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Packer Plus - - News - PETE DOUGHERTY AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

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.

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