Packers XLV

Talking Finley, Flynn and Wells

Posted February 23rd, 2012 @ 03:02pm

The most talked about non-event in sports is here, the NFL scouting combine and the Packers got a jump on the headlines Wednesday night, when they came to terms with Jermichael Finley on a two-year deal that will pay #88 $15 million.

By keeping the franchise tag in his back pocket, Ted Thompson can split his time in Indianapolis between watching the draft eligibles run, jump, lift and talk and sidling up to GMs from a few select teams to see if they want Flynn badly enough to trade for him, rather than take their chances in free agency.

Let's start with the Finley deal. This is a solid deal for both sides--give the edge to the Pack. They will pay Finley $5.75 million in 2012, about the same dough as if they'd franchised him. Next year at this time, they will have to pay him a $4.5 million bonus and he'll make a total of $8.25 next season. If they release him before the bonus is due, they don't take a salary cap hit. If he has the kind of season both sides expect, his salary will be in line with a top 5 tight end. And then he'll be in a contract year--either the Pack ponies up for a long-term deal, or he plays the season out in a contract year, motivated to show that he's worth a mega-deal.

Is Finley frustrating? Yes. Both on the field and off. But you can't forget how young he is--he'll turn 25 in March. He will grow up a bit, learn a bit and he has a chance to re-write the record books for tight ends in Titletown, with the MVP as his battery-mate. If he vaults himself into Gronkowki and Graham's stratosphere, he'll get paid.

Now, on to Flynn. Conventional wisdom suggests the Packers won't tag him. For one thing, the team would be on the hook for a $14.4 million salary for their backup QB if Thompson can't find a trade partner. That's substantially more than Rodgers makes. Besides, it's not the kind of move you see Thompson make. The Pack could make it work under the cap (they'd have to cut or re-do deals on Clifton and Driver).

But the only way Thompson does this is if he has an enthusiastic partner: a team that doesn't want to take the chance of being snubbed for another suitor. Many believe the Dolphins will make a strong push for Flynn, to reunite him with Joe Philbin. Let's say another team believes Flynn will head to South Beach unless they swing a deal with the Pack. Then let's say they offer Thompson a second or third round pick and maybe a player. They would have to work with Flynn on a new multi-year deal, because no one in their right minds would pay him $14 million after two career starts. But if Thompson knows he has a trade partner, he'll tag his backup QB in a heartbeat and the Pack's draft will instantly be upgraded. Potential trade partners: Seattle, Cleveland and Washington.

Meanwhile, the news coming out of Green Bay regarding center Scott Wells is less encouraging. Sounds like the sides are heading for a split and that's disappointing. Wells has come so far from where he started: a seventh round pick who hung around but never earned the trust of his coaches to start until he was forced into the spot. He's turned into a Pro Bowler charged with making the calls at the line, with young guards on either side of him. Tagging Wells would cost over $8 million and you can bet Thompson has no interest in slotting that much money into that position.

There will be a number of solid veterans on the free agent market, so Thompson probably believes he can replace Wells inexpensively, or he can look to the draft, maybe in the second or third round. Sounds like Wells has never gotten over the lack of belief in his abilities and is ready to go somewhere where a team will show him the love.

We'll see how it plays out. I hate to see the Pack lose Wells, but I don't think it's something we'll be talking about as next season plays out.

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Comments (21):

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on April 23rd, 2012 at 05:18pm

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on April 6th, 2012 at 08:11pm

I like the Finley signing. I don't know what Wells is asking for, but I am nervous going with a new center.

on February 23rd, 2012 at 02:21pm

Before we assume that Wells is gone, lets just see what the actual market is for a 31 year old, smallish center that is a better pass blocker. What teams that need a center want someone that will not help in the run game. I think this may play out more like James Jones last year and when the suitors aren't lining up to pay 7Million, Wells will come to his senses and realize that $4.5 and another chance at a super bowl will be just fine. GoPack!

on February 23rd, 2012 at 03:38pm

Good point Schen...I'd think (hope) another legitimate shot at a title would be worth something.

on February 23rd, 2012 at 05:57pm

In a perfect world, it would be great to tag Flynn and trade him for a couple of high picks, but I don't think that'll happen. They'd be playing a high stakes game where the Packers could be stuck high and dry with a huge salary and no takers for him. IMHO, it's just too risky a move. It's unfortunate this scenario worked out the way it did this year. If he wasn't a pending free agent, of course he goes to the highest bidder. The Packers need to protect their future interests, both financially and personnel-wise, and tagging Flynn, to me, isn't the right move. If he stays, great (which is highly unlikely). If he goes, I'll take the compensatory pick and wish him well. I doubt the Packers will find another GM somewhere willing to take a $14M gamble like that - but hey, I'm no expert on the subject. It's just my opinion - nothing more, nothing less.

on February 24th, 2012 at 02:51pm

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on February 24th, 2012 at 04:12pm

