Even though we have no idea when the next free agent period will start, it’s never too early to start looking toward 2012.
The Packers are especially good at planning for the future, and Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel notes that G.M. Ted Thompson will have a decision to make on tight end Jermichael Finley sooner than later.
Silverstein believes the Packers will look to add a tight end in the middle rounds of the draft or pick one up in free agency this year because Finley’s contract runs out after 2011, and Andrew Quarless was very quiet last year.
“G.M. Ted Thompson can’t sit around and wait to see if Quarless develops because there’s a very good chance that after this year Finley will demand truckloads of money the Packers aren’t willing to deliver,” Silverstein writes.
Using the franchise tag on Finley would make a lot of sense if a long-term deal is a problem. Either way, he could make himself a lot of money with a big 2011 campaign.
Finley dominated at the end of 2009 season but only started 10 games that season. He began 2010 on fire before tearing the lateral meniscus in his knee, but he’s yet to put together a complete Pro Bowl-quality season because of injuries.
My guess is that the Packers would pay Finley plenty, but he has to prove himself for at least a season and possibly two more.