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Point of Veau: Make Saturday An Offer He Can't Refuse

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Point of Veau: Make Saturday An Offer He Can't Refuse

Scott Wells is gone, and nothing is bringing him back to Green Bay.

The free agent center signed with the St. Louis Rams last week leaving the Packers with a vacancy at their starting center position.

Option No. 1 and the best option available for replacing Wells would be to sign veteran free agent Jeff Saturday.

The drawback to signing him, of course, is his age. Saturday will be entering his 14th season in the NFL in 2012 and will be 37 years old when the season starts.

If it was anyone other than Jeff Saturday, that would be a concern. But this is Jeff Saturday we're talking about, the man considered to be one of the best centers in the NFL for much of the past decade.

That day is past, however, but Saturday should still have enough gas left in the tank for at least one more average to above-average season, which is all the Packers can ask at this point.

The top free agent centers are off the market such as Wells, Chris Myers, who re-signed with the Houston Texans, and Samson Satele, who reportedly recently agreed to a contract with the Indianapolis Colts.

One option the Packers have to fill the void at center is through the NFL Draft, but that's always a crap shoot.

Wisconsin's Peter Konz is generally regarded as the top center prospect in this year's Draft class, and the Packers could be absolutely enamored with him, but there's no guarantee they can select him in the first round.

First of all, Konz may not last until the 28th overall pick where the Packers are scheduled to select, and there's always the possibility that another team would be willing to trade up to select Konz as well.

Even if the Packers did happen to draft Konz, there's also no guarantee he'll be ready to become a starter his first year in the NFL. Just look at Derek Sherrod this past season as a case-in-point.

Signing Saturday would be a stop-gap solution, no doubt about it. But at this point, the Packers don't have much of a choice. At least by signing Saturday, it bides them a year to find their long-term solution at center, which is probably by drafting and grooming a rookie to take over eventually.

And who better to learn from than Saturday?

It would definitely take some time for Saturday to learn the offense, become adjusted to making line calls and working with Aaron Rodgers, but those are not obstacles that cannot be overcome.

What the Packers need to do is tell Saturday he'd be the unquestioned starter from Day 1, get him in the offseason program to start learning the offense and start putting their faith in him.

Green Bay can afford to pay him a starter's salary in upwards of $3 million for one year. That's a pittance to pay for a knowledgeable veteran the Packers  can trust to make a run at the Super Bowl.

They can even offer him a multi-year contract so long as the contract is structured in such a way that the Packers wouldn't take a salary cap hit in future years if they decide he can no longer play or they have better, younger options and cut him.

The ball would be in Saturday's court. He's an unrestricted free agent and free to sign with any team he chooses. He's reportedly visiting the Denver Broncos, which makes sense seeing as he could re-unite with quarterback Peyton Manning. In addition, Denver is a place that the incumbent starter, third-year player J.D. Walton, didn't exactly set the world on fire in 2011.

If Saturday is hell-bent on signing with Denver, there's nothing the Packers can do about that. But he was at least intrigued enough by the Packers to visit them this past weekend. They least the Packers can do is make a competitive offer.

Giving Saturday a large contract might cause the Packers some trouble when trying to extend some of their future free agents to contract extensions such as wide receiver Greg Jennings, quarterback Aaron Rodgers and linebacker Clay Matthews. But at the same time, salary cap space can be made for them by cutting tackle Chad Clifton and perhaps wide receiver Donald Driver.

The Packers also have to take into effect how signing Saturday would affect the compensatory draft choices the Packers could earn for more free agent losses than gains, but having a reliable center on a Super Bowl contending team would still seem to outweigh any draft choice the Packers would receive in 2013.

If the Packers can't land Saturday, the free agent market dries up considerably with the best remaining options including Dan Koppen of the New England Patriots, Jason Brown of the St. Louis Rams and Jeff Faine of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Packers then would have to consider whether they're better off signing a free agent or going with holdovers such as Evan Dietrich-Smith or Sampson Genus.

Regardless, Saturday would be a better option than any of them. At least for one year.

 

 

 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (65) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

packsmack25's picture

Good points Brian. Unfortunately I don't really think he is an option, considering the Bronco rumors.

