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For Finley, Crabtree’s exit helps but free-agency market hurts

Aaron Rodgers AP

With the Packers losing tight end Tom Crabtree to the Buccaneers, Green Bay could now be more willing to keep tight end Jermichael Finley.

Decision day comes on March 27th.  That’s the 15th day of the 2013 league year, and also the day on which Finley earns a $4.45 million roster bonus.  If the Packers want to avoid paying it, the Packers need to dump him before that date.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, there have been no recent developments.  Other than, of course, the departure of Crabtree, which could be a factor in the final analysis — especially since the Packers wanted to keep Crabtree.  (Of course, if they wanted to keep him badly enough, they would have used a restricted free agency tender.)

In December, Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the Packers had decided to part ways with Finley.  McGinn has since reported that the Packers are torn.

Mixed signals also have come from Finley’s camp as to whether he would take a pay cut.  Finley has said he won’t, but his agent, Blake Baratz, has suggested a greater degree of flexibility.

The total events of the past week point to, at a minimum, a reduction in Finley’s pay.  The free-agency market generally has been a disaster, and it makes no sense to pay a tight end with a habit of dropping passes and griping to the media total compensation of $8.25 million in 2013.

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38 Responses to “For Finley, Crabtree’s exit helps but free-agency market hurts”
  1. wamj2008 says: Mar 18, 2013 9:41 AM

    I hope they keep him, but only at the right price. He needs to cut his cap number in half.

  2. mvp43 says: Mar 18, 2013 9:44 AM

    I think everything has played out just about how the Packers figured it would. Even with Crabtree, they could’ve avoided that if they really wanted to.

    Now they let the dust settle and see if they can sign a free agent to plug in holes at a bargain value, which is sound way to do things when you’re a pretty good team already.

  3. Packernet says: Mar 18, 2013 9:49 AM

    Finley is not going anywhere and is not taking a pay cut. If anything he gets an extension.

  4. thefox61 says: Mar 18, 2013 9:52 AM

    Come on Rodgers just throw a little “softer”.

  5. len462 says: Mar 18, 2013 9:53 AM

    The only reason the free agent market seems bad is because the two biggest idiot owners ( Snyder & Jones ) who give out the huge contracts every year got stupider during the lockout and now have no cap space to sign average players to 100 million dollar contracts after one good year. If you add the contracts in that they usually give away it would be the same as every other year.

  6. imjinbrdgr says: Mar 18, 2013 9:58 AM

    The Packers didn’t want Crabby at all! They offered him squat and failed to even try to match TB. IMO, one of the few bad moves by Ted Thompson.

  7. billh1947 says: Mar 18, 2013 10:01 AM

    It makes no sense at all to sign him for that kind of huge money so if he doesnt come down on his demands he is gone,good luck getting paid like you demand from any other team,well maybe the Vikings,they really like ex Packers.

  8. norseyapper says: Mar 18, 2013 10:05 AM

    How can GB even consider that kind of investment in a guy that has proven to be selfish and who goes through stretches where his attention span seems to make it unlikely he will hold on to the ball.
    There are a couple of very good tight end prospects that will likely be there when they pick. Take your pick and move on from this idiot.

  9. metrocritical says: Mar 18, 2013 10:05 AM

    Supreme talent and humility is a rare and welcome find in pro sports. Great skills and a loud mouth will usually mean job security, too. Marginal ability with a great attitude can still be good for team chemistry and translate to some longevity in the league. Finley’s plight, however, is a prime example of how slippery fingers and loose lips is the worst combo when one is going into free agency. Best of luck, Mr. Finley.

  10. anarchopurplism says: Mar 18, 2013 10:06 AM

    I seriously hope they resign him for the sole amusement of watching him celebrate a routine catch after a couple key drops

    He is the one player even Packer fans can’t stand.

  11. metrocritical says: Mar 18, 2013 10:08 AM

    Supreme talent and humility is a rare and welcome find in pro sports. Great skills and a loud mouth will usually mean job security, too. Marginal ability with a great attitude can still be good for team chemistry and translate to some longevity in the league. Finley’s plight, however, is a prime example of how slippery fingers and loose lips is the worst combo when one is potentially going into free agency.

  12. crownofthehelmet says: Mar 18, 2013 10:11 AM

    The bad FA market hasn’t hurt him as much as his whining, complaining ways. That approach may work for his QB, but not a tight end with the drops.

  13. taintedsaints2009 says: Mar 18, 2013 10:13 AM

    His production does not warrant that kind of money

  14. ajb3313 says: Mar 18, 2013 10:16 AM

    Didn’t Jared Cook sort of set the market for Jermichael Finley though? I mean, they’re basically the same player, though Finley’s been significantly more productive. I feel like a team like the Browns would be happy to give Finley what the Rams gave Cook and, likewise, I think Finley would be happy to take it.

