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Options Available for Packers to Replace Departed Scott Wells

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Options Available for Packers to Replace Departed Scott Wells

The writing was on the wall for some time, and early Friday night, it became official: Free-agent center Scott Wells will be playing else where in 2012. In a somewhat surprising move location-wise, the former Packers center agreed to terms with the St. Louis Rams.

Now that we know the Packers will be beginning a new phase at center next season, here's a rundown on who GM Ted Thompson may call on to replace the man who made 100 career starts in Green Bay.

Free Agents

  1. Chris Myers, Houston—The Packers were reported to have some interest in the Texans center when it first appeared likely that Wells was going to sign elsewhere. In 2011, Pro Football Focus ranked Myers as the No. 1 overall center, with Wells finishing No. 4. An accomplished run-blocker who helped pave the way for the NFL's second-best rushing offense. Both the Texans and Titans have showed interest. UPDATE: The Texans re-signed Myers Friday night. Details: 4-years, $25 million; $14 million guaranteed. 
  2. Jeff Saturday, Indianapolis—Despite being 36 years old, Saturday had an underrated season in 2011. He allowed just two sacks over 1,000 snaps and was a top-5 center in PFF's eyes. He's almost certain to be too old for Thompson's taste. It was also reported early on that Saturday is likely to look into hooking on with Peyton Manning as a package deal.
  3. Todd McClure, Atlanta—Another old center at 35 years old, McClure managed to keep a clean sheet in both the sack and penalty department last season. Like Saturday, he's probably too old for Thompson to consider him even on a short-term deal. The Rams were the only team to express any early interest.
  4. Samson Satele, Oakland—At just 25 years old, Satele is still young enough to be a potential long-term option. 6-3, 300 lbs., Satele's strength comes in run-blocking, where PFF rated him as the fifth-best center. He has that same gritty, undersized fight in him that made Wells a successful starting center late in his NFL career.
  5. Dan Koppen, New England—At 32 years old and coming off an ankle injury that cost him all but one game in 2011, Koppen comes with some risk. But we'd be remiss not to mention that PFF rated Koppen as the No. 10 overall center in 2010. A Pro Bowler in 2007, Koppen would be a big upgrade in the run-game over Wells.

NFL Draft

  1. Peter Konz, Wisconsin—The consensus No. 1 center in the class, Konz is likely the one first-round quality center available in April. He may not get to the Packers at No. 28, and there's almost zero chance he'd last into the second round.
  2. Ben Jones, Georgia—Jones could be a mauler in the run game early in his NFL career but needs some work protecting the passer. Given how pass-centered the Packers obviously are, Jones may not be the best fit for a guy who likely needs to start on Day 1.
  3. Phillip Blake, Baylor—Arguably the top pass-blocking center in the 2012 class. He's a good athlete for being 6-2, 313 lbs. but isn't going to dominate many defensive tackles early on at the next level. Blake's stock is on the rise and could be an option in Round 2.
  4. Mike Brewster, Ohio State—Struggled to end the 2011-12 season and then put together worrying performances at both the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine. He's more of a technician at the position, much like Wells. There's talent here, but a lot of risk, too. Should be a mid-rounder.
  5. David Molk, Michigan—Blew away the combine when he put up 41 reps on the 225-pound bench press. The 2011 Remington Trophy winner, Molk may be the closest player in style and size to Wells. He'd be a great value pick in the middle rounds.
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Fan friendly comments only: on Comments (64) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Brandon's picture

I'm guessing that the remaining free agents will ask for too much. I'm expecting they'll add someone in the draft, and Dietrich-Smith will start in the interim.

Anthony's picture

Highly doubt it. Most teams have their center and the teams that needed one for a short time got themselves ones. I think the Packers could sign a man like Satele for 2/3, maybe even half of what Wells got on a 3-4 year contract.

aussiepacker's picture

Dont know which way will be best for the Packers. Seemed like wells was pretty keen to leave the Packers. I wonder what the dollar difference was becouse to leave a 15 and 1 team with the leagues MVP at qaurterback to go to the Rams is a bit of a head scratcher for me.
P.S. Welcome to the site Zach.

