While it wasn't a huge shock that Packers center Scott Wells moved on to another team in free agency, it is still a major disappointment and could have major implications to the Packers in 2012.
The Packers now have a new need that they will need to address in either the draft or free agency, and they shouldn't take the position of center lightly. An unreliable center can cause some major disruptions in the offense, something that a reliable center like Scott Wells wasn't accustomed to.
Here are five reasons that I think that losing Scott Wells could be a significant loss for the Packers in 2012.
Inexperienced centers across the league have been guilty of fumbling snaps and mishandling the ball, but center Scott Wells has barely had any problems with handing off the ball to Aaron Rodgers.
Like any other offensive line position, the center position is key, but what makes it even more important is that they are responsible for snapping the ball on every offensive down.
Wells may be getting older, but he's an experienced veteran who has familiarity with Aaron Rodgers and the offense.
Losing him means the Packers have to find an equally reliable center, in addition to dealing with other key needs on the team.
Now that Scott Wells is gone, the Packers may look to drafting Wisconsin center Peter Konz, but Konz is projected to be selected in the first round.
This means that the Packers would have to spend their first-rounder on an offensive lineman for the third straight year. This might not be a big deal if the offensive line was the only need the Packers have, but they have other more pressing needs, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.
Peter Konz would be a great pick with Wells being gone, but had the Packers been able to keep Wells, they could have brought in the difference-making defensive player they needed last year.
This reason sounds obvious, but it is perhaps the most frustrating of all.
The Packers have been able to build a very solid offensive line over the past two or three years after having a struggling line that gave up 50 sacks just a couple years ago.
Now the Packers have lost Wells, one of the most reliable players on the line, and are having to deal with improving their offensive line once again, which is disappointing considering the work that the Packers need to make in other areas.
The Packers' offense was nearly perfect last season. So many were expecting them to address the defense in the offseason.
However, the Packers will now have to address a major position on the offensive side of the ball.
If the Packers spend their first-round pick on an offensive lineman, they may struggle in finding an outside linebacker in the second or third round who could take the pressure off Clay Matthews or a defensive end who could ultimately replace Cullen Jenkins.
Any time that a team loses a Pro Bowl-caliber player, it's a tough loss, and the Packers lost a Pro Bowl-caliber player in Wells, who had a great year in 2011 and was one of the reasons that the offense clicked so well.
Having an unreliable center can cause a team to sputter offensively, just look at a team like the Dallas Cowboys, who had a young, inexperienced center who frequently mishandled the snap, and because of this, the Cowboys offense, which was seen to have much potential, was disappointing down the stretch.
Also consider the Pittsburgh Steelers, who lost their center in Super Bowl XLV, and as a result, it took some adjustments to get them back in the game.
The Packers are going to need to find a reliable replacement for Wells, or their offense could take a major step back next year.