It has been widely believed that tight end Jermichael Finley and his $8 million salary (which includes a $3.5 million roster bonus due in March) would be released by the Green Bay Packers in the offseason. Well, not so fast!
The Press Gazette has suggested Finley will be back, based on comments Mike McCarthy made earlier this week. In fact, they claim McCarthy’s praise almost certainly means Finley will be back next season.
“I really felt Jermichael Finley was a different man, a different player from the bye week on,” McCarthy said. “I had an opportunity to talk to him about that at length in his exit interview, so I feel very good about the way he finished the year. He did some good things Saturday night (at San Francisco). There was a change in that young man.”
A few things come to mind here.
First, I’m not really sure why the Packers would want to give $8 million to a guy who caught 61 passes for 667 yards and just two touchdowns. Finley was third on the team in catches, fourth in yards and tied for sixth in receiving touchdowns (with Donald Driver, who hardly played).
Plus, he was an almost constant distraction with his “I have no chemistry with Aaron Rodgers” refrain.
The Packers are clearly overpaying. That’s top 10 tight end money for a guy who isn’t one of the top 10 tight ends in the NFL.
Second, is the distinct possibility the Packers planted the story that Finley would be released in order to get him to shut his mouth and straighten up.
That report came out on Dec. 18. The last time Finley said something controversial and/or stupid was on Dec. 13 when he said the Bears were better off without Brian Urlacher.
Lastly, the Packers are obviously preparing for life without Greg Jennings, who’s about to be an unrestricted free agent. Donald Driver is expected to retire. Can the team afford to lose three pass catchers this offseason?
That would be a tough blow. We’re guessing the internal thinking is the Packers will overpay Finley so they don’t have to retool two positions.
It remains to be seen how this will play out. Unlike the Press Gazette, we don’t feel like there are any guarantees for Finley.