Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

April 3, 2:11 PM ET
Chat with Kevin Seifert

Kevin Seifert
  (1:01 PM)

Hi everyone. It's been an interesting seven days since the last time we all got together, don't you think? Well, let's get to it -- Jay Cutler and all things NFC North.

Justin Behling (Boyceville, WI)

Have the Packers expressed any interest in possibly acquiring Jason Taylor or Julius Peppers?

Kevin Seifert
  (1:02 PM)

The Miami Herald reported the Packers were one of about 10-12 teams that expressed initial interest. I'm gathering there is very little chance he will end up in Green Bay. Taylor at his best is an end in the 4-3.

Cody (Auburn, Georgia) [via mobile]

Being an avid Bears fan, I'm ecstatic that Chicago finally has a quarterback to build their offense around. I have one question though: Will the addition of Cutler boost the production of our wide receivers or could Cutlers performance suffer due to not having the star wide outs he had in Denver?

Kevin Seifert
  (1:03 PM)

On that issue, I think it's going to end up in between. Cutler will make some of the Bears' receivers better. I think he's more likely to hit the deep pass to Devin Hester than Kyle Orton was. And you can't totally discount the numbers he put up with Earl Bennett in college. But at the same time, you can't expect Cutler to do what he did in Denver -- 4,500 yards -- with this group of receivers.

Chuck (Chicago IL)

Kevin, we have been hearing for years now that Greg Olsen is a top-flight TE with great potential. With Cutler at the helm, can we expect that real breakout season this year?

Kevin Seifert
  (1:04 PM)

If it's going to happen, now is the time.

matt pittsburgh pa [via mobile]

hey kevin i just wantd your thoughts on the bears giving up on orton so soon. sure he aint a pro bowl qb yet but he just didnt have the weapons cutler did and at least orton knows how to WIN!

Kevin Seifert
  (1:05 PM)

I think they were fully committed to him until Cutler became available, which few people thought would actually happen. I think Orton can be a winner in the NFL, but it's hard to argue that Cutler isn't a substantial upgrade.

Richard, Fort Riley, Kansas

Did the Lions even try to trade for Cutlet? Or did the front office drop the ball on another golden opportunity to fix a nagging problem in our offense? And are they even trying to sign any other big name free agents, such as Jason Taylor to fix problems on defense?

Kevin Seifert
  (1:06 PM)

I believe they did try to trade for Cutler, as we like to call him. Ultimately, they couldn't match the Bears' offer because they didn't have a ready-made starter they could send back to Denver. Also, as crazy as it sounds, the Broncos didn't want the No. 1 overall pick in the draft in return.

Jason (Brookline, MA)

So now that Chicago just made this huge investment in Cutler, and have hedged their bets by signing Orlando Pace, will they finally look into bolstering the receiving corps via free agency? Cutler will need someone besides a glorified kick returner to throw to. Holt or Harrison could teach the younger guys a lot and contribute immediately, and it seems like Toomer, Reggie Williams, or Furrey could at least step in as a solid #2 or #2 option.

Kevin Seifert
  (1:07 PM)

That's the final question. It doesn't sound like it, at least not yet.

evan, chicago

kevin, did the cutler trade really reshape the north, or did the bears just set themselves up for a huge disappointment and years of setbacks due to lost draft choices?

Kevin Seifert
  (1:07 PM)

It re-shaped the division one way or the other. Either the Bears will take control, or they'll fall back and open it up for someone else. How's that for an answer?

Mark de burg

When will the entire regular season schedule be released? And do you see the Vikings extended Peterson to a huge deal, I know he has like 3-4 years left but hes the franchise and he deserves it.

Kevin Seifert
  (1:09 PM)

The NFL doesn't announce a specific date for that, but typically it's during the first 10-14 days of April. Eventually the Vikings will extend Peterson, and there has been some talk about that recently, but I don't think anything is imminent. And I can't imagine the Vikings letting him go if it ever came to that. I'm sure they would franchise him if the had to.

