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Finley deal frees up franchise tag for Packers

Chiefs Packers Football AP

By working out a new two-year contract with tight end Jermichael Finley, the Packers have avoided what could have been a nasty and protracted dispute with Finley as to the question of whether he actually is a tight end under the rules of the franchise tag.

The Packers also have realized another benefit:  They can use the franchise tag on someone else.

The most obvious, and perhaps only, candidate is quarterback Matt Flynn.  Despite reports that the Packers won’t take a $14.4 million risk in the hopes of getting compensation for the 2008 seventh-rounder, Packers fans continue to clamor for a Matt Cassel-style move that would give the team something in exchange for his future services.

Beyond Flynn, there aren’t many viable candidates.  Center Scott Wells is due to hit the market, but with no separate category for interior offensive linemen, the Packers would have to be willing to give Wells $9.4 million for one season.  At one point, running back Ryan Grant was on track to have the kind of career that would have merited the franchise tag.  But after a pair of 1,200-yard seasons, Grant has become ordinary, rushing for only 559 yards in 2011 despite earning 14 starts.

So the franchise tag likely will be used on Flynn or no one.  But if the Packers tag Flynn and no one strikes a deal for his services, he’ll make nearly $6 million more in 2012 than the defending NFL MVP.

There are two factors that nevertheless could nudge the Packers toward doing it.  First, with former Green Bay offensive coordinator Joe Philbin now the head coach in Miami, the Packers know (or at least should know) whether Philbin truly wants Flynn.  If he does, the two teams should be able to work out a trade.  (The Dolphins, after all, love to devote second-round picks on quarterbacks.)  Second, tagging him and trading him to the Dolphins would keep him away from one of the NFC teams, like the Seahawks or the Redskins.

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41 Responses to “Finley deal frees up franchise tag for Packers”
  1. txxxchief says: Feb 22, 2012 9:52 PM

    I’m not sure I’d risk the farm on a QB that couldn’t beat out JaMarcus Russell in college.

  2. frankdatank23 says: Feb 22, 2012 9:54 PM

    Suck on that, dolphins fans hoping for another band-aid fix………. Miami hasnt spent a first round pick on a QB since 83′. Give it a shot why don’t you.

  3. frankdatank23 says: Feb 22, 2012 9:56 PM

    And by no means do I mean give the packers the 1st.

  4. noeffinway says: Feb 22, 2012 9:58 PM

    Flynn is overrated. He is just the next QB to flop. (i.e. Kolb and and Cassel)

  5. jbcommonsense says: Feb 22, 2012 10:10 PM

    Redskin fan here. I would tag Wells. A center your QB is comfortable with is very important. Protect/pay the men of the OL, which protect Rodgers.

  6. nflfollower says: Feb 22, 2012 10:16 PM

    As a lions fan, this keeps my dream alive that the packers will end up paying their backup 14 million next year. Please let the stars align!

  7. vikescry1 says: Feb 22, 2012 10:27 PM

    i love how people want to compare flynn to kolb and cassel? i.e. calling him a flop? or flynn coulndn’t beat out jamarcus russell? umm so what, he played one year on college football (started) and won a national title. people said he had a weak arm and wasn’t very accurate? he slid to the 7th round. so sitting behind the league MVP, maybe he has learned a thing or 2? people have a right to there own oppinion, but flynn will start in this league and play well. if you doubt what i say, watch the tape of his performance against the lions or the pats from last year. yes it’s only 2 games but the throws were mostly on the money.

  8. tashkalucy says: Feb 22, 2012 10:29 PM

    What the article doesn’t explain is what Flynn’s salary will be for the team making the trade for his services.

    So if in fact the team trading for him has to pay him $14M or $6M more then Aaron Rogers gets, then asking them to also fork over a high draft pick as well reeks of gouging.

    Were I Miami, I’d sign Kyle Orton for a few years, use the pick to draft a project like the guy from Mich State, and let Sherman work with him. Within 2-3 years that guy will be almost as good as Flynn is now, for 20% of the cost. And with what Orton knows about the NFL, he’ll play the next 2-3 years just as well as Flynn will.

    In a league with a salary cap, paying Flynn all that money makes no sense at all…..which is why it is a possibility with the Dolphins.

  9. ronnyhanson says: Feb 22, 2012 10:45 PM

    I think tagging flynn is a risk-free proposition. What is the worst case scenario? They trade him for a 5th rounder. Even if they can’t get a 1st or 2nd round pick for him, some team will be willing to trade a lower round pick for him. I think it is a no-brainer.

