Friday, March 16, 2012
Scott Wells departs, Packers need a center
By Kevin Seifert
The Green Bay Packers need a center now that veteran Scott Wells has agreed to terms with the St. Louis Rams. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the news Friday evening.
Wells and the Packers were reportedly far apart during negotiations prior to free agency, and Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel suggested last month that Wells was unlikely to take a discount to remain with the Packers. He wanted to be paid as a top-5 center, according to McGinn, and the Packers apparently didn't value him that way.
We don't yet know what Wells got from the Rams, but the bottom line is that the Packers will open the season with a new center in 2012 -- one that seems likely to come from outside the organization. Guard Evan Dietrich-Smith technically was Wells' backup last season, but considering him a front-runner for the job might be a stretch.
So the question, as always with the Packers, is whether they will seek a veteran via free agency or draft a center and hope to plug him into the lineup. There are a number of veterans available on the market, including Chris Myers, Dan Koppen and Jeff Saturday. I won't rule any of them out, but let's just say it has been a rare occasion in recent years for the Packers to sign a free agent to be a starter.
As far as the draft, ESPN analyst Mel Kiper includes three former Big Ten players in his list of the five-best centers available: Wisconsin's Peter Konz, Michigan's David Molk and Ohio State's Mike Brewster. Konz is considered a potential first-round pick.
I'm sure the Packers have been planning for this possibility. We'll soon know if they will take a rare dip in the free-agent pool, or if they're confident enough in their ability to grab a starter in the draft.