The Green Bay Packers have some decisions to make and it appears as if tight end Jermichael Finley is at the center of those decisions. Bob McGinn is reporting the team is still considering releasing Finley.
This comes after the report that the Packers are considering using the franchise tag on receiver Greg Jennings. It would cost the Packers $10.36 million to tag Jennings and the team has around $21 million in salary cap space. They would need to create more room if they planned on signing anyone else this offseason. Their draft class and restricted free agents will take up around $10 million of that space.
That means Finley and his $8.25 million salary would be the logical choice to make room for Jennings.
The Journal Sentinel also learned that the Packers remain torn about the future of polarizing tight end Jermichael Finley.
Sources indicated that Thompson and the coaching staff appear to favor keeping Finley, while other people within the organization, including members of the personnel department, favor his release.
We could see this playing out a number of ways.
First, the Packers could just ask Finley to restructure his deal. He’s in the final year of the two-year deal he signed last offseason. The Packers could lower Finley’s cap number this season in exchange for a long-term deal that offers some security.
Another option is the Packers sign Jennings to the franchise tender and trade him. A trade allows them to get something in return for Jennings, wipe that $10 million salary off their books and keep Finley.
Obviously, the other options are to keep Jennings and jettison Finley or the two least likely scenarios — get rid of both or keep both.
By keeping both, the Packers have very little flexibility with their cap at a time when they want to extend Clay Matthews, Aaron Rodgers and B.J. Raji. Getting rid of both would hurt their receiving corp.
The Packers are much better equipped to absorb the loss of Jennings with Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Randall Cobb waiting in the wings. If they lose Finley, there’s not a clear No. 1 tight end on the roster. What’s more, none of the tight ends on the roster have shown much in the passing game.
The situation that’s probably best for the Packers long-term is not carrying Jennings’ salary — one way or another — and restructuring Finley’s deal. If the Packers franchise Jennings and can find a trade parter, more power to them.
If they can’t, they can always rescind it. Obviously, the easiest route to go is not to use the tag on Jennings.