Hi everyone. While NFL owners meet in Chicago in hopes of maintaining a full 2011 season, we're going to chat as if that's a fait accompli. Or something like that. Let's get to it.
While the owners have stated a July 14th "drop dead" date for a full 16 game 17 week schedule as written. Does this mean that the "real" drop dead date is July 28th? I say this because they could push everything back a week by eliminating the "bye" week between the conference championships and the Super Bowl, and then eliminate each teams' bye week during the regular season, although admittedly that would probably entail redoing the schedule although something in the back of my head tells me they factored that into the schedule this year somehow.
I don't think anyone has made a statement so dramatic. Generally speaking, it would make sense to have an agreement by mid-July if camps are going to open by the end of July. That would allow for a week or 10 days or so of free agency. But you're right. There is flexibility built into that schedule as announced this spring. They could start the season three weeks late and still have the full 16 games.
On a scale 1 (no chance) to 10 (definite), what is your view on Sidney Rice remaining a Viking this year?
If things continue toward a CBA agreement, where players with four years of experience would be unrestricted free agents, I'll say the chance of Rice staying with the Vikings is a 3.
Which player returning from injury has a bigger impact this year: Morgan Burnett or Mike Neal?
Mike Neal has a better chance because it doesn't look like the Packers will bring back Cullen Jenkins. Burnett could face a stiffer path to the starting lineup. I think the Packers are envisioning Neal as a starter.
Due to the big bucks the packers are going to have to pay over the next few years to Matthews and Rodgers, do you see the it coming to the point where they actually won't be able to afford to sign someone like Finley to a big contact.
There is some concern about that, for sure. The cap might not allow the Packers to keep all three of those guys. So if you have to say goodbye to one, who do you pick? You're not going to let Rodgers go, and so it's a debate between a pass rusher and a tight end. On most NFL teams, that's not a debate. But we're at least a year or so from the Packers having to make that decision.
The Lions' weaknesses are well known, and the assumption is they'll use free agency to deal with at least one position, but Mayhew's been aggressive in moving players as well. Are they deep enough at any position to trade someone on their roster for a corner or linebacker?
Interesting question. I don't think they're deep enough anywhere to be in position to part ways with anyone who could bring them a starter elsewhere. Maybe tight end, but that's the only one that comes to mind.
It stands to reason that when the Lions finally look good, there may not be a season. Even when they're getting all the love, the Lions still get screwed. BLAST!
Simmer down. At this point, I think everyone would be STUNNED if the NFL season were canceled or even cut back significantly.
Who do you think will be the Vikings starting quarterback, Ponder or Webb?
If it's a choice between those two, I would be stunned if it weren't Ponder.
I really like the Super Bowl rings the Packers designed, what are your thoughts?
They had some serious bling, that's for sure. I'm probably the wrong person to ask about jewelry, though.
Rant alert: It really irks me that so many Bears fans chirp about how much their defense dominates Rodgers and the Packers, how they always shut us down and have our number. Sure, they play us better than any team. No doubt. But Rodgers is 5-2 against the Bears, Cutler is 1-4 against GB in a Bears uniform. Our defense absolutely owns Cutler, 4-10 TDs-INTs, sub 60 passer rating & completion %. Who is dominating who again?
Interesting and fair points. (I'm trusting you on those numbers. I don't have anything in front of me to immediately verify.) The record is the bottom line, but there is little doubt Rodgers has had some tough(er) games against the Bears.
Hi Kevin,Do the Bears have the financial wherewithal to sign a starting OL (Gallery) and WR (J. Jones) in free agency in addition to reupping Roach/Pisa etc. Thanks buddy.
I think they are planning to spend some money, but maybe not enough to do everything you're suggesting. To me, they need to spend some of their money on Olin Kreutz. He's getting old, but they don't have a center right now. But I would be surprised if they pursued Jones or any other receiver.
After that article on Chester Taylor's bad year in Chicago, will people finally realize the Vikings were smart for drafting me?
Ha. I think most of us recognized at the time, and now as well, that it was smart for the Vikings to let Taylor leave. There is no reason to pay Adrian Peterson's backup the money Taylor was seeking. As for whether Gerhart is an appropriate alternative, I would say the jury is still out.
Kevin, what do you think the chances are that the Packers bring back Nick Barnett?
I think they want to get a look at him from a health perspective. Under normal circumstances the Packers would have already made that decision, but the lockout has pushed it back and changed things. Maybe he goes to camp with them to prove his health and increase his trade stock. Who knows?
Did you hear Collin today talking that the Vikings and half a dozen other teams should try to get Brett Favre back because they have no chance for the playoffs with their current QBs and lack of OTAs. It's Brett's body that is keeping him from coming back. Would it be too radical for teams to consider using a "Closer QB" similar to baseball?