  15. fruitcovejag says: Mar 18, 2013 10:18 AM

    Should have cut Finley and signed Dustin Keller. In fact, I wish my Jags would have cut Marcedes “Two left hands” Lewis and signed Keller!

  16. roadbiscuit says: Mar 18, 2013 10:22 AM

    Finley and Crabtree are anything but plug ‘n’ play. Jennings leaving may be a factor in keeping Finley, but losing Crabtree isn’t.

  17. srock68 says: Mar 18, 2013 10:25 AM

    He will be cut. Case closed.

  18. majikwen says: Mar 18, 2013 10:30 AM

    bye bye finley, if you think your worth 8 million turn down the reduction and go to free agency…. ..maybe you are, erik walden signed for 4 mil ……there are stupid team GM’s in this league.

  19. purplepunisher says: Mar 18, 2013 10:31 AM

    Teddy is such a guru. Lose your best receiver in Jennings to the Vikes and then pay Finley more then they offered Jennings.

    Not only is the team soft, the management is soft.

  20. thejuddstir says: Mar 18, 2013 10:41 AM

    The Packers have been paying Finley for his “potential” ever since he entered the league, I would think he owes the Packers and should be willing to play the year for free as he’s never got close to his “potential.”

  21. kev86 says: Mar 18, 2013 10:47 AM

    Sign Brandon Myers before the Giants do.

  22. tsi431 says: Mar 18, 2013 10:51 AM

    Jenning’s was not the best receiver on the Packers. Not the last 2 years for sure.

    Jordy Nelson and James Jones both had much better seasons. Both cost much less as well.

  23. Packernet says: Mar 18, 2013 11:02 AM

    All Finley did last year was set the Packers’ record for tight end receptions and didn’t have a drop the second half of the season. Good luck finding anybody of his caliber anywhere else. He’s still only 25, way too early to give up on him.

  24. munny10 says: Mar 18, 2013 11:04 AM

    FA were cheap this year and TT still didn’t do anything to help a Defense that gave up over 500 yards to the 9ers. As we saw with perry and worthy, rookies don’t just jump in and contribute at a high level. Lot of teams picking up talent at low-dollar 1 year options which is a low risk proposal.

  25. johngaltwho says: Mar 18, 2013 11:10 AM

    The problem with assessing comparative values for Packer receivers is that Rodgers makes guys look good. His timing and accuracy are off the charts and he throws receivers open. He takes the sack before throwing the low percentage pass and manages the game as well as anyone. He does all that with a mediocre offensive line, a less than stellar running game, and a head coach that wants to run the ball despite a 2.5 yards per carry average. If the Packers upgrade the offensive line +/- a running back, the offense will be fine, with or without Jennings, with or without Finley.

  26. milkcan44 says: Mar 18, 2013 11:16 AM

    Pack should keep Finley and challenge him to be what he could be. There are always injuries in the receiving corps and the more weapons, the better.

  27. mvp43 says: Mar 18, 2013 11:18 AM

    imjinbrdgr says:
    Mar 18, 2013 9:58 AM
    The Packers didn’t want Crabby at all! They offered him squat and failed to even try to match TB. IMO, one of the few bad moves by Ted Thompson.

    ——————————————–

    This post is exactly why Ted Thompson has been successful. Stupid fans get caught up in nicknames more than they do production. Fact is, (crabby) might be a great guy with a great nickname and is a great read on twitter, but in reality he’s a back up tight end that blocks well and plays special teams. That’s it……. if you’re honest with yourself, his value has more to do with his tweets and tatoos than it does his role on the football field.

  28. gamds says: Mar 18, 2013 11:54 AM

    What I do not understand is why when a player asks for more money before his contract has ended he is told to “live up to what he signed for”, but when a team wants to reduce a SIGNED contract, it is all right. As long as owners feel they can just backload a contract and then cut the player when they are older, the integrity of a signed contract is no longer valid. My car is 3 years older than when I bought it, but I am not going to stop paying for it.

  29. gregm5s7 says: Mar 18, 2013 12:09 PM

    I think Finley has matured more over the last year and a half. His loudmouth ways may rub some people the wrong way, but he’s a competitor and may bring a little extra fire to the offense the way Jerel Worthy has to the defense.

    People seem to forget how good Finley was pre-injury. That’s when they started coining the phrase “throwing him open”. He had some rediculous catches, and very tough to bring down. He hurt himself diving for a Donald Lee fumbe. I think his road to recovery is more typical and challenging than someone like Peterson. I think it has effected his concentration, but he has shown enough the last half of the season to keep him around, plus he’s only turning 26 next week.

