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Is Jermichael Finley Worth It?

Jermichael Finley

We have to wonder if Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley is one of those guys.

He has all the talent in the world. He has the tools to be great. We’ve watched him mature and we all know his head and heart are in the right place. Looking at it objectively, he’s one of the best tight ends in football, but…

Don’t you feel gyped a little bit? Putting aside all his bluster about YOTTO and so forth, shouldn’t this dude be doing more than he is? He’s a matchup nightmare. He’s too fast for all but maybe one or two linebackers in the league to cover and he’s too big for any safety or corner to trifle with.

He should be putting up No. 1 wide receiver numbers. Drops have been a problem — he has a team-leading 11 and that’s a Packers’ number, which we can say is, uh… conservative. Greg Jennings emergence as Aaron Rodgers’ favorite target hasn’t helped Finley’s numbers. Neither has the fact that Jordy Nelson had turned into a badass.

To his credit, other than one early-season incident, Finley hasn’t complained about not getting the ball. Of course, he really has no right to — he’s second on the team in targets with 79, trailing only Jennings.

On the season, Finley has 45 catches for 683 yards and six touchdowns. The latter two numbers are career highs. He’s also averaging a career-high 15.2 yards per reception. Those are great numbers for any tight end. The kid has also made himself into a pretty good blocker. He’s not one of those guys who will throw a hand on a guy and then try to get into his route as soon as possible so he has a better chance of getting the ball. He does his job.

Word is, Finley wants to be among the highest-paid tight ends in the league when his rookie contract expires after the season. That would put him in the $7 million per year range. The Packers probably want to pay him around $5 million a season, which is why a deal hasn’t been finished already.

If the team meets his price, they’re paying for potential, to a certain degree. There are currently seven tight ends in the league with more yards than Finley — Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, Jason Witten, Fred Davis, Tony Gonzalez, Aaron Hernandez and Dustin Keller.

Could Finley outperform any or all of those guys? Sure, if he puts it all together. The thing is, he should be outperforming those guys right now. For whatever reason, it hasn’t happened.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that they’ve stockpiled tight ends like they used to stockpile fullbacks, the Packers don’t have an obvious replacement for Finley’s production on the roster. Further, if he goes on the open market as a free agent, some team will certainly jump at the chance to make Finley one of the richest tight ends in the game.

The organization’s one trump card is the franchise tag, which will lock Finley up for one year at around $5 million. What happens after that is anyone’s guess, but if he isn’t putting up better numbers than Dustin Keller and Fred Davis, does it really matter?

Monty McMahon

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.



  1. WiscSports Today December 23, 2011

    You know, I feel that Finley going in to last season showed that he was worth top dollar. This season, I’m not so sure. He seems less tentative about taking a hit and fighting for extra yards the way that Jordy has been doing this year, and the way that he did last year.

    Also, as you pointed out, the dropped passes are adding up. I’m sure the Packers stats has fewer than four drops from him last week, but that’s what I counted.

  2. Joe December 23, 2011

    he’s too much of a liability IMO. He really doesn’t fit the packers humble persona and he brings unwanted attention to the organization. Sure, he has the potential to be the best TE in the league, but his mouth writes checks his ass cant cash. Maybe he can go join Nick Barnett in buffalo.

  3. Buddymobile December 23, 2011

    He might have to take his chicken head dance elsewhere next year.

  4. PackAttack December 23, 2011

    He is no where close to the level Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronskowsi, Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates or Aaron Hernandez are at. If you rank him in terms of statistics against other Tight Ends he’s not even top 15 in receptions, he’s not in top seven in total yards (he’s behind Fred Davis and Dustin Keller) and for a Quarterback with 40 touchdowns Finley isn’t even top 7 in total touchdowns.

    That’s enough proof right there that the guy is nowhere near “elite status” in terms of his competition. The Tight End position is evolving quickly, and just because Finley is big and fast doesn’t mean anything. The only thing Finley has done this year is bitch about getting looks and dropping passes when it counts. He’s been a bum and Green Bay could easily survive without him and his attitude.

    Let him walk if he wants to.

  5. TyKo Steamboat December 23, 2011

    Packers GM, Teddy T was gonna get ahold of Finley this week to talk about his ‘Franchise Tag’ situation…but the call was dropped…

    1. nurseratchett December 24, 2011


    2. Savage57 December 24, 2011

      He blamed the carrier

  6. Adam December 23, 2011

    Regarding the franchise tag:

    There was an interesting article I read a few weeks ago that addressed the Packers potential to use the tag on Finley.