Ryan's picture

I definitely agree with your analysis of Phillip Blake. I think he'd be a great replacement for wells, especially considering the talent he has on either side of him with Lang and Sitton. I'd live to see him continue to sport Green and Gold!

markinmontana's picture

Good synopsis...I'd be interested to hear your take on the "in-house" options (Dietrich-Smith, Genus), even if you think they're "bad" options.

Zach Kruse's picture

Dietrich-Smith starting over 16 games is scary. Good backup, nothing more. Genus is the wildcard—maybe he can make a Marshall Newhouse-type jump in Year 2?

chuck's picture

3rd year...Pack, Seatle/Pack, Pack

chuck's picture

Sorry, thought you meant EDS 3 years, not Genus

PackersRS's picture

Good post Zach. Personally I believe Satelle is more hype than anything, don't like his pass blocking.

The starting C, at least for the first few games, will be EDS. His ass was kicked when he played guard, but he's undersized there.

Let's hope he knows the assignments like the back of his hand, and that he doesn't commit many call errors early on, something Wells never did.

Bearmeat's picture

I hope you're wrong RS. IMO TT will take a C in round 3-5 to compete with EDS.

The only possible FA is Satele. All others are too old.

PackersRS's picture

I actually think that with Rodgers doing most of the protection calls EDS will be fine. Early on I expect some struggles, but I think by year's end he'll settle down and play well.

Bearmeat's picture

And you base that off of what inside knowledge???

Every time I watched him in the preseason he was a train wreck.

jeremy's picture

EDS played pretty well against Suh in November last year. Pissed him off to the point of a 2 game suspension.

PackersRS's picture

Inside knowledge? I'm from freaking Brazil...

I base that on the coaches' previous records (though if I based it on the OL track record...), as well as his play last year.

Yeah, he wasn't very good, but IMO for someone who had never played guard in the NFL and who's undersized he did fine. Not claiming I know more than anyone, just my opinion.

MarkinMadison's picture

Satele started nearly two years at center for the Fins, and started at guard as well. Replaced and traded. Now the Raiders aren't jumping to resign him. Some big red flags right there.

My guess is that if TT acquires a front D-7 guy in FA, then he might pick up a guy like Blake somewhere in the 2nd or 3rd round. Otherwise, get ready for the battle royale between EDS and Sampson.

Lou's picture

How about guys that could convert from college guard (or tackle) to NFL center? Kevin Zeitler is mentioned frequently, but Senio Kelemete would be another candidate.

Also, does a team with a QB as intelligent as Rodgers really need a center to "make calls" at the line?

packeraaron's picture

It helps, but remember - all the interior linemen are trained to make those calls. Sitton or Lang could be making them next year.

PackersRS's picture

And that's why you'll be missed here.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Ooooh, so you think you can just come in here without even introducing yourself...

I don't have to listen to you, your not our dad!

Now that that's out of the way, welcome Zach.

Of all the FA Centers, only one is under 30. And I'm with RS on Satele.

I just don't understand TT's apparent non-chalant attitude to Wells and the Center position. Unless.Ted goes against his norm, he's not going to sign any of those guys because they're too old. Meaning that's one more position to address in the draft. And since Ted doesn't draft for need... We could be screwed. I'm sure it will work out, but this was the best team in football last year (shut up), with the D needing much work, why the Hell wouldn't you do everything you can to make sure #12 is protected? Wells was a - And I can't stress this enough- "PROVEN" commodity.

Whatever, I'm over it. But so help me god, if we go Center at 28...

GBP 4 LIFE

PackersRS's picture

I'm with you, Fitz. Just an advice: don't make a draft video.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Lol, I won't.

Zach Kruse's picture

Intro comes tomorrow. I obviously did it completely backwards.

Bearmeat's picture

If all the quality DL and OLB are taken and Konz is available - TT will go C Fitz.

