Jermichael Finley has been signed by the Packers to a two-year, $15 million contract. This would have been reported earlier, but Finley was too busy dropping the pen as he was trying to sign the deal. This is an interesting decision because Finley was likely going to be franchised by the Packers at the tight end rate of about $5.5 million for 2012.
However, Finley and his agent have been fighting for Finley to get the WR franchise tag because of the amount of time he lines up as a wide out on offensive plays. The WR tag is about $9.4 million, so it ultimately makes sense for Finley to be signed to a contract that is split in the middle of those two franchise tag values.
I personally don't like this deal because it is only for two years and it makes Finley one of the highest paid tight ends in the league. If they wanted a two-year deal why would they not just franchise him twice and pay him about 4-5 million dollars less over the next two years? Only if Finley was set to win the WR franchise tag, which doesn't make much sense to me.
The Packers should have either franchised him or signed to him a real long-term deal (like four-six years). If they needed to go between the two franchise tags then they could have signed him to a one-year deal worth $7-8 million. One of the reasons Finley was looking towards the tag was because we wanted him to prove himself for one more year before we gave him a long term deal. A very high paying two-year deal was most likely not in the cards for Thompson and Finley right after the season ended.
In all reality, Finley signing a two-year deal is pretty similar to him signing a one-year deal. It gives us one more year to see if he can play at an elite level and then whatever he does, we'll just have one more year left. He'll be entering his prime at the end of his contract (26 years old), so we can then sign him long-term or let him go.
Overall, this deal is a little surprising and will disappoint many fans. It does, though, have some positives for Finley and the Packers, and hopefully everything works out for both sides over the next two seasons. Another thing to think about, too, is the fact that Scott Wells has been rumored to be set to walk this offseason after he was chalked up to be the Packers' top offseason priority. With Finley's new high-paying deal, Wells might be more likely to walk if Green Bay doesn't cut some cap space somewhere else.
Another thing is that Finley was expected to be franchised. Now that he is signed for two years, Matt Flynn might be the Packers' player that ends up being franchised. For all those fans that are hoping to see a Flynn trade this offseason, you can keep your hopes up for a little while longer.