Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Packers may be looking for a man in the middle

As the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine gets underway today, reports have been circulating for some time that fans of the Green Bay Packers may see a new man snapping the ball to Aaron Rodgers next season. It seems that there may soon be a parting of the ways between Pro Bowl center Scott Wells and the team.

Wells is an unrestricted free agent. He is also 31 years old. Reports are that the Packers will meet with Wells' agent and make a bottom line offer. The Pack will definitely not use a franchise tag for Wells, which is in the neighborhood of $8.4 million for an offensive lineman. If the Pack can get Wells at the number they want, it will be a done deal. If not, look for someone else at center. That's the bet here. Be sure to check out Bob McGinn's great article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about Wells' situation here.

But who would it be if not Wells? The Packers do not have a designated heir apparent at the position. They may be able to have Evan Dietrich-Smith fill in for a while. But the Packers may be looking for a free agent (roughly 13 centers, if memory serves, are on the market) and/or a draft pick.

The latter is intriguing because there is a great draft prospect in this year's draft: Peter Konz from the University of Wisconsin (Go Badgers!). He's the best center in the draft, which begs the question as to whether or not he'll be around when the Packers make their first round pick at #28. At least one mock draft so far believes so, from the venerable no less. Here's what they have to say: "This may not seem like an obvious choice for the Packers, but Scott Wells, their stud center, is a free agent. Green Bay is close to the salary cap and will be using its franchise tag on Jermichael Finley, so it may not be able to re-sign Wells if he receives a huge contract elsewhere. If Wells leaves, Peter Konz will become one of the favorites to be selected at No. 28."

If the Packers could get Konz they could be set with a prototype center for the next decade. Wells was no doubt the best offensive lineman the Packers had this season. He's a scrapper and plays with pride. But at 31 and undersized, will the Pack ante up the money he likely will want to stay? I doubt it. And if the Packers can get Konz at #28, it would be a gift that would keep on giving for a long time to come.