We all know it.

I hope it doesn't happen either... really liking Perry at ROLB

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Dude, I don't care what position it is... But it better be on D.

The Perry idea is growing on me, though I'm still a bit thrown off at him basically saying he wants to play with his hand on the ground.

I'm kinda liking B-Defensive-PA @ 28 and maybe McClellin will be there in the 2nd???

PkrNboro's picture

"The Perry idea is growing on me"

I'm scared. I'm not sure I like USC/Ohio State/Penn State guys any more.

He's not big enough to be a DE in a 3-4 and he can't be a one-trick-pony, always rushing but not covering. It's got Kampman, v2.0 written all over it.

Bearmeat's picture

CM3 is from USC. So is Cushing. Those are 2 pretty good LB's IMO

Anthony's picture

3 drafts in a row could see a 1st round pick spent on a O-lineman, lol. But really, you say he only goes on the BPA, not true. The last two years he did go with the best player available at the BIGGEST need.

Four times out of five, TT has a successful plan up his sleeve. I think what he does with the center position, it's going to be one of those four this time.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

I know, I know. He claims their philosophy is BPA, but we all know that's not always the case.

'09: switch to a 34
Just happen to address the two biggest needs of a successful 34 in the 1st... And traded up to do it.

nick perry's picture

I'm with you! I can just see us passing on ANOTHER player like we did last year in Brooks Reed. Just think, if Thompson would have drafted Reed like everyone projected, we may have done big things in playoffs. Instead he drafted a guy in Sherrod that can't beat out Newhouse who gave up what, 9 sacks?? Get ready for another 2008 season and 50 plus sacks on Rogers. Lets just hope he doesn't get hurt. If so and I see that smug look on Thompsons face... So help me god...

PackersRS's picture

That's awfully short-sighted. The most pressing need last year was to find a replacement for Clifton, which happened to be the BPA.

Pass rusher or not, if we don't have stability at LT, we don't get to the playoffs at all. Couldn't put all money on Newhouse panning out.

JJB's picture

Su and Williams will kill Rodgers next season.

JJB's picture

And Meyers just signed with Texans.

Mojo's picture

If Ted does go the FA route, the new guy's contract better not be anywhere near Wells or none of this will be worth it.

Could be ironic if Ted takes Konz in the first. You might hear a lot of boos in the Atrium even though Ted picked a local boy.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Agree 100% about signing a FA. Also agree with the Konz take... But irony doesn't concern me, the next Lombardi does. I feel somebody (Ted) would have to be deemed negligent if #12 doesn't bring us 2 more.. minimum.

FYI: If Konz were taken in the first he would be the first interior lineman taken in the first in the last five years that failed to register at least 20 reps on the bench. Konz had a piss poor 18. Now I don't get caught up in all the measurable's, BUT, if we were to unfortunately go O-line @ 28... I want a STUD, not a weakling. Maybe that's just me.

#keep12clean

BubbaOne's picture

Fitz,
I'm worried for you. On draft day please have a Xanax handy and a good support system around you...er, better make that 2 Xanax.

In reading one of your posts above you make it sound like AR will be hiking the ball to himself. Somehow, someway TT will provide a competent C.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Which post was that bubba? Just looked at said "above posts"... Don't see it.

Unless of course you're talking about the post where I'm quoted as saying "we could be screwed". Lol!

But really, as it sits right now... We have no Center, and that's just a fact. I'm not real comfortable trusting that we could plug a rookie in and not suffer growing pains (this is a SB ready team, growing pains are for losers)... I'm not real comfortable picking up a middle-of-the-road FA with expectations of not skipping a beat. But, I don't have a choice in the matter... And I hope you're right. Actually, I have to believe you're right, because if you're not, that would mean Ted shit his pants on this one. And I have to believe Ted has a plan. Have to.

BubbaOne's picture

Yes, that's the post.

Reading all the 36 comments so far Wells signing must have moved up the Mayan calendar and the apocalypse has started.

