Sunday, February 20, 2005

Its been a quiet past couple of Packer weeks.

There has been speculation on QB Brett Favre's retirement, but nothing is really known at this point (maybe Favre himself doesn't know what he wants to do).

Further speculation has been whether FS Darren Sharper will remain a Packer. Hopefully he stays but his 2005 cap number is too big. Sharper has lost a step over the last two seasons, but he still makes big plays, he is just turning 30, and he isn't too old or slow to remain a top NFL safety for the next few seasons. The Packers will probably have to guarantee him some money now to spread out his salary over the next few seasons.

Will some Packer get the franchise tag? I've read about TE Bubba Franks being tagged, but that seems unlikely after Franks's average past couple of seasons. Maybe OG Mike Wahle or OG Marco Rivera will be tagged. The salary cap value to tag either player would be less than other players because offensive guards are generally lesser paid players. Rivera would probably receive a franchise tag to keep him a Packer, but Wahle might get tagged and traded to a team that would play him at left tackle (and pay him bigger left tackle bucks).'s Len Pasquarelli had an article about teams using the franchise tag to obtain compensation for free agent departures a week ago, so it is possible that the Packers might decide to do the same. Remember that the Packers are currently over the salary cap so they won't be quick to place the franchise tag on any player (they would have to restructure contracts or release players to make it possible) and players are more likely to leave than to stay at this point.

If Wahle and/or Rivera leave this offseason, its likely that OG Steve Morley is at the front of the line, along with C Grey Ruegamer or C Scott Wells depending on whether C Mike Flanagan can return from his injuries. Morley was just sent to NFL Europe to get some more experience. OT Kevin Barry could return and start at right tackle, with RT Mark Tauscher switching to guard too. Morley was probably the Packer with only legitimate chance of starting or making the roster who was sent to NFL Europe, although bust P B.J. Sander was sent too.

If the current roster is left intact and new defensive coordinator can Jim Bates turn the defense into a NFL average unit, then the Packers are better than any team in the NFC except Philadelphia and have a great shot at making the Super Bowl. That should be the goal for this offseason.

No comments: