For months, Green Bay Packers bloggers, writers and followers of the team have had Tuesday, March 26, circled on their calendars – that’s the day when the Packers either have to tell tight end Jermichael Finley to hit the road or pay him his roster bonus – about $3 million. By doing so, the Packers will commit to keeping the talented, but mercurial player in the fold for at least one more season.
That is unless they release or trade him by the end of today – a scenario at this point that most likely will not occur.
When interviewed about a month ago on whether he felt comfortable with taking a pay cut to stay with the team, Finley said he would walk rather than take a pay cut.
But that was before the free agency period during which the Packers held on to its $18 million under the salary cap to ensure the team could pay for its restricted free agents, its draft choices, and Finley, while also having some in the bank to apply to the mega-contracts that are sure to be offered to quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews.
The bottom line, however, for Finley is the roster bonus he will be due Tuesday.
With the Packers letting backup tight end Tom Crabtree sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and because they let wide receiver Greg Jennings defect to Minnesota, it pretty much cements Finley’s place on the team.
With just a single year remaining on the two-year extension he signed in 2011, Finley is sure to play the year and then test the free agent market come next spring. The Packers are playing the odds that Finley will continue to improve his game and contribute to a Packers offense that benefits by his presence.
Last season, Finley, who battled through drops and curious off-the-field comments, had the best season ever for a Packers tight end. He caught 61 passes for 667 yards.
Though they will only get one more season out of him, the Packers are hoping it’s good enough to help the team to the playoffs and a possible Super Bowl.
That’s the $3 million risk they are most likely prepping to take.