6

October

Packers Should Extend Wells Before Finley

Green Bay Packers C Scott Wells deserves a contract extension before TE Jermichael Finely.

Josh Sitton received a contract extension before the season. Jordy Nelson recently signed on the dotted line for three more years. That leaves Scott Wells and Jermichael Finley as the Green Bay Packers most high profile players that will hit free agency in 2012.

If I told you one year ago that Wells should receive an extension before Finley, you would have laughed in my face. But now, one year later, that’s exactly what I’m going to tell you.

If I were Ted Thompson, I’d lock up Wells before Finley. And I would do it soon.

A year ago Wells was trying to help the Packers offensive line recover after a shaky 2009 campaign and Finley appeared to be on the verge of greatness. Today, Wells has quietyly become a reliable player at an important position and Finley is trying to re-establish himself after a knee injury cut short his 2010 season.

Finley is a great weapon and I hope the Packers find a way to keep him too, but the Packers have shown they can win without him. I love how the Packers offensive line is playing right now. If Thompson can keep this group together (with Derek Sherrod or Marshall Newhowse likely stepping in for Clifton at some point), Aaron Rodgers has a good shot at staying healthy and carving up defenses for years to come.

Continuity on the offensive line is especially important for the Packers. Wells calls out the blocking assignments on pass plays and is doing a masterful job. McCarthy’s offesne isn’t an easy one to learn, and it probably isn’t any easier with a QB like Rodgers who has the freedom to changes things at the line. You need a center that can handle his own assignments and set the protection for his linemates. Wells has been doing just that for a while now.

Yes, Wells is on the wrong side of 30, but he appears to be the rare player that has gotten better with age. He’s always been solid in pass protection, but now he’s blowing guys off the line run-blocking. Did you see him handle Sedrick Ellis and Shaun Rogers agaisnt the Saints? I’m surprised Thomspon didn’t order McCarthy to call a timeout during the game so Wells could sign his new contract right then and there on the sideline.

The former seventh-round pick has come a long way since losing his starting job to Jason Spitz in 2009. Now it’s time to make sure he remains a Packer for the next couple of years.

I also hope Finley remains a Packer. He’s shown how great he can be and I’m guessing he’ll see more passes thrown his way as the season goes on, the stakes are raised, and games (and coverages) get tighter. But if you forced me right now to choose between Wells and Finley, my choice would be Wells.

I’m guessing (and that’s all you can really do when trying to read Thompson’s mind), that Wells will get extended this season. I’m also guessing that Finley will be back next season, with a one-year deal as the Packers franchise player.

 

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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16 Responses to “Packers Should Extend Wells Before Finley”

  1. CSS says:

    Sum up my feelings: Finley is a luxury for what’s already (arguably) is the most accurate quarterback in the NFL capable of spreading the ball to no fewer than 6-8 players on a weekly basis.

    Wells is a necessity with no other option on the roster, and Rodgers is healthy as a byproduct of what’s consistently graded as one of the top 5 pass blocking offensive lines in football.

    IF forced to choose, it’s necessity over luxury.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  2. Ron LC says:

    Agree 100% Adam. Wells is going to slide under the cap easier and is an important cog in the line. Finley needs to play close to a full season before TT opens the bank.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    • Adam Czech says:

      Even then I’m not sure if TT would “open the bank.” I’m guessing he’d sit down w/ Finley’s agent, talk about how good Finley is, talk about how much the Packers like him, talk about how he’s replacable and the Packers can and will win w/out him, ask the agent if Finley would like to play with the best QB in the game or take a chance w/ someone else, then make an offer below market value, but above what would be considered a “low-ball” offer.

      From there, it’d be up to Finley to decide what he wants to do.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

      • Steve says:

        My guess in that scenario with how he is complaining about not getting the ball as much as he would like, that he would opt to go to a different team that 1) has less play makers 2) will pay him more money.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Ron LC says:

        That makes sense Adam, but he is officially one of TT’s boys. I think he’d do a lot to keep him.

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  3. Mojo says:

    As I mentioned prior to Sitton’s resigning; ” Sign whoever can keep number 12 healthy”. Now you could argue Finley would be a great safety valve when other teams are blitzing, thereby saving A-Rod from taking hits, but my guess, overall, Wells has a greater impact on A-Rods well being. Therefore a slight edge to Wells. Also we may be seeing the first signs of what a decent O-line can do for your offense.

    Regarding Wells, it will be interesting to see how he stacks up against the Lions and Suh et al.
    If he wins those battles, by all means resign him. If not we may have to consider his relatively small size.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    • Oppy says:

      Mojo, excellent point.

      The reason why the Packers were trying to replace Wells with Spitz just a few short years ago was precisely that: the Packers wanted a bigger body in front of Aaron Rodgers.

      Wells is a pit bull and his technique is phenomenal. He has stood up quite well to the Behemoth Williams’ in MN over the last few years, and that is impressive for a just-300 lbs center.

      You are correct about Detroit- they are a D-line that must be accounted for and in the equation when we’re talking about keeping Aaron Rodgers healthy.

      Suh stated after his rookie campaign that the stiffest competition, the toughest player he had to line up against all year, was Packers RG Josh Sitton. High praise from a player who is already considered one of, if not THE, most dominant defensive tackles in the game.

