by Brad Biggs
February 22, 02012
With the NFL converging in Indianapolis for the start of the Scouting Combine, the Green Bay Packers knocked out a big part of their offseason puzzle.
The team has reached a two-year contract agreement with tight end Jermichael Finley, according to an NFL source, a contract that is a compromise of sorts because it will allow the playmaker to reach the open market in 2014.
Finley’s deal is worth $14 million, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and he will earn $10.2 million of it – or more than two-thirds – in the next 13 months.
Finley and the Packers had been at odds at where he should qualify for the franchise tag. The team believed he should be a tight end which would have cost roughly $5 million to place the tag on. Finley believed, because of the way he is deployed, he should have counted $9 million. They found common ground in the middle.
Finley will be only 26 when he is eligible for free agency again and that had to be key for his agent Blake Baratz. As Silverstein points out, it’s a bit of a gamble for Finley, who must stay healthy over the next two seasons to cash in again.
By resolving Finley’s situation the Packers can now consider placing the franchise tag on quarterback Matt Flynn or center Scott Wells. Neither move is considered likely but those are possibilities for general manager Ted Thompson.
The key was retaining a playmaker for quarterback Aaron Rodgers who can help control the middle third of the field.
Follow me on Twitter: @BradBiggs
Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune