Ryan Wood and Doug Schneider explain the USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin roster builder exercise, in which fans must build a Packers 53-man roster under the NFL salary cap. USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
My colleague Ryan Wood has been sounding crazy lately, and not just because he thinks the Mets will win the National League pennant.
This time, I think Ryan has lost it because he writes that the Green Bay Packers could break camp this year with seven wide receivers on the 53-man roster — despite the need for three (or four) tight ends, probably three running backs and adequate line depth on both sides of the ball.
Questions like this will plague armchair general managers this week as the Packers begin organized team activities with 90 players on the roster. They will have to get rid of 37 of them — not including up to 10 youngsters who can be kept on a "practice squad" — via release, trade or injured reserve before taking the field Sept. 11 in Jacksonville.
We think that's too long for dedicated fans to have to wait to know exactly who will wear green and gold this fall. And it's why we're rolling out RosterBuilder 3.0, the latest version of the popular PackersNews.com tool that lets you experience what it's like to weigh the decisions that Ted Thompson and other football general managers must make as they construct a team to compete for the Vince Lombardi trophy.
Try it now! Build a Packers roster
This RosterBuilder poses some of the same challenges as in the past: Construct the 53-man unit that gives Green Bay the best chance to get to the Super Bowl while staying beneath the league's salary cap — that pesky ceiling that can present a challenge when your starting quarterback commands an average of $22 million a year and your best pass rusher makes more than $13 million.
New this year, you can share your roster with your friends and fellow fans via Facebook. It's our way of helping move the barroom debater to social media.
We've also added links to stories about individual players. Just click on a player's name to read recent PackersNews coverage about said player.
Some other questions you'll face in shaping this roster:
► Which rookie free agents make the team? Lately, the Packers have been big on free-agent outside linebackers, but is there room at that position this season?
With RosterBuilder, those answers are up to you.
firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @PGDougSchneider