I have a confession to make: I love mailbags. They are a great way to address a number of things in a short amount of time.
That being said, this is not a mailbag. This is just a tribute (thanks Tenacious D). We will work on getting reader questions submitted in the future.
If you would like to reach out to me with your inquires, you can reach me at Charlie.Sokaitis@nbc26.com. But for now, here are three quick questions for your mid July day.
Will the Packers secondary be better than it was a season ago?
The answer, assuming health (which is a big assumption), is yes. Health was the driving reason the secondary was 31 out of 32 teams last year in net passing yards.
Sam Shields, the team's top corner a season ago, went out in week one against Jacksonville with a concussion and never returned. Basically, you get a zero there from one of your veteran pass defenders, so even if free agent acquisition Davon House comes in as a league average guy, it's going to help the defense in terms of depth and skill.
Both Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins were walking wounded a season ago, look for both to be better this year. Specifically Randall, who will be moving to the slot it seems, the Packers want to use the third year corner in the team's "star" role where he will be more of an attacking corner at times.
Of course you've also got two notable draft picks that should help as well, the Packers top selection, 6'3" Kevin King (drafted 33rd overall) and safety Josh Jones (drafted 61st overall). The expectations for King are high but we have not seen him on the field that much just yet.
He was a PAC12 kid and those guys aren't allowed to join their NFL teams until the school year is over. Jones on the other hand has impressed so far. Tough guy and defensive leader Mike Daniels said this of Jones back during OTA's: "I like everything that I see out of Jones right now, the kid...just does not care, he's going to bring the wood without the pads on, so i can only imagine he's going to be physical with the pads on. He's got a great demeanor, comes in he's about his business, doesn't talk, he's not joking he ain't here to make friends he's here to play football he's here to earn a job and he's here to prove that he belongs here and when you get a guy like that, that makes me work even harder because he's come with the right mentality."
All of these factors, including the low bar they need to get over in order to improve next year, makes me comfortable in giving this one a bright green check mark. Yes, the Packers secondary will improve in 2017.
Will Aaron Rodgers win MVP?
As Goethe once said, "Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid," so I am going to say YES! Aaron Rodgers will win the NFL MVP this year. Hopefully he will be the mighty force that comes to my aid in saying that and truthfully...it is not really THAT bold a prediction.
Rodgers has two of these already (in the closet under some towels I presume), so the idea that he could win a third isn't all that far fetched. My reason for saying yes though has to do with the tight end position.
We saw what Rodgers was able to do with Jarrod Cook last season once Cook got healthy, and Martellus Bennett does everything that Cook does, only better. The team also added Lance Kendricks to go along with Richard Rodgers and I think we will see a lot more two tight end sets from the Pack next season because of this.
It is also worth noting that, although he was great last year (97 receptions, 1,257 yards, and 14 touchdowns), wide receiver Jordy Nelson may be even better this season. Usually guys don't get back to 100% until year two after a knee surgery, this will be year two for Jordy.
The rest of the receiver corps is also deadly and dangerous, Davante Adams quieted his doubters in 2016 and should continue to flourish. Randall Cobb is still a threat, and the depth that Green Bay has in its pass catching group is significant.
There is every reason to believe that this year's Packers will be top of the league explosive on offense, when that is the case the quarterback tends to get the lions share of the credit so it is my belief that it when the award is announced Aaron Rodgers will be the man holding it.
Oh and one more relevant piece of information...AARON RODGERS IS GREAT AT FOOTBALL.
Are NFL Players underpaid?
With a barrage of high dollar NBA contracts handed out this week (I'm looking at you J.J. Redick,1 year $23 million), guys in the more physically demanding NFL are taking notice and speaking out. Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins was one of them.
We gotta get paid more I'm pretty sure 2014 class will change the market
— King Me (@sammywatkins) July 2, 2017
While it's impossible to argue that athletes don't deserve serious compensation for their craft, and while NFL players should be fighting tooth and nail for guaranteed contracts, it is unlikely the dollar figures in the NFL will ever match up with the NBA.
For starters, the math doesn't work. I am using numbers from an Alex Reimer article on sbnation.com, but barring a digit or dollar here and there the point holds up. There are 1,696 players active in the NFL during a given season that have to split 47% of the leagues revenue. There are only 450 NBA players active and they split a slightly higher 50% of their leagues revenue.
Even if the NFLPA managed to get contracts guaranteed, and even if they managed to bump up their take home to 50% as opposed to the current 47% the numbers are never going to match the NBA.
In summation, does it feel ridiculous that quasi starters that can best be described as "better than average" make more money in the NBA than Aaron "the dragon" Rodgers does in the NFL? Yes. But that's not changing anytime soon. They are different leagues with different pay structures. We'd all like to make the $201 million that Steph Curry is going to pull down over the next 5 years, but we don't all have crazy handles and the best jump shot known to man...and them's the breaks.