Now that the Green Bay Packers and TE Jermichael Finley have come to a two-year contract agreement, Ted Thompson can now seriously consider putting the franchise tag on QB Matt Flynn. And I believe he will.
First, what are the risks if the Packers do place the franchise tag on Flynn? Flynn would be guaranteed $14.4 million once he signed the agreement. That contract would be $1.7 million dollars more than QB Aaron Rodgers currently makes. Plus, Rodgers will only earn $8.5 million in 2012, so there would be a $5.9 million differential...at least in 2012.
The Packers can't afford to be paying $22.9 million to just two QBs, including the higher amount to the backup. The total cap for the entire team is expected to be $120 million. You can't tie up almost 20 percent of that number with Rodgers AND Flynn.
That is why the Packers have to have a trustworthy trading partner who they can trade Flynn to after he is franchised. After the trade, the $14.4 million would be taken off the Green Bay books.
The Packers need to look back in recent history for a reference point. The New England Patriots franchised QB Matt Cassel in 2009 and later traded him to the Kansas City Chiefs for an early second-round draft pick. Why? The Chiefs had just hired Scott Pioli as the new general manager.
Pioli had been in the front office the Patriots from 2000-2008 and had worked closely with Bill Belichick on personnel issues. After the Cassel trade was made, the Pats were able to wipe away the franchise amount they had given Cassel, plus the Chiefs were able to sign Cassel to a long-term extension later on.
Thompson has three trustworthy candidates who ALL have obvious needs at the QB position and who also have key figures in their organization who have had close relationships with Thompson himself. That is why I believe that Thompson will indeed franchise Flynn and work out a trade with one of these three teams.
Whoever does agree to a trade with the Packers will have to work out the basics of an arrangement with Flynn and his agent on a new long-term deal. Only then will a trade be consummated.
Here are the three most likely trading possibilities for the Packers after Flynn is franchised.