Although we’ve been hopeful the Green Bay Packers would re-sign center Scott Wells, it now looks like there’s a real possibility he may sign elsewhere when free agency begins.
The Packers and Wells aren’t close on a new contract and the team feels he’s overvaluing himself, according to Bob McGinn.
Wells is 31 and considered undersized, but he just made his first Pro Bowl and has been the Packers most consistent offensive lineman. He wants to be one of the five highest-paid centers in the league, which would mean a base salary greater than the $5.5 million the New York Giants‘ David Baas makes.
The league’s highest-paid center is Carolina’s Ryan Kalil, who makes $8.2 million per year. Wells made $2.75 million in 2011.
He has a bit of leverage too. Ten teams, including the Packers, have their starting center heading to free agency. It’s highly unlikely one of those teams wouldn’t jump at Wells if he hits the open market.
So what do the Packers do if they lose Wells? The only option currently on the roster is Evan Dietrich-Smith, who saw action at guard in place of an injured Josh Sitton in 2011. Dietrich-Smith held his own, but isn’t nearly as good as Sitton or Wells.
The team could also add a free agent. The top players on the market will be Houston’s Chris Myers and New England’s Dan Koppen. They’re 30 and 32, respectively, so they’re in the same age range as Wells. They also both have one Pro Bowl under their belt.
The other prospect would be to draft Wells’ replacement, but the Packers have bigger needs on defense so it’s hard to envision them spending a high draft pick on a center.
Of course, there’s still time to re-sign Wells before free agency begins, but if the Packers don’t make any progress at the scouting combine don’t bet on it happening.