Hi everyone. The combine is fast approaching, meaning we have some tangible draft material to discuss. We can also address anything else on your mind, from the lockout to the Vikings' stadium issue to the completely ridiculous snowfall we had this week in the Upper Midwest. Let's do this....
Who would you like to see the Packers open the 2011 season on Thursday night against?
Four words: Epicenter of Humanity II. I mean, don't we have to have Bears-Packers at Lambeau to open the season?
What do you think is the packers top draft priority? OL? CB? OLB?
I think outside linebacker and offensive tackle. I mean, neither is dramatic. But they really didn't have someone consistent at the ROLB position last year, and Bryan Bulaga is going to play RT or LT, but not both.
Despite being very inactive in free agency as usual, Ted Thompson showed us that he is a great talent evaluator that is able to overcome serious injury issues. Besides my issues with Mike McCarthy's in-game clock management issues, he did very well this year too obviously. I know that almost forced President Mark Murphy to give both Thompson and McCarthy extensions. What do you think of the extensions given to Thompson and McCarthy?
Well, McCarthy's isn't official yet. But both guys deserve extensions that put them among the higher paid people in their positions. That's the going rate for winning a Super Bowl.
Hey Kevin,Just wondering if you really think the Vikings made the right call by tagging Greenway instead of Rice?
They're both good players. Rice has the ability to be an elite player at his position, but he's had health issues. Greenway has been reliable but probably isn't going to be an elite player. So I could see it either way, honestly. And with the uncertainty of the CBA, it's not certain that Rice will be an unrestricted free agent. Greenway almost certainly will be. So it makes sense to franchise him.
Tim Hasselbeck suggested on Sportscenter yesterday that Champ Bailey sign with the Lions. Does that seem realistic to you?
I heard that he said that. They certainly have need at cornerback, and Bailey is still one of the best. He would have a major impact on a team that's already on the rise, one that hasn't been shy about paying out big-time money for free agents. So it makes sense for both sides. But that said, there is nothing more than speculation here at this point.
I read somthing that said at the beginning of next season A.J. Hawk's contract (all $10 mill) is gaurenteed. Is there any truth to this? When do the packers have until to restructure his contract if that's their plan?
The report was that it will be guaranteed at the start of the league year, which would technically be March 4. But it reality it means after the end of the lockout. So the Packers wouldn't have to do anything until after a new CBA is reached. At that point, they'll probably need to offer him a contract extension that changes the numbers for 2011.
I've been waiting for this chat all day! Huge Oakland fan, any chances of Asomugha staying in Oakland and helping Oakland make a run for winning the division next season?
My colleague Bill Williamson handles the AFC West, but there doesn't seem to be a consensus yet that Asomugha is definitely gone. But from an NFC North perspective, Charles Woodson said the other day he would be willing to move to safety to bring him to the Packers. But Woodson also wondered if it was a necessary move.
Do you have any decent sources for contract numbers? You linked to some numbers one of your colleagues compiled, but I have a hard time believing them to be accurate. I recall him listing the Packers at 129m for '11, which seems quite high...considering the front-loading of contracts done by Thompson...along with FA's coming off the books.
No, they were accurate. Remember, there is a difference between cash and cap. Those were CAP numbers that can be based on any number of accounting methods. It's not the cash the teams are paying out. It's how the contracts would be assessed based purely on cap rules.
Now that Greenway is franchised, what do you think the odds are of the Vikes being able to sign Rice to a long term deal? What about Leber? (I'm assuming Edwards is gone.)
I assume Edwards will leave as well. The Leber question is a good one. He's a nice, serviceable player who shouldn't be too expensive. But on the other hand, will the Vikings have three highly-paid LBs in their lineup? Already they have E.J. Henderson and now Greenway. Typically in a cap situation, you spread the long-term deals among positions. As for Rice, I think it's a high priority, but at this point it doesn't see the Vikings have a big urgency to get it done.
My wife (a teacher) had school cancelled today Kevin. We had a quarter of an inch of snow.... A QUARTER OF AN INCH!
We had about 70 times that amount here in Minnesota. Makes me seriously question why I live here.
NFL's a passing league, right? A qb has to be able to show ability to pass the ball. Why would a incoming college qb not throw at the NFL combine? Trying to hide something?
Like it or not, it's worked for many big-time QBs in the past. If you have the leverage, why not make everyone come to the place where you're most comfortable and have the best chance of putting on a great workout? Matthew Stafford did the same thing. ... It's great that Cam Newton is going to throw at the combine, but he could probably get away without doing it.
So Kev, how many new starters do you think the Lions NEED to compete for a playoff spot in 2011? I would argue they need 2 OLBs and 1 CB. Other upgrades (OT, 3rd WR, RB, SS, another CB) would obviously be nice, but I think they are 3 starters away from being relevant.
Very interesting. Agree they need two outside linebackers and cornerback, but that's assuming they also re-sign Chris Houston. They'll also need to figure out whether they're going to bring back Cliff Avril and keep their fingers crossed that KVB comes back at full strength.
Did you stand in line this morning for your Eddy Curry jersey?
Ugh. Fortunately, it sounds like he won't even make it to Minnesota.