  10. lifeimitatesfootball says: Feb 22, 2012 10:59 PM

    Yeah, I know, the Dolphins are dumb enough to fall for this BS…Yes, they are dumb, but not dumb enough…and, oh yeah, I forgot, instead of playing the foot like the Chiefs did signing Cassel, maybe Ross and Ireland have learning a thing or two, don’t fall for it, and draft Tannehill instead (OC Sherman WAS his coach at A & M after all). And you do realize if the Fins give Flynn a ridiculous 14 mil, they will probably not be able to sign their draft picks? Like I said they are dumb, but not completely stupid!

    If the Packers are too egotistical to try this crap (because Philbin is in Miami), they deserve to eat crow…and Flynn’s 14 mil!

    Dumb? yes, but I just can’t see Ross and Ireland being gouged like that…

  11. truthserum4u says: Feb 22, 2012 11:03 PM

    It’s nearly impossible for the Packers to tag Flynn. Once he signs the offer, and he would be a fool to even let the ink dry before doing so, the $14 mil counts against the cap. The Packers don’t have the cap space and would immediately be over it. They would have to start dumping players (Driver & Clifton alone won’t cut it).

    The other problem of course is it’s against the CBA to tag someone with the intent of trading him. The teams who havve done it in the past could make a case they intended to keep the player but got a good offer for a trade. Green Bay could’t make such a case for paying a back-up QB that kind of money since no one would believe they intended on keeping him@ $6 mil more than the league MVP. It would seem many teams would immediately file a complaint and how could Goodell do anything but rule against the Packers in that case.

  12. lifeimitatesfootball says: Feb 22, 2012 11:05 PM

    Or, they could use the 14 mil on Peyton Manning, not Flynn! Yep, if the Packers think they can pull this fast one, methinks they’ll regret it (or get the Redskins’goat)

  13. tashkalucy says: Feb 22, 2012 11:07 PM

    I’m reading all the thumbs down to my post, and am LOL!

    How in the world does anyone justify paying Matt Flynn 75% more money then Aaron Rodgers is being paid?

    Don’t get me wrong, I love Flynn and figure he’ll be starting next year for either the Dolphins, Redskins, Browns or Seahawks.

    But at $14M? In my mind, the Packers would have to trade at least 2 high draft choices to the team willing to take on a contract like that – for a player that has started 2 NFL games.

  14. packersareandwillalwaysbebetterthanthebears says: Feb 22, 2012 11:10 PM

    tashkalucy February 22, 2012, 9:29 PM CST

    What the article doesn’t explain is what Flynn’s salary will be for the team making the trade for his services.

    So if in fact the team trading for him has to pay him $14M or $6M more then Aaron Rogers gets, then asking them to also fork over a high draft pick as well reeks of gouging.

    Were I Miami, I’d sign Kyle Orton for a few years, use the pick to draft a project like the guy from Mich State, and let Sherman work with him. Within 2-3 years that guy will be almost as good as Flynn is now, for 20% of the cost. And with what Orton knows about the NFL, he’ll play the next 2-3 years just as well as Flynn will.

    In a league with a salary cap, paying Flynn all that money makes no sense at all…..which is why it is a possibility with the dolphins.

    ——–

    A renegotiated contract would be part of the trade. And no one wants to wait 2-3 years to win. This is a win now league just like all sports. Flynn has shown he has potential and the man who would know if he will be successful in the NFL the most is sitting in Miami as head coach.

  15. cornersss says: Feb 22, 2012 11:36 PM

    2 stinking games. Wow. You people are nutz. Id rather see the phins give up their draft to move up, than give up picks for flynn.

  16. cornersss says: Feb 22, 2012 11:38 PM

    “watch the tape of his performance against the lions ”

    Yes. If you watch the tape, you will see his wr’s and rb’s make big plays.Flynn wasnt dodging sacks, or dropping in perfect passes. He didn’t have to, the lions sucked it up pretty bad.

    People obviously havent watched the highlights from that Lions game. Go watch it, and be amazed at how bad the lions secondary played.

  17. cornersss says: Feb 22, 2012 11:40 PM

    “Even if they can’t get a 1st or 2nd round pick for him, some team will be willing to trade a lower round pick for him. I think it is a no-brainer.”

    You still take a cap hit and owe him his guaranteed money

  18. tramonisland says: Feb 22, 2012 11:57 PM

    @truthserum4u

    it happened once, it’ll happen again. ie matt cassel and the patriots 2009. don’t blame the packers for trying to get value for a player another team will be willing to trade for and pay top $.

