The NFL, much like any business, is based upon supply and demand. "Sell High, Buy Low" is often the mantra, and the Packers may have a unique situation on their hands due to the misfortunes of another team. With the New England Patriots cutting tight end Aaron Hernandez this morning amidst his legal issues, ESPN NFC North Blogger Kevin Seifert was presented with an interesting question that was fueled by a Packers legend's tweet earlier this morning, and it is worthy of some discussion within the community.
If I am the pats I trade for Finley ASAP for 2nd round pick— leroy butler (@leap36) June 26, 2013
Trade Jermichael Finley to the Patriots for a second-round pick? Or stick with the talented tight end's inconsistent play and hope he turns the corner in his contract year? Many Packer fans seem fed up with Finley, and would probably approve of the idea of trading him to clear up cap space and locker room drama.
I think the biggest issue here is that a legend within the organization is the one who sparked this discussion. LeRoy Butler might not be a member of the locker room, but he has enough pull among the Packers community that this could create a snowball effect moving forward. It's a little disappointing to see a former Packers player throw a current player under the bus over social media, but this isn't the first time Butler has been outspoken about the direction of the organization.
As a player, LeRoy Butler was one of my personal favorites during the 1990s, and he is a great ambassador for the organization now. I just don't think this kind of "advice" is going to help anybody, especially when we are talking about someone like Finley, who has proven to have a fragile psyche over the past few seasons.
I think Brian Carriveau of CheeseHeadTV.com said it perfectly:
LeRoy Butler is an enigma. He gives a great, level headed break down of Xs & Os at JSOnline, but his personnel opinions come from left field— Brian Carriveau (@BrianCarriveau) June 26, 2013
I think former players make for great insider information on how the game is played and what adjustments a team needs to make, but front office decisions need to be left for the people who are closest to the process and have experience in the subject matter. That goes for us, the fans, as well.
As for the proposed deal that Butler offered, I think it would leave the Packers' offense short-handed. The Packers would be able to get great value for an inconsistent player, but it would also take away the only field-stretching playmaker within the tight end group. The Packers would also have to consider that a second-round pick from the Patriots would likely be late in that round, and it would not be as valuable as a second-rounder from a struggling franchise.
I believe the Packers will handle the Finley situation much like they did with B.J. Raji, and make him play out his current contract in order to receive a contract extension with the team. The Packers may have the cap space to bring both players back for the 2014 season, but their production in 2013 will warrant that decision.
As much as we complain about Finley's inconsistency and lack of production, do we really want to see him hauling in catches from
Tim Tebow I mean Tom Brady this fall? A change of scenery might kickstart Finley's engine again, and I don't want to supply a perennial power with more weapons.
Let's just pump the breaks on the social media bus, and hope Finley's future in Green Bay (and the contract it would supply) will be enough motivation for him to become an All-Pro caliber tight end this season.