Will Jermichael Finley be lining up for the Green Bay Packers next season? Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Green Bay Packers: Time to move on beyond Jermichael Finley

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Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy has said it time and again this offseason – he would love to work with the likes of free agents Jermichael Finley, Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly once again.

But time is running out, especially for tight end Finley.

While his locker remains intact in the Packers locker room, the lockers of Pickett and Jolly have been given up for others who are members of the franchise’s 90-man roster.

What does that all mean?

We’re not sure.

Green Bay Packers tight end Ryan Taylor
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

But if the writing’s on the wall, at least tight ends Ryan Taylor and Jake Stoneburner are paying attention to it.

In a story this morning, Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, used quotes from the two backup tight ends to emphasize that it’s time for the Packers to move on.

“I love him to death,” Stoneburner is quoted as saying. “But he’s not here. It’s hard to say if he’s going to be back. Yeah, we had seven tight ends last year in OTAs. We’re at seven now. So we were at a golf outing and people were asking, ‘Is Jermichael coming back?’ I wouldn’t think so. We have a lot of guys already. And it seems like they’re ready to move on. I don’t know. Who knows? It’s up to the guys upstairs.”

And it seems the “guys upstairs” are not waiting around for the decision on Finley. Not only did they draft  Richard Rodgers, but they re-signed Andrew Quarless and signed undrafted free agents Justin Perillo and Colt Lyerla.

In addition to those guys, everyone is interested to find out whether Brandon Bostick is ready for prime time.

With seven guys on the roster to battle it out, it doesn’t seem there’s much room for Finley, who would not only bring some needed experience to the position, but a hefty price tag at that.

That doesn’t seem like the way Ted Thompson works.

He’s more interested in finding talent in the draft and off the street than bringing back injured players who will demand a big contract.

That said, it’s pretty clear the Packers are poised to move on.

Starting at the top of the depth chart, Quarless took half the season to show up in 2013, but when he did, he made an impact. In the back-to-back come-from-behind wins against Atlanta and Dallas, Quarless caught 14 balls for 132 yards and two touchdowns.

Quarless certainly put himself in position for a starting job and was pursued in free agency before re-signing with Green Bay.

Quarless certainly put himself in position for a starting job and was pursued in free agency before re-signing with Green Bay.

Bostick, Taylor and Stoneburner are ready to compete for the number two spot on the roster, but we’re sure Rodgers, Lyerla and Perillo are ready to say something about that.

Judging by the sheer numbers at the position, Ted Thompson has illustrated he’s ready to move on. And despite what McCarthy has said in public, my guess is that his public comments are just wishful thinking. No doubt, he’s been spending time revamping his offense to work with the young guys.

“He [Finley] does a lot of things that a lot of guys can’t do,” Ryan Taylor said. “He’s good for our offense, but, you hope whatever it is, he makes the best decision just for himself. That was a scary deal seeing a guy like that. If he comes back, he’ll be great for our offense again. Whatever he does, I wish the best for him.”

So do we.

But it’s time to take that nameplate down from Finley’s locker and move on.

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