CSS's picture

"Make Saturday an Offer He Can't Refuse"

(Pictures Saturday waking early in the morning to a severed horse head underneath his sheets, in this case wearing a cheesehead .)

dat der Packer-backer's picture

It just might be crazy enough to work...(Reggie? This is God. I want you to play for Green Bay.)

bearsarefibs's picture

Why didn't we just make wells an offer he couldn't refuse. Jeff Saturday? Really. Come on TT. Wells has wayyyyy more in the tank than Saturday. We let Wells walk why?--cuz he was long in the tooth? I don't get this. Peter Konz is the clear option. TT should do whatever he can to cement Konz. Neenah, WI native, Badgers stud, future NFL rockstar. TT is know for planning ahead. Saturday doesn't fit the bill.

Evan's picture

Because Wells' "can't refuse" offer would have been considerably more than Saturday's will be.

Brian Carriveau's picture

In terms of dollars and years.

Fish/crane's picture

Space Ghost rocks- btw, especially an intelligent conversation about what we just watched.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

I was with you on Wells, well documented on this site. Unfortunately, that ship has sailed. Konz would cost us our first rounder, we have more pressing defensive needs. Bring in Saturday for a year or two as a band-aid while grooming his successor.

Sam's picture

From what I've heard we lost Scott Wells because he didn't really want to come back. Can't fault TT for that. Now I, personally, would prefer to get a bargain FA that can come in and play right now (like Saturday), and save that first rounder for a pass rusher. Then draft a center later that we can groom for a year or two.

murphy's picture

So we should just sideline the defensive needs so we can go for a good center?

Edit: I see others posted faster than me. Always late to the party.

Evan's picture

Also, I know this might be entering " Bulaga has short arms" territory, but isn't Konz's weak bench press showing a big cause for concern. Upper body strength strikes me as pretty important for a lineman.

jeremy's picture

Football is a game that you play on your feet. Check out the list of the best ever bench pressers at the NFL combine. It is pretty much a list of nobodies. I'm not saying it hurts to have a good bench press, it's just not the same motion as blocking standing up. I'd love to see players power clean, but power cleans to failure would be a serious injury liability at a place like the NFL combine.

Evan's picture

Yeah, that's a good point.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Agreed.

GBP 4 LIFE

Ebongreen's picture

It's a very reasonable option - if it's an option. We'll have to see how JS wants to play it, and for whom.

Mojo's picture

Is everyone sure that Saturday would be willing to go to GB for 1 or 2 years until we can groom his replacement? He has no ties here. I think the odds are very low.

What's going to happen is that Peyton will say he wants Saturday in Denver and the Broncos will offer him a 4 or 5 year deal (same as Mannings)- if Saturday wants to go out that long. Do you think with everything the Broncos have invested in Peyton they want to make him unhappy? It might be different if Denver had a good center - but they don't.

Evan's picture

4-5 year deal??

Maybe Saturday wants to play for one of the best teams in thr league as opposed to following Manning around like a puppy. None of us know what's in his head. But he wouldn't have come to visit if he weren't at least somewhat interested in playing here.

Chad Toporski's picture

I don't think many GMs would be willing to offer Saturday a deal of more than 1-2 years. Maybe 3. The tipping point would be in the cash.

QOTSA1's picture

I highly doubt that Saturday signs with the Packers no matter what the offer. Why would he not want to play with Manning again?

The Packers should set their sights on Brown or Koppen, and do it soon. I'm glad TT does not wast money in free agency, but it would be nice if he showed a little sense of urgency when they have a need that could be easily filled in free agency.

some guy's picture

why not Koppen? this is a no brainer... if he can start for Brady, he can start for Rodgers.

hello....

packsmack25's picture

Usually when the Pats let a guy go, it's because they suck.

some guy's picture

sucked so bad he started with tom Brady right behind him until he got hurt.

Nononsense's picture

I personally like Jamal Jackson formerly of the Eagles but Saturday woudl be a nice pickup too.

Im not sure but doesn't age factor into comp picks, I don't think guys with 10+ years in the league count as FA losses or gains but I could be wrong.

