The most popular discussions regarding the possibility of trading current Packers revolve around quarterback Matt Flynn and linebacker Nick Barnett.
But how realistic is it to think Green Bay could actually pull off such transactions?
As is the case with almost every conceivable football-related issue these days, the state of labor negotiations and the Collective Bargaining Agreement will play a huge role.
Flynn will be entering the final year of his rookie contract next season, the last season he'll be under control of the Packers, which makes it plausible that Green Bay would want to get something in return for Flynn before he simply exits via free agency.
The sticking point is, without a new CBA in place, teams will not be allowed to trade players.
Now, if the league and the players union strike a deal before the March 3 deadline, it's business as usual and teams will be able to make trades once the new league year starts on March 4.
While not out of the realm of possibility, it's looking increasingly unlikely they'll be able to agree to a new CBA by the so-called deadline.
If a lockout occurs, and lasts until the draft in April, there will be no trades involving players. To my knowledge, teams will still be able to trade picks for picks, i.e. a first-round draft choice in exchange for a second and a third.
Therefore, the Packers' hands could be tied. Even if they wanted to trade Flynn, they might not be able to.
Now, if a deal occurs after the draft, there's nothing stopping the Packers from trading Flynn before the start of the NFL season. But as long as the compensation in return is a draft choice, it wouldn't come until at least 2012.
A draft choice in the future is always less valuable than one in the present, for the simple fact that the Packers will have to wait an entire season before they see any payoff. And that's not even taking into account how long it will take for that particular draft choice to develop, if he does at all.
That's why you sometimes see teams trade a sixth-round draft choice this year in exchange for a fifth-round draft choice next year. The asking price must be higher if a team isn't going to see any sort of payoff until at least a year down the road.
One must also take into consideration the Packers' comfort level with Graham Harrell and the backup quarterback position.
Harrell took several quick steps up the organizational ladder in 2010. He went from free agent to practice squad to 53-man roster all in the span of a couple months.
How quickly he can be counted upon to be the primary backup is still a matter of debate.
Most people probably feel pretty comfortable that Flynn can fill in for Rodgers for a short period of time, such as he did this season. It's unknown whether Harrell could even fill in for a relatively brief stint.
Here's another conundrum. If the Packers trade Flynn before the draft, they could at least enter it knowing they need to pick a quarterback to develop in case Harrell isn't the answer.
If Flynn is traded after the draft, the Packers are stuck with Harrell. Either that or they'd have to sign a veteran backup in free agency.
Much like the application of the franchise tag and Cullen Jenkins, there's probably too much uncertainty to trade Flynn before the start of the 2012 season.
If they keep him, at least they have a reliable backup for another Super Bowl run.
A lot of the same uncertainties apply to Barnett.
First of all, the Packers have to decide what they're going to do with A.J. Hawk. Are they going to pay him, cut him or restructure his contract?
Once the Packers deal with Hawk, they can then decide what to do with Barnett. He's under contract through the 2012 season.
Even if the Packers keep Hawk, there's nothing saying they have to part ways with Barnett. Even though there will be some tough choices regarding playing time if all the inside linebackers stay healthy next season, keeping Barnett provides some good insurance and depth at the position should the injury bug occur once again.
And even if the Packers want to trade Barnett, they're once again limited by the status of the CBA. With no agreement in place, they wouldn't be able to trade him before the draft.
Unlike Flynn, the Packers may be more willing to trade Barnett post-draft because of the depth at inside linebacker, though.
And if there's a silver lining for NFL fans in all this uncertainty, it's this: Owners will want the flexibility to make trades before and during the draft. That should give them at least a little incentive to strike a deal sooner rather than later.
Until that's done, however, any talk of trade is pure speculation.
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