The Green Bay Packers have done a good job of limiting the amount of players that will become free agents this offseason. A lot of that has to do with GM Ted Thompson decisions to lock up players like Tramon Williams and Desmond Bishop during the season but that’s not say that the team doesn’t have important players set to become free agents.
Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette takes a look at the players that the Packers will have to consider using their franchise tag on, DE Cullen Jenkins and K Mason Crosby. Dougherty mentions that the franchise tag for kickers is set to cost around $3.3 million while the tag for defensive ends will be in the range of $11 million to $13 million.
Crosby’s agent, Mike McCartney, has already mentioned that he thinks the Packers will use the tag on one of the players.
“Honestly I’m a little bit surprised (they haven’t used the tag), just cover your tracks a little bit,” he told Dougherty.
Cullen Jenkins, on the other hand, isn’t as optimistic about the idea.
“It’s possible,” he said, “but you’d think if they were willing to pay that much for one year they already would have tried to work something out.”
Of the two players, Jenkins had a larger impact on the teams 2010 season but that may not be enough to justify the using the teams franchise tag on him. Considering that the tag for a defensive end could be as high as $13 million for next season, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them use that money else where. Green Bay’s depth is what will allow them to pass on paying key players like Jenkins without negatively affecting the teams performance. The Packers are likely to target defensive line in the upcoming draft and will have Johnny Jolly back next season so it would be surprising to see them keep Jenkins.
ESPN NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert agrees that tagging either player isn’t likely and mentions that the Packers would rather re-sign Crosby than give him $3.3 million for next season.