Now that the Packers have locked up Jermichael Finley for the next two seasons, we look ahead. Personally, I was working under the assumption that the team would place the franchise tag on Finley because they wouldn't be able to come to a long-term agreement. Clearly, however, I was wrong. That leaves two key free agents for the Pack to consider - C Scott Wells and QB Matt Flynn.
I'm hoping that they decide to keep Wells and sign him to a long-term deal. There's really no reason to break up the offensive line at this point; we'll have enough questions at both tackle spots this year, we don't need another. Will Chad Clifton come back? If not, does Bryan Bulaga take his spot? If Bulaga moves from right tackle to left tackle, who replaces him? Will Derek Sherrod be able to come back from the gruesome knee injury he suffered at the end of last season? If he can't, who's left? Get a deal done with Wells, he's the anchor of the group.
That leaves Flynn, which also leaves the team's franchise tag unfilled. If the Packers decided to risk it, and it's definitely a pretty big risk, they could place the tag on Flynn so he wouldn't be a free agent and have the option to sign anywhere he wanted. If they tagged him, they would own his rights and therefore be free to explore trade options with other teams. It's safe to assume that the Packers would be able to get a good draft pick in return for Flynn, at least a high second rounder. However, the team would be forced to pay Flynn around $14 mil, at least temporarily until they can find a trade partner. That limits what they can do in free agency, but how much does GM Ted Thompson really participate in that, anyway? The other risk it presents is that teams decide that $14 mil is too much for them to pay for an unproven quarterback and the Packers can't find someone to deal with, and they would be left with a $14 mil backup quarterback.
I say it's worth the risk. I'd take that high second rounder I'd hope to get for Flynn, pair it with my first rounder, and move up to get a pass rusher to put opposite Clay Matthews. That was clearly the deficiency the Packers had in the playoffs and the biggest need that I see. Get a deal done with Wells, tag and trade Flynn.