Posted: 10:41 pm Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012
Green Bay Packers signing of TE Jermichael Finley could be bad news for Miami Dolphins’ pursuit of Matt Flynn
By Post Staff
The Green Bay Packers didn’t just lock up tight end Jermichael Finley with a new contract on Wednesday night. They may have also made it significantly harder for the Dolphins to acquire impending free agent quarterback Matt Flynn.
Finley, 24, signed a two-year deal worth $14 million to stay with Green Bay through the 2013 season, according to multiple reports. The signing means the Packers no longer have to use the Franchise Tag on Finley, and they instead can use it on Flynn, set to be a free agent when the new NFL season begins on March 13. The Packers have until March 5 to place the franchise tag on Flynn or anyone else.
The Packers don’t have plans for Flynn — that Aaron Rodgers guy is still under center, after all. But the Packers don’t have to let Flynn, 26, walk away for free, either. Instead, they can now place the franchise tag on Flynn and try to trade him to Miami or any other team interested in his services.
The Packers would hope to cash in with multiple draft picks for Flynn — Houston traded two second-round picks to Atlanta for Matt Schaub in 2007, while Arizona only had to give up a second-round pick and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie last summer for Kevin Kolb.
But the move would also come with significant risk. The franchise tag for quarterbacks this year is expected to be between $14.3 and $14.9 million, and if Green Bay somehow can’t trade Flynn, it would be stuck paying an exorbitant salary to a backup who might never see the field. And the Packers don’t have much salary cap space as it is — about $5 million before the Finley deal was consummated, though they are expected to create more space soon by cutting pricey veterans.
The Dolphins are a logical landing spot for Flynn simply for the fact that he worked with new Dolphins coach Joe Philbin for the last four years in Green Bay. Seattle also could be in the mix, as it needs a quarterback and general manager John Schneider helped draft Flynn in Green Bay in 2007.
But the franchise/trade scenario could decrease Flynn’s value to other teams, and Green Bay might not have the bidding war it would want for Flynn (especially with several other QB options potentially available, including Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Peyton Manning).
And the Dolphins still view Manning as their No. 1 priority and will make a big push for him, assuming he’s healthy and cut by the Colts before he’s set to receive a $28 million bonus on March 8. If the Packers decide to tag-and-trade Flynn, it could cool the Dolphins’ interest in the unproven quarterback, who has just two starts in four NFL seasons. Or, it could leave the Dolphins as the only trading partner after other teams back off.
Either way, the Dolphins’ options at quarterback may be getting a lot more complicated in the coming days.