As reigning Super Bowl XLV Champions, the Green Bay Packers obviously have several key players on their roster. Now, just like last season, they have two impact players approaching free agency: Scott Wells and Jermichael Finley.
These two players are two of the biggest cogs in the Packers incredible offensive machine, but as it is right now, it would be incredibly difficult to sign both players to contracts that they are worth without receiving a hometown discount.
There are several situations that could happen that would free up more than enough 2012 cap space and give the Packers a great chance of signing both:
- If Chad Clifton retires, $6.25 million is freed up.
- If Donald Driver retires, $4.96 million is freed up.
- When/If Ryan Grant leaves, $3.80 million is freed up.
If at least two of the situations occur, the Packers would have at least $16.26 million available next season. Plus, because of the new CBA that was instituted, teams will need to spend up to 99 percent of the salary cap. No more being cheap for Ted Thompson (his methods work, though; I'm not complaining).
Regardless of how it pans out, let's compare the two free agents-to-be.
Apart from Aaron Rodgers, Scott Wells helps run the offense. He works with Rodgers to read defenses and pick apart blitzes as well as setting the tone for the offensive line.
Wells is considered by Packers coaches and players, Rodgers included, to be the smartest man on the team. The burly center has been on the team since 2004, meaning he has been with the team for every second that head coach Mike McCarthy has been, and McCarthy has put complete trust into Wells. This is a quote from McCarthy in an interview with the Washington Post earlier this month:
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"I’ve told Scott this before: It’s a lot like growing up in my house as a kid, when your dad’s not talking to you, things are going well. I don’t talk to Scott very often."
T.J. Lang credits Wells for helping him not only transition from tackle to guard, but bench player to starter as well.
After losing his position coming out of the preseason in 2009, Wells was called back into action after one game due to an injury to Chad Clifton and has started 42 consecutive game since then. Oh, and as for the maligned Packers pass blocking woes?
Since the start of the 2010 season, Wells has given up a mere 1.5 sacks and two, TWO, holding penalties. Neither of which have occurred yet this year.
Reason such as these are the main reasons for Wells likely making the Pro Bowl this season.
Any Packer fan knows of the rare, stunning, athletic ability that Finley possesses for a man of his size. Even Finley himself considers himself more of a WR/TE hybrid than pure tight end in an interview with ESPNMilwaukee:
"We looked at the percentage all the time. The percentage I stood up was a good 60. It was a high percentage for sure. Standing up, I think that’s the best position for me."
Finley has lined up as a wide receiver 51.6 percent of the snaps he has played (216 of 419).
Now if we are going to debate on whether or not what the Packers front office calls him, it's tight end hands down. The franchise tag number for tight ends is only $5.4 million, but $9.5 million for wide receivers. However, from the offensive stand point, Finley makes his impact from the receiver position.
His speed is too much for linebackers and his size is too much for defensive backs. In my personal opinion, only Patrick Willis of the San Francisco 49ers could handle him. He has five touchdowns this season, which is tied for third among tight ends despite going through a recent red-zone drought.
Finley, aside from Greg Jennings, is Rodgers' safety receiver, the man he turns to in times of peril. Any time you have the best quarterback in the game turning to you in ugly situations can immediately bump you into the upper echelon of you position.
If I'm Ted Thompson, I'm putting my money into Scott Wells in a money-is-tight situation. The Packers have other athletic tight ends in Andrew Quarless and D.J. Williams, and while not to the extent of Jermichael Finley, they can get the job done.
Scott Wells is too indispensable to the Packers offense to let walk away, and I think everyone on the Packers knows that.