Chris (tulsa Ok

Well I cant say im suprised Det didnt get Cutler but the price was steep neways so I am kinda glad we didnt get him. I guess my question is now is it a guarantee that Detroit will draft Stafford? I've been hoping so for quite some time now im just wondering did this trade finally put the nail in the coffin and make it a done deal?

Kevin Seifert
  (1:10 PM)

I do not think it's guaranteed the Lions will take Stafford. They're evaluating him independently of Cutler and it's not an either-or. They do need a quarterback, but more than that, they need the best player in the draft.



Kevin Seifert
  (1:12 PM)

I wouldn't pick a guy in the first round based on his ability to be a returner. I'd pick the best big-play receiver there is, if I decided to go in that direction. In the Vikings' case, I might go with Heyward-Bey.

Paul, Chicago, IL

This is not entirely a Jay Cutler question, but what do you foresee the Bears getting from Earl Bennett now that he's reunited with his college QB? Do you think this could be an unexpected surprise in the Chicago WR group despite him having done nothing in his rookie year?

Kevin Seifert
  (1:13 PM)

That's definitely the spin the Bears are putting out. I think Bennett will only benefit from Cutler's presence, but he still has to have NFL abilities in order to make it work. We have no idea if that's the case based on his performance last year. (0 catches.) The Bears are definitely taking a risk if they count on Bennett to be a starting receiver.

Kris (Terre Haute, IN)

I read last week that Dom Capers is planning to make the Packer's transition to a 3-4 defense a gradual one based on the personnel he has to work with. My concern with their transition is the lack of 3-4 personnel that they have in the front seven. One of the major cogs, nose tackle, is what I see as their biggest missing piece and their secondary will need little tweaking in the conversion. Could you help me better evaluate how many pieces they have and which ones for sure they are missing?

Kevin Seifert
  (1:15 PM)

I think they believe Ryan Pickett can play nose tackle, but they don't have a backup in place if he can't. In my opinion, they are short at least one end and maybe two linebackers, considering Nick Barnett's recovering from ACL surgery is not complete.

Trevor (U of M)

Why did the vikings pay a relatively high amount for Tahi who was signed off a practice squad and hasn't shown an inordinate amount of talent thus far? I mean, who CAN'T catch those little dinky drop off passes in the flat? And AP always says the guy is too hesitant to be a good lead blocker for him. Makes no sense to me...

Kevin Seifert
  (1:19 PM)

I can honestly say I have never understood the Vikings' fascination with Tahi nor their insistence on forcing a fullback onto the field when their best two backs are Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor.

Kevin (Austin TX)

Hi Kevin, do you foresee the Vikings or Bears making a play for Braylon Edwards? I know the Bears gave up a lot for Cutler, but adding Braylon to that mix would be scary.

Kevin Seifert
  (1:20 PM)

I wouldn't think the Bears could afford to make another trade. If they add a receiver, it's going to have to be via free agency or the draft. And I think it's much more likely to come from the draft.

Barry (Gilbert, AZ) [via mobile]

With the Bears making such uncharateristic moves recently. What do you say the chances would be that they go after a free agent like Tory Holt or Plax (if he doesn't do time). And do you think they would be better off getting a WR with the second pick rather than going the FA route?

Kevin Seifert
  (1:21 PM)

While they're at it, they should look into trading for Anquan Boldin and Randy Moss as well. Seriously, I think this was a once-in-a-lifetime move for Jerry Angelo and the Bears, not a sign that they're about to start acquiring every Pro Bowl player that might be available.

James Minot ND

I have always thought that Tarvaris Jackson would be a better quarterback if he wasn't limited by the coaching staff. It always seemed to me that they let Gus Frerotte do whatever he wanted, and kept Tarvaris under wraps. Do you feel like the coaching staff held Tarvaris back some? and do you think someone like Percy Harvin would help Tarvaris expand his game should he be available at the 22nd pick?

Kevin Seifert
  (1:23 PM)

That's been the case in some situations, no doubt. But if a team doesn't trust its quarterback to run its whole offense, what does that say about the quarterback?

