The deadline to use the franchise or transition tag is by 4 p.m. (Eastern) Monday. Whether the Packers will use either of those designations to tag-and-trade Flynn or tag-and-retain Wells will be determined by whether the team can overcome one huge obstacle.
The salary cap.
During the offseason, only the 51-highest paid players count against the salary cap. For Green Bay, that number rose to $120,735,169 after the signing of Jermichael Finley, a source with access to NFL salary data told Packer Report.
The 2012 salary cap has not been announced. It is expected to be "flat," according to a source, meaning it could be in the ballpark of last year's cap of $120,375,000. That means the Packers potentially are about $360,000 over the cap, though, as another source pointed out, the cap typically has been a few million dollars higher than expected in recent years.
The Packers will get some wiggle room because they can roll over last year's unused cap money. For the Packers, that's about $6.627 million, a source told us a for a first-of-its-kind story we published in January.
So, if the salary cap remains unchanged, the Packers would be a little less than $6.267 million under the cap. The Packers have the ability to gain added financial flexibility by reworking the contracts for — or outright releasing — veterans Chad Clifton and Donald Driver. Clifton counts $5,593,750 and Driver counts $5 million, with no cap ramifications for terminating their contracts.
If both are released, the combined total of $10,593,750 would put the Packers about $16.86 million under a static salary cap. That money could be used to work on Flynn or Wells, to re-sign less-expensive free agents such as Ryan Grant and Jarrett Bush, or to be saved for in-season extensions for Greg Jennings or T.J. Lang, both of whom are entering the final year of their deals.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.