I know Lions fever still may have an effect on some of us....but seriously how scary can the Lions offense be. The more I look at what they did in the draft the more I see a stacked offense. If they click and I think they will this could be a really high end unit.
That and the defensive line are why so many people are intrigued by the Lions.
If Sidney Rice does leave Minnesota, do you think they go out and sign a free agent receiver? If so who would they look at?
They would have to consider free agents or possibly a trade. I don't have any names for you yet, but I think that's a definite possibility.
The packers have yet to use their franchise tag. Do you believe they didnt because they were unsure of what its significance would be post the new CBA, or do you feel like they arent going to use it this year?
Their chance to use it has passed, unless the new CBA somehow allows for it. I think they just didn't have any candidates. They're prepared to let Cullen Jenkins leave and Mason Crosby probably doesn't need to be protected to that degree.
You always say that the measure of a coach is their winning percentage. I think that some teams obviously have much better talent than others and that should be taken into consideration. Also, if you really believed that, then you would have ranked Jim Caldwell much, much higher (at all). He went 14-2 in his first season, but that didn't make him the best coach of all time.
Of course there are subtleties involved and secondary issues that go into judging a coach. But my point is that coaches ultimately need to win to continue coaching.
I seems like everything I've read recently says the Lions corners aren't as bad as people make them out to be. The whole secondary was ridden with injuries like Delmas' groin. Do you think they will even go for a CB in free agency I say no. Linebacker will be where they grab a decent player.
They better go after a CB, or at least re-sign Chris Houston. Right now, they're significantly undermanned.
As a Packers fan, it kind of scares me how this new CBA seems to be run by the richest, largest market owners such as the Krafts, Maras, and Joneses. The Vikes potentially have 1 toenail out of the Midwest, and they're not even in a small market. Why should I believe the Packers will have any shot of competing in Green Bay if revenue sharing decreases in the new CBA?
Revenue sharing isn't going to decrease. The Packers will still get the same share of the TV contract that every other team gets. The issue you're referring to is that most NFL owners don't want to share their local revenues on top of that. But the Packers already have high local revenues from the Lambeau Field renovation. Not an issue.
I know the Vikings are most likely using a move to LA as leverage for a new stadium... but if I were the Wilfs, I'd at least consider the move. Wouldn't there be a lot more revenue from an LA team that from a Minnesota team? After all... owning a football team is a business, so why not make a decision that makes great business sense?
Well, there would probably be a hefty relocation fee. So you have to take that into account. Also, Zygi Wilf would have to consider the implications of being the man who moved the Vikings out of Minnesota. Sure, the state would bear responsibility for not agreeing to build a stadium. There are two sides to every story. But tell that to someone in Cleveland when you mention "Modell," or someone in Baltimore when you say, "Irsay." I really doubt Wilf wants his name to be used in that context.
Kevin, Do you think Randell Cobb will be the packers kick returner?
I do, yes.
I think the Lions now have the best balanced offense in the NFC North. Bears have RB issues, Vikes are a mess, Packers have Kuhn running the ball. Schwartz is assembling a diverse and dominant group. Who do you think has the best balanced group?
Don't forget the Packers will have Ryan Grant back to pair with James Starks. John Kuhn would be a very secondary runner if he returns and if he is forced back into the lineup. Overall, I would say the Packers have the most balanced offense in the NFC North.
Most of the FA WRs are of the big, box-out type variety - Rice, Braylon Edwards, TO, Plaxico...does this fit with the Bears offensive personality?
No, but on the other hand, Lovie Smith has said he wouldn't mind adding a big receiver. So it wouldn't be out of the question. I just would be surprised if the Bears spent a bunch of money on that position.
Kevin, from your perspective, can you see why any of the owners would take issue with what has been outlined/rumored thus far about a new CBA? A 48% percent share, working on details for a rookie scale, owners have the possibility of additional funding for new stadiums... really what more are these guys asking for?
Possibly some kind of safety net should the national economy tank. I think that's what they feel got them in this position in the first place. They were still giving players the same increases even as their revenues were falling.
Or so they say.
My vikes scare me because they are getting old in some key spots. But could there be a silver lining to this lockout? The time off is giving some of our vets a chance to finally get healthy and rested (Hutch for example). Could the loss of offseason practices have some benefit for a veteran-laden team like MN?
Maybe for the defense, but when you are installing a new offense, with a new coordinator and a new quarterback, you need every offseason practice you can get. So no, I don't think the lockout is a net positive for the Vikings.
Who is the more impressive athlete - Megatron or All Day?