  19. farvite says: Feb 23, 2012 1:26 AM

    Ronnyhanson,

    A 5th rounder? That’s worse than the compensatory pick they would get if they simply let him walk.

  20. minnesotasoundscape says: Feb 23, 2012 2:03 AM

    Flynn might be the next Scott Mitchell. He has so much leverage and has done so little. He’ll be serviceable QB wherever he finally lands.

  21. jimmysee says: Feb 23, 2012 7:13 AM

    Tagging Flynn is a bad idea.

    Knowing the Packers are hung with a $14.4 million bill if they do not move him will result in way lower offers.

    And there’s always the risk of an unhappy Rodgers.

    They’ll probably do as well — maybe better — just letting him go and receiving a compensatory pick in return.

  22. briggsisbrokeagain says: Feb 23, 2012 8:27 AM

    With the Finley signing the Packers are about out of cap room aren’t they? How could they fit a QB franchise tag under the cap?

  23. dolphins4 says: Feb 23, 2012 8:28 AM

    I can see the Dolphins drafting Tannehill if the Packers do that.

  24. xxsweepthelegxx says: Feb 23, 2012 8:31 AM

    Whether Flynn turns into a solid starter who knows? But lets please not judge him in two games against the Lions (as someone pointed out, the Lions sucked pretty bad that game) and the Pats? Geez…dont get me started…Im pretty anyone blogging on PFT could have thrown for 350 yds against the Pats secondary last year, especially with GB’s WRs.

  25. tashkalucy says: Feb 23, 2012 8:35 AM

    “A renegotiated contract would be part of the trade. And no one wants to wait 2-3 years to win. ”

    What re-negotiated contract?

    He signs the contract with Green Bay. That contract holds. Period.

    You want to win NOW. How do you know that Flynn give you more of a chance then Kyle Orton? Based on 2 games?

  26. truthserum4u says: Feb 23, 2012 9:39 AM

    tramonisland says:Feb 22, 2012 11:57 PM

    @truthserum4u

    it happened once, it’ll happen again. ie matt cassel and the patriots 2009. don’t blame the packers for trying to get value for a player another team will be willing to trade for and pay top $.

    ———————

    The major difference of course was the Patriots starting QB was hurt and they could have said they tagged Cassel as insurance. Again, the Packers can’t make such a claim. You’re also ignoring the fact GB doesn’t have room under the cap, which NE did when they tagged Cassel. Other than that they should be good to go!

  27. dragonfly99 says: Feb 23, 2012 9:41 AM

    Unless Ted Thompson is a complete idiot (and maybe he is), he would already have a potential trade lined up with another team before using the franchise tag on Flynn. The Packers would not demand a first round pick but probably a second or high third round pick as compensation. His new team would immediately re-structure his contract to a more agreeable long term deal. Of course there are more talented QB’s in the league but it is very clear Matt Flynn would be an upgrade for 7-8 NFL teams inlcuding the Dolphins, Seahawks, and Browns. The NFL allowed the Patriots to franchise and trade Matt Cassel a couple of years ago under the same scenario so its hard to imagine how Goodell could disallow this but we all know the rules don’t apply to Robert Kraft. If the above scenarios are not worked out I don’t think Thompson will place the franchise tag on Flynn and will get a compensatory pick for him.

  28. truthserum4u says: Feb 23, 2012 9:55 AM

    @ packersareandwill…

    Maybe it’s different with the franchise tag; or maybe the new CBA allows it now, but in the past a player could not restructure his contract until after one calendar year after signing the contract.

    In the cases I can think of, inwhich players got tagged and then traded, none of them signed the contract. Flynn almost certainly would since he would never receive $14 mil on the open market.

    There are so many potential big problems with tagging Flynn I would be very surprised if Thompson chooses to go that route.

  29. JakeDSnake says: Feb 23, 2012 10:33 AM

    Some folks got their facts straight, others don’t – or don’t care about facts:
    * you can only trade a player under contract. Cassell signed his tender prior to KC trade.
    * you must have the cap space for the signed tender. Patriots had the cap space for Cassell.
    * tendered contracts may be signed and then reworked, as they are one year deals. Cassell signed a new contract with the Chiefs before the season began.
    * the teams that trades for the signed franchise player has to have that money under the cap. KC did for Cassell.
    * the NFLPA did not argue against Cassell getting the tag – though he was NE’s starter for the last 15 games the team played – that use of the tag guaranteed him more money. Same will occur for Flynn – though he didn’t even take a snap in GB’s last game – the tagging process will cause ownership to spend more money on him than if he were a free agent. Trying to stop that makes no sense to the NFLPA.

