephone.
Tom from Bismarck, ND
Vic, and I'm totally serious here, I propose we trade Rodgers to the Broncos for a boatload of picks and, most importantly, a few defensive players. Denver always seems to put a feisty defense on the field and we could tap into their ability to find these players. Conversely, they have trouble picking QBs, as evidenced by having only three years of Jay Cutler to show for (nearly 40) years of franchise drafting history. In fact, we could turn this into a working agreement with Denver to make our defensive selections for us in the draft as part of the Rodgers compensation. We could do likewise and draft offensive players for them. There we have it. Done deal. Thanks for letting me settle this issue.
Tom, first of all, I have a feeling the boatload-of-picks ship has sailed, and Brian Gutekunst isn't going to trade Rodgers for a bunch of Denver rejects. Be that as it may, I have been uncomfortable with my updated position on this matter because it just doesn't fit with my natural instincts, beliefs and personality. I tried to be nice, but it's just not me. I don't like the idea of a player holding a franchise hostage and it's beginning to chafe me. I think it sends a message of weakness that can disease your roster and damage your image and standing in the league. A couple of days ago, as I was wrestling with my position on the Rodgers issue, I had a thought: What would Dan Rooney do? Instantly, I knew the answer, but I decided to call my friend Ed Bouchette of "The Athletic" and ask him the same question. Ed and I grew up in the newspaper business together and covered the Steelers for a lot of years. What would Dan do, Ed? "Trade him," Ed said without hesitation. Dan cut Franco, let Rod Woodson leave in free agency, fired his brother. He was bold when his franchise demanded action. I am beginning to think the Packers need to end this angst and move on.
Dave from Bellingham, WA
In the 1983 draft, did Pittsburgh consider Rivera more of a BAP pick than Marino? I'm curious what the mood was at that time around picking/not picking the local boy.
Art Rooney Jr. loved Gabe Rivera. I remember Artie describing Rivera to me as being a big, barrel-chested guy on skinny legs. It was a way of saying Rivera was a powerful man who could run. Artie playfully likened Rivera's build to Babe Ruth's. The Steelers were heading into rebuilding and Artie saw Rivera as the next Joe Greene; the Steelers would build their next era the same way they built the era that was ending, with a stud defensive tackle as the cornerstone. I absolutely believe Rivera would've been what Artie envisioned. The car accident was such a tragic event for Rivera and the Steelers. Marino was coming off a so-so senior season at Pitt. There were damaging and unfounded rumors. Some years ago, I visited with Artie and he told the story of his father sending a couple of "detectives" to tell Artie they had checked out Marino and he was clean. "They were right out of central casting," Artie said. The week of the draft, the Steelers brought Marino to Three Rivers Stadium for a workout and Marino threw the ball like a god. Coach Noll was in awe, but Artie stuck with Rivera. At midseason, as Marino's career was beginning, Rivera's career ended. I've always thought fate was nearly as cruel to Artie as it was to Rivera.
Roberto from Yulee, FL
In your time covering the Steelers, Jaguars and Packers, who were the biggest first-round busts?
Huey Richardson, R.J. Soward, Datone Jones.
Marty from Jacksonville Beach, FL
Vic, in the years you covered the Steelers, especially in the dynasty years, what player do you think was really overshadowed but was a huge part of their success?
It's Ernie Holmes. He was the forgotten man on the "Steel Curtain" defensive line. In 1974-76, he was the equal of Joe Greene. What do people remember? The arrow shaved into his head. Fans want the show.
Greg from Worthington, OH
If Rodgers remains a Packer, I will not be a Packer fan. Since 1965, I have been a Packer fan and have seen the good times and bad. He epitomizes what is wrong with the world when athletes are made to be worshipped. Not going to happen from me.
