Jermichael Finley had some issues with dropped passes this season, but the Packers still want to keep their tight end around.
And not just for one year. Finley’s agent Blake Baratz told the Green Bay Post-Gazette that the team would like to sign his client to a long-term deal instead of using the franchise tag. The feeling is mutual.
“We’ve been speaking and they’ve made it clear they would like him to be back there and Jermichael’s made it clear he would like to be back there,” Baratz said. “Now that the season’s over there’s a little more time to time to focus on the particulars.”
Finley set career highs with 55 catches, 767 yards and eight touchdowns this season. He also dropped 11 passes in the regular season and had a couple more in the playoff loss to the Giants, but those drops didn’t do much to mitigate his importance to the Green Bay offense.
The big sticking point could be that importance and the way the Packers use Finley. As the Post-Gazette points out, there’s a wide disparity between the way tight ends and wide receivers are valued under the franchise tag and Mike McCarthy has said that they view Finley in much the same way as they view a wide receiver. If push did come to shove and the franchise tag came into play, Baratz and Finley could push to have him classified as a receiver or as a hybrid like Terrell Suggs with the Ravens.
With other tight ends like Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez also blurring the lines and putting up big numbers, there is a big change coming in the valuation of tight ends. Finley is the first of those players to hit the open market and his contract will help create that valuation going forward.