Updates from Tuesday, Mar. 11
The St. Louis Rams confirmed Finnegan's release on the team's Twitter account:
Rams have officially released Cortland Finnegan.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) March 11, 2014
Cortland Finnegan's time with the St. Louis Rams appears to be over, for now at least.
The 30-year-old cornerback indicated Wednesday on Twitter that he will be released:
Despite Finnegan seemingly admitting that the Rams have cut him, the move can't be made official until next Tuesday, per Albert Breer of NFL.com:
CB @CortFinnegan tweeted his good bye to St. Louis, but Rams have to wait until Tuesday to actually make the move, b/c of cap restrictions.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 5, 2014
This is a move that had seemed to be on the horizon. NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported back in February that Finnegan would likely have to take a pay cut to remain with the franchise:
Cortland Finnegan looked slower last year. He’ll need to show up ready. But cutting him saves $4M vs. the cap. Pay cut could save them more— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 17, 2014
The time of the move isn't a coincidence either, as the Rams will avoid paying the player a $3 million roster bonus by releasing him before March 13, per ESPN.com's Adam Caplan:
Finnegan's $3 M roster bonus was due on 3/13.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) March 5, 2014
However, Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said that the team hasn't written off the idea of bringing Finnegan back, per Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Jeff Fisher says Rams remain interested in re-signing Finnegan at a later date.— Jim Thomas (@jthom1) March 5, 2014
Fox Sports' Mike Garafolo broke down the financial benefits of cutting him now and potentially re-signing him at a later date:
Waiting until the start of the league year allows the Rams to designate Finnegan a post-6/1 cut. Spreads out the cap hit.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 5, 2014
Finnegan has spent the last two seasons with St. Louis, playing in 23 games. During that time, he recorded 128 combined tackles, four interceptions and 10 pass deflections.
Is cutting Finnegan the right move?
It was in his six seasons with the Tennessee Titans that Finnegan became one of the best and most disliked cornerbacks in the league. In 2008, he was named to his first and only Pro Bowl and All-Pro teams. In 2009, he was listed as the sixth-dirtiest player in the league in a poll among current NFL players by Sports Illustrated.
While many would take umbrage with earning a reputation like that, Finnegan was emboldened by it, and wanted even more.
"It’s a compliment. That’s absolutely a compliment," he said in 2010, per Terry McCormick of Titan Insider. "I’m number [six] right now, but I’m aspiring to one day hopefully be No. 1. So, I appreciate it."
Should Finnegan hit the open market, he likely won't have too difficult a time finding a new home. He still has a few good years left in the tank, and plenty of teams are looking to add a physical cornerback in the offseason.
Finnegan isn't what you'd consider a blue-chip free agent, but he is still a productive, cost-effective option for a lot of teams. That is, if he doesn't stay with the Rams in the first place.