It might be a little early to start talking about this considering this season isn’t really over yet. But I’ve had this on my mind the last several weeks and I thought I would take the opportunity of the playoff bye to discuss it. Of course each off-season brings with it a bit of turnover. I feel the Green Bay Packers have been lucky enough the past few seasons to only come away with a couple of real losses, and honestly I feel like this season will be no different.
Matt Flynn: This is the easy one. Matt Flynn is an unrestricted free agent that is going to demand a big pay day this off-season. The Packers aren’t going to pay two different QBs starting money in a year where the salary cap isn’t going to raise much, if at all. I am surprised they paid Jordy Nelson and James Jones like they did, I would be utterly shocked if they did something similar with Flynn. The only real question remains is whether the Packers slap a Franchise tag on Flynn and then try to trade him for a first round draft pick.
Donald Driver: I love Driver, and most people do, I think the Packers organization amongst them. But the fact remains that he isn’t what he used to be, he has a decent-sized salary, and we have a plethora of other receivers to fill in his place including one on the practice squad that the Packers are really big on. I hope that the Packers win a second Super Bowl and Driver retires on his own while he is on top. But if he doesn’t retire on his own, I think the Packers will approach him and tell him that they intend on letting him go, and I then hope that he retires with his nudge. I hope it doesn’t turn into another Brett Favre, and I don’t think it will. But I do think regardless of what happens, he won’t be a Packer next season.
Jermichael Finley: I don’t think anything says “Your job is on the line” more than keeping 5 TEs on the roster, and 4 of them I believe have gotten TDs. I think the Packers want him back, but I don’t think they want him back as much as he wants money. There is no doubt that Finley is a tremendous talent that has a ton of upside. However, it hasn’t been a good year for Finley. He’s only really been effective in two games (the last game of the season and @Chicago), he’s shown an attitude problem by being the only member of the receiving corps who says “give me the ball,” and yet when he gets the ball he drops it. This has been the first season in which he hasn’t gotten injured which means he probably will get injured in the future, and probably often. And yet, despite not living up to his potential, he is going to come out of the gates demanding huge money, he’s already made a stink about how he believes the Franchise tag should use WRs money for him instead of TE. I don’t think the Packers are anywhere close to signing him, and I think they’d rather Franchise Flynn and go for the trade than waste it on someone who they can replace. At best they transition Finley so that when tests the market that they can just match it. I do think that they are going to let him test the market, I don’t think that he will get what he wants, but I don’t think he will be back. 1 I think at best, Finley may settle for a 1 or 2 year deal that gets him between 2.5 and 3.5 million a year and hope he plays better to get a better contract then.
Chad Clifton: I love Clifton, and actually at this point I think he’ll be back due to Sherrod’s injury, but I still believe he is a bubble player for next year. He has been seriously injured over the past three seasons and at some point they need to move on. There is no doubt that he is still a talent, but he can’t be relied on and he isn’t what he was. I don’t know if he is going to retire or try to find another place to go, but I think there is a chance he won’t be back. Packers drafted Sherrod to be Clifton’s heir and Newhouse came on pretty well in Clifton’s absence this year. I think the Packers take another Tackle in the draft to give them more depth and go without Clifton. But like I said, I lean towards him staying. I think the Packers keep him around for one more season just to make sure the future comes round.
Other thoughts on the Packers Offseason
I actually think the Packers will make a play in the free agent market. Thompson isn’t usually one to do that, but he has made attempts at in the past with defense in particular. 2 The defense was a shamble this year and I think Thompson is going to try to fix it a little more instantly. On top of that, it is a rich market this year and there isn’t a lot of room in a lot of teams pockets. I don’t think he is going to go after a big name, but I think he’s going to make a stab at the value mid-tier market to try to fix the defensive line or even the defensive backfield or outside linebacker.