Chat with Rob Demovsky
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN NFL Nation Green Bay Packers reporter Rob Demovsky drops by to chat and answer all of your Packers questions.
Following 16 years covering the Packers for the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Demovsky joined ESPN in 2013 as the Packers beat reporter. He is a two-time Wisconsin Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.
Send your questions now and join Demovsky Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET!
Rob Demovsky (3:59 PM)
Good afternoon everyone. I'm sure there are lots of questions about Julius Peppers and the other free-agent happenings, so let's get started.
Kevin (Fond du Lac (WI))
With the Packers adding Peppers and Guion to the DL and bringing back Neal should we expect Ted to look at other area's besides DL and LB in the first couple rounds of the draft?
Rob Demovsky (4:01 PM)
Kevin: Safety remains a major need, but that's nothing new. You have to wonder what Thompson would do if the safety he wanted -- assuming he wants one of them -- is not there at No. 21. With the addition of Peppers and the return of Raji, perhaps he'd be less included to go D-line, although it's possible both of those players could be one-year guys. Would look to offense at, say, TE or WR? That's possible.
Hey Rob, I have got to say, I'm really confused by the Starks signing. You've pointed out the Packers have a surplus of solid running backs and signing Starks just makes it more crowded. Seems like if they wanted another running back Kuhn would have been the smart signing. Without him the Packers would have never made the playoffs!
Rob Demovsky (4:05 PM)
Aaron: Doesn't mean they won't bring back Kuhn. I could see them keeping four halfbacks (Lacy, Starks, Harris, Franklin) plus one fullback. Also, given how committed the Packers were to running the ball better last season, it makes sense to stockpile affordable running backs in case there's injury. Not one of those four backs is making huge money yet.
Given the way B.J. Raji's contract is structured, is there a good chance the Packers will give him competition for the nose tackle spot through the draft and possibly cut him before the season starts?
Rob Demovsky (4:06 PM)
Mike: I don't see that happening. Yes, they only gave Raji a $500k bonus, so they could dump him before the season and be off the hook for the remaining $3.5 million, but he's too talented a guy not to give another shot to.
Tristan (Washington, DC)
It took a while for James Jones to catch on and sign with the Raiders. Does this speak more to how teams view him or how they view Aaron Rodgers? If teams believe that Rodgers makes receivers look better than they are more than the other way, does that lower the price for resigning Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb?
Rob Demovsky (4:07 PM)
Tristan: Good question. Hard to know exactly what other teams think of the Packers' WRs, but in Jones' case he's never been a 1,000-yard guy, doesn't have breakaway speed and is going to be 30 years old. Not sure that impacts the price for Nelson or Cobb, who are both more dynamic than Jones.
Hey Rob, I know Finley has inconsistent hands and more importantly, a significant injury, have the Packers washed their collective hands with him or are they awaiting another physical before proceeding (would check off the need to use an early draft pick on TE & focus on NT/S of the future)
Rob Demovsky (4:08 PM)
Chris: As of yesterday, I was told Finley had not been medically cleared by anyone, including the Packers. As for whether the Packers have decided to move on regardless, that's something I haven't been able to find out. Don't think anyone has.
Josh (Boulder CO)
What are your thoughts on the DT from minnesota. Is he a project or could he see major time on the field
Rob Demovsky (4:09 PM)
Josh is talking about Letroy Guion, who signed a one-year deal on Monday. He's a situational guy. Did not have a great year last year, so he's looking to rebound. Those guys who are hungry can sometimes help.
Rob, thanks for the tremendous coverage! I view CJ Mosley as an impact MLB, and they should trade up 5-10 spots to get him ala CM3. TT passed on Oglesby last year, and I hope he doesn't make that mistake with Mosley: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoep15cF_aU Thoughts?
Rob Demovsky (4:10 PM)
Chris: Based on Mel Kiper's latest mock draft, they might not have to trade up to get him. I was surprised to see Mosley still available to the Packers at 21 in Kiper's latest mock.
Eric (North Dakota)
Rob, saw an article that said the Packers should move Bulaga back to right tackle so that they can resign him for cheaper than a left tackle. What are your thoughts on this?
