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.