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Recent posts by Dan Arkush
Updated Feb. 25, 2012 @ 3:29 p.m. ET
This is the 13th in a series of scouting reports on key players who are expected to become free agents on March 13, unless they are re-signed or franchised before then.
News: After making the Pro Bowl for the first time in his eight-year career and doing another excellent job anchoring the Packers' offensive line, most daily team observers agree that Wells should be rewarded with a well-deserved, long-term contract extension — except for one factor. Packers GM Ted Thompson is known for having an aversion to making long-term commitments to players over the age of 30, and Wells turned 31 on Jan. 7. Wells also wants to be paid like a top center, which he most definitely is, and even though he fits the Green Bay system like a custom-made glove, there's no denying his interest in seeing what this offseason's free-agent market might bear. True to form, the Packers have yet to express a sense of urgency in rushing to re-sign any of their free agents. The latest indications are that the two sides are far apart, and Wells seems likely to hit the open market.
Notes: The first Packers center to make the Pro Bowl since Mike Flanagan in 2003, Wells started 16 games for the second year in a row. He has played in 111 games with 100 starts during his eight seasons with the Packers. He was the team's only offensive lineman to start every game at the same position and allowed only two sacks for the highest-scoring team in the league.
Positives: Wells is a rock-solid, extremely durable grinder who is like another offensive coach on the field. An excellent pass blocker, he is a master technician who goes all out all the time and seldom gets beaten. He makes excellent snap adjustments and is almost always in good position, and he has a terrific chemistry with Aaron Rodgers, enabling the league MVP to operate in the fast tempo for which the Packers' offense is designed.
Negatives: Yes, Wells is now on the other side of 30, and there is a very real possibility that he might begin to decline. But unlike teammates Chad Clifton, who missed significant time last season due to hamstring and back injuries, and Josh Sitton, who was bothered by a nagging knee injury much of the 2011 campaign, Wells remains in pristine shape.
Risk factor: The biggest risk is the potential attractive offers Wells very well could receive if he gets an opportunity to test the market, thus driving up the price for his services. Rest assured, the Packers will really be playing with fire if they let Wells escape and are forced to rely on a replacement via free agency or the draft.