« Grassroots movement encourages Manning signing | Main | NFL is in Indy; Peyton Manning is in Miami »

Finley contract in Green Bay may ripple in Miami

The Green Bay Packers didn't become one of the best organizations in the NFL by luck. These guys work at their craft and do what is necessary to maximize every ounce of the draft, the salary cap and free agency -- well, maybe not free agency but that's by design.

The point is anyone that saw Green Bay simply standing idle while a valuable chip found its way to the center of the table without a chance to bring a return was simply dreaming. Think of quarterback Matt Flynn as that chip. And my guess is the Packers want a return for him when free agency poker begins.

Flynn is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent starting on March 13. With his success in his two starts the past two seasons, Flynn has basically earned himself a chance to start full-time somewhere. So he'll go looking for a starting job this offseason.

But are the Packers simply going to watch him walk and get nothing in return for him? Maybe they have no choice. But on Wednesday, they took the first step toward trying to get something in return for Flynn.

The Packers signed tight end Jermichael Finley to a two-year contract. The deal is worth approximately $15 million and will pay Finley over $10 million by next March. The deal also ensures Green Bay doesn't have to use its franchise tag on Finley.

And now, if they wish, the Packers can tag Flynn.

Understand the idea of tagging Flynn isn't meant to ultimately keep Flynn. The Packers are prepared to let the quarterback walk. But the tagging of Flynn would open the door for them trading rather than simply losing Flynn without compensation.

The Packers would love a second or third-round pick for Flynn. And they may very well gamble using the tag that would be worth around $14.4 million on the player to get that accomplished.

The Pack would thus turn Flynn's free agency period into a trade period. They would shop Flynn to teams interested and take the best offer. Flynn would have to agree to renegotiate the one-year franchise tender into a long-term contract before any team would be willing to make a trade.

Then, once he was dealt, he would sign that long-term contract.

New England did this in 2009 with backup quarterback Matt Cassell, whom they sent to Kansas City for a second-round pick. In 2008, the Packers franchised defensive tackle Corey Williams and traded him to Cleveland for a second-round pick.

I believe Green Bay intends to do just that. First, of course, the team must clear some cap room by making other moves. And the success of those moves will indeed factor into whether the tagging of Flynn will be possible. But, again, I think that is what Green Bay intends to do.

So why does this matter?

Well, Flynn is on Miami's radar. Former Green Bay offensive coordinator Joe Philbin is now in Miami. It makes perfect sense that if Peyton Manning -- Miami's priority in free agency -- somehow falls through, be it because of health or other reasons, then Flynn would be the next candidate to fill the starting quarterback need. As I wrote weeks ago, the Seattle Seahawks also might factor in the Flynn chase because their general manager was in Green Bay when Flynn was drafted and had a prominent role in the choice.

So, for Miami or anyone else potentially interested in Flynn, the idea of adding him might easily go from simply signing a free agent without thought of draft-pick compensation to the idea of having to trade for Flynn and possibly giving up a good draft pick in the exchange.

It makes sense for the Packers if they can work out their cap issues. It potentially hinders Miami because general manager Jeff Ireland obviously wants to keep as many of his draft picks as he can.

Life in the NFL.