With the signing, the Packers have avoided letting Finley hit the open market and dodged a possibly lengthy battle over the price of a franchise tag.
The $7.5 million average annual salary that Finley will be receiving cuts the potential TE and WR franchise tag prices almost exactly in half ($5.5 million for tight ends and a projected $9 million for wide receivers).
Finley and the Packers both wanted to reach a long-term deal, but apparently the money just wasn't there to make such a commitment.
With the two-year deal, the Packers will be able to keep Finley around for a couple more years as he tries desperately to live up to both the media-driven hype and to his own potential.
By the time Finley's contract expires, the league will have already cashed in on the new TV contracts that they signed prior to the NFL lockout last offseason. After those TV deals officially kick in, the league salary cap will increase and the Packers will have more money to play around with in extending Finley long-term.
While the two-year deal may give Finley the time he needs to mature as an NFL player, the Packers have no doubt considered the possibility of Finley being unable to reach that potential. If for whatever reason Finley cannot meet the expectations of his coaches and management, the Packers have given themselves an easy and early exit from this marriage.
Finley, who holds numerous franchise records at the tight end position, finished 2011 with 767 yards and eight touchdowns.
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