PA C K E R S
Q: With the right quarterback don’t you think Jordy Nelson could be a big difference maker for at least another year?
A: I’m skeptical about big difference maker. He’s lost a lot of speed. But he does have a great chemistry with (Aaron) Rodgers, off the charts really. That could be really valuable, for instance, in the red zone. But I wouldn’t say he’d be a big difference maker, a guy teams have to double or anything like that. Might be able to put up his share of red-zone TDs and convert third downs, though, and there’s plenty of value in that.
Q: Don’t you think they have already talked with Jordy and/ or (Randall) Cobb about taking a pay cut? How else do you think they will be able to offer free agents competitive contracts without knowing where money is coming from? Or is it they are ready to cut one of them if they refuse paycut?
A: They very well might have. It’s not something they’re going to tell the media if they have. If they do approach anyone about a pay cut, they probably need to be willing to cut him if he says no.
Q: How can the Packers know how much money they will have to spend in free agency if Rodgers’ contract isn’t going to be done until later?
A: They almost surely have several different structures in mind for Rodgers’ contract, depending on how much money they need on this year’s cap. They can structure it so they pick up $8 million, $9 million in cap room if they want, or they can structure it so it’s basically break even. So they have flexibility there. I’d think they’ll have to structure it to pick up some cap room this year, though, they just don’t have a lot to work with if they’re going to sign a cornerback who can start in the nickel and a starting tight end and possible stopgap starters at guard and maybe tackle.
Q: Pete, a lot of chatter about (Bryan) Bulaga. What’s your prediction for what becomes of him?
A: That’s a tough one. He’s scheduled to make $6.76M in salary and bonuses this year. There’s a pretty decent chance he’ll start the season on PUP — not a sure thing, but a real possibility — which means he’d miss half the season. He’s had a couple serious injuries the last few years, so he has a lot of miles on him. That’s working against him. But they don’t have anyone ready-made to replace him. A lot probably depends on what they do at RT in free agency and the draft. He does give them insurance if (Kyle) Murphy or (Jason) Spriggs or whoever doesn’t pan out as a starter. But if they badly need cap room to sign someone, he’d be one of a couple places where they could pick up a lot of cap space. I really don’t have a strong sense of which way that’s likely to go. Depends who’s on the roster two months from now.
Q: I can envision the Packers drafting a couple of offensive lineman this year. Do you think drafting tackles is more important than guards? Seems to me like tackles transition to guards easier than guards transitioning to tackles. If you could only take one offensive lineman in the entire draft, would you take a tackle or a guard?
A: That was their history under (Ted) Thompson, and it worked great. (T.J.) Lang, (Josh) Sitton and (JC) Tretter all were tackles in college but picked as guards. All fourth-round picks, too. Very good drafting with those guys and (David) Bakhtairi, another fourth-rounder. (Brian) Gutekunst has two fourth-rounders this year, at least for now.
Green Bay PressGazette columnist Pete Dougherty answered questions from readers during a recent chat. For the complete transcript visit packersnews.com.
Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb could be released for salary cap reasons.