Rob Demovsky (4:11 PM)
Eric: It sounds like they are moving him back to right tackle regardless. Tackles don't come cheap no matter which side they play. Another team could view Bulaga as a LT and pay him as such.
Ryan (Orange County)
Obviously the Packers don't want to risk Cobb's health in the return game this year. Now that it's been a couple weeks into FA, what are the chances they look at Devin Hester?
Rob Demovsky (4:13 PM)
Ryan: Funny you should ask about Hester. I made some calls on him today to a few people around the league and wrote this: http://es.pn/1daWFIjFrom what I could tell, it sounds like a bunch of teams (the Packers included) could be interested in Hester's price comes down.
Swizz (Bristol, England)
1) Hyde to safety......good move/bad move ?2) Any idea of the confidence level of the staff, regarding Tretter to center ?
Rob Demovsky (4:15 PM)
Swizz: I think it's a good move from the standpoint that Hyde showed he has a nose for the ball and he can tackle. Guys like that need to be on the field. However, that doesn't mean they should bank on Hyde being able to play there full time. They should protect themselves with another option or two in case they decide Hyde is better at corner. As for Tretter, they like him but how much can they really like a guy who's never played a down in the NFL?
Mitch (Green Bay)
Is it me or is this defense built for the 4-3 instead of the 3-4 (specifically our d line)?
Rob Demovsky (4:17 PM)
Mitch: I think it's built to do either, and that's what it sounds like McCarthy is asking Dom Capers to do. Although he won't say exactly what he means, McCarthy has made several references this offseason to wanting to be "more multiple." Let's face it, they were a little predictable last season: Base on first down, nickel on second down and dime on third.
Ben C (Berkeley, CA)
Are all these one year guaranteed deals a win now concept or do you expect players like Peppers to stay around longer and they are just protecting the cap? Do you think Ted sees Peppers as a patch until he hits on another pass rusher in the draft or a true three year player?
Rob Demovsky (4:19 PM)
Ben: It's a combination, really. With Peppers, it's essentially a one-year deal and if he plays well enough to want him back, they could try to restructure without killing their cap. Obviously, Raji is the same given it's a one-year deal. The Packers were able to do this because they were in good cap health.
KC (Des Moines)
Forget the Packers. There's a billion dollars at stake. Give us your Final Four.
Rob Demovsky (4:20 PM)
KC: Will you share some of it with me if I'm right? I've got Arizona, Michigan, Florida, Michigan State with Michigan State over Arizona in the title game. Good luck.
student (accounting class)
I assume that a player's salary cap hit assumes that the player will be paid all of their bonuses (e.g., the Packers have to assume Raji will be active for all 16 games & get his full $300,000 roster bonus). If Raji were inactive for 2 games, what happens to the $37,500 the Packers don't have to pay him? What about playoffs...would Raji continue to make $18,750 per game played in the postseason? Is that exempt from salary cap figures?
Rob Demovsky (4:21 PM)
Roster bonuses are for the regular-season opener. Post-season playoff shares don't count against the cap. As for the per-game roster bonuses, under your scenario those are taken off the cap at the end the same way a player with a split salary would have his cap number adjusted if he were to go on IR at some point during the season.
Joel (San Diego)
Hey RobAny chance we see Jonathan Franklin get another crack at Special teams as a return man?
Rob Demovsky (4:22 PM)
Joel: He really struggled just to catch the ball, so he would have to make some giant strides in that area. But he's got the speed and shiftiness to be good at it if ever figured how to play the ball. I think he'll get another try in the preseason.
Preston (Colorado Springs, CO)
If Packers move Bulaga back to RT, what do they do with Barclay? Backup? Or possibly move to Center now that EDS is out?
Rob Demovsky (4:24 PM)
Preston: They like their backup O-linemen to be versatile, so any of those are possible. Barclay worked some at center last offseason and they'll continue to work him there to see if he can legitimately compete for the job.
Your comment: "As for Tretter, they like him but how much can they really like a guy who's never played a down in the NFL?" Isn't the answer the same as they would like any draft choice who hasn't played a down in the NFL, yet we'll expect that guy to come in and start.