NFL Combine is just around the corner. Couple questions... How much of a combine nerd are you? Is the NFL Combine an open event? If not... the NFL should sell tickets to that... I'd go.
It's been suggested that I am a nerd in general terms, which I can't deny. But I'm not a combine geek per say. The best part of the combine for my purposes is to get access to the coaches and GMs to get early-spring updates on their teams. As far as the analysis of actual player workouts, only a handful of pool reporters are given access. So I tend to rely on what ESPN's army of scouts -- Kiper and McShay, mostly -- hear and report on the players.
If Chester Taylor is released what are the chances he ends up back with the Vikings?
I could be wrong, but I don't know why he would be released. The Bears already paid him more than half of his contract last year in salary and bonuses. I believe he's on the books for about $1.5 million for next year. Why not bring him back at that price? I don't think he's as bad as his numbers were last year. He can help in the right situations.
Do you think it would be better for the Vikes to take a top tier defensive player at 12 than a QB?
It's all in the context of who is available. But I think they should do whatever they can to get a top quarterback out of this draft and let Bill Musgrave start coaching him. They've ignored the position for too long in the draft.
I keep hearing that the Packers need to draft an OLB from experts in the first round, and yet Walden and Zombo both contributed quite well, not to mention Brad Jones is coming back. Isn't the biggest need an OT?
Well, like I said, the need isn't dramatic. And if your worst problem is that you have a committee system at one of our OLB positions, you're OK. But it's hard to go into a season relying on a player to start who couldn't stay on the field the previous year. So it would be nice to find continuity there one way or the other. As for OT, they can probably squeeze another year out of Chad Clifton. If their plan is to eventually move Bulaga out to LT and make Lang the RT, then they're pretty much set.
Why would any team consider drafting a rookie QB this year if there's a lockout pending. They won't be able to work with coaches, or even learn a new playbook. Wouldn't that basically render a rookie QB worthless this year?
You draft a QB in the first round for the long-term, not just for the coming year. I agree there will be a development issue off the bat, but eventually it won't matter.
Kevin, there has been discussion about compensatory picks for the 2011 draft. Will there be compensatory picks in 2 months even without a CBA?
Yes, that's my understanding. They will be based on last year's free agency, anyway. The question would be if there will be 2012 compensatory picks. We won't know that answer until after a new CBA is reached.
Stop complaining about your weather Seifert... it froze here the other night and some of my plants got damaged. Also, it took 1 hour to heat my spa as opposed to the routine :30.
Grrr. Go away.
And by "go away," I mean, "Please don't remind us how great it is to be in Arizona this time of year."
vikings have much of a chance to rebound next year or will we have a long wait to be a factor again?
They're in an interesting spot. They still have a decent team with a lot of talent. But they're back to having no quarterback. That would hold back just about every team out there. They won't be contending until that question is answered.
It's really started to irk me that year after year, Detroit gets snubbed for a MNF game. It gets compounded when teams like SF, Cincy, Denver, Washington, Minny, Houston, and Arizona (all teams with worse records than Detroit) all got picked last year. They're a young entertaining team. So tell me: why not the Lions?
In the end, it's based on local television ratings and national appeal. The Lions have had much of any in recent years, but they're headed in the right direction. Ndamukong Suh has become a national star, and their offense definitely makes things exciting. I'll see what I can do next time I'm in Bristol. :)
Kevin, while GB could certainly use some depth at the LB, OL and CB positions, what do you think about using a high draft pick on a one-dimensional return specialist? It was the one missing piece from the GB arsenal, and while teams don't normally waste a 2nd or 3rd round pick on a return specialist, is that a luxury that GB can afford?
A really nice point, and one that the Bears proved with Devin Hester. He, of course, was a second-round pick. But I honestly don't know if there is a return guy coming out in this draft who would be worth a pick that high. I'll write that down on my combine list, though.
Hi Kevin, what do you think of the news today that the Pioneer Press and the Strib filed a lawsuit against the NFL to unseal documents regarding television revenue? Where do you think it will lead?
Well, I would love to know what's in them. The union's insinuation is that the league overtly negotiated television contracts with the idea of covering themselves with guaranteed revenue during a lockout. If that's the case, that could fall under some kind of legal classification of unfair bargaining or something along those lines. But I look at this as more of an attempt by the union to rattle cages than anything. You would think the NFL would be smart enough not to leave any evidence of overt intent, but who knows.
Brett Farve! Brett Farve! Brett Farve! Brett Farve! Brett Farve! You guys miss me!
Kevin, do you know if the Metrodome roof is targeted for completion in time for preseason (assuming preseason starts on time)?
It sounds like the timetable is going to be really tight, if there is a preseason at the normal time.
Over/Under on games I start next year - 10
I'll go with the over, based on the law of averages.
Very scientific, I know.
If the Vikes do indeed let Rice walk, could you see the Bears being big players for his services?
There could be a lot of receivers available, but it sure doesn't seem like the Bears are that concerned about the guys they have.
Any chance Wilf&Viking would look to renovate the 'Dome. (www.bcplacestadium.com). Why have there been no discussions around using the foundations and structure but expanding and upgrading superstructure?
