Adam Schefter answers reader questions in his mailbag on Wednesdays during the NFL season. Got a query of your own? Submit it here.
Q: Aloha Adam, what are the chances Steven Jackson ends up with the Green Bay Packers next season? It would give the Packers a running back, and Jackson a guaranteed shot at the playoffs with a potential Super Bowl appearance every year.
-- Tyler (Hawaii)
A: Green Bay makes as much sense as any potential destination, Tyler. Of course the question will be: What team is willing to pay an aging running back, albeit a highly productive and aging one? The Packers have always been interested in Jackson and now that his contract is up, it would make some sense for Green Bay to take a look. But the Packers won't have a lot of money to spend. They need to redo deals for Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews and others. So if there's a team out there willing to pay Jackson the top dollar he will be seeking, it's hard to imagine it will be in Green Bay. But if his demands are reasonable, and the market for his services isn't robust, Green Bay could come into play.
Q: The Chicago Bears look like they could miss the playoffs again this season after another collapse. Is that due to the schedule, injuries or some combination? Do you think Lovie Smith could be gone after this season if they don't make the postseason?
-- Patrick (Illinois)
A: Patrick: It looks like another second-half swoon is well underway after Chicago's strong start. Feel like last year? The Bears' final two games are at Arizona and at Detroit, and there's no reason this team shouldn't finish out with two more wins and a 10-6 record. Yes, the Bears will need help to get into the playoffs, but if Chicago finishes 10-6, and falls short, well then that's the way it goes. The question then will be how soon the NFL can expand the playoffs. If the Bears finish 10-6, it's going to be really hard to justify changing head coaches, especially with the strong feelings owner Virginia McCaskey has about Smith. But for now, this team has been victimized by a porous offensive line that has not afforded Jay Cutler protection and has been forced to rotate its players because they're struggling to hold up. The defense is missing too many regular contributors -- Brian Urlacher, Tim Jennings, Henry Melton. Teams only can lose so much talent before the injuries catch up and somehow Chicago needs to turn it around. The schedule is set up to give the Bears a last chance.
-- Austin (Utah)
A: Let's see how the last couple of games and the postseason play out, Austin. But if it goes the way the 49ers want, and Kaepernick performs well, then the 49ers can look to trade Smith this offseason. In a perfect world for San Francisco, it gets the chance to move Smith. But if he doesn't play again this season, and Kaepernick plays well, then Smith is not going to want to return and the 49ers will be open to dealing or releasing him. They can't pay the money that Smith is supposed to make to be a backup, not when there are other players the 49ers need to pay.
-- Colin (Nevada)
A: Those might just be the two most dangerous teams in the NFC right now, Colin. Had New England been able to hold on Sunday night, then this Sunday night's game could have been for the NFC West title -- and Seattle is a tough place to win. Then again, New England also is a really tough place to win and the 49ers got it done there. Right now, the 49ers look as tough as any team in football. But what is that worth today? Teams want to be the toughest team in football about six weeks from now, not in late December.
-- Jared (Michigan)
A: This has been something of an issue all along, Jared. But when you speak to people around the league, they believe Roethlisberger should have used better judgment on Sunday. He didn't deliver the final throw where it was supposed to be and yet he complained to the media about the play calling. Just a quick question: When's the last time you heard Tom Brady, Peyton Manning or Drew Brees question the play calling? They don't. It's beneath them. I'm sure they've had issues through the years, and they were addressed in the right forum. Clearly, Roethlisberger and Haley have some issues, but it's up to both men to put that behind them for the betterment of the Steelers organization, so Pittsburgh can try and make the postseason. But actions like the ones taken Sunday don't help anybody.