  30. The Prophet says: Feb 23, 2012 10:47 AM

    Franchising Matt Flynn to coerce a trade with Miami would be a dick move and Philbin wouldn’t bite and the Packers would be stuck with a billionaire backup. There are other QB’s the Dolphins could go after like RG3, Peyton Manning, Campbell, etc.

  31. truthserum4u says: Feb 23, 2012 11:25 AM

    @ JakeDSnake

    Thanks for clearing up the restructured contract issue; as I stated I wasn’t sure how that worked.

    I don’t think the NFLPA would contest the tagging of Flynn, but other teams most certainly could.

    Almost every other position can be justified in being tagged with the intention of keeping the player but trading him because of the trade offer for the player. Even NE had the excuse they needed a back-up plan for Bray’s injury. GB simply cannot justify tagging Flynn other than to trade him, which is strictly prohibited by the CBA. The odds on a team having it come back to haunt them (for filing the grievence) is remote since the back-up QB is about the only position, outside of an injury to the starting QB, that you can’t come up with a logical reason to tag.

  32. trollhammer20 says: Feb 23, 2012 11:29 AM

    The Packers would only be insane to franchise Flynn if they didn’t have a deal already in place. I figure if Miami and Seattle – two places with former GB staff in the front office/coaching ranks, who need QBs – don’t come forward with offers, you won’t see him franchised.

    It will be interesting. Flynn has shown promise in two starts (I notice everyone mentions only the Detroit game, and forgets to mention the 3-TD effort he had on the road against New England the previous year), but there’s some promising QBs who will be available with the second-or-third-round pick that a team would have to trade for him: Foles, Weeden, Osweiler, Cousins, etc. Flynn has more NFL experience than any draftee, but then, any draftee will only cost a fraction of what Flynn will demand for a 4-5 year contract.

    I’m sure the phone lines in Green Bay are open, especially to Philbin and Schneider, but I wouldn’t be surprised by anything that happens. As a Seahawks fan, depending on the cap ramifications, I’d offer our third rounder (in the area of the 75th overall, which would be higher than the compensatory pick they’d get), but wouldn’t go as high as the second.

  33. kriswd40 says: Feb 23, 2012 12:41 PM

    Philbin, Schneider, & the Packers know how good this guy is, no one else does. I don’t believe he has a big enough resume for any other teams to seriously be interested in investing that kind of long term cash in him or high trade assets. Both his big games were against teams with questionable secondaries and also the Packers have some damn good receivers.

    Now if the Packers know he’s really good, they could expect Philbin or Schneider to make a serious push for him and thus put the franchise tag on him. But if he’s not that good, they don’t want to get stuck with him either. I think whether or not the Packers tag Flynn is an indication of just how good he is or isn’t.

  34. smedley61 says: Feb 23, 2012 6:24 PM

    Matt Flynn, James Jones and a pick for Miami’s first round draft pick.

  35. axespray says: Feb 23, 2012 6:53 PM

    cornersss says:Feb 22, 2012 11:36 PM
    “2 stinking games. Wow. ”

    2 more games of tape than what Matt Hasselback had to show, 2 more games than what Mark Brunell had to show…
    Kurt Warner didn’t even have tape of himself (other than nfl europe/arena league).
    Tommy Maddox was an XFL qb…
    Matt Schaub didn’t have nearly the kind of impressive games that Flynn has had.

    just saying

  36. lombardihero says: Feb 23, 2012 8:12 PM

    truthserum4u says
    The other problem of course is it’s against the CBA to tag someone with the intent of trading him.

    Please tell me what section that is in. I have read the actual whole CBA Contract and do not see this rule so if you could point that all out to us that would be great.

  37. applecool1981 says: Feb 24, 2012 6:29 AM

    packersareandwillalwaysbebetterthanthebears says: Feb 22, 2012 11:10 PM

    tashkalucy February 22, 2012, 9:29 PM CST

    What the article doesn’t explain is what Flynn’s salary will be for the team making the trade for his services.

    So if in fact the team trading for him has to pay him $14M or $6M more then Aaron Rogers gets, then asking them to also fork over a high draft pick as well reeks of gouging.

    Were I Miami, I’d sign Kyle Orton for a few years, use the pick to draft a project like the guy from Mich State, and let Sherman work with him. Within 2-3 years that guy will be almost as good as Flynn is now, for 20% of the cost. And with what Orton knows about the NFL, he’ll play the next 2-3 years just as well as Flynn will.

