According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Green Bay Packers and tight end Jermichael Finley have agreed to terms on a two-year, $15 million contract extension. The deal, which will keep the 24-year-old in Green Bay until the end of the 2013 season, was confirmed by the four-year veteran on Twitter.
It's TRUE! Thank you so much to the Packers organization, all of my fans, and my beautiful wife. Happy Bday. Let's GO Packers!! Back soon...— Jermichael Finley (@JermichaelF88) February 23, 2012
Finley, who had 55 receptions for 767 yards and eight touchdowns a season ago, had been seeking either a long-term deal or to be franchise tagged as a wide receiver ($9.4 million) as opposed to a tight end ($5.4 million), arguing that he lined up more split out wide than he did lined up next to a tackle.
The two sides apparently have agreed to a compromise of sorts, as the average salary for the deal is somewhere between those two amounts, which certainly seems fair enough for a hybrid player such as Finley.
This was a deal that the Packers needed to get done and both sides have to be relatively pleased by the outcome. Finley gets a significant raise from his 2011 salary of $1.2 million over the next two seasons, and in 2014—when a new TV deal will have driven up revenue and in turn, the salary cap— Finley could potentially hit the open market again at just 26 years old.
The Packers get to keep one of their athletic offensive playmakers in the fold, as Green Bay certainly didn't want to part ways with the youngster given the matchup nightmares that his blend of 6'5" size and speed can give opposing defenses.
However, the Packers were also able to hedge their bets somewhat. Although Finley is certainly a talented player, he has yet to have a breakout season ala Rob Gronkowski of the New England Patriots or Jimmy Graham of the New Orleans Saints, and Finley has struggled with drops and injuries at times throughout his career.
Should it turn out that last season's career-high numbers represent Finley's ceiling (something the Packers should have figured out by 2014), the team will have avoided spending any more money on the former Texas standout than they had to and Jermichael Finley and the Green Bay Packers can part ways.
That this deal was negotiated without it descending into a boiling cesspool of bad feelings and Twitter snarking, is an example of why the Green Bay Packers are a successful organization. What could have become a problem down the road has been avoided and now Green Bay can focus their attention forward to the combine, free agency and April's NFL draft.