      I know you don’t want your team to make personnel decisions based on your opponents (Don’t chase)- but with the addition of Fairley, their edge threats, as well Suh… You have to account for that in your division when you’re talking about protecting the best QB in the league.

      I agree whole-heartedly that perhaps the Lions game should be seen before Wells gets paid.

      He’s a great center that has overcome his physical limitations, but he’s also to the age where if he starts to decline, it could be too much to overcome vs. top tier talent.

      Perhaps the Packers give him a pretty hefty short term contract and continue the push to find his replacement.. Let’s face it, EDS and McDonald were both introduced to camps as potential replacements for Wells. Neither had stepped up to the challenge.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Wagszilla says:

    I agree that Wells should be re-upped before Finley.

    However…

    I think Finley should be resigned. He’s an absolute force. He makes it so easy to pick apart defenses and we all know that’s what Aaron Rodgers does best. My only concern is his ability to stay healthy.

    Of course if he wants to continue with that “I want to be the highest paid TE in the league” nonsense, then tag and trade him.

    With Finley gone, we could use that money (and draft picks potentially) to fill in holes in our defense and on our offensive line. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a great OLB opposite Matthews? Or a force on the D-Line? Or another CB to replace Woodson when he’s ready to hang them up?

    Our offense is on fire but generally “Defense wins championships”.

    We’ll see how it shakes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  5. PackersRS says:

    I don’t know about order, what I do know is that Wells is right now the best center in the league, and is the best player on a line that has All-Pro Josh Sitton.

    Wells hasn’t allowed anything, not a single pressure. The interior (Lang, Wells, Sitton) have only allowed 3 pressures, no QB hit, no sack.

    But the surprise is how much push he’s generating in the running game.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  6. JimisPackers says:

    Couldn’t agree more. I wanted to see Wells extended before Jordy- and thought he would be- but we’re (Packers) in a position to set prices on the services of a players and giving the option of accepting or persuing a different contract.

    Hope we keep both though.

    Love Jimi.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. Stu says:

    I find this to be a bit of a racial thing. Everyone values the White, blue collar type player like John Kuhn and Scott Wells when in reality it is clear that Jermichael Finley is miles ahead of them and is a decade younger than Wells. You have to be stupid to value Wells above Finley. Finley can be a franchise player for 10 more years. Something tells me if Finley were more along the lines of a Jason Witten, everyone would appreciate him more. I know people hate the race card but there is nothing to dislike about Finley so I just don’t get the complaints…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

    • Adam Czech says:

      I don’t think this has anything to do with race. I, along with others who have commented on this post, have praised Finley, not complained. The Packers should try to keep both players. But right now, Wells is slightly more valuable because of how he’s playing, the lack of a quality replacement on the current roster and the importance of pass protection to the Packers offense. Also, Finley has yet to finish a full season.

      If you want to talk “blue collar,” I’d put Finley at the very top of the Packers roster. By all accounts, he worked his ass off to come back from his injury and is one of the more dedicated and hard working players on the team.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Chad Toporski Chad Toporski says:

      Who’s complaining about Finley? It’s a matter of being replaceable.

      Right now there is no one on the roster who can adequately fill in for center for an extended period of time. Meanwhile, we’ve got 4 other TE’s on the roster who have all shown the ability to get the job done.

      If you want to view this as a racial issue, then no one can stop you. But I just don’t see how it applies in the slightest.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Oppy says:

      Certainly don’t believe there is ANY element of race in this particular issue.

      the #1 priority on every team is to keep your QB healthy. When that QB is on pace for a historic career and is the defending SB Champion MVP, it’s an even bigger priority.

      What’s been stated is true; we won a SB w/o Finley, and have 4 good, young TE’s on roster. There simply isn’t a back up capable of holding Wells’ jock right now. Wells not only performs his protection duties well, but he doesn’t botch snaps and is in perfect sync with Rodgers, and he’s also very cerebral and calls out all the line declarations which can make or break the entire offensive line unit’s ability to read, diagnose, and react to the coming pass rush..

      I understand your point about age- Finley is young and the potential future, Wells is getting up there an in a best case scenario would probably only get another 3-5 years of play… But I would be surprised to see Finley sign anything more than a 3 year deal, anyways. He’s going to want to continually test the waters.

      All that being said, I definitely agree with you that as far as SOME fans are considered, the element of race plays a role, whether it’s consciously or not. There’s a significant number of dimwitted sports fans who root for the white guy.

      I don’t think that’s the case in this instance at all- for the reasons mentioned. And I don’t think that’s the case with the great majority of readers and writers on this blog- these are real football fans who want what is in the best interested of fielding a winning Packers football team.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. aaronqb says:

    I’m not sure it’s Wells or Finley. It may be Wells and Finley.

    One I agree with is that there is no one on the current roster who can play center even close to the level Wells is playing right now. And the offense would suffer today if Wells were to go down with an injury.

    TT has a lot of ammunition in next year’s draft (probably around 12 picks) and maybe this will factor into his decisions.

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  9. the big O says:

    Both have shown the are more than worth new contracts, Finley has unbelievable hands and athletic ability,Wells holds the middle of the line with a passion and can redirect block with the best, but having followed the packers since the ice bowl and seeing how TT works i believe Finley will go were the money is, and Wells will be an AGE cassualty I hope I’m wrong but it seems to be the way it works anymore

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