Rob Demovsky (4:25 PM)
Randy: I see your point, but the thing with Tretter is he's never played center. He was a tackle in college. So not only would it be an adjustment to the NFL but also an adjustment to a new position.
What are your thoughts on Bostick? Could he be a solid replacement for Finley if he does indeed leave?
Rob Demovsky (4:26 PM)
Aaron: He's got the chance to be a stretch-the-field tight end. I know it was only small sample last season, but he averaged 17 yards per catch. Not sure he's as big and strong as Finley is, though.
Matt Pittsburgh PA [via mobile]
Rob, chance Matt Flynn re-signs? Also do you see Quarless and Sherrod starting this yr?
Rob Demovsky (4:29 PM)
Matt: Flynn might be one of those guys who goes unsigned until after the draft. The Packers would like to develop another young QB yet they know Flynn can keep things together if Rodgers were to get hurt again. I don't see Sherrod starting, unless Bakhtiari or Bulaga gets hurt. But he could be that swing tackle who backs up either side. As for Quarless, if he's their starter, then I think they'll be disappointed.
Allison Kent, WA [via mobile]
First off I wanna applaud TT for stepping out of his comfort zone this free agency! As a fan, couldn't be happier to see change and excited to view the new D-line in action. Now for my question: The 49ers have continued to be our dream crushers as of late. In your eyes, what are the 3 top answers to defeating them?
Rob Demovsky (4:31 PM)
Allison: Speed is the first thing. Think about some of the plays in which Kaepernick burned them. He beat them with his legs. I'm thinking of that third-down scramble on the final drive. Everyone talks about the defense needing to get tougher, I think they need to get faster. They also have to deal with the 49ers' defensive front better.
Michael (Van Buren Arkansas)
Hi Rob,Thanks for the chat. I am curious why so little is being said about Johnny Jolly. It seems that he could at least provide meaningful depth and perhaps more at a very reasonable price. Are there any injury concerns outstanding for him?
Rob Demovsky (4:33 PM)
Michael: According to his agent, Jolly has been cleared after neck surgery. The Packers will no doubt want their docs to look at him, but I would think he'd be back under similar terms as last season, a one-year, low-cost deal.
Ryan (West Bloomfield, MI) [via mobile]
One of the big hinderances in Green Bay's offense was taking advantage of the red zone. Right now, if you had to guess, who would you say is the #1 TE? Finley, Owen Daniels, Quarless, Rookie?
Rob Demovsky (4:34 PM)
Ryan: Best guess is either Quarless or a rookie.
is bahktiari a lock at left tackle if healthy?
Rob Demovsky (4:35 PM)
Jon: Unless he falls on his face during the preseason, yes.
Josh (Boulder CO)
who has bigger impact next year worthy or boyd? Im excited about the depth we have created on our d line. What say you?
Rob Demovsky (4:36 PM)
Josh: I'm going to say Boyd. All last summer, one of the Packers' scouts was telling me how he liked Boyd and that by the end of the season, he would be a contributor. Sure enough, that's what happened.
PDX Badger (Portland OR)
Assuming Mosley, Pryor and Dix all are available at 21 who do you pick?
Rob Demovsky (4:37 PM)
That's a tough, tough call. First of all, I doubt all three will be there and it's possible none will be. Do me a favor, ask me this again in a month or so after I've had time to ask scouts and/or coaches about these guys.
rob, can you repost the link to your article on Hester. The one you put in your previous answer is all messed up.
Rob Demovsky (4:38 PM)
Try this: http://espn.go.com/blog/green-bay-packers/post/_/id/8437/packers-could-get-involved-with-hester
From a Bears' fan perspective, TT's decision to sign Pepp to good money comes as a surprise. He's never played in the 3-4, seems to be a tweener at DE/OLB, and has a questionable motor/desire. With that said, do you think Capers will use him exclusively as a nickel rusher?
Rob Demovsky (4:40 PM)
Paul: You make a good point. I found a story from about 10 years ago in which Peppers basically said he's glad he doesn't play in a 3-4. However, it sounds like McCarthy and Capers will devise something different for Peppers than just what a 3-4 DE would do.