Brian Carriveau's picture

Good point! I forgot about that little rule. Makes me want to go after Saturday a little more.

New cow smell's picture

I've changed my mind on all of this. I've been clammoring for days for tt to fill at least one hole with a free agent.

But...

I'm beginning to realize that this is not going to be a super bowl type of year... Just too many missing pieces. There's no way they can upgrade rolb rde center and safety all in one offseason.

So...

Keep your picks.
Don't sign any expensive free agents.
Lock up Matthews rodgers raj Finley Jennings for the long haul.
Draft good players regardless of roster needs.
Reload for 2013or 2014.

If you get lucky along the way with dj smith or house or md Jennings or so'oto or eds turning into legitimate players-great. If not-at least your never in cap he'll.

What bothers me most is that all of this could have been avoided if the packers weren't such jerks to wells while he was here. They didn't appreciate him until it was too late. The bridge had already been burned.

Brian Carriveau's picture

I think it's very shortsighted to think this can't be a Super Bowl year in a league where teams can go from pretender to contender in one year's time. The Packers only have a couple missing pieces. Hit on a draft choice or two, and they're in very, very good shape.

Rocky70's picture

You're looking at it in a very 'safe' manner. Missing pieces are an unknown & only through time (games) can you know if a team has found the missing pieces.

Analyze again. Only this time evaluate the Pack on who they already have on the roster instead of who they might have on their roster.

This is a huge reason why posters here see things so differently. Some base their analysis on present-day reality & some base their analysis on hopes & dreams.

packsmack25's picture

Present day reality has a 15-1 team that has an MVP QB and has been to the playoffs 3 years in a row.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Yessir.

Rocky70's picture

15-1 is not present day. It's not even present year. SB 45 is even older.

Do you honestly believe AR can repeat 122/45/6 again in 2012. I believe he's good enough but I'm not sure about the rest of the 53 man roster (esp the "D").

Cole's picture

I believe #12 can repeat those stats. In fact I think he'll come back with a vengeance and break every record. Plus, another year for Cobb, Finley, Nelson. And if they catch the ball better...lookout. I could see 5500/52/6

Cole's picture

Besides the main thing is not stats it's winning enough to get into the playoffs and hopefully play on the road in warm climates. Domes and warm weather works best for us, I don't think anyone can deny that. Even though it isn't possible, if we play he giants in a dome we win 8 out of ten, IMO

BubbaOne's picture

Thanks Rocky, your response gives me insight to where we differ. You're looking at the Packers from a static perspective; a snapshot, this is what is. I et al look at the team as fluid, in a state of flux; some players get better, some get worse.

Case in point, you could argue after the 2010 season RT needed to be addressed. Brian Bulaga was rated as one of the worse T's in the league. MM has said players make the biggest improvement from year one to year two. So I could argue Bulaga was poised to make a big leap forward in 2011. Which argument was right at the time, neither, it had to play out.
Newhouse is this years lab rat, will he improve, we don't know. But I think he showed enough last year and w/ a year in the weight room, OTA's and TC that he'll play at a high level this season. Dreaming? No. Optimistic? Yes.

Rocky70's picture

Hopes & dreams.
You've proven my point with one simple example. Bulaga improved because he was a quality draft pick in the 1st round. Newhouse may or may not improve. Why? Because he's an unknown who was drafted in the 5th for a reason (limited ability)

Your hope & dream is that he actually does improve & is the LT for many years. Just answer this. Why then did GB draft Sherrod in the 1st if Newhouse has such an upside. Seems even TT/MM may have their doubts about Newhouse.

You see, TT/MM have to deal with the Pack on a reality basis. Only fans like yourself are allowed to 'hope & dream'.

PackersRS's picture

Expecting 2nd and 3rd year players to improve is not to "hope and dream"...

CSS's picture

It's called structured, systemic player development for a reason. Position coaches and head coaches don't sit back praying on sunshine and farts for the player to be 'better.'

Kind of like, gee, Scott Wells? The 7th round pick that was cut, nobody claimed him, placed on the practice squad and DEVELOPED? The coaching staff must have hoped and prayed really, really hard.

