Should The Packers Keep Jermichael Finley?

GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 15: Jermichael Finley #88 of the Green Bay Packers reacts after a play against the New York Giants during their NFC Divisional playoff game at Lambeau Field on January 15, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Packersnews.com | Green Bay Packers | Insiders Blog " Agent: Packers interested in signing Finley to long-term deal. Green Bay Packers TE Jermichael Finley dropped more passes than I care to remember during the regular season and their playoff loss. He'll be a free agent, and it will take a pretty good contract offer to keep him in Green Bay. Since they hadn't already signed him to an extension, I had been thinking that they might be prepared to let him walk. After signing new three-year contracts with James Jones and Jordy Nelson, they've already spent a lot of money on their receivers.

The Press-Gazette estimated that the franchise tag for a tight end will be around $5.5 million. If Camp Finley believes he's more of a wide receiver than a tight end (which is a pretty good argument), it's estimated that the wide receiver franchise tag will be about $9.5 million. Split the difference, and it's likely he'll ask for $7.5 million per season. That annual amount is about as much as Aaron Rodgers's base salary for next season. That seems like a lot of money for a guy who's only had one full season without injury. He's not as good as other young tight ends like Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham, but neither of them will be available in free agency. Finley could command such a big contract because he's young, already talented, and he's got room to improve.

The only good news is that it's possible he'd accept a shorter deal, maybe three years, because he's so young that he could cash in again with another free agent pay day in his late 20s.

On the other hand, his combination of size and speed cause match-up problems for any defense. The Giants told their defense to "Play physical football and beat the hell out of number 88." Anyone that draws the most attention from the opponent's defense is probably a good guy to keep around.

I'm on the fence here. The Packers should keep their good, young players. On the other hand, he'll be expensive and there were four other tight ends on the roster last season. None of them are as good, but they'd have options.

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