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The NFL Offseason Has Begun

Here are some key dates coming up as the offseason gets underway for the Green Bay Packers.

February 20 through March 5 is when they can apply the franchise tag.

February 22 through 28 is the NFL combine.

Free agency begins on March 13.

The next big news story will be whether the Packers will use the franchise tag at all. Possible candidates for the franchise tag are Matt Flynn, Jermichael Finley, Scott Wells, and Jarrett Bush.

I'm kidding about Jarrett. I just wanted to see if you're paying attention.

Actually, the only player who might get the franchise tag is Finley. Dreams of a tag-and-trade deal involving Flynn are probably a long-shot because the tag would cost around $14 million and wreck the Packers salary cap in the short-term (i.e. they'd have to start releasing players immediately). If Finley stays at the tight end designation, which is another story if he insists on being considered a wide receiver, the franchise tag should be around $6 million for a tight end.

Wells isn't likely to be tagged either because centers are usually paid less than other offensive lineman, but for purposes of the franchise tag, all offensive lineman are lumped together and he would cost close to $10 million. Since I expect he'll receive a long-term deal for between $5 to $6 million per season, the franchise tag would be excessive and he might even be tempted to sign the one-year offer.