Ryan (Toledo, OH)

Happy Opening Day! What is it about next year's draft class that makes some Lions' fans think we can wait to take a QB? I haven't seen much of McCoy and Bradford shows flashes, but could very well be a system quarterback (anyone remember Jason White???). I guess Tebow, depending on how he progresses as a passer this season, could be the one wildcard.

Kevin Seifert
  (1:24 PM)

Now THAT is looking ahead. I can honestly tell you that I have nothing remotely intelligent to offer on the 2010 draft. Sorry.

Tom (Chicago)

Is that really fair Kevin? I know you were half joking but it's not like Holt and Plax are close in value to Boldin! Hols has lost a step and Plax is, well, Plax. Might as well stick with Bennet and Davis rather than developing a 2nd round WR, makes no sense.

Kevin Seifert
  (1:25 PM)

No, I'm not trying to be a jerk ... although for me sometimes that is hard. I'm just amused at how many people are now hoping the Bears go out and get some big-time receivers now that they've traded for Cutler. Not much of a honeymoon, I suppose. But I understand what you're saying.

Jeff, Mpls

What happens if TJack wins the starting QB gig, but struggles early on like last year? Does Chili finally say enough is enough and cut ties with him and admit that he made a mistake?

Kevin Seifert
  (1:27 PM)

Perhaps. But I think that brings a larger point that provides another reason why it's like Tarvaris wins the job. It would be much smoother to start him and then replace him with Rosenfels, who I think people know will do a measured -- but probably not spectacular -- job. If Rosenfels wins it and then bombs, putting Tarvaris in as the new starter probably wouldn't excite many people.

Michael (LA)

Any thoughts on the Bear's back-up QB situation? Are they this committed to Hanie, or will they look for a veteran after the draft?

Kevin Seifert
  (1:28 PM)

I think they'll test the waters. But it seems that Lovie Smith has a lot of confidence in Hanie. You would think they'll give him every chance to win the job.

Aaron (K.C.MO.)

No one is using the front page KS, could you please move us off the F5 page?

Kevin Seifert
  (1:28 PM)

Unfortunately, not my department. Sorry that's happening.

Jay (Toledo, OH)

Kevin: do you think that all of this Jay Cutler/Matt Stafford non-sense is really just a cover-up for the Lions real intentions of taking Jason Smith/Eugene Monroe/Aaron Curry or my personal choice Mark Sanchez. Also what is your reaction to a number of "draft experts stating that Sanchez is acctually the better prospect?

Kevin Seifert
  (1:29 PM)

I think you're wise to suspect foul play when it comes to what the public hears on the Lions' interest. I think it's interesting that the Sanchez buzz is growing, but that could be based on the fact that one team in particular -- Seattle at No. 4 -- is showing a lot of interest.

Joey (Holland, Ohio)

Has there been any talk about who the Packers are bringing in for pre draft workouts

Kevin Seifert
  (1:30 PM)

No. Typically, the Packers don't bring in a ton of players for pre-draft workouts. Mostly for medical reasons if necessary.

Dan (Omaha, NE)

What do you think of the first several months of the post-Millen era in Detroit? Do we (Lions fans) have a reason to step off the ledge?

Kevin Seifert
  (1:32 PM)

We'll know a lot more after the draft. Martin Mayhew is a pretty private guy, so we don't really know what he's thinking on a lot of things. But for what it's worth, I don't disagree with many of the moves they've made. They needed to boost their short-term talent at many positions just to be credible and competitive, and I think they've done that.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

Hey, we're on the main page!

Kevin Seifert
  (1:32 PM)

Ask, and you shall receive.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

Kevin: I'd prefer that whoever wins the Minnesota starting job is good enough to keep it for the entire season. I think any time you have to make a QB change, it can hurt a team.

Kevin Seifert
  (1:34 PM)

Yes. (And I know this is J.B.'s second question.) Typically, it doesn't work the way it did for the Vikings last year. When the backup comes in, you can usually expect about a .500 performance. Gus Frerotte was 8-3. You can't expect the same thing two years in a row.

Jeff, Mpls

If Sidney Rice stays healthy this year, do you see him as a viable #2?