Interesting. I'm not sure how the quantify that. But I think I'll say Calvin Johnson. What he does defies physical explanation sometimes. You just don't expect someone that big to be able to play that position that way. It's almost like Magic Johnson playing point guard at 6-9. What Peterson does is simply better than everyone else, but he isn't the physical exception that everyone else is.
Kevin, to you who is the better player - Devin Hester or DeSean Jackson?
Another interesting comparison. I think I would take Hester because he is the very best returner in the history of the NFL, including Jackson. I think we can agree that Jackson is the better receiver, but he is nowhere close to as good of a receiver as Hester is a returner, if that makes sense.
Who would win in a fight between Thor and Clay Matthews III? (no hammers allowed).
What side is Ditka on? Wait, that joke went out of style about 15 years ago, right? I'll go with Thor because he comes from the land of make-believe and therefore doesn't have to play the rules of mere humans.
Earl Bennett a legit #1 receiver in your eyes????
I think he can be pretty productive in this offense with Cutler at quarterback. Is he an 80-catch, 1,300-yard, 12-touchdown guy? I'm not sure about that.
Adam Schefter is reporting that all players with at least 4 years of accrued service will be UFAs. Can you tell us who in the NFC North would fall into that category?
I will post that on the blog, but there are some key players like Sidney Rice and Chris Houston on that list.
signs pointing to Rice return in MN, vikes didnt draft a wr, and talks about letting Berrian go in free agency. wouldnt it make sense that they think they can get rice back?
Or that they have an idea of where they will go in free agency and/or the trade market.
Is Stefan Logan the best kick returner in the NFC north?
On kickoffs? Perhaps. I think we have to go with Hester on punts.
I know you blog about the north but do you have any personal friends that are players, coaches, or owners?
The nature of the business leaves most reporters and the people they cover in contradictory positions. Not ideal for friendship, but I have established friendships with some people after they stop playing/coaching/owning.
My general motto is to be friendly to everyone but make clear I'm not here to be their friends. (Not that they would want to be, of course.)
Who do you expect bigger things from next year: James Starks or Jahvid Best?
I like the either or questions we're getting today. Both are guys that will share the role (at best!) if things go the way their coaches want them to. But I'll say Best because he's a bigger-play threat.
Now that they got their bling, have you heard anything about GB offseason workouts?
At this point, time is running out for that. If camps are going to open close to on time, guys need to pull back in July and not be overworked when camp starts.
What do you think the Packers will do in the short free agency period? You've mentioned let Jenkins walk. It seems like James Jones is all but gone too since he wants top receiver money. I'm assuming they try to resign Crosby though. Do you see them picking up any potential players besides undrafted rookies?
Honestly, I don't. Pete Dougherty wrote in the GB Pres-Gazette that Crosby will be the Packers' top priority, and I think that's a pretty good call.
With the uncertainty at QB in Minnesota, does Adrian Peterson's carries and yardage numbers increase to what we saw during the Pre-Favre era?
Leslie Frazier has made clear he wants to build the offense around Peterson. I'm not sure if his carries can go up much, but he'll be as much of the focal point as he can be.
Do you think Lions CB Aaron Berry could come in and make a big impact on the secondary? I know we only got to see him play 2qtrs but in that short time he had 3 tackles and 1 INT. Could he come in and become a Sam Shields or Tramon Williams?
The Lions obviously had high hopes for him to make him the nickel in Week 1 last year after he basically was hurt all summer. But it's hard to count on a guy with that kind of injury history.
Assuming that Stafford stays healthy, how many TD's do you think CJ grabs? I'm putting the number around 14.
I'll take the under but not by much.
What do you make of this CBA progress that has been seeping through the media? Real smoke? Or just another chapter in a long and boring book?
I guess time will tell, but all indications -- public and otherwise -- suggest a deal will come sometime this summer. The threat of missing games, and the money that goes along with it, is just too big for most owners and players to handle.
Am I relevant?
Not to the Bears, apparently.
Kevin, Given Carl Eller's history of late, do you think his involvement in backing a class-action lawsuit against the NFL (demanding better benefits for former players) will help or hurt the cause?
Fair point. The one place where it seems appropriate is that on a relative scale, Eller is physically healthy. He can project himself as using his Hall of Fame credentials to fight for other people, his teammates and friends, more than it is a selfish money grab on his part.
Could the Lions trade Sammie Lee Hill for a starting corner?....I think a 340 plus pound DT that can move and isnt a blob would have real trade value..But I also see them keeping him as his future may be brighter than Corey Williams
The general rule of trading is that you have to give up value to get value. Is a backup defensive tackle, even one with promise, as valuable as a starting corner? I don't think so.