Brian (Madison) [via mobile]
TJ Lang recently tweeted a blunt "nope" to someone who asked if he is long term possibility for Center. Do you find that telling as to what his happiness level would be and do you think that drafting another versatile lineman who could play Center is likely?
Rob Demovsky (4:42 PM)
Brian: No, it's because he knows he's not a center. He did not play well in the two games in which he had to slide over there to fill in for EDS. But he's a very good guard who should -- and will -- stay there.
kevin (colorado springs)
Aside from Ebron, what tightends are worth looking at in the draft?
Rob Demovsky (4:45 PM)
If you're looking for the athletic types, Jace Amaro from Texas Tech and Austin Seferian-Jenkins from Washington are in Ebron's class. If you're looking more of a traditional TE, there's Troy Niklas of Notre Dame and C.J. Fiedorowicz of Iowa. Any of those TEs could go in the first two or three rounds.
Mike (Duluth, MN)
Which players do you see making a big leap this year? Preferably looking at players entering their 2nd or 3rd year. But maybe a veteran who was seldom used last year or had a bad year that might see a turn around?
Rob Demovsky (4:47 PM)
Mike: You're talking about guys who might make a jump like Mike Daniels did last year, I take it. Casey Hayward's situation is a little different because it was an injury deal, but he'll make a big improvement if he's just back to what he was two years ago. Jarrett Boykin has the chance to be an even bigger playmaker this year. Same thing for Brandon Bostick.
Mike (Duluth, MN)
Bold Prediction is needed... What Packers players make the Pro Bowl this year after being shut out last year?!
Rob Demovsky (4:48 PM)
Mike: Rodgers, Matthews. Going out on a limb, I know.
The Magic Man (Canton, Ohio)
Outside of Pryor and Ha Ha at safety, what other safety options in this draft class can contribute and start immediately for the Packers?
Rob Demovsky (4:50 PM)
A guy like Deone Bucannon of Washington State would fit that description. He's got good speed and probably could be had in the second round.
The Packers are using up their cap space now to sign new and current players, which is good, but it seems room is shrinking to fit in deals for Cobb and Nelson. How much do they need for draft picks? Do you think they need to cut Tramon to fit in what may be two 5-year, $35mil-ish contracts (like Decker)? If they only lock up one.....Cobb?
Rob Demovsky (4:52 PM)
Mark: Thompson and cap-guru Russ Ball are no doubt doing everything with the thought of re-signing Cobb and Nelson in the forefront of their minds. As for how they would structure those deals, that remains to be seen. But they're not all of a sudden going to get to the end of the offseason and go, "whoops, we didn't leave enough room to re-sign those guys."
If you could have Lacy or Starks in a one game take all scenario, who would take assuming both are 100% healthy. The eye test tells me Starks is the better back, he just can't stay healthy. Thoughts?
Rob Demovsky (4:54 PM)
Jon: Boy, I don't see it that way, Jon. I see Lacy as a guy who crank out the tough yards in a way that Starks cannot. Starks is get at hitting the hole and busting through, but he can't crank out the tough yards like Lacy can.
Jim (St. Paul)
w/ lack of FA safety options, are we to assume that Hyde has the spot nailed down, or do we go w/ another rookie? Might they be considering Collins, using a smokescreen?
Rob Demovsky (4:56 PM)
Jim: They're not bringing back Nick Collins. They've closed the door on that.
Opening day starting 11 on defense prediction?
Rob Demovsky (4:57 PM)
Mike: Can we at least wait until after the draft?
No this includes your draft prediction
Rob Demovsky (4:59 PM)
Ah, so you were trying to trick into revealing who I think they'll draft, huh? Nice try, but I'm not ready to say that yet.
Rob Demovsky (5:00 PM)
Thanks for all the great questions today. There were nearly 300 of them. Sorry if I couldn't get to yours, but we'll be back here again next week at the same time. Until then, thanks for reading and participating, and you can always find me on Twitter @RobDemovsky.