Is this the end for TE Bubba Franks in Green Bay, or is his release just a way to avoid paying over $3 million in 2008 for a backup tight end? It seems unlikely that any other team will pursue Franks because he's a poor receiver who has had trouble staying healthy over the past few seasons. Ironically, according to Football Outsiders, two players who were very similar to Franks in 2007 were TE Visanthe Shiancoe who signed a big free agent contract last season with Minnesota, and TE L.J. Smith who has also had trouble staying healthy and just was tagged as Philadelphia's franchise player. Apparently it is a very fine line between making millions in the NFL and hitting the unemployment line.
Hopefully this isn't the end for Franks in Green Bay. Despite missing several weeks with an injury, 2007 was his best season since 2004. He still can block, he had a great game in the playoffs against Seattle, and he was a much better receiver in 2007 than 2006. However maybe this means the Packers are seriously committed to finding another quality tight end in next April's draft, something they avoided last year although they had the need.
I don't track the Packers salary cap, but I think this move isn't a sign GM Ted Thompson is making cap room. Franks signed a 7 year contract back in 2005 with a $7 million signing bonus so he had 4 years remaining on the deal. I expect the deferred signing bonus is accelerated and the Packers might even take a cap hit by releasing him. This is another sign that the Packers are using their cap space on things other than pursuing any high priced free agents.