Since Green Bay has decided to use the Transition tag on him, we could get him without having to give GB any compensation. With the Transition Tag, GB retains the right to match any offer he receives. However, according to Fox Sports.com, GB is approximately $11 million over the projected cap of $85-86 million. Even if they're able to restructure Wahle's contract, they'll still be right at, or above, the projected cap. If we strike early, like we did with Todd Wade, we might be able to catch GB with their pants down. We might have to pay a little more than we should, but what would a TE like Franks be worth to the Texan's offense? So, how much are top 10 TE's going for these days? Any thoughts? GREEN BAY'S CAP STATUS CAP STATUS: The team is several million dollars over the expected 2005 cap, but some of that has to do with guard Mike Wahle's $11.3 million cap number, which will be addressed before the start of free agency. Once Wahle is dealt with and all the restricted free agents are tendered, the team will be right at the $85 to $86 million cap limit, leaving little room to play in free agency. MOVING ON: In addition to Wahle, whose free agency is imminent given the $11 million salary written into his contract this year, the club is facing the departure of three other starters: guard Marco Rivera, tight end Bubba Franks and linebacker Hannibal Navies. Wahle and Rivera appear to be an either/or situation. Wahle is younger, more athletic and bound to hit it big on the open market. Rivera is older and more injury prone, but he rarely misses a play, is consistent and was selected to a third straight Pro Bowl this year. Chances are both will be allowed to test the market, and Rivera will eventually be retained. Franks is bound for the open market, but the club will be competitive with its offer once he gets there because it has no replacement. A transition tag is an option if the personnel department doesn't like the free agent and college options. Franks is a vital part of the team's running game and it would have to be assured it could at least replace that part of his game if it let him go. Navies is expendable and probably will only be re-signed at a reasonable price. Linebacker is going to be a priority in the draft, and the club will be looking for a younger, quicker replacement. Of the restricted players, running back Najeh Davenport will receive the most interest, and the club might have to tag him with a first-round tender to make sure he doesn't sign somewhere else. He could be trade bait as well. Run-blocking tackle Kevin Barry could receive interest because if the club assesses him the low tender, he can be signed with no compensation. ACTION PLAN: New G.M. Ted Thompson is not a big fan of free agency and would just assume save his cap money and then spend it on someone else's players. Don't expect the club to make a big splash in the market. In fact, Thompson probably will be looking to clear cap space for the future and might pass on re-signing some of the players Mike Sherman would have paid big money for in the past. To date, he has made no overtures toward re-signing any of them. His toughest decision will be with Wahle, who is one of the top guards in the league. Thompson comes from the school of thought that you don't pay big money for guards, and so he probably will release Wahle and accept the $11 million cap credit. If Wahle doesn't break the bank in free agency, he could return, but more than likely he'll sign somewhere else. This is a team with a lot of money invested in its starters and very little cap room to maneuver, and it's time to make some tough personnel decisions. In addition to weighing the prospects of keeping Franks, Thompson will probably seek a pay cut from safety Darren Sharper, whose cap number is $8.6 million. If Sharper refuses, he probably will be released, which would create a huge void at the safety position. If Thompson does venture into free agency, it will probably be at the safety, linebacker and guard positions. Anyone he signs would be a low-end free agent able to be a stopgap starter and contributor on special teams. Thompson has to provide new defensive coordinator Jim Bates with some of the players he needs to succeed, but expect the majority of them to come through the draft.