This is the "pie in the sky" world I am living in right now but hoping that they tag Flynn. Package a trade to Miami, along with James Jones for Miami's 1st and 2nd. We end up with 2 firsts, 2 seconds, 2 3rds (including our compensatory). The Dolphins get their signal caller for 8-10 years as well as the #2 receiver that they have been looking for to complement Brandon Marshall. -- The Pack can spend those picks on defenders. --Our offense doesn't suffer because we bring up Gurley and sign DD to a much smaller contract. Gurley is no James Jones at this point but we don't need a stud 4th receiver when we have Jennings,Nelson and Cobb ahead of him,not to mention Finley back in the fold.-- We win another super bowl and everyone is happy! GoPack!

on February 24th, 2012 at 07:04am

First ...Scheny....I like your trade idea with Miami.....but in your scenario we would get Miami's 1 and 2 not also the 3. The 3 is compensatory only....meaning Flynn would have to sign as a free agent not in a trade....unless of course Miami put it in a trade. I hope we trade Flynn....but if I understand correctly Flynn must be tagged to allow us to trade him. As to Finley.....now that he is signed TT may trade him on draft day to move up or get additional picks. I would like to see this as Finley has been a distraction. As to Wells....if TT believes he can draft Peter Konz out of Wisconsin he may let Wells walk. With all the help we need on defense and with this being a deep draft I predict TT will try to acquire more draft picks via some trades. In the 7 round draft I would like to see us ending up with 10 picks...with TT liking to build thru the draft I could see this scenario developing. GO PACK GO !!

on February 24th, 2012 at 12:31pm

Scheny, you make some good points, but the thing that bothers me is in order to make the Flynn tagging go forward, there's a lot of "if's" to be fufilled, and if (there's that word again) there is a willing taker to swing the deal, more power to them. Atlanta proved to be desperate enough to trade a bunch of picks to Cleveland to get Julio Jones, and at this point, it doesn't appear to be a deal that's worked out great for either team. Sure, the Falcons got a game breaking receiver out of it, but they left enough other holes to be filled that they couldn't take the next step. And the less said about the Browns, the better - but if anyone can turn them around, Holmgren probably can. That deal will take time to determine if either squad came out on top. But the point I'm trying to make is whether or not there is somebody out there desperate enough to make a similar deal with the Packers for Flynn's services. We're talking a whole lot of coin here for a guy with 2 starts to his credit. Yes, they were both good starts, but I'm trying to be pragmatic about all of this. The kid has a lot of upside; nobody is arguing that point. If there's a team out there willing to answer the $14M question, great. Thompson can only do what he can until the start of free agency, then all bets are off. I'd like to see a bunch of defensive help come in as much as anyone else from this deal, but I don't have high hopes. I'm expecting the compensatory pick from this and nothing else. Anything additional would be frosting. I'm not trying to be negative, just trying to keep it real. TT is smarter than any of us who post here and more privy to what's going on - all we can do is sit back and observe (and speculate).

on February 25th, 2012 at 03:43pm

OSSG, I was totaling their number of picks, including the trade picks. A first for Flynn and a second for Jones. The compensatory pick they may get anyway from the loss of BJax and Colledge last year as compensatory picks are awarded based on last seasons lost free agents. College was a starter all season for AZ so I think he may warrant a 3rd rounder.-- In my opinion, there is no chance that TT trades Finley. He is way more valuable to the team and the offense than a 4th string receiver. -- Bill(TVoR), the risk to tag Flynn is only taken IF TT knows he has a willing partner. That is the hook. One of those other GM's has to have the side conversation with TT. The other issue is that while GB tags him for $14M, Flynn and his agent need to agree to restructure for a more palatable price, which they would do so he has the opportunity to start. GoPack!

on February 25th, 2012 at 07:58am

Bill, I understand what you are saying but the Flynn deal is nothing like what Atlanta gave up for Julio jones. First, finding your teams QB of the future is infinitely more important than finding a WR. Secondly, the falcons grossly overpaid for that pick. All Miami would be giving up for Flynn would be their first round pick. Yes , Flynn has only two starts but that is still more proof of his ability in the nfl than ANY of the college prospects. -- I do think you are correct that in the end we will only get a compensatory 3rd round pick next year for losing Flynn, however, as i mentioned in my original post, this was my "pie in the sky" scenario. -- ps. As defenders go, I hope we get Vinny Curry. GoPack!

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on February 28th, 2012 at 12:58pm

I was trying to illustrate a comparison between teams of their desperation to overpay to get their guy, not necessarily comparing player to player - I probably didn't clarify that too well. Oh well...

on February 29th, 2012 at 06:55am

Draft talk is starting to heat up and we will hear all types of talk about impressive guys at the combine. So take it with interest but there are other things than physicals. This is what makes Tt a good evaluator. I was looking at Clay Matthews' combine and he only ran a 4.67, benched 23 times, and weighed in at 240. It seems to me that there are a lot of guys who AT LEAST fit this profile in the draft. Now if clay were in this draft I'm sure he would look small and he would look slow compared to some of these guys. This goes to show how much all of this combine nonsense doesn't show at all how a player could be in the nfl.

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