Because the "footprint" of the dome won't support the kind of stadium the Vikings want. They need a bigger foundation. The best renovation the building could support wouldn't bring them to where they want to be. From an engineering standpoint, they just need to raze and rebuild.
Greenway may see more balls thrown his way than Rice will anyway if Tavaris Jackson is the QB.
Ha. I'm pretty sure Tarvaris is moving on.
If Akeem Ayers, Nate Solder, and Jimmy Smith are all available at pick 13 who should the lions take?
I'd go with Solder and give myself some depth and options at both tackle spots.
Minnesota has stated that they will "pursue all avenues" to get a QB.... What is the likelihood that that includes Kolb?
It's possible. McNabb is another possibility. If they want to compete in 2011, they'll need to get more than a serviceable veteran to go along with whoever they draft.
Settle a dispute - Do you think Aaron Rodgers looks like Ellen DeGeneres?
I'll take the "no" side.
Will KVB be 100% ready to go for the Lions IF training camp starts up in August?
He has said he is already pain-free. I wouldn't count out the guy. If anyone is coming back from a neck injury, it will be him.
Kevin, If you had a crystal ball when do you see them agreeing to a new CBA?
No one knows what's going on behind the scenes in this current mediation, but assuming it doesn't lead to a deal, you would think the next real deadline is in August when training camps would open and regular season games are in jeopardy. Usually it takes a deadline to get these kinds of things done.
Will Ryan Grant respond by amping up his game now that there is a formidable challenger for the starting RB spot in Starks?
I don't think he had amped it down. If it all works right, the Packers will have a two-back offense for the first time in a while.
You are a weather wussie. If Childress was still in MN, who do you think would be his QB in 2011??
Yes in fact I am. As for Childress, I truly believe he would be giving Tarvaris a chance.
What's your Wonderlic score?
Somewhere between 0 and 50. Can't remember.
Is Jasper Brinkley a player? He was serviceable when EJ was out and can't be any more invisible than Leber was last year...
He's pretty decent but I wonder if he's build to play on the outside. He's kind of a prototypical MLB.
Kev, hypothetical offseason question (and probably a have at it)...You're in a dark alley and are about to be attacked. Suddenly, an NFCN player steps around the corner to save the day. Who are you taking? (I take KVB if he has his contacts in)
Ha! Good one. I'm thinking of a Lions defensive lineman as well. A little younger. A lot bigger. And meaner than KVB.
Have the Vikings shown any interest in Bob Sanders or OJ Atogwe?
Not yet, no. Both guys have been making visits elsewhere.
Isn't the idea of Woodson moving to safety a moot point? The nickel back was on the field 80% of the time, and Woodson plays much more on the line of scrimmage, or in the slot, than he does as a true outside cornerback.
No, it's a big deal. Woodson plays in the slot sometimes and has moved to safety at times, but that's still different from doing it on every play.
Any word on whether the Lions will appeal the tampering charge?
It will be a good question for the combine. I believe they have until the end of this month to do so. But losing a 7th round pick and moving lower in the fifth round might not be worth the trouble.
What are the chances Minny trades up to to get Gabbert?
It's too early to know if they're "in love" with him to the point of doing that, but they'll probably need to make a move if they decide they want him.
Does Rodgers have to come up with a new celebration now? It seems the belt has jumped the shark...
Yes. Opponents will have all offseason to game plan for him. He'll need to come up with a twist for sure.
Do you think Aaron Rodgers will follow in Manning's footsteps and host SNL?
I could definitely see him doing something like that. He's got an understated sense of humor but clearly enjoys pop culture experiences, be it the Kentucky Derby or going on the Ellen show.
Is Levy versitale enough to play OLB?
That's where he played at Wisconsin, I'm pretty sure. So it's a possibility, if the Lions find they are better off acquiring/drafting a MLB this spring.
How do you think the Vikes feel about T.Gerhart after his rookie season?
He seemed to make some strides toward the end of the season and certainly seemed more confident. A few too many fumbles for my taste, though...
Per se vs "per say". might come in handy.
Whoops. Obviously I'm not a grammar nerd either.
Ok, a few more here.
Kevin:I would have preferred taking Clausen over Gerhart, but the position wasn't ignored--T-Jax was supposed to need time to develop. He'll be OOF in 2012, but picking the wrong player isn't the same thing as ignoring a position.
Well, let me be more specific. I think they did the right thing to target a QB in 2006, but then were deluded into not addressing it again thereafter. There was never a time when it appeared T-Jack deserved to be given an unchallenged chance to be the starter.
Gee a Vikes RB with a fumbling issue. That's a new one, Kevin.
They're only allowed one per year. Peterson got himself under control last year.
Assuming R.Edwards is a goner....Is the platoon of B.Robison and E.Griffen enough?
That's a position that could see significant turnover between now and the start of the season.
Hey how about some news from the Bear? What do you think of Fantuz that 6'4" Wide Reciever the Bears snagged from the CFL?
At this point, there is no indication he will be challenging the Bears' top three WRs. Hard to have impact if he doesn't.
OK everyone, thanks so much. Chat with you next week.