    Jermichael has been utilized in a standing 2 point stance more often than a traditional 3 point tight end stance.
    (As of November 9th)
    2-point: 216 of 419 snaps
    3-point: 203 of 419 snaps

    This classifies Jermichael primarily as a wide receiver, rather than a tight end. If Finley and his agent wanted to, they could be pretty successful arguing this point in the off season.

    Why is this significant? The estimate franchise tag compensation for a tight end is projected to be in the ballpark of $5.5M for 2012.
    Wide receivers however… $9.5M

  7. mxz 600 December 23, 2011

    For 9.5 million, he can go drop passes for someone else.

  8. Dave December 23, 2011

    Barely worth 5 at this rate, let’s see him in the playoffs

  9. Diane December 23, 2011

    So far, I’m not impressed with Finley. Packers won the Super Bowl without him last year. All I see is someone who always has his mouth running, doesn’t catch the ball, and celebrates his individual successes, few as they may be. He needs to shut up, concentrate, and prove to us he is worth keeping.

  10. Cosmic December 24, 2011

    Its not only the drops this year but where the hell are the long plays. J Fin seems a step off, zero separation. I wish that Rodgers would not target him so much either. Chiefs game the balls he did catch he was tackled immediately. Franchise his ass, maybe.

  11. GreenBastard December 24, 2011

    I say let him go. If he wants to stay for 5 a year than keep him. Anymore than that its not worth it. We have back-up tight ends that can easily fill the void. And mark my words…D.J. Williams will be a beast someday.

  12. nurseratchett December 24, 2011

    Anyone who reads this page on a regular basis knows how I feel. I’m still pissed about teh tweeting last year about the team pic, and seething about all the dropped passes. Granted, a few of his drops would have tough catches, but when you play in the NFL, its your frigging JOB to catch the tough ones.

    See ya, tweetiebird.

    1. nurseratchett December 24, 2011

      However…..lets see how he performs in the post season. I reserve the right to give him one more chance.

  13. Savage57 December 24, 2011

    Guy plays soft. Save the money and let some other team deal with the drama and the drops. I want a hard-ass, run right over you tight end like Witten or Gronk playing for the Packers, not this prima donna headcase.

  14. AZ Pack December 24, 2011

    We have a lot of depth at this position this year, something we did not have last year. Save the money and spend it on a defensive lineman. We have enought people to catch the ball. Pickett is getting older and we need another beast up front to offset Raji.

  15. Andy December 24, 2011

    gotta sort out the drops. The way our offense works, you have to be clutch and hold on to the ball. Last week he was the worst of a bad day by everyone. The ego needs to be in check too. he did a little dance after that 40 yard catch last week. thats great apart from the fact that the team is playing like crap and he had 3 drops

  16. PackerBob December 24, 2011

    Yes, he’s worth it. For all the drops he has he’ still made some big plays. He also takes coverage away from other WRs.

    Two words: Franchise Tag.

  17. Buddymobile December 24, 2011

    6 words ” We won a Superbowl without him”

  18. AZ Pack December 25, 2011

    Agreed… What does he have to hang his hat on??? No probowl, no superbowl and a lot of hype. He needs to shut up and start playing the game he has the ability to play.

  19. DJ December 26, 2011

    I’m not reserving him a spot in Canton…so dont go there….but it dont matter what we think. The reality is that Defenses around the league respect the shit out of him & he changes the looks we get….which positively effects the run game & pass protection for us. THAT is the only consistent value he brings these days and that is why we might tag him. Its a big deal & it matters. Nobody is gonna change personnel for Crabtree or Williams just yet. I’m willing to give him a break this season since he blew out his knee last yr and alot of guys struggle coming back….but if he dont step up his game big time next season… then good riddance.

  20. PackerFan4Life January 2, 2012

    Yeah, we won a SuperBowl without him, but we also won it without DD or Woodson. Are you suggesting we get rid of them too? Yeah, he has an ego but he’s excited. I love Finley. He drops quite a few passes but then again he makes a lot of great plays. He does need to toughen up and should stop complaining about not getting the ball. When Driver started, he wasn’t the best. We just should give him time and not expect so much out of him. And let’s not forget that he hurt his knee last year. If I were him I wouldn’t push too hard and hurt it again. Oh, and next time you complain about him, let’s see how you will do playing NFL football.