I should have went further with my last question about Earl Bennett being a #1. Is he the Issac Bruce or Torry Holt of Martz Offense???
I wouldn't use his name in a sentence with either of those guys, if that's what you're asking.
Dhani Jones says Urlacher can't shed a block and ranks himself as a better LB than Lance Briggs. Do you agree with Jones?
That's never been the strength of Urlacher's game. But I think Jones is mostly trying to draw attention to the book he wrote.
With all the obscene power rankings you guys are doing when are you finally just gonna do a ranking of jerseys?
Obscene? I think they've been rated G for the most part. I understand what you're saying. I actually thought the up-and-coming coaches thing was interesting and a departure from the norm. There are no plans to rank jerseys, not after our ground-breaking helmet ranking.
Whoa Kev, as an OU guy I have to take great expception to your AD take. Adrian Peterson is the only guy I have seen who could have stepped onto an NFL field as a High Schooler.. He can jump a 40 with an 80lb dumbell in his hand...If you put AD and CJ in the octagon I will put every penny on I own on AD...
I don't disagree with any of that. But of all the things Peterson is, I don't think he's a physical freak. Calvin Johnson is.
Agree that AP's one fumble 2010 campaign is the greatest accomplishment of his NFL career thus far?
Ha. Setting the single-game record for rushing wasn't a shoddy accomplishment, either.
Great piece arguing for Stafford. One part I think that you maybe should have included is that Stafford had THREE touchdowns in one half against the Jets D!
Thanks and a good point.
Any reason the Vikings management doesn't leverage LA even more than they 'supposely' do?
They will if this current proposal doesn't pass.
I know Schwartz and Cunningham are SOLD on Levy as the MLB and for good reason cuz he seems to be very intelligent and good at reading the offense and switching up the coverage but with there holes @ OLB and the fact there really arent any starting UFA OLB's avialable could you see them going after Rocky Mcintosh or Barnett and move Levy to OLB?
They definitely haven't ruled out moving him if it helps make two positions better.
If James Jones leaves, it's Jordy + Jennings, a 36 yr old Driver, rookie Cobb, and special teamer Breet Swain at WR for Green Bay. Is that a problem, or does it not matter as much with Rodgers slinging it?
I think a lot of teams would be more than satisfied with that group. And remember, it would include Jermichael Finley as well.
My question didn't get a response. Please try again. (Brett/Closer QB)
Oh, sorry. I honestly don't think that could work. A quarterback coming into a game cold in the fourth quarter has never been a preferred strategy. But I like the out-of-the-box thinking.
Lay it on the line, Kev. In your opinion, do you believe Percy Harvin, um, embellishes his migraines, or at least the timing of them? Thirty-one full practices? C'mon.
I can't say I've never heard that accusation before. But I really do think he has had migraines and there is no evidence to suggest he's been fabricating them. He gets that benefit of the doubt on that one.
What about Alphonso Smith? Or do the Lions see him as simply a nickel back?
Well, he's one cornerback. Who would the other be?
Aaron Rodgers right now at age 27, or Brett Favre age 27. Choose.
Whooooooooooooooooa. Whooooooooooooooooa. Whooooooooooooa. I'm speechless ... Ok, let me gather myself. The biggest argument for either would be that we already know Favre would have 14 more mostly productive years ahead of him. Can we count on that for Rodgers? Not sure. I'll ... take ... Favre.
Ok, after that, I can muster the strength for only a few more.
@Adam cutler had three touchdowns against the Jets in 7 minutes
Kevin, I think I worded my question poorly about revenue sharing. The Packers have revenue from Lambeau now, but I'm looking ahead 10-15 years. The Packers revenue dipped dramatically, from $21 mil to $8 mil, all while winning a Super Bowl. Let's face it, eventually Lambeau simply won't be renovatable (new word) and will have to replaced with a new age monstrosity like Dallas' new stadium, as they'll most likely be the norm in 15 years. It's already happening in other sports. Without the revenues that large market teams will create, will Green Bay remain feasible, even if they remain competitive? From what I'm hearing about the owners split in CBA negotiations, the answer appears to be no, which is what worries me.
The Packers' revenue dropped along with that of other NFL teams. They're still in the upper half of the NFL in terms of total revenues, and that won't change as long as they maintain Lambeau and the NFL still shares TV money.
I remember a game last year where Harvin twisted his ankle pretty badly and kept playing...if he was soft, I would think that would have been a valid excuse then..
I don't think the suggestion was that he was soft. He's tough as nails. It's more a maturity thing. But regardless, I don't think it's an issue.
Golden Girls, or Magnum P.I.?
I'm a big Betty White fan.
OK everyone, thanks so much!
Chat with you next week.