Green Bay Packers: Could Jermichael Finley Win Fight for Wideout Franchise Tag?

JD Kruger@@JD_Packers4LifeCorrespondent IIFebruary 16, 2012

GGREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 2: Jermichael Finley #88 of the Green Bay Packers warms up prior to a game against the Denver Broncos at Lambeau Field on October 2, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Matt Ludtke /Getty Images)
Matt Ludtke/Getty Images

Packer fans around the nation—and even the world—wait feverishly for news regarding the contract talks between the team and their qualifying free agents.

Unfortunately, the waiting isn't close to being over.

The Packers have a strong tendency to wait until the last possible minute to begin seriously trying to re-sign their own free agents. 

It's a risky tactic. The Pack could alienate their own players and force them closer to hitting the open market, but at the same time, they also turn leverage in their favor and the chances of a more favorable deal increase exponentially. 

However, the Packers may have to show their hands early regarding tight end Jermichael Finley

If the Packers don't think they can reach a deal with Finley, they can assign the franchise tag starting on February 20th, but they will only have two weeks to make the designation.

Figures for the 2012 franchise tags have yet to be released by the league, but the TE number is expected to be around $5.5 million.

The catch here is that Finley's agent could, and very well may, declare his client as a wide receiver—a declaration that if upheld by the league, would increase Finley's tag amount by nearly double.

The question remains: Do Finley and his agent stand a chance at winning that battle?

According to ProFootballFocus, Finley lined up at wide receiver 46 percent of the time in 2011.

Finley's agent could also pose the argument that even though Finley lines up more at tight end, the majority of his production comes from lining up wide, away from the line of scrimmage. However, this is also an argument they would likely lose, with the help of ProFootballFocus. Finley was targeted only 22 times when lining up in the slot and held to a mere 12 receptions.

It's also possible that the league could rule on a hybrid WR/TE tag that would probably put a tag somewhere in the $7 million range.

Will the Packers risk tagging Finley if it means that they will be forced to pay the WR rate of over $9 million? Is Finley even worth that much?

That is for you and—in the end—the Packers' front office to decide.