In the end, the Packers decided not to place the franchise tag on quarterback Matt Flynn.
Pretty much the only circumstance in which it could have happened was if the Packers came to a handshake deal with another team and Flynn would have agreed to a contract extension worth less than the value of the franchise tag, which would have cost in the neighborhood of $14.5 million.
It would have been too risky for the Packers to have simply placed the tag and then hoped and prayed they could trade him. At that point, teams interested in trading for Flynn would have had the Packers over a barrel knowing they’d have to get rid of him or be forced to pay him his guaranteed $14.5 million for one year.
The Packers can get compensation if and when Flynn leaves via unrestricted free agency in the form of a compensatory draft choice. Given the likelihood Flynn will sign a lucrative contract with a quarterback needy team, the Packers could receive as high as a third round draft choice in 2013.
The exact compensation won’t be known until over a year from now, because it will depend on the amount of money Flynn signs for, how well he performs and if the Packers happen to sign anyone in free agency.
Free agency starts on Tuesday March 13. That’s the next important date on the NFL calendar when Packers like Flynn, center Scott Wells, defensive back Jarrett Bush, running back Ryan Grant, linebacker Erik Walden, defensive lineman Howard Green and cornerback Pat Lee are eligble to sign with any team they choose unless they come to a contract extension with Green Bay between now and then.