Rocky70's picture

CSS

Once again, you have missed the whole point of my post. Regardless of 'structured, systemic player development', the best players in the NFL still come from rounds 1 through 3. It has always been this way & always will be this way. Even your very best player development systems cannot turn a 'sow's ear into a silk purse'.

This is the conundrum that GB now faces. There are simply too many 'sow's ears' on GB's 53 man roster. You will see no 'silk purses' being created from the likes of Zombo, Wynn, Wilson, B. Jones, Peprah, etc.

CSS's picture

No Rocky, you're talking about development and I"m responding, on topic (replacing Wells) using Wells as a specific example.

As to your 'best players come from rounds 1 - 3' mantra you've been lambasting TT for not replacing them with (as an example) the likes of Chris Meyers (6th round pick) or Jeff Saturday (undrafted free agent). See that, they weren't high picks and they developed. They're neither the exception nor the rule, but the interior of the offensive line is commonly developed from 4th round onward. See Sitton, Lang, Newhouse and (formerly) Wells as examples.

My point, in line with this particular thread of comments, is simple: draft and develop is common and not every roster hole needs to be filled with a high profile free agent or high draft pick.

I responded in line, with examples. Is this where you insult me and flounce out of the thread with no examples or solutions, only random criteria to complain about how dumb we all are?

Rocky70's picture

I haven't made any comments about Meyers, Saturday or anyone to replace Wells. I'm not concerned about the center position. EDS will do fine, IMO. I'm concerned about the "D" as are most Packer Fans.

FYI, 72.6% of the 84 players voted into the season 2011 Pro-Bowl were drafted in rounds 1 thru 3. That 75% or so mark has been common since the 90's. However, there are exceptions to any rule. Wells, Meyers & Saturday are obviously exceptions. (the other 25%)

Regardless of whatever your philosophy may be in developing NFL players, you simply can't ignore the cold hard facts.

I never said or even inferred that anyone was dumb.---- Misinformed, naive, dreamers, yes --- I stand guilty as charged. --- LOL.

QOTSA1's picture

If they get Collins back, which we should find out soon, and they sign a center in free agency, they could easily fill the OLB and DE needs in the draft.

With as many as 12 picks in the draft, there is no reason to think that TT won't hit on at least a few.

Evan's picture

I'm curious who you think in the NFC/NFL has a better chance to win/go to the Super Bowl.

The Patriots? Whose defense was as bad as the Packers? And they haven't done much of anything to address it either.

Steelers? With that oline and aging defense?

Ravens? With Flacco? Nope.

The Giants? Sure. They should be good. Though the Super Bowl hangover will be in effect and every team will be gunning for them (same old story).

The 49ers? With Alex Smith? Please.

The Saints? Without their head coach and probably a lot of its already weak defense? No way.

The Lions or Bears? Both should be contenders. But better chance than the Packers? I don't see it. The Bears o-line is still a mess and its defense is old. The Lions still have no running game and their defense faded down the stretch last year.

My point is, no team is perfect. And the Packers are as good, if not better, than pretty much every team in the league right now. To be conceding the Super Bowl on March 20th (after going 15-2) is frankly insane.

Rocky70's picture

It's likely none of the teams you've listed will win SB 47, but .....
You've only listed 8 teams + GB. There's still 23 teams that could be SB winner for season 2012.

Evan's picture

I just named some of the top contenders. But you're ignoring my point. Is there a team without any holes on its roster that I'm forgetting?

Rocky70's picture

Of course not. Why even ponder the question. The NFL is designed for parity. As a result, all teams have flaws. Having an elite QB (AR) can offset many flaws but not all of them. At this point, IMO GB has more flaws than AR can nullify. Plus, I'm not sure the draft will make up the difference either. We will see.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Vegas seems to think those 9 have a better shot than most of the other 23, especially the GBP. FWIW.

Rocky70's picture

Vegas ??? LOL.
Gimme a break.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Actually, I'll take those nine and give you the field. All you have to do is name the price... Sleep on it.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

What's the bet Rocky? Mr. Lol.

PackersRS's picture

Dumb Vegas doesn't like their money. They should let the more knowledgeable, realistic pros do the odds.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

"I'm thinkin super bowl"

Charles Woodson to #12

cow42's picture

they lost in the first round the year he said this.

