Free Agency: Packers And The Franchise Tag

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Jermichael Finley

Teams can start franchising players on Monday. The Green Bay Packers are in an interesting situation, with three players who they at least have to consider tagging.

Those players are tight end Jermichael Finley, center Scott Wells and quarterback Matt Flynn. Finley is the most likely candidate to get the franchise tag, but we’d be surprised if the team was in a rush to apply it. It would make more sense to wait until the eve of free agency to see if they can re-sign any of the players we mentioned.

For example, if the Packers can strike a deal with Finley prior to free agency, they can use the tag on Wells. If they tag Finley right away, they can’t turn around and use it on another player even if they agree on a long-term deal with the tight end before free agency starts. On top of that, there’s no urgency to work on a long-term deal with Finley because the team already has him locked up for at least the 2012 season because of the franchise tag.

Tagging Finley would cost the Packers $5.4 million in 2012.

The problem with tagging Wells is the franchise tag for offensive linemen is the same regardless of position — $9.4 million. That’s too much to pay for a center and is skewed because left tackles are typically paid much more than any other offensive linemen. The highest-paid center in the NFL makes $7 million a season. So, if the Packers ended up applying the tag to Wells, it would only be if they know they can come to an agreement for a long-term deal at a smaller annual salary.

As for Flynn, he’s a backup and tagging him would cost the Packers $16.1 million for one year. The only way the team could tag Flynn is if they trade him. They won’t be able to fit that number under their salary cap and it’s more in annual salary than Aaron Rodgers makes. Flynn is clearly one of the most attractive free agents on the market and could net the team a first or second-round draft choice. The Cardinals gave up a second-round pick and starting cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for Eagles backup quarterback Kevin Kolb last offseason.

It would behoove the Packers to get both Finley and Wells re-signed in order to tag Flynn so they can trade him, but that will be awfully tough.

In all likelihood, the Packers will lose Flynn without compensation and tag Finley. If the team can’t come to an agreement with Wells prior to free agency, he may end up elsewhere as well.

About The Author

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.

7 Comments on "Free Agency: Packers And The Franchise Tag"

  1. iltarion

    Good link. Appreciated.

    I agree that Wells is the only necessity. However, unless they have a plan to spend that money elsewhere, the Packers have enough cap room to tag Finley. You pay him $5 million next year. If he ends up worth it, you extend him. If not, you move on.

  2. iltarion

    That line of negotiation would be sweet for the Packers. If you negotiate for Finley as a WR, then his numbers are worthy of a James Jones’ like contract. We’ll gladly take him for $2.3 million a year if that is what he wants.

  3. Madcity Packer Fan

    It would be exciting to see what we could get for Flynn in a trade. Letting him go for nothing is disappointing.

  4. iltarion

    The Packers can’t trade Flynn. He isn’t under contract.

    The Packers can’t afford to franchise tag him. The only way they could do it is if they KNEW another team was going to trade for him. However, if you were another team, why would you contact the Packers about a trade for a player not even under contract? It would be idiotic.

    If you are another team’s GM, then you know the Packers will either let Flynn go, whereupon you would get him for nothing. OR, the Packers will franchise him, whereupon his value drops because you know the Packers HAVE to trade him.

    The Packers will be compensated for Flynn’s departure. They get a draft pick in the first 4 rounds regardless. That isn’t nothing.

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