Kevin Seifert
  (1:37 PM)

I do, and that's why I was a little surprised at how aggressively the Vikings pursued T.J. Houshmandzadeh. I wouldn't necessarily call receiver their biggest need. I'm sure he would have made them better, but I thought they were pretty committed to Rice.


Fat Pat apparently just had knee surgery? How about BC's second best DT Mr. Brace? Any chance of Vikings going DT early-ish?

Kevin Seifert
  (1:40 PM)

My understanding is that the knee surgery was minor and more of a clean-up procedure. In general, you could argue the Vikings have to find some younger defensive tackles for the day that Williams does retire. But I wouldn't be worried about his availability for 2009, with the exception of his current legal situation.

hooch (Kentucky)

Who do you think will have better numbers this season Rodgers or Cutler?

Kevin Seifert
  (1:41 PM)

Actually, Aaron Rodgers. The Packers offense is more pass-oriented and he definitely has more weapons at the receiver position. And cue the avalanche of responses.

heywood (florida)

why do you only answer like 5 different peoples questions? are my concerns about the williams and booty not as important as theirs?

Kevin Seifert
  (1:42 PM)

Make it six. I've addressed Williams. As for John David Booty, people are obsessed with him primarily because they've never seen him play a meaningful NFL snap. Very few people in the league consider him a viable candidate to be the Vikings' starter in 2009.

Keith (Belvidere, IL [via mobile]

With Chicago trading for Cutler (which I personally believe was a fantastic move on Angelo's part) where does that leave them in terms of salary cap space for the draft and the rest of free agency this year and can you see Hakeem Nicks still being available when they draft in the 2nd rd?

Kevin Seifert
  (1:43 PM)

Oddly, the Bears now have more salary cap space in the short-term than they would have were it not for the trade. Cutler has a lower cap number in 2009 than Orotn would have. And the Bears will have to spend less money to sign their rookie classes in each of the next two years after giving up the first-round picks. That money gets transferred from the rookie pool to the general salary cap to be used on veteran players.

daniel (chicago)

u suck, i hate u

Kevin Seifert
  (1:44 PM)

I'm sorry to hear you feel that way. For what it's worth, I think you're the greatest.

duante culpepper [via mobile]

Is it me or am i getting the feeling that no one thinks i still can chuck it

Kevin Seifert
  (1:45 PM)

I'd say people know it's been a while since you were a Pro Bowl quarterback. But if the reports about your conditioning this offseason are true, I think you've got a chance to surprise some people.

JRod (Sullivan, IL)

Kevin, I haven't heard... Is it official yet that the Williams brothers will be serving their suspension the first four games of the regular season?

Kevin Seifert
  (1:45 PM)

Nothing is official. There are court dates scheduled for May and June, but unless there is a settlement, we won't know anything before then.

steve (nyc)

did you see dilfer and mark s on nfl live say that aaron rodgers was a better qb than cutler?!?!?! Rodgers was good and all but he was 6-10 this year...the best part about it was dilfer saying rodgers was a leader and that's why he is better! i hope my qb doesnt lead my team to a 6-10 season....

Kevin Seifert
  (1:46 PM)

I didn't, but I expect this rivalry is going to get us a few extra posts come training camp and the regular season. Rogers vs. Cutler, in my mind, doesn't have a clear-cut winner at this point.

Jeff (atlanta, ga)

I know the Bears have a glaring need at WR and everyone is already dedicating that 2nd round pick to select Robieskie, Massaquoi, etc...But isn't safety a bigger concern? Josh Bullocks? Geez! Payne is ok I guess, but Steltz played like Jeff Spiccoli last year! What are your thoughts? Great job!

Kevin Seifert
  (1:48 PM)

Safety is at least an equal concern, yes, although I'm not sure you have to draft a safety in the second round to find a viable starter. Bullocks is a very short-term fix. The Bears will have to address this position, but whether it will be in the second round, I don't know. Solid Fast Times reference, by the way.

heywood (Florida)

way to answer the lamest of all my questions by the way.... my question regarding brad childresses public evisceration was much more entertaining.... when will you learn what the internet audience really wants?

