Jermichael Finley: Time ticking toward D-Day


Jermichael Finley is a huge talent whose time in Green Bay without a long-term contract is coming to an end.

Raymond T. Rivard photograph

I like Jermichael Finley – I really do. I think he’s a huge talent who adds an element to the Green Bay Packers’ offensive machine that has been an immeasurably intangible piece to the entire team’s success.

But I still think, as I’ve written before, that it’s time for him to pack his bags and move on.

Yes, Finley has played well in spots, but he’s had some god-awful games, as well. What it comes down to in the NFL is production and value. Nobody knows this better than Ted Thompson who runs the tightest ship in the league.

Jermichael Finley is the type of player who can be placed inside or out and have an impact.

Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Finley caught 61 passes for 667 yards last year, with most of his production coming in the final half of the season. The question is whether those 667 yards is worth $8.25 million – the amount Finley is expected to make next season, the final year of a two-year contract. Will the Packers try to get him to do what he said he wouldn’t do – take a pay cut? Will they try to extend his contract and make him one of, if not THE highest paid tight end in the league? Will they cut him loose or might they even try to trade him away?

These are all questions that have been debated across the sports world the past couple of months and questions that will linger until the end of this month when his D-Day (departure day?) comes around.

Today, Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel posted a blog post with numerous quotes from an ever-endearing Blake Baratz – Finley’s agent. His attempt to soften the words of Finley last week when he said he would walk instead of taking a pay cut ring hollow. But at least he tries. Baratz, who himself has used some stinging words against Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, makes Finley out to be the misunderstood child.

I’m not buying it.

To me, Finley comes off as the spoiled child who thinks the world revolves around him.

Again, I’ll say it – I like Finley. But he’s not the Packer type; he struggles with personal relations among teammates (especially the most important, Rodgers), and his arrogance comes across with his antics on the field and his inability to dislodge his foot from his mouth.

Has Jermichael Finley played his final down in Lambeau Field?

The Packers can do better. We know he won’t take a pay cut and if Ted Thompson keeps him around for another year, we all know it’s simply a rent-a-player situation where he will play out his contract and leave. Is it worth the $8.25 million to the team to allow this to happen? Is it worth the $8.25 million to keep the locker room distraction around? Is the 667 yards worth $8.25 million?

I don’t think so.

The Packers can use the draft – heck, they could even use free agency if they wanted to target a player like a Dustin Keller or a even a Fred Davis they might be just as better off in the long run.

Sometimes a change is best for everyone. I think this is the case. Either cut Finley and let him walk, but better yet, trade him and get something now for him.

That way, the Packers could keep A.J. Hawk around – at least he’s affordable, is a standup guy and doesn’t say bad things about his quarterback.

It’s time. It’s D-Day for Jermichael Finley.

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