    In a league with a salary cap, paying Flynn all that money makes no sense at all…..which is why it is a possibility with the dolphins.

    ——–

    A renegotiated contract would be part of the trade. And no one wants to wait 2-3 years to win. This is a win now league just like all sports. Flynn has shown he has potential and the man who would know if he will be successful in the NFL the most is sitting in Miami as head coach.

    It would not be in the Packer’s best interest to renegotiate the contract as part of the trade; do you remember what Matt Cassel got from the Chiefs after he was traded to them? According to ESPN, he got “$63 million, with $28 million guaranteed, according to a source. He’s going to make $40.5 million in the first three years of his contract.” So, if the Packers were to renegotiate his contract after tagging him, it would not only cost them 28 million dollar bonus but it all would go against this years cap. They would have to pay double the amount of the Franchise Tag to do that,

  38. lombardihero says: Feb 24, 2012 6:49 AM

    The team trading for Flynn would not pay 14 mil a year… They the team he goes to would have a long term deal most likely a 5 or 6 year deal in place…

    Even if he hits the free market he’s going to get pretty much the same deal. Reason some team would give up a pick is to prevent him from going else where. It’s called a bidding war and there are teams out there interested…

    Orton:)lol please just stop right there… Orton taking a team to the next level never going to happen…

    Flynn’s upside is far ahead of Orton…

  39. gottaplan says: Feb 24, 2012 9:37 AM

    “Were I Miami, I’d sign Kyle Orton for a few years, use the pick to draft a project like the guy from Mich State, and let Sherman work with him. Within 2-3 years that guy will be almost as good as Flynn is now, for 20% of the cost. And with what Orton knows about the NFL, he’ll play the next 2-3 years just as well as Flynn will”

    Orton was CUT in Denver in favor of starting TEBOW! Enough said…Orton is not the answer….ANYWHERE

  40. vijayswearingen says: Feb 24, 2012 2:53 PM

    They will certainly opt to tag him if they feel there are enough suitors out there for his services. At worst, if they do nothing, they’d still get a 3rd round compensatory pick for him. I think he has been in preliminary discussions for a handful of teams…the GM’s still talk to each other don’t they? Maybe league rules prevent this but it’s a small fraternity in the NFL and they can’t resist the urge of at least laying the groundwork or declaring strong interest in a FA of this category.

    I’m a Packer fan and I realize some QB’s can fail if they go to a completely different system but teams like Miami will be running nearly identical playbooks and I would bet, despite all of the Manning hype, he still ends up getting tagged by the Packers and dealt to the Dolphins who would be giving up too much to get Manning (and he’s still a question mark health-wise, can he still throw?). Taking Matt Flynn is still a lower risk/ reward proposition and Miami would then have 3 starting caliber QB’s to challenge each other and win the job in training camp.

  41. ferzoco4 says: Mar 1, 2012 12:03 AM

    I cant believe how stupid some of u people are, its quite sad.

    First off, all of u saying cap room is an issue, we have enough room, we wont resign wells (who is being a crybaby) and signed Finley to a deal, we also restructured drivers contract to save about 4 mil and then released Clifton to make another close to 6 mil available, not to mention we might restructure Woodsons to save another 4ish and we still have a rollover of 2 mil.

    All of u saying Rodgers will be unhappy if he makes less than Flynn, we gave him a chance when no one else would, not to mention, if he was unhappy, he would have said something when he won a superbowl and Brady/Manning were getting close to 20 mil a yr. Also, if he likes talent around him, which im pretty sure he wont mind, he wont want a HUGE deal. Kind of ridiculous when NFL players say I want more money when I make more than most americans do in their life, in one season.

    All of you who say Flynn isnt worth it, that he only played two games against bad teams, doesnt really matter. There is this thing called POTENTIAL!!!! That will trump anything besides a proven qb (And only one MIGHT be in FA – Manning -).

    Push comes to shove, Packers tag and trade Flynn to Miami, w/ their first and their 5th, to Miami for the 8th overall.

    Reason being is 2 qb’s in this draft are going to be franchise qbs (LUCK and RG3) and only one qb besides Flynn will possibly be in FA (Manning) Dolphins dont have the ammunition to trade up, Browns get RG3, and Cardinals/Redskins get Manning (whoever offers more). U still have the Dolphins and the Seahawks who desperately need a qb to turn their franchise around, and the POTENTIAL Flynn has to be the next franchise qb, only makes logical sense to trade for him.

    And if the Packers dont trade him due to the contract situation, draft day, someone is desperate, happens every year.

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