Shortly after word got out that Jermichael Finley had signed a two year deal, speculation began regarding what Ted Thompson would do with the Franchise Tag, if anything. The obvious scenario that Packers fans have been quick to latch onto is the possibility of the Packers franchising quarterback Matt Flynn, trading him for a barrel full of draft picks, and heading into the draft in April with an extra first round pick.
Time to slow down.
There are several hurdles the Packers need to clear before getting close to something even resembling the scenario above.
First of all, there is the not-inconsiderable issue of the money involved in placing the Franchise Tag on a quarterback. Flynn would be due $14 million once he signed his tender, which he would do in a heartbeat. If the Packers want to tag and trade Flynn, they need to have a deal in place first.
Yes, that would require tampering to take place.
Welcome to the NFL Combine.
This week in Indianapolis is pretty much a Tamperingpalooza, with every team able to talk every other team in any number of places in any number of ways. Hey, look over there, it's Mike Shanahan chatting with Jerry Jones in the hotel bar. Well what do you know, that's Jerry Reese talking with Kevin Colbert off to the side. There's a pro personnel guy from Team A talking with a guy from the front office of Team B. And so on and so forth. Obviously, not every conversation is about football business - but you can bet many of them are.
If Ted Thompson or someone on his staff runs into, either by accident or by design, Jeff Irleand and/or Joe Philbin this week, you can bet they'll talk about Matt Flynn. If Thompson runs into Pete Carroll or John Schneider, you can bet they'll talk about Matt Flynn.
You get the idea.
There is no way Ted Thompson places the Franchise Tag on Matt Flynn without having an agreement in palace to trade him first. None. Yes, the practice of tagging and trading is "frowned upon" by the NFLPA - but it is not against any rule. If Thompson finds a suitor (or more to the point, more than one) who he trusts (key point there) and is willing to give him what he considers value for Flynn's services then, and only then, will he tag Flynn.
So when/if you see the headline "Packers place Franchise Tag on Matt Flynn" rest assured it will be followed shortly by "Packers trade Flynn."