Kevin Seifert
  (1:48 PM)

Yes, blood in the water is a pre-requisite.

Jonathan (Las vegas)

How impressed were you at the way Cutler handled his press conference? I think he will make a great leader after hearing him talk.

Kevin Seifert
  (1:49 PM)

He kept it bland, which was important. No reason to start off another round of headlines. But most important, he acknowledged his role in the Denver mess and was honest in saying he had mixed feelings about leaving. You don't win games in the media room, but I think he did a good job.

Aaron (K.C.)

If you were Childress what would you have done the past couple offseasons about QB?

Kevin Seifert
  (1:51 PM)

This is the classic question, but I think the mistake came after year 1, when Brad Johnson decided he wanted out and the Vikings went to training camp in 2007 with Jackson and Brooks Bollinger as the top two guys. Nothing about either's performance suggested they deserved to be competing for a starting job. At that point, it might have made some sense to sign a Jeff Garcia-type player and allow Jackson to continue to develop.

Michael (LA)

Nice Spicoli reference, but spelled incorrectly. No pizza for you, dude.

Kevin Seifert
  (1:51 PM)

Ok, Mr. Hand.

DW (Detroit, MI)

Kevin - What do you think happens to Ernie Sims this year? Can be he an effective WLB outside of the T2, or do you think his size is going to finally catch up with him? I love how he plays but I have my doubts he can be an above average LB in this more traditional 4-3 scheme.

Kevin Seifert
  (1:52 PM)

Jim Schwartz has talked a lot about developing a scheme that fits the players. This will be a prime test of that philosophy. Ernie Sims can be a really good player if used right. If they ask him to take on lead blocks and try to stuff a gap at the line of scrimmage, it'll be a mistake .

Chris (Chicago, IL)

The Orlando Pace signing has been mentioned, but still hasn't been looked at with a whole lot of depth. Is Pace really 'washed up', and is the Bears o-line looking like they are going to be able to protect our new franchise qb?

Kevin Seifert
  (1:54 PM)

Fair question, one that would have gotten a lot more play had the Cutler trade not happened. I'm a bit surprised the Bears want to play Pace at left tackle. His skills have certainly diminished to a point. Of course, they've come down from being one of the best in the NFL, so that means he's still a servicable player. I just thought he could be protected a bit more on the right side. It's a good signing overall if he can stay healthy. If not, they'll have the line that we thought they would have all along: Chris Williams at left tackle and a journeyman at right tackle.

John o-town MN [via mobile]

If the vikes are successful in signing winfield to a contract extension, wil Chester Taylor be next?

Kevin Seifert
  (1:55 PM)

That's a big question because you wonder if Taylor is going to want to test the waters and see if he can get a top job somewhere else. I personally think he's in a good position where he is, but you wonder whether he'll want to test the waters.

Chique (guadalupa, mx [via mobile]

How about answering a q that requires thought? Cutler worth more then the first pick I'm draft, bears therfore didn't trade too much based on the NFL draft point system?

Kevin Seifert
  (1:57 PM)

Thinking is not my specialty. I don't have the point system in front of me. The Bears paid a premium price, but it's a price to be expected for a Pro Bowl quarterback.

Scotty Fargo (Erie, PA)

Please say something negative about the Bears chances this season so that Viking fans don't feel so bad about competing with Tarvaris / Sage.

Kevin Seifert
  (1:57 PM)


Renzo ((Dinkytown))

why all the hate? Im surpried you answer some of these questions which include implicit insults.

Kevin Seifert
  (1:58 PM)

Got to keep things lively. Sixty minutes of pure football is too intense for me.

kevin (green bay, wi)

has there been any talk about the contract extension of Greg Jennings and how much do you think hes worth at this point

Kevin Seifert
  (1:59 PM)

There has been some discussion about it. I know Jennings spoke to the Green Bay paper about it a week or so ago and said he wanted to remain with the Packers for his entire career. His value has to be among the top five receivers in the league, I would say.

Kevin Seifert
  (2:00 PM)

Ok everyone, thanks so much for chatting. Talk with you next week!