So the season has ended in another heartbreaking fashion, and that means people are angry. When people get angry, they want names, and when they have names, they have someone to blame.
Already a number of players are getting some serious scrutiny for losing the game at Lambeau Field, including Ryan Grant, Charlie Peprah and, to my disbelief, Aaron Rodgers. But there may be no player that is being held with more responsibility than tight end Jermichael Finley.
Finley already had a big mouth before he had a breakout year in 2009, and it's beginning to wear terribly thin. With all the talking he does, it's become clear that Finley's ego is getting in the way of his game.
This has fans crying out for a release of Finley, who's clearly partly to blame for the Green Bay Packers' loss to the New York Giants on Sunday, and it was the typical way he's done it all year—on third down.
The guy's ego is in the way, he has a knack for screwing up at the worst possible time and we won the Super Bowl without him anyway. Conventional wisdom? Let the guy walk.
I respectfully disagree.
Despite his ego, Finley is worth the risk. Yes, it gets old, but Finley does not isolate his teammates like Terrel Owens or Santonio Holmes. Finley is with a great group of players that are mature, and the longer he stays with this group, the more he will become like them. He'll learn.
His ego I have no problem with, but it's his play that has me a little cautious regarding re-signing him and that's why I believe it would be best to franchise him.
Finley wasn't dropping very many passes in the time he played from 2009-10, so we know he can catch the ball. He just didn't have a very good year doing that in 2011.
Should Finley be given the franchise, Ted Thompson and the Packers should make it very clear to him that they're willing to give him another shot to prove that he's worth re-signing. They should say that he's got one more chance to prove that he can be one of the best tight ends in football, and then they'll consider whether or not to give him a long-term contract.
As frustrated as I am with Finley, pretending I'm Ted Thompson, I know that I can't react so quickly to make a decision that I would regret.
What if Finley goes to play for another team and has an amazing year? What if he does it with a reasonable contract that Thompson could have kept him for? I would regret giving Finley $5 million just so he could screw up again, but I would regret seeing him play great for another team even more.
Should Finley fix his problem, he can place himself right up there again among the top tight ends in football. Packers should re-sign Finley, I feel confident that it would work out in the end.