Here are options at Center. TT signs a FA maybe even Brown the ex-Ram, Sampson Genus (15 lbs heavier than Wells) may be ready, Lang or Dominguez slides to C, TT plucks a reserve OG/C off another team (ala Ryan Grant), TT drafts a C worthy of starting, TT finds a replacement in a OG/C that will be cut from another team, TT signs a street FA.

Add Quentin Saulsberry to the draftable C's.

Rocky70's picture

Actually, he has every right to worry about the draft 2012. R. Cobb (so far) is the only contributor out of draft 2011. All the rest are huge question marks, even now heading into season 2012.

The fog hovering around TT needs to lift and soon.

nick perry's picture

Or he could take the Ron Wolf approach and not take another chance's and just sit on his on SB win.

Kevin's picture

I totally see TT going into traing camp with EDS, Genus Sampson, and a mid round draft choice (Molk?) as our center. The reason is I can see TT hoping for a third round comp pick for Flynn and a fourth round comp pick for Wells.

Chris's picture

If TT is thinking about o line in the first round he better find a FA DE OR sign Wimbley in a hurry.

Anthony's picture

Agreed. And for the record, there are very few FA moves I'm with. Going for Chris Myers or Wimbley were/are two that I do like. I think Wimbley would be a stellar addition to the Packers and I think we could get him without overpaying.

PkrNboro's picture

where is the money to sign Wimbley?

we're 5.6mil under the cap!
and that guy will likely want double that!

GB would have to cut Driver and Clifton immediately to clear that kind of space -- and they haven't done it.

Sure, I like the idea of getting a player like Wimbley -- but he will have to be paid !!

Qotsa1's picture

One name that wasn't mentioned was Jason Brown, the center the Rams dropped for Wells. He was one of the better centers a few years and is only 28, so he might benefit from a change of scenery and better players around him.

New cow smell's picture

Pack is straight up crushing it this offseason so far.

Strike one =neal
Strike two=wells
Strike three=Collins?

With zero free agent activity and little help coming from last two drafts, tt's going to have to own this year's draft in order to fill all these holes.

How many times has it been stated that games are won on the line of scrimmage? Right now we have two holes on the d-line (in a 3/4 I count olb). And 2 holes on the o-line.

Not good.

MarkinMadison's picture

I see one hole on the O-line: center. I was not a Newhouse fan last year, but he was improving. I don't consider Sherrod a wasted pick. He did contribute last year, as a rookie guarding the outside edge, and he got better. Realistically, we all knew that Clifton was starting to decline. Maybe the back surgery gives him new life and the Packers keep him, but more likely than not he's cut by June. The Packers' O-line does not look like the 90s cowboys, but it is no more in a state of flux than the ones that won the Super Bowl in the 90s, or in 2011. Trust in TT on this one folks. It will be fine.

New cow smell's picture

But the 90's defense was awesome... this defense-not so much.

Also-you must be a pretty positive person to not think that left tackle is a trouble-spot.

Oppy's picture

I remember everyone panicking during the offseason just before the 2010 campaign as well.

The entire D was screwed, we needed to go out and get linemen (both D and O), ILB's, and we had nobody at CB. We needed RB's.

And the Packers just sat there and did nothing during free agency, dooming us to a horrible year of failure.

I think the Packers won the SB that year. Can anyone confirm this for me?

Every year is different, we don't know what is going to transpire. My only point is this:

The fan base has panicked before because the Packers sat on their hands during FA.. And, the fan base was completely wrong.

Let's wait and see what happens. It's not like we can do anything about it...

New cow smell's picture

Also-with so many holes to fill and so many big contracts coming up in the very near future, i'm afraid Jennings might be gone after this season. He's creeping up on 30 znd wide receiver contracts or going off the charts.

We better hope Cobb is the real deal.

Jack's picture

I think an option is David Molk out of Michigan. Had a monster combine on the bench and is underrated and could be a mid round pick.I think he could be developed into a very good center....in the meantime....EDS,Genus,Dominguez?