    His salary is a little high but still has plenty of potential to have a big impact on the ’13-’14 season

  30. granadafan says: Mar 18, 2013 12:20 PM

    It was frustrating to read about Finley and his agent throwing Rodgers under the bus for not getting him the ball. It was even more frustrating to watch perfectly thrown balls hit Finley in the hands in stride or between the numbers and watch the ball bounce off him. No wonder Rodgers didn’t trust him.

  31. gbmickey says: Mar 18, 2013 12:55 PM

    Crabtree staying or leaving had/has absolutely no bearing on Finley. Crabtree was nothing more than a token blocker and special teams guy. He was never going to push for more involvement in the offense.

    As far as McGinn while I respect him he boxed himself in with his comments during the season that the Packers were definately going to part ways with Finley. Now he is trying to save face. If you listened to McCarthey after the season Finley is going nowhere. Specially now that Jennings is gone. There is no way they can afford to lose to receivers in the offseason.

  32. vincelombardisghost says: Mar 18, 2013 1:35 PM

    Finley is worth another year based on his production the last half season in ’12.

  33. judsonjr says: Mar 18, 2013 2:05 PM

    If they keep him one more year they will probably get a decent compensatory pick for him.

    They are not hard up for cap space so there is 0 reason to cut him.

    As far as Crabtree, it’s not like the Bucs offer was that much better. Yes it was for 2 years, but it’s not like that’s guaranteed. Basically he could have signed with GB for 700k and been reasonably sure he would be on the team come week 1.

    In Tampa he has a shot to compete for a starting job and about 100K more a year. So there is more upside, but there is also more of a chance that he could just get cut if they don’t like what they see, or have some other guys step up.

  34. gtodriver says: Mar 18, 2013 2:08 PM

    tsi431 says:

    “Jenning’s was not the best receiver on the Packers. Not the last 2 years for sure.

    Jordy Nelson and James Jones both had much better seasons. Both cost much less as well.”

    I don’t want to debate how good Jennings is vs. Nelson/Jones/Cobb.

    Jennings missed playing time the last 2 seasons – if he doesn’t going forward – is he a better WR?

    I agree that today, Nelson/Jones/Cobb are lower priced than Jennings is. All 3 signed their current contracts in 2011 – when they were far from established as NFL WR’s.

    Jones best season prior to his current deal – 50 catches for 679 yards and in 4 years had a total of 17 starts.

    Nelson’s best season prior to his current deal – 45 catches for 582 yards and 6 total career starts.

    And of course, Cobb is still on his rookie deal…

    But Jones is a FA after this season, and both Nelson and Cobb will be FA’s the next year. Both Jones and Nelson will be around 29/30 when their new deals come up – the same age as Jennings.

    Those players are bargains today. But in the very near future all three will either need to be paid or they will be gone.

  35. stellarperformance says: Mar 18, 2013 5:19 PM

    I think the Packers should simply pretend that they recently found Finley in the FA market, overpaid like everybody else, and have their fingers crossed that he will actually deliver…..like all free agents. Nobody will complain about the big coin he has coming if he actually plays like a top-three TE.

  36. shavager says: Mar 18, 2013 7:13 PM

    Personally, I think the Packers would be dollars to the better to trade him if possible, target Jordan Reed in the draft as a replacement–he’s a playmaker, has far better hands than Finley and would be a lot cheaper. They’re not likely to land either of top two TE’s in draft but they will get an opportunity for Reed. Finley’s been in town 5 years folks–you’ve seen the best he’s got and his hands are his biggest fault–size and speed don’t help a bit if you’re constantly dropping passes–can you really say Rodgers DID NOT avoid going to Finley earlier in season after some critical drops? I know of at least 3 TD passes he dropped–two were uncontested by defenders–Finley just dropped clear TD passes and we’re NOT talking about passes he just got a hand on.

  37. filthymcnasty1 says: Mar 19, 2013 11:12 AM

    For perspective, Finley had significantly more yards receiving than any TE or WR currently on the Vikings roster – including their recent free agent reach. Even though he’s making less money than Jennings, he can legitimately be considered overpaid because the Packers have much loftier standards than the Vikings.

  38. publicteamforever says: Mar 19, 2013 11:28 PM

    Packers need to get Finley involved early in the game for him to reach his receiving potential. I hope he stays and continues to improve on numbers from the second half of 2012, when he seemed to have more acceptance of the team concept, and he was trusted more.

    He could be the a future key guy who can demand that money, but I’m concerned that the Pack still needs to free up money for the other 3 key guys now. Would getting the others done quickly make these decisions easier for mgmt?

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