Hello, it’s been a while, again, however I thought it’d be less stressful to let the preseason playout vs. writing weekly trying to figure out things that ultimately won’t matter, i.e. who will be the 7th wide receiver, will the Packers keep 3 quarterbacks, etc. With that, let’s cover the major items that have occurred since Aug 4th.
Aaron Rodgers’ contract – the Packers and their uber-talented QB agreed to a 4 year, $134M extension. What does this mean? Better question that I’ve posed is How does this help the Green Bay Packers? Honestly.
- Did it free up some cap space? Maybe for this year, and possibly next. Not enough space to give the ability to acquire, say, Khalil Mack (more on that later, btw).
- Does this give the Packers more control, longer control? Not really, the Packers had 2 years of contract remaining (2018 and 2019), then could franchise tag him for 3 years following (2020 would be an avg. of the top 5 salaries for QBs, 2021 would be 120% of that salary, 2022 would be 140% of 2021’s salary).
- Does it make him happy, and re-motivate him? Hopefully he didn’t need that to be better.
- Does this mean Rodgers will let off and fade away? Doubtful, he doesn’t strike me as the person, player that will fall off, at least not because he was paid. Age? That might be a different reason, but he was under control until he was 39 anyway.
Khalil Mack—with the Rodgers contract out of the way, the fans’ next priority was to go after Mack, arguably the best defender in the NFL. As I write this, the Bears and Raiders have agreed to a trade that will send the 2-time All-Pro to Chicago in exchange for what is believed to be multiple 1st round draft picks and possibly a starting caliber player. While I would’ve been all for this trade by the Packers, the problem is Chicago could offer more, AND justify spending more $ on Mack with their available cap space.
53-Man Roster—I write this (well began before the cuts) after the finalized roster was made. Although there were some puzzling cuts/keeps, I think the roster will change over a bit before the week 1 kickoff vs. Chicago. However, the Packers kept 8 WRs, 4 TEs, and 2 HBs. We know there will be a change come Week 3 with the Halfbacks once Aaron Jones is reinstated after serving his 2-game suspension. He’s also, I believe, the best back the Packers have. After that, there were no Fullbacks kept which is a sign of possibly 2 things:
- There will be no I-form sets this year L (QB under center, with a fullback and Halfback both directly lined up behind the QB).
- Mercedes Lewis and/or Lance Kendricks will be used as a make-shift FB…I’m all for that!
It still feels like Brian Gutekunst will be making changes prior to Sun, Sept 9th. Plus, as I write this (11p-ish on Sept 1) there are rumors about Green Bay making trades for Sea’s all-world Safety, Earl Thomas (yes please). There are also players cut by other teams (Min DE Brian Robison for example) that could come in and contribute at areas of need, immediately. Either way, from what Gutey has shown so far, he’s a bit more active, while being conservatively smart, than his predecessor was of late.
Optimism??—many of you that converse with me, especially consistently, know how I feel about almost every aspect of this great organization…however, there’s a reason to think this team can win a Super Bowl this year. It might take quite a bit of luck and timing, but then again, what team that wins doesn’t require that stuff?
- Luck—I could cover health, but that’s too obvious/easy. How about not getting screwed in a key game with these new helmet-to-helmet penalties? I truly worry that a team’s season will come down to, what many consider (myself included), the wussification of the NFL.
- Timing—what I mean by timing is a bit difficult to follow, but here’s hoping I’m able to communicate properly. Rookies rarely contribute, it usually takes 2+ years for them to help in a major way, unless you’re the 2017 Saints…the rookies will need early snaps to get their feet wet, but the veterans to fill in when the learning curve gets to be too much, so the Packers can still win games. Then later in the season, before the rookie wall hits they can contribute so the veterans don’t get burned out and can save their legs. Does that all make sense?
If that happens, along with the new defense gelling enough, this team could earn a top 2 seed in the NFC. If the Packers can get the 1 seed, there’s a realistic chance they could get to the Super Bowl…and as critical as I am of Aaron Rodgers, all I can judge him on in the Super Bowl is an MVP-caliber performance, which is expected if he gets there again J
Realistically?—the optimistic-realist in me thinks any team experiencing this much change doesn’t win a World Championship the following season. I do believe the Green & Gold can get to the playoffs and possibly win a game – stop me if that sounds familiar – but the soonest they win a ring is next year, then again does that mean it’s impossible?