Stan from Batavia, IL
Vic, I have appreciated your strong and honest views on the Packers' situation with Rodgers. As a Packers fan, I'm also trying to make sense of what is affecting both the team and the player. I was curious regarding how much of the team cap is being absorbed by the starting QB. Over the last five years, Wilson 15.78 percent, Rodgers 15.58, Ryan 13.5, Roethlisberger 11.32, Brees 11.0, Brady 9.95. New QBs -- Watson 20.99, Mahomes 18.59, Prescott 17.25. This data seems to suggest Brady has been managing a situation where his compensation effect on the team cap allows for an advantage over Rodgers' effect on the cap.
Wilson 32, Rodgers 37, Ryan 35, Roethlisberger 39, Brees 42, Brady 43. As quarterbacks age, their teams begin to wind down their dead money and prepare to pass the torch. That often involves restructuring that lessens their cap hit. Roethlisberger is the classic example in 2021. Brady's numbers require deeper examination and explanation. He's unique because he's on a new team. He expired his contract with the Patriots and now he's on a new deal with the Bucs that makes him a cheap $10.5 million cap hit this year but includes $50 million in dead money. You can't just look at the cap hit because so much money is pushed out. Also, the contract voids after 2022 and includes three dummy years that are lessening Brady's cap hit. Fifteen million dollars in signing bonus is deferred to 2022 and his contract also includes an additional $1.5 million in roster bonus should a 17th game be added, so now the Bucs have that going for them. Brady is the king of capnastics. It's all legal but so misleading because it hides money in forward years. He left the Patriots with $13.5 million in dead money (6.41 percent of the Pats' cap; did you include that in his average cap hit?) in 2020, despite having played out his contract, and now he's winding up the Bucs' dead money to dangerous levels. In contrast, if Rodgers was to play to the end of his current contract, the Packers would be left with no dead money. There's nothing unreasonable about any of Rodgers' contracts. He's been very accommodating to the Packers. The problem is the Packers will likely have to do another deal with him to pacify him and keep him, and that'll deepen his dead money to a likely harsh amount.
Ray from Houston, TX
As a casual fan who has only recently started following the Packers, I have to ask: Can Green Bay, the city, afford to lose Rodgers? In other words, what kind of economic impact is Green Bay going to suffer if and when they are no longer a perennial playoff contender?
Attending a Packers game is a statewide social event. The hotels will remain packed on home-game weekends, even if Blake Bortles is the quarterback.
Curt from Rice Lake, WI
Realistically, when do you think the Rodgers situation will be resolved, either way?
This is where I think it hurts the Packers to not have an owner. I'm sensing a paralysis, and I think it's natural when you don't have one voice willing or able to demand a particular action. If the Packers had an owner, I think this issue would've been resolved by now. As it stands, this could last into the summer.
Jensen from Houston, TX
The Broncos won a Super Bowl six years ago. You gave us perspective of the all-in approach the Broncos took and the drought they would face as a consequence. As I imagine a potential Packers-Broncos trade for Aaron Rodgers, I wonder if Elway paved an alternative path to repeat Super Bowls. Build a strong roster, buy an expensive and aging quarterback, reset. Curious your thoughts on the approach.
I don't think it's a sustainable model, and I don't think it feels as good when you win. What if you go all in, trade your future for an aging quarterback and then lose?
Conor from Milwaukee, WI
Vic, I was a bit surprised we've only had the salary cap since 1994. If the NFL decided for some reason to axe the cap, have the Packers done enough in that time (Lambeau renovations, Titletown District, re-branding, etc.) to allow our franchise to keep up with the larger markets? Do you like how the cap is currently calculated, or do you think it has to be somehow re-evaluated to possibly increase what the teams can spend?
Yes to the first and I'm fine with the way cap is calculated currently. Why change it?
Paul from Cumming, GA
If nothing else, Stokes and Alexander will give the Packers a lot of speed on the back end of the defense. How important is raw speed for NFL corners?
It allows them to close on the ball. It also allows them to play trail technique. Speed is good.
Greg from Taylorsville, UT
In regards to Aaron Rodgers, whether or not what we're seeing are negotiation tactics or actual grievances is quickly becoming irrelevant. This is wholly undignified and embarrassing. I think it's time to be new. Mind the door on your way out.
I don't like the weakness either. Peace is always the best option, but what price dignity?