Brian's picture

Jack, isn't Molk even smaller than Wells? MM wanted a bigger center and what I read was that Molk is 286lbs and 6'2"? I know he is strong but 286?

Shawn's picture

How can we expect to stay competitive with our draft and groom philosophy if A. We let our groomed players go when they get good and B.We have crappy draft years like last year is looking? If you look back to drafts 5 or 6 years ago we only have two or three people we drafted still on our team. And some of them are not all that good and could easily be replaced by a first round draft pick. The draft and groom philosophy only works if you draft players that are good and then resign them after their initial 4 to 5 year contract for long term contracts. Most of our draft picks end up being very mediocre and they are gone after their first contract or sooner. I just don’t think this strict draft and groom philosophy thing is going to work for long without some free agent pickups that aren’t during the season, desperate, quick fix, hole fillers when people get hurt. We ether need to find a way to keep our better players like Jenkins and Wells that still have at least 5 good years left in them or slowly kiss having a good team good bye.

PkrNboro's picture

I think that you draft and get 4-5 years of serviceability from a player, in a business where the average career is 3.5 years.

If they're any good, you resign them before their contract expires (on the cheap). At the end of the 2nd contract, they're as good as gone, as they'll likely want their big money contract. Which is really OK, because the longer you play the more likely you get injured and that's a year on IR, making big time bucks that are GONE. Plus, the aftermath of convalescence -- paying more big bucks and getting a fraction of the player.

Do you really want a Peyton on your team? a guy that will want 1/5 of the money, when there are still 52 others to pay? a guy that if he gets injured, the team tanks? it's a risk that doesn't always have a reward.

The NFL is a brutal business. Bodies just don't hold up. This is why a high-round draftee ends up looking bad -- not everybody can withstand the pounding. Yes, they may end up looking not-so-good, but your suggestion of replacing them with a first round pick doesn't make sense -- as there is only one of those per year! Then what do you do with the other 21 starting positions that may not measure up to a 1st round performance or quality?

Plus this business is amazingly subject to irrationality, similar to a stock market. Teams don't react to a player, they react to other teams. Owners and managers panic. They get myopic and are willing to overlook an old injury or reports of a bad attitude. This is when they start hoping instead of thinking -- and a mediocre player gets a king's ransom and the burden of being a frachise savior. Free agency is anything but "free" -- it's really expensive.

Consider Jenkins. All Packer fans wanted the Jenkins of 2010 back last season. But Jenkins went to Philadelphia, where he had five sacks in the first five games!! Wow. He had one-half sack the remaining 11 games. Wow, again. That's a lot of money for not much production. Jenkins does not have 5 more good years left in him. Nor does Wells.

Kennypayne's picture

Could not agree more. Why would Packer fans want Jenkins and his lousy 5.5 sacks when we could devote all the money he got from Philly and many millions more on AJ Hawk.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Lol.

WisconsinRob's picture

The important part of "Draft & Groom" is the little used "Don't overpay for replaceable talent" and paying $24M to a center on the wrong side of 30 is part of that. Pay for future performance, not past production.

New cow smell's picture

Agreed. Unless there's no one on your roster to take the place of the guy who's leaving. That's the problem. They had to have seen this coming down the pike yet they failed to protect themselves.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Yep.

Cole's picture

It's now come out that Wells refused to consider coming back, so we can't fault Ted for that except perhaps in that he probably low balled wells one too many times.

lars's picture

Why would you want to come back to a team/job that really wasn't that interested in retaining your services and offered 50% less money?

JJB's picture

Screw Wells. I can't wait til BJ kicks his ass in the game this year.

chuck's picture

What about LT-Bulaga, LG- Newhouse, C- Lang, RT Sitton, RT- Sherrod?

New cow smell's picture

Great idea except that Sherrod sucks and has a leg that currently resembles a plate of scrambled eggs.

Go Pack Go's picture

Nagler who?

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