Bearmeat's picture

Ain't gonna happen. Broncos will offer Saturday more years and more $$.

He came in with Peyton. He'll go out with him.

Oh, and TT's cheap.

Wiscokid's picture

Brian, it's time. You need to strap on a helmet and shoulder pads and get in there. You may be short on stature but you're are big in heart. Let roll. :)

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Kid, come up to Seattle for the game this year.

djbonney138's picture

Would the Broncos really give up on their 24 year old center and bring in a 36 year old center just to make their QB happy? Let them have Saturday let's take J.D. Walton and save our draft picks for an OLB.

Cole's picture

JD Walton is horrible.

joshywoshybigfatposhy's picture

somehow, i think if jeff saturday's brains ended up on the contract, it'd be even bigger news than sean payton being suspended.

i can just picture mccarthy: "may your first child be a masculine child with good pad level"

MarkinMadison's picture

I'm sorry I'm too silly and ignorant to understand this comment.

I agree with Brian only if the Packers think that they have their future center on the roster right now, but he's just not ready. Say you blow the bank on a one-year deal with Saturday. Then what next year? What if your nameless 4th rounder does not pan out? Then the Packers are back to square one next year. If you think Sampson Genus is the answer with another year under his belt, then this move makes sense.

Brian Carriveau's picture

While having a long-term solution is nice, it's also about being competitive in 2012. Jeff Saturday gives the Packers the best chance to win immediately.

joshywoshybigfatposhy's picture

Michael: Well, when Johnny was first starting out, he was signed to this contract with a big-band leader. And as his career got better and better he wanted to get out of it. Now, Johnny is my father's godson. My father went to see the bandleader, and offered him $10,000 to let Johnny go, but the bandleader said no. So the next day, my father went to see the bandleader again, only this time with Luca Brasi. Within an hour, the bandleader signed the release, with a certified check of $1,000.
Kay: How did he do that?
Michael: My father made him an offer he couldn't refuse.
Kay: What was that?
Michael: Luca Brasi held a gun to his head, and my father assured him that either his brains or his signature would be on the contract.
[Kay stares at Michael in disbelief]
Michael: That's a true story. [pause] That's my family, Kay, it's not me.

Keith's picture

Disagree with going after Saturday. The key trait of a good oline is continuity. I think they're better off going after Konz and letting Newhouse/Sherrod-Lang-Konz-Sitton-Bulaga gel into one of the better, young olines in the league.

Brian Carriveau's picture

There's no guarantee they're going to get Konz, though. What then? Reach for a center? Draft one in the middle rounds and hope and pray he works out?

Curt Cozad's picture

I think its time to give Sampson Genus a chance to prove his worth. It may be painful in the short run, but I think he has potential.

Don Hutson's picture

We may get our chance with SG, plus EDS is certainly in the mix. Wells was an expense that TT didn't want to reach for, hopefully this time that decision goes the Packer's way. - It didn't the last time it came down to it on the d-line, and lack of pressure on Manning was the key element in our final game last year!

pkrNboro's picture

EDS got knocked around as a Guard, but as a Center he'll help with double-teams, as Wells did. He's about the same size as Wells and knows the offense.

Genus has played Center since 7 (with one exception, when he was a DT as a college freshman.)
He's won weight-lifting awards in high school and was in the National Honor Society.
He's completed his degree in Criminology.
He's 315, and either 6' or 6'1".

I think he has the experience and the wits to pick up the offense, and possibly supplant EDS, as he seems a bit more stout. When the 2nd tier line was in pre-season games last year, he's the only I remember not getting eaten up.

I don't think GB is serious about signing a FA Center. They're right up against the cap ($5-6mil ?), and show no signs of re-working the contracts of Clifton and Driver. A prospect would likely see that as an impediment to negotiations.

Something else, I can't imagine one of the brand-name, mid-thirty-year-old centers wanting to come in and play for 1-2 years -- because TT is not going to sign them for 3-5 years.

EDS is our Center, with Genus on his heels.

Let's go get the Connecticut guy, McClellin and Massaquoi.

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