McCarthy Makes it Obvious that Packers Want TE Jermichael Finley Back in 2012

ALLGBP.com All Green Bay Packers All the Time

If you trust what you were hearing from Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy during his final press conference of the 2011-12 season Wednesday, then you also should have no worries about where tight end Jermichael Finley will playing next season.

He’s not going anywhere.

McCarthy praised Finley on several different occasions, calling him a “talented young man” who has a “great work ethic” and wants to be “a great player.” McCarthy also said that the Packers “need him out there” and that Finley has a lot of room for improvement.

If the Packers head coach had even entertained the thought of letting a 25-year-old tight end walk in free agency, this amount of praise would seem unlikely. McCarthy obviously wants and plans on Finley being a part of the Packers’ roster next season, and I’d say there is a very small chance of the opposite becoming reality.

Finley, who is scheduled to become a free agent this offseason, caught 55 passes for 767 yards and eight touchdowns in 2011. Most had expectations that far exceeded that output this season, but drops and inconsistency plagued him at times. In the Packers’ 37-20 loss to the Giants in the NFC Divisional Round, for example, Finley dropped two passes and had what some have called a miscommunication with quarterback Aaron Rodgers on an important third down play in the second half.  But nonetheless, fans throughout the 2011 season have been hard on the enigmatic tight end.

Packers GM Ted Thompson now has three options with Finley: They can either re-sign him to a multi-year deal, franchise tag him at the tight end position or let him walk in free agency. After three seasons, each option has its pros and cons. But it’s obvious that the risks of letting such an untapped talent like Finley walk at his age far outweigh the cons of both re-signing him long term and the one-year franchise tag at rough $5 to 6 million.

And if you believe what you heard from McCarthy Wednesday, bank on Finley being back on the Packers roster regardless to start next season.

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Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.

You can read more of Zach's Packers articles on AllGreenBayPackers.com.

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  • Adam Czech

    “And if you believe what you heard from McCarthy Wednesday, bank on Finley being back on the Packers roster regardless to start next season.”

    Good.

  • Chad Lundberg

    I’ll say it again. Just imagine if he goes off somewhere and he has an amazing year. Priority No. 1 should be to avoid that scenario.

    James Jones solved his drop problem, so can Finley.

  • Oppy

    While you are taking this endorsement of Finley from MM as a sign it’s a sure thing the Packers will keep him around, it can also be taken as MM making a desperate, public plea to TT to reconsider letting Finley walk.

    Remember, while MM and TT confer with one another, MM has final say in all coaching and on the field matters, and TT has final say in all business and off the field matters, including the roster/player contracts.

    MM is an offensive minded HC and the play caller. He’s going to want to keep all his guys. TT’s job is keeping the roster healthy, and that means making tough decisions when it comes down to contracts.

    I do believe Finley will end up sticking around, however. :)

    • Oppy

      Edit: Well, actually, Mark Murphy handles all the BUSINESS business. but you know what I’m sayin’.

  • Dan

    Sign Wells too.

  • unibrow gravatar

    The only people who entertained the idea of finley’s departure weren’t paying attention. There are very few impact players in football. He is one and he’s only 24 years old.

  • Mr. Bacon

    I think Finley’s problem, is that he tries to hard to play. When in reality, Finley is over-thinking what he is doing because the people he is playing against are people with lesser skills, and Finley outmatches them.

    He is already great, just needs to focus on catching the ball because he has everything else ready to go.

  • lmills

    I don’t think McCarthy needs to make a public plea to TT if he wants someone kept around. He goes in to TT’s office and says we need to keep him around. I think the public plea thing would be too childish of an action for McCarthy to do. Just a guess.

    • Oppy

      Some believe MM made a thinly veiled public plea to TT for a better stable of offensive linemen than he had been given to work with a few seasons ago….

  • Pete Kliman

    He can recover because I don’t remember him having the droppies in other years.I think this is an easy problem to solve comparatively speaking.

  • packdADDY

    drop him. he has peaked

  • Shavager

    Haha, Thompson needs to bring Finley and his agent in, play mucho game film showing Finley CHOKING when team needed him the most and sign him to a deal equal to franchise tag but loaded with incentives to achieve that paycheck. Finley has the POTENTIAL–but so did Johnny Jolly, Justin Harrell and Mike Neal–how’d they work out for you?? No doubt GB will try to bring Finley back but he MUST improve–James Jones, Jordy Nelson are two MOST improved Packers in ’11–it’s Finley’s time to show up or ship out in ’12.

  • big o

    ( Room for improvement!!! ) that’s an understatement, I